Longevity in the wild

If Yam is to persist, to be durable, it must be useful and provide value. Like any organism in the wild, it must intake more calories than it consumes or else it will perish. In the wild…those organisms that are efficient with their resources become strong and eventually flourish to spread their genes and create offspring. Those that don’t, succumb to become a carcass for scavengers to return its ineffective resources to the ecosystem. What will be the path for Yam? Are we a resilient project that can survive a cold winter to flourish in the spring and summer? Or will we become a carcass for the bugs and beetles first?

I think we all want the best for Yam but sometimes we get lost in the direction because we are too busy trying to suckle at the teet of the altruistic Yam. It’s almost as if a Tragedy of the Commons scenario is occurring whereby the few active contributors and community members race to the bottom, each trying to drink as much water from the well as possible before it runs dry, because if I don’t drink it first, the next person will. This behavior has to stop if we want the well to keep watering its community in a durable and persistent manner.

I will stop with the metaphors because I am certain you understand what I mean.

I don’t have patience for long winded intellectual discussions of smoke and mirrors about all the wonderful mechanisms of governance and development we can implement to make Yam some pristine figment of our imagination no one uses. You either propose a direct and efficient way to increase the value of the tokens or the treasury, or your proposal will be struck down before it can leach another ounce of life force from this project.

This is a simple call to arms. If you want to be here in the future, if you want Yam to continue to provide income for your contributions, you will grow this project by feeding it more calories than you take from it. There are no more contributors any longer in the tribe of Yam, ONLY HUNTERS and you will go hunt and kill so you can feed Yam so Yam may grow and feed you, or else you will not eat.

To be clear:

  • I will be voting down all contribution requests that do not further the value of the token or the treasury.

  • I don’t want to vote down contributor requests, so make them awesome, succinct, and adds direct value to either the treasury, token, or both.

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Agreed and endorsing what you listed, looking forward for your cooperation in moving yam forward together.

I support the focus of:

  • further the value of the token or the treasury.
  • contributor requests, so make them awesome, succinct, and adds direct value to either the treasury, token, or both.

Let me start off by saying that I agree that a “tightening of our belts” is probably a good thing. I’m equally frustrated by the continual failure of the DAO to deliver on its promises. All contributors bear responsibility for this, and if we want Yam to succeed we need to fix our problems.

I know this jab is directed at me, so as a retort, here is a long winded, rambling, intellectual response to this post. I make it not to be spiteful, but because I have spent the last year and half watching YAM fail and your post, while you may think is a change in direction, is at risk of maintaining the status quo.

This is a true statement, but incomplete if we cannot agree on to whom YAM must be useful and provide value, as well as how it is useful and what in form that value is delivered.

You answer this question further down in the post, stating :

Repeating Past Mistakes

I strongly believe that many of the issues that YAM has had are partially due to an over-emphasis on increasing the value of the token and the treasury and a lack of thought around how this is possible in a flat, leaderless organization. This sounds silly and counter-intuitive, but let me explain.

YAM launched with no real purpose or mandate other than: “An experiment in elastic token mechanisms and decentralized community building and treasury management”. This mandate was so vague as to mean nothing and accordingly no one could agree as to what Yam is or should do. Not to mention that suddenly a bunch of people either farmed or bought tokens and now want them to appreciate. Most token holders didn’t care how and were happy to let other people try to do it for them. So the broad message from the beginning was “grow the treasury, grow the token value”. This is what lead to the creation of a “core team” and has been the driving impetus behind almost all work done by them in the past.

The issue is not that contributors don’t want to provide value. It is that nothing that was attempted succeeded outside of some yield farming that earned enough to keep the treasury just above flat over the last year and a half. There are myriad reasons why they all failed: Bad initial ideas, bad execution, lack of planning, poor leadership, bad product market fit, bad luck, etc etc. All of the original ideas for the projects that were worked on aimed to increase the value of YAM and grow the treasury.

And if they had been successfully executed they may have done so. Or maybe one of them would have. But the reality is that they were not. That is our real problem. The best ideas in the world are useless if they cannot be executed upon. Right now we don’t seem to have the ideas, nor the execution.

I read your post as a call for ideas that will grow the treasury and token price. This is not enough and will not lead to success unless their are changes to the ability of the idea creators to execute.

What I am trying to do

The Re-Org is an attempt to fix the execution problem by outsourcing the work and project management and allowing teams to operate efficiently outside of the inefficient structures of the DAO. Gov-Ops is an attempt to limit the overhead of the DAO to the bare minimum, with a limited burn rate, especially if nothing is happening. I can imagine the DAO funding no work if there are no proposals deemed valuable to token holders and continuing in an almost dormant mode until we find something worthy.

Token holders (with you as a main driver) have the tools to require that the projects that get funded are valuable. But token holders need to be clear about what is valuable. What do they want to see? If the only answer that they can give is “make number go up” then they are continuing to put their fate in the hands of whoever comes along and wants to try.

Instead, we (Token holders) can spend the time to think about what it is that we want to see Yam build and at the same time think about how those things will make number go up (if that is most important). This requires a clear understanding of what we think is important. It requires that token holders actually do some work to direct the DAO. Once there is agreement on what will make this organization valuable, then we can go about specifying how to do it (or finding other people to do so) and using the systems that we are building to make it successful.

This is why I am so focused on “all the wonderful mechanisms of governance and development we can implement to make Yam some pristine figment of our imagination no one uses”. Because at some point I hope that token holders can figure out what they want and when that happens they will have a system to actually make it happen. It doesn’t need to be some magical system, but it does need to work. And it should be pretty clear that our current system doesn’t work.

Good and Bad Feedback

So by all means, you should be vocal about whether projects add value. And at the same time, this feedback needs to describe why you don’t think the project is valuable. This is another goal of the Re-Org. To create a template in which grant applicants can lobby for the value of their projects in clear ways. In ways that can be discussed and analyzed.

The posts you (@jpgs.eth) left under contributor compensation reports with almost no information are an example of a lack of clear feedback.

Thanks for all your contributions and support with projects Design Studio and Re Org. With Yam becoming hyper-focused on treasury and token value Design Studio services become a “Nice to have” expense and will not be required past August.

There is no feedback on how the work isn’t providing enough value. There is little information on what being “hyper focused on treasury and token value” means. Are you preemptively rejecting future proposals? I’m confused because maybe next month its me who gets this message and it isn’t clear what a contributor needs to do to meet your standards.

This is not the hallmark of a client that people will want to work for.

My Future and a better YAM

I want to make YAM better. I want to make YAM profitable. We all do. But @designer and I are working in a bubble. I can count the amount of constructive feedback I have received from other contributors on what I have been designing on one hand. Same with token holders. No one seems to care. The token holders are the client and give almost no feedback. Half the time I am guessing whether what I am proposing is considered valuable. In the end I have to go with my gut.

I’m not working on YAM just to get a paycheck. I left a successful career to work on it. I have recently considered leaving. I have no doubt that I could make more money doing something else. But I stay because see YAM as an opportunity to work on the cutting edge of DAOs. There are lots of things I would like to help YAM build. Some may not be seen as valuable. That’s OK. I can handle that.

But what I can’t handle is a culture that only values token and treasury appreciation and where token holders feel entitled to contribute nothing yet still make demands (this is not an attack on you btw). I can’t handle a culture that has no interest in exploring the nature of this new and innovative organizational structure.

I want to work on and with an organization that stands for more than just token holder returns (even though everyone agrees that they want them and contributors earn YAM). I want to attract a community of people who want to participate and are excited to work at the forefront of DAOs, and if that takes paying them, so-be-it. I want to work at an organization that insists on good work and is clear about what that means. A bear market is the time to do this. The moonbois are gone. We have time to sort shit out. I think you want the same thing as me. I at least hope you can see the value in an organization like that. That is a healthy YAM.

My own bad analogy

A healthy DAO is not simply an organism that takes in more nutrients than it uses. It is much more complex than that. It is an extension of the people that create and embody it. A person can eat and eat and be less healthy than before. We need food (and money) but also stimulation, exercise, purpose, and more. Likewise, a DAO cannot focus entirely on its bottom line and hope to remain healthy. YAM with a 10x bigger treasury would not be any healthier. DAOs need the same richness of input: a flow of members, vibrant culture, good ideas, and a shared set of goals and a purpose. We have a treasury that we should be stewarding and making sure it will last. But we need to make sure that we are using it to build a Healthy DAO, not just a wealthy, fat one.

What we need to do

To do that we need to determine and re-affirm what the DAO stands for, what we are building towards, and how we expect to get there. Only token holders can decide this. And we need to shout it from the rooftops and make a system that can accomplish these goals (I like the think that this is what I have already been building). We can do this on a minimal budget that will last multiple years and still have plenty left over for when we find that mythical project to fund. But we have to have a plan that we agree on beyond hyper-focusing on treasury and token value because that isn’t a plan. People either buy in on the plan or they leave.

If what you have proposed above is your plan, then I will most likely leave. But if you and others are willing to work with me to come up with a real plan then I think we can make this Yam experiment work.

One final thing: A fishier Metaphor

As I have thought more about your metaphor, I have started to understand it differently.

It is similar to: “give a man fish, he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime”

YAM is like a village that has been given a bunch of fish without having to do anything for them (other than bear the brunt of lots of insults from the community who lost money). We have been eating from this supply of fish, but we all know it can’t last forever (even with magical internet yield). Right now, you are here telling us to start eating less so that we don’t starve.

At the same time you are imploring that we go out and catch more fish. But we don’t know how to do that. In the past we have just run into the water and tried to grab some fish, or maybe we made a shitty fishing pole. Or tried to build a boat but have been unable to work together well enough to make it seaworthy.

We need to learn how to fish. We need to figure out how to collaborate and build a boat that works, and learn where to find the fish and how to catch them. Blind, half hearted attempts are a waste of energy and just deplete our existing supplies.

But we can connect with other people and villages to see how they do it. We have unique needs that others don’t, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from them. And the great thing is we have this existing store of fish that we can use while we learn, build ships, and fix our village. If we run out of fish before we can catch our own then the experiment has failed.

Real talk: I read every word, it was painful, and too long winded for me to pick out the gems of wisdom in there (there were a few). I think your last statement (fishier metaphor) is pretty close to the crux of things.

I think you can be way more effective and drum up more community response/interaction if you take time and breath to boil your thoughts down. Keep it bite sized for smooth brains like myself and the proletariat. These valiant efforts become too diluted and long winded to elicit meaningful response.

I think you have lots to offer and talent and commitment valuable to this DAO (as well as appreciated) and there is a fundamental problem as you stated of not knowing what to build or maybe how to build it. This is where I’m headed with going dormant and being poised for opportunity while stopping our burn. It’s a big ocean, the opportunities will come.

The valuable members and community will speak up and come out of the woodwork when we do something meaningful the silence and echo chamber we are in is the loudest signal we are on the wrong path and not doing much well, especially not inspiring community/outside involvement.

Your heart is in the right place, save your energy for the right fish catching tool. For now use all your wrinkle brain to think up some simple awesome fish catching tech. Not gov, not ops, just weapons of mass destruction that fill our freezers with fish for trade and sustenance so we can get more fish. The simple act of building a perpetual fish harvesting flywheel will in itself define the optimal system (efficient functional DAO) our tech to persist until it doesn’t…then we repeat. It’s not this simple obviously but let’s try to make that way as much as possible.

yeah sorry, I tend to write for myself. As my mother likes to say: “How do I know what I’m thinking until I say it?”

the TLDR is this:

  • Since YAM began, we have consistently based our decisions on a desire to increase value to the treasury and token. The issue is not that we aren’t trying to do it. It is that we don’t know how to do it, nor do we have systems in place to do it. Without those systems we will continue to fail at it.

  • The Re-Org is an attempt at building those systems. Without it, we are like an organization trying to work without having put together desks or set up it’s file systems and processes. Even the best ideas require structure to succeed. Unfortunately, if we are committed to decentralization, there are few off-the-shelf options and we have to build it ourselves.

  • To stick with the fishing analogy, we have an opportunity to build a really nice fishing town where people want to come live, work, and learn how to fish. We aren’t in an echo chamber, its just that no one else is here yet because we haven’t given them anywhere to live or reason to visit. We know there are a ton of fish in the sea, waiting for us. And we can sell them when we catch them. But we can also increase the value of our town property by developing it. But insisting everyone fish instead of helping build the town we are not optimizing for the long term success of the DAO.

Of course, we need to become sustainable and we can’t spend everything on making a perfect DAO with no regard for reality. And if someone doesn’t add to the underlying intrinsic health/value of the DAO or work on building things that generate extrinsic value, then we shouldn’t support them.

And the more intrinsic value we build within the DAO, the more likely it is that we will attract people who are capable of going out and generating extrinsic value and bring it back. We need to find a balance.

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Awesome. Agree. More of this.

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As a contributor since October 2020, we do not fail because we do not have “systems” we fail because of the lack of leadership and holding people accountable. Your systems will not change this, no matter how eloquently written they are.

You assume that Token Holders will keep contributors honest. When I did NOT vote to approve payment to contributors that submitted their transparency reports late (as was decided and agreed to by said contributors) you called me an “asshole” publicly for not voting to approve.

No, it isn’t a system issue. it’s a personnel issue. Until we have responsible and accountable contributors, nothing will happen here at Yam.

You are really hurting the vibe here. We clearly want the same thing (Accountability).

But you voted to stop payments for approved work that had a slightly late transparency report. That is what I objected to. Punitive measures for slight tardiness. Both contributors who were late had approval for the work, and had submitted their reports by the time that voting started. There was no objection to the content, only the delay.

This month, I have not objected at all to you and jpgs insisting E not add his stable pay to the on-chain transaction because he doesn’t have an approved grant. If he had tried to push it through then I would have been totally cool with enforcing accountability! I will accept the inconvenience of late payment to prevent that, but not to punish people for marginally breaking poorly defined rules.

:rotating_light: News Flash! :rotating_light:

The system that I have been working on is what you are using, right now, to enforce accountability! Accountability that was poorly enforced before this system and hopefully will be better enforced now. This is what “token holders keeping contributors honest” looks like. It looks like rules that are enforceable and people who are clear about what those rules are and how they work.

The system insists on accountability. Those who do not wish to be held accountable either leave or can be removed. And even when everyone who is working on YAM is accountable and productive, we can still make the rules and system better. Better by not having Jpgs being the only person capable of actually enforcing accountability. Better by having more people participate, even if that is only 2 or 3 more people.

So lets just drop this and get to the point where we can keep making it better.

Again, I did not vote to stop anyone’s payments. I was only asking for what was agreed to, late reporters would be included in the NEXT on-chain transaction, which is the CORRECT and ACCOUNTABLE thing to do. No where did I say / state / infer that people wouldn’t be paid at all.

I am done with this conversation. You’ve shown your true colors when you were given the opportunity to enforce the rules that you yourself agreed to.

Feddas