I believe API3’s structure of subDAOs and grants is a good approach to scaling DAOs and attracting talent. In the coming years, it will most likely establish some best practices and benchmarks in the larger space of DAOs.
We have seen some early traction and, with a variety of proposals – i.e. the ones from operating teams, special projects like dAPI and partnership with other projects such as Quid. However, predictably, the proposals have mainly been from the people who have a close understanding of the API3 project and the ideas have focused on core development areas.
On the other side, community participation on the forum and for voting has not been high. Perhaps the limited community engagement could be because it has largely been business as usual. As an indicator, top community participation has been on new / evolving areas – dAPI, DAO tracker , Marketing, Exchange listing and liquidity. This low activity also poses the risk of triggering a second loop, where potential external contributors may be less motivated to submit proposals, as they do not see a lot of activity.
To the team’s credit, they have been promoting an open and democratic culture, and encouraging more participation from the community. The project has also gained good visibility in the blockchain space. We are seeing results in terms of partnerships, but not yet in attracting talent.
If DAOs are about the 3 Ps (Purpose, Principles and Process), I am hypothesizing that one thing that could help is further detailing the last part, of process.
I believe it would be helpful to build a basic framework for the different types of proposals + reference checklists. To an external audience, this will reiterate the project’s seriousness in promoting subDAOs. It can also help recognize some of the unique elements of different categories of proposals, and not take a cookie cutter approach to all. The benefit for potential contributors is that they do not need to reinvent the wheel each time, they have a starting point on top of which they can innovate / get creative. This also collectively saves time for the contributors and the community, by helping them focus on value addition.
How this can help
- Attract talent & promote innovation. Because,
- Even the smart talent may appreciate pointers in crafting a proposal
- Contributors need visible assurance that external proposals are given importance
- Provides some reference points for areas where contributions can be made, as not everyone will necessarily know API3 in depth
- Support the vision of fractal scaling
- It may help to showcase the variety of projects. Currently all projects are perhaps seen from the same lens and their uniqueness is not recognized
- Equitable value distribution between main DAO and the projects
- Provide an aid for the team & community to evaluate proposals and later review the progress
- Reinforce API3’s position as a leader in the DAO space
What it should not be
- Should not be a rigid set of rules
- Should not stifle creativity / innovation
- Should not set an expectation that once the items in checklist are addressed, the proposal will be automatically passed. It should be made clear that approval will depend on strength of the proposal and will be approved though voting
What I am proposing
I am sharing my thoughts for inputs from the community. If this is deemed a useful effort, it can be developed as a proposal. I envisage the work will be done in 2 phases
- Phase 1: Identifying potential categories
- Phase2: For each category, a customized reference list. This would include items such as –checklist, financial evaluation, quantifying other benefits to API3, approvals required, payments (e.g. upfront / stage gated / lock in / success fees), potential revenue sharing with main DAO, representing API3 interest on partner boards, timeline for discussion and approval, etc
This can be structured as a 2-3 month project and will be an iterative process with community feedback.
The guiding principles will be
- Maintain API3’s open and democratic nature
- Strengthen the DAO
- Not restrict creativity or innovation
- A framework that can evolve with the project
- Align with API3’s legal structure
Request everyone to share their views and feedback