Who speaks on behalf of all the people and valuable projects that have left the NEAR ecosystem?
Who represents the interests of the BILLION people we want to attract and the A PLAYERS we need to build the applications these billion people will use?
Who can convey the issues and challenges of the contributors that are not joining the ecosystem?
What are the metrics, the REAL metrics for assessing where we are now?
I’ve made calls in the past for someone to take ownership for the N Foundation failure to nurture and grow the NEAR community (Sorry Marieke). There’s been no resignation, no drama. But an acknowledgment that the N Foundation will be focusing on top down corporate deal and community is now grassroots, power and funds being handed over to NDC. I’d like to think that the calls and pressure from community were heard. Seems like a good outcome, BUT
Key question now is - can NDC do a better job?
NDC is a party with only a handful of people dancing to the same music and we wonder whether the DJ is fantastic or lame.
How can we grow beyond the current community size? Where can we do better?
I spend a lot of time building, travelling, and networking with founders, engineers across many ecosystems.
Every time I identify an opportunity for a partnership, talent that is outstanding, I immediately start thinking of ways of attracting them to NEAR - I am so obsessed with NEAR succeeding it is making me physically ill. Why? Here’s my experience:
- Foundation closed its doors. No grants, limited support. Perhaps Horizon will be different but there isn’t a clear pathway to refer a relationship for growth. I’m not talking about a Fortune 500 company ready to sign a deal - I’m talking about the exploration stage: explaining the tech, the potential, onboarding, courting, etc.
- NDC is messy. Hurts me to say but I am embarrassed to bring top talent into most Working Groups. There is talent within ecosystem, but they are increasingly working behind closed doors, insulating themselves from the masses - roundtable, town halls, etc. Honestly, can’t blame them. Most of the working groups are littered with unhinged people and childish behaviour. Petty fighting, finger pointing, insane ordeals over every dollar spent like these people have never held money in their hands before. Fixed mindset, average quality contributors at best.
Credit where credit is due - people who care are aware and taking action. There are guidelines in place, enforcement seems to be getting better. Still, the greater question is: how can we attract outstanding talent when we cater for the lowest common denominator?
How can we improve? The community is being tested right now with the Creatives DAO. Do we settle with the current standards or do we aim for something else? Can we keep up with the times and put the NEAR community first?
There is a call for feedback on the Creatives Charter and two things jump at me: First, community is not mature enough to have a conversation. Perhaps we need to have more structure debate, better tooling, who knows. But the blind and borderline aggressive support from those who have a direct financial benefit is overwhelming. Zero nuance or consideration as to the actual feedback requested.
Second, there are structural and ethical issues. I’ll sum up some of my personal views which happen to resonate with others I know:
Creatives DAO is in essence a charity. A charity that has been funded by NEAR Community Treasury. Nothing inherently wrong with the arts - there’s beautiful activities taking place in there - but where is the equity?
Why is the community ecosystem funding artists when we do not have any support mechanisms for active community members who are in this for the tech? There are teams contributing to vital open source code, building local communities, etc. without any support. Validators operating at a loss. Projects shutting down because they can’t get funding.
NEAR itself is a startup in survival mode, not an elite elderly institution in a position to become a Patron of the arts.
The problem will only get worse. ‘Democracy’ risks bulldozing over Common Sense. There can be more people who want money out of this charity than there are founders or engineers, combined, in the ecosystem. To quote Alexander Fraser Tytler:
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy”. - Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee
Lord Woodhouselee nailed it in the 1800s. Looking at the visual representation I’d say NEAR started Liberty (Founding Fathers, Illia & Skidanov), we move on to Abundance during Bull Market (‘The Erik Era’, refers to former NF CEO). The things get complicated becuase: Creatives DAO seeking to operate like we are in Abundant times, while their recipients are spread across Selfishness and Complacency and the rest of the community is increasingly in Apathy… we all know what happens next…
Hence, the Speaker for the Dead.
I’ve been bullied. Shut out from the conversation. Discriminated against from accessing funds from NF and ecosystem - but I am still here, a lone voice speaking on behalf of all the top contributors we have lost, we want to attract, and the billion users waiting for us to build something fucking amazing.
Change is painful, but necessary. As the NF has reviewed and reinvented itself over the course of 2022 it seems to me that WE would be failing as a community is we keep doing the same things over and over again.
Ultimately the change that takes place will depend on how fast and efficiently you act - whether chopping the monarch’s head or forking the entire network and rebooting to Freedom, make no mistake, we are not going to stay in this faux era of Abundance and Apathy with all the entitled people in between. NDC gives us a path to victory, but we must speak out now.