Product musings

For the next couple of months I think our focus should be executing on the Polis MVP, publicizing our work on the polis MVP, recruitment, and building partnerships (in that order).

The Polis MVP will be some combination of written insights and a dataset available via a web app.

We do need to start thinking about the sort of tools we want to build to help members design, develop, and distribute data products.

I (personally) think that we should focus on distribution at the beginning so I will centralize my thoughts in this thread.

I’ll kick off with two concepts I’ve been thinking about: living lists and rumor markets.

Living Lists
Internships and entry-level jobs are essentially someone doing focused curation: creating lists of things that meet some set of (often esoteric) criteria established by the organization.

For instance:

  • Find developments in Industry X relevant to Company Initiative Y that occurred in Geography Z.
  • Find examples of companies that meet criteria X, Y, or Z.
  • Build a dataset of potential (customers, partners, investors) and associate tags with them
  • Landscape the information environment (sources and methods of access) related to topic X
  • Find me underground parties
  • Find examples of interesting DAO proposals that meet threshold for inclusion in the Polis newsletter

This work requires humans (or at least humans in the loop) because it requires the application of judgment and usually some level of subject matter expertise.

This work is necessary because people and companies operate in an environment of information chaos. Without curation to “prepare the information battlefield” it’s very difficult to keep up with the wide variety of complex topics that people are expected (and required) to understand to succeed.

Living lists would be a product (that we could build tooling to support) that would help people outsource the legwork for keeping up with complex/esoteric topics in challenging information environments.

A user would request a feed of insight on some topic, stake funds, and then set a unit price for unit of data (i.e. $100 per 1, $100 per 100, whatever). For each unit delivered, the staking contract would release funds.

There are complex incentives to figure out here (i.e. what if I don’t like the feed?) but I’m confident that something like this could have generic applicability and be a valuable method for DAO members to monetize their insights.

The platform could also be used to post advertisements targeted at our members (jobs, contracting opportunities, consulting opportunities, products & tools, etc).

Alpha Markets
Sometimes people have information that others would be willing to purchase. For instance, say I’m at the BTC conference and heard about a sick party. I could sell access to my knowledge about the party.

We could essentially have a feed (similar to Twitter) where members of Diamond DAO (which were subject matter experts on some topic or topics that we cover) would be able to post Alpha on that topic or topics.

So, for instance, since we will spend time collecting and analyzing DAO data (and have several members who are active in multiple DAOs) our members may have shareable Alpha on DAOs.

They could post it through some sort of app as either un-gated (free, open) or gated (paid) Alpha.

If it was gated, you would have different classes of (potential) access that people could purchase (or attempt to purchase).

  • Buyout price (secures exclusive access)
  • Early admission price (secures early admission)
  • General admission (get it for free, with everyone else if no one buys it out)

Folks could build reputations by releasing ungated Alpha (#alphaDrops) so that they were taken seriously when they released gated Alpha.

Other considerations

When we’re thinking about products, we should think about how the mechanics of the product can help the DAO capture and accrue value (i.e. through a utility token). Look forward to seeing people’s thoughts.

The misalignment between SMEs, value for brainpower, and organizational structure is very real and a problem I do think DAOs can help solve for. However, knowledge management is hard to industrialize, especially in the exploratory phase we’re in where scope and focus can change while we find fit.

The DAO/web3 data space is being built as we speak - protocols are new, data is yet to be standardized, tools and workflow are new to many interested developers. Experts across disciplines are excited to join the space because they see the huge potentials. Data access and tooling is an immediate hurdle to SMEs looking to apply knowledge in valuable ways.

To solve for this, I propose we focus first efforts on curating on-chain data and creating content on how to utilize that data for analysis. This will attract SMEs to our project, and then position us to grow data offerings from a variety of sources (structured and unstructured).

That’s thoughtful and makes a lot of sense. When you say curate on-chain data; can you provide some examples of what you mean by that?

One area of deep interest I’m observing in the DAO community is governance. Transactions which exists on-chain, and the details of those transactions are useful inputs for data analysis to understand an underlying community, or the ways in which governance framework guide how a community grows and evolves.

Proposal details, treasury transactions, voting history, membership growth, etc are some of the on-chain data I have in mind.

Starting with a foundational dataset including:

DAO name
Governance framework
Transaction history (transformed by us for easy analysis)

Lots of other sources are useful in provided context around the on-chain data -conversations that happened in Discord around a proposal, Discourse forums like this, Twitter, etc.

Related projects where I think we could conceptually learn from/utilize is Govbase and The Metagovernance Project. Imagine having a deep dataset available for each of the projects listed within Govbase - that’s what I think would be widely valuable.

Really thoughtful @lemp.eth

I support most of the metrics you suggested.

We do need to be careful to limit scope to a handful of meaningful & differentiated metrics. The issue with Deep DAO is they throw a bunch of metrics at you without providing any context. People will have a better user experience if we only provide the most significant metrics – especially if we can communicate those metrics visually (i.e. icons/charts not just numbers).

The on-chain metrics I think we should start with are…

  • Voting power concentration
  • Proposal issuance & voting concentration
  • Membership growth (nice one)
  • Total value locked (TVL) & composition of Treasury assets
  • Token velocity (i.e. how long people tend to hold their token, if applicable)

These would all be differentiated from what Deep DAO makes available.

From an off-chain perspective, I think we should start with Discord; how many users send a message a week after they join? Four weeks later?

From a qualitative perspective, I think we should go through and catalogue a few attributes for whatever the universe of DAOs we start with is.

  • Framework
  • Barriers to participating in governance (economic, technical)

This would be a strong foundation we could build off of, i.e. by adding more metrics & analysis of proposal content and forum posts.

It would enable users to…

  • Compare framework performance on specified metrics
  • Explore the relationships between policy choices (like the amount someone must hold/stake to issue a proposal) and other engagement metrics
  • Move beyond superficial metrics of engagement (how many proposals there are) to more meaningful ones (i.e. the minimum number of wallets necessary to affect a proposal).

I think a first pass at this data & a blog post describing how we accessed & analyzed the data would drive significant engagement and attention for us.