Evolution of the core contributor role as Status moves towards a DAO

Evolution of the core contributor role as Status moves towards a DAO

Ceri Power
on Aug 03, 2018

This Ideajam turned into more of a Q&A about how DAOs work and what that might look like for Status (thanks Oskar for all your patience in answering my many questions!) Some rough notes of our chat:

  • Being a DAO feels like a massive unknown, there is very little precedent for what we're trying to do, so it's sometimes challenging to imagine ourselves in a DAO.
  • You can look at a DAO more like a graph: people are nodes, and can influence each other in any way, a DAO makes no differentiation in capabilities. Having a DAO structure removes artificial roles.
  • What would being a DAO do to the number of Status core contributors? - it's hard to say. If you look at open source, there’s no salary model, and an open source project may have thousands of people working on it. The downside - people aren’t getting compensated for those efforts. With a DAO you have the best of both worlds - you can benefit from the contribution of lots of people, and there is no single entity. The network operates somewhat like BitTorrent, where everyone can contribute.
  • How long does it take to get to a DAO? Status already have parts of it, but at this point in time many of our contributors are 'employee-style' workers.
  • Status as a DAO can feel like a nebulous concept; how do we help make this real for people? There is a gap between the things discussed about a DAO by a small group who are super invested in it, and what others know/understand about it. Bridging that gap will be valuable!
  • Status as a DAO feels like something that’s coming later, but we’re busy with operational things right now.
  • When we bring people on, how obvious are we making our DAO aspirations? We need to do more to get people thinking in that way, e.g. more blog posts and communication.
  • Progress happens in baby steps, e.g. Q3 OKR voting. Once liquid pledging is in place, that will be a huge step forward. Also, core contributors being paid in crypto is a good development.
  • Liquid pledging will help make Status more permissionless - anyone can propose and fund work. Currently Status acts like a gatekeeper for work by allowing only certain individuals (core contributors) to contribute.
  • Why aren’t more people setting up DAOs, it seems like a noble aim? It's hard to get right. Complications like KYC, allocating funds, etc. - people are still working on the mechanics.
  • There is a question about to what extent you want the governance mechanism to work on the chain, it becomes more of a social/cultural issue, e.g. - is it about who has the most money, or who uses the product the most?
  • Is our compensation model at Status right now holding us back to moving to a DAO? It reflects where we’re at right now, i.e. relying on traditional recruiting. Ideally we’d use token bounty or DAO. Putting more effort into being open source should help us find more contributors.
  • We want people to be free to work on whatever they want, but the salary model can be a limitation, fixing activity to roles.
  • How do you see the role of core contributors evolving as we move towards a DAO? - Oskar shared these notes from a talk he gave at the Status meetup in Bangkok:

Great nodes
What is the role of core contributors in this world of open, decentralized, and incentivized development, taken to its natural conclusion? We certainly have more power and influence over the direction of things as it stands, and with this comes responsibility.

With Bittorrent, you also have peer-to-peer network of contributing nodes. Some nodes just leech, others seed torrent files until they get a positive ratio. Others contribute new content and seed it, contributing net positive to the ecosystem and introducing something new to it. One can imagine the people who seed net positive to be good nodes, and the people who contribute new torrents and seed them to other nodes to be great nodes.

I like to think of a future where all core contributors are great nodes. Coming up with ideas, the equivalent of new torrents, leading swarms and coordinating with individual contributors all around the world. The equivalent concept in the Linux world would be its Lieutenants who are essentially maintainers and responsible for a given subsystem.

This ties into what it means to be effective as a contributor, being a multiplier and enabler for other nodes. But the specifics might look different for different people.

If we work together and encourage each other to be great nodes, we can make Status the best and biggest OSS project in the world. We are off to a pretty solid start.

Ceri Power
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