[Formal Review 🌿 ] - Radicle Grants Program [v1]

What is the proposed compensation ratio between the Grants Lead (whose work is being funded compensated via this proposal) and the other committee members?

The compensation is the same across the board. $6250 worth of RAD per month per member, including the Grants Lead.

The rationale for this was two-fold. The amount was determined by surveying what people wanted and picking the upper bound. The equality amongst members was done because we simply don’t know how much each person will work and who will be doing more work than any other member.

Part of the Grants Program is that the entire thing ends after 6 months. I imagine this is something that would be readjusted at each new grants proposal.

What is the plan in general for Radicle DAO related Compensation? In the traditional world Compensation Committees are an important part of best practice in corporate governance and might be useful here

I completely agree with this. And it was actually discussed early on.

Creating a Compensation Committee is itself an entirely separate proposal.

So the choices here seem to be:

  1. Wait until a proposal for a Compensation Committee passes. Then build out a Grants Program.
  2. Build out a Grants Program with a simple compensation model tied to its multi-sig. With the plan being to pass the compensation off to a Compensation Committee once it is made. This would hopefully be done by the time this first Grants Program wave is finished in 6 months.
  3. Shoehorn a Compensation Committee into the same proposal as this Grant Program proposal.

#3 seemed like the worst idea. And it was a toss-up between #1 / #2. Perhaps the best order of operations is to build out a Compensation Committee first, then start building out functions/teams (e.g. Grants Program) that would be paid by that Compensation Committee.

I’d be curious to hear what you and others think on this. I’m not opposed to doing it more methodically like #1.

In general many other DAOs incentivize work simply with the promise that that work would increase the value of the DAO, thereby incentivizing that work…Why isn’t prestige + token appreciation enough incentive?

This kind of sounds like you’re saying people should work for free? Is that right?

Or it sounds like we’re assuming all members of the Grant Committee have substantial amounts of RAD. I would argue that that should not be assumed and that each member should be paid out in RAD. Once they are paid out in RAD, then your point about token appreciation starts to come into play and make sense. I’m not sure I follow this one.

Thank you for the answer @bordumb.

By flat rate you mean: x $ per month? or x $ per hour of involvement?

If the former, the problem I see is that there is no way for token holders to review which committee member is actually putting the work, so I am wondering how we will be able to learn from this process and evolve it in the second iteration of the program.

To me the most transparent way would be to have committee members keep track of how many hours they put in the program, share it with the community and then get paid per hour of involvement (either in USDC or RAD).

Then if each committee member wants to get paid the same I don’t have a strong preference as long as the total cost for the DAO is reasonable. Are there any other rates for grants programs from similar DAOs (like Uniswap, Compound etc.) that we can learn from?

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@lftherios

By flat rate you mean: x $ per month? or x $ per hour of involvement?

Flat x $ per month

But see my response just below.

If the former, the problem I see is that there is no way for token holders to review which committee member is actually putting the work, so I am wondering how we will be able to learn from this process and evolve it in the second iteration of the program.

This is a very good point.
It is a trade-off between maintenance on the part of each committee member. I’m not opposed to shifting this to an hourly rate.

Do you think such a change would require scrapping the current proposal and rewriting that portion?

I am not opposed to this in any case. Risks here are rewriting some of the proposal and possibly losing committee members due to it. But the point on transparency and learning are definitely good things in the long-term.

…share it with the community and then get paid per hour of involvement (either in USDC or RAD)

I’m not sure how I feel the flexibility around USDC here for Committee members.

I think with the actual grant work, I’d be fine paying in USDC or RAD. Grant work may be very one-off and have a temporary nature. But something feels off with letting Committee members get paid in USDC. It sort of divorces them from incentives around getting RAD to appreciate. It doesn’t align the Committee members with the long-term.

Are there any other rates for grants programs from similar DAOs (like Uniswap, Compound etc.) that we can learn from?

I will ask around.

Thank you.

I agree with you about getting paid in RAD actually. It’s much better to align incentives through the token.

Concerning scrapping the current proposal: I am not sure what’s the right path forward. I am only representing myself here and basically that was the reason why I wasn’t voting in favor of the proposal, because I felt that this part was off. If you think that my concern is significant enough then it will likely require a new proposal, but it would be good to hear more thoughts from more community members.

I’m with @lftherios here. My thoughts:

  • The grant money should mostly go to the grantees
  • A by-the-hour compensation would be more transparent and would scale up and down with the amount of applicants
  • Employing 7 people over 6 months just to review grants seems excessive: the bulk of the work should be by the grantees, not the grant committee. If there is that much work for the committee, it either means we are getting hundreds of applications per month (unlikely), or we’ve created too much process for ourselves (unnecessary).

As for creating a new proposal, it might be necessary in so far as the snapshot seems almost tied already (partly due to this reason I’m guessing, though it’s hard to tell), and we would want a much clearer signal before doing an on-chain proposal.

Nb. I’m all for a large and diverse grant committee, I just don’t expect all members to be busy at all times.

Hi All

Given the initial snapshot is completed and we’ve had a lively discussion on this page, 3 things:

1. Proposal of a restart

The snapshot is closed, but due to the somewhat even result + the excellent feedback around compensation, I’m in favor of adjusting the compensation section to fit some of the concerns people have expressed. This is mostly to prevent wasting everyone’s time with the higher risk of not passing as is.

This means creating a new temperature check, with a rewritten compensation section addressing the concerns made in the comments here.

2. Compensation

(Below is what I’m thinking for the revised compensation)

The compensation should aim to cover any work by committee members, whether it’s assessments, meetings, recruiting, or anything else in the service of the Grants Program.

The grants lead will be given a fixed rate salary of $6,250 RAD per month.

Each additional committee member will be given an hourly rate of $150 worth of RAD per hour. Members will be expected to self-report their hours each month.

At the end of each month, the multi-sig will vote to approve remuneration for each member.

This compensation framework will only exist for the 6-month duration of the Grants Program. It is our intention to move all compensation decisions to a separate committee in the near future.

3. Committee Members

We will also revise the committee member list to the following:

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Thanks for the clarification here @bordumb !

I don’t think we have to make a new Temperature Check, as it seems everyone is behind the concept of the proposal and we are just trying to figure out the details before moving it through into the final stage. I think those who contributed to this thread (@lftherios, @cloudhead, @niloconthecob) should review the revised compensation breakdown and see if it addresses their concerns. If so, I propose we create a new Snapshot poll starting Monday, November 5th with this updated Compensation breakdown.

I believe having a separate compensation multi-sig governed by a *Compensation Committee (as @niloconthecob put it) should definitely be a next step for our governance system following this proposal (and was sort of the plan). The group should focus on transparently managing compensation & contributor relationships within the Radicle Governance network.

I believe this multi-sig should be run by the Radicle Governance Working Group (and one person to represent the Radicle Foundation perhaps?) as it’s made up of the community contributors who are coordinating and facilitating most governance activities at the moment.

I’ll prioritize putting together a Temperature Check outlining this structure and we can continue the discussion next week. I believe we can keep moving the Grants Program through as long as we’re pulling our concerns around managing compensation and driving them into the discussion of this upcoming Temperature Check.

Thanks all! :wave:

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Not representing any organization here but simply sharing some personal opinions + questions that came to mind as I was reading this thread.

Are all proposals public at every stage of the process, or is the Grant Lead’s pre-screen private? If the former, can proposals (no matter their status, i.e. including proposals under assessment in their initial form) be tracked only via Github, or is there another channel through which the broader community can have visibility to what’s being considered / worked on? If the latter, I personally think the pre-screen should be highly formalized and focus only on whether the proposal meets a predefined set of basic criteria, while leaving “content assessment” to the group as a whole. The main reason to have a committee in these situations is to diversify perspectives and reduce the effects of subjective bias. On the other hand, I also think it’s essential to make sure that every proposal that comes before the group has gone through an initial quality check, esp. in terms of format/clarity.

I tend to agree. But it’s also important to include other types of expertise, partly because the process of developing technology can benefit from a more holistic assessment, and partly because - at least as I understand it - the program is open for not just technical proposals/work.

I think there’s room for making a mistake in both directions. For example, I’ve been following the progress of the Zcash Open Major Grants (ZOMG) program and something that caused a lot of problems there was a mismatch between the time commitment required from individual committee members and the initial compensation which turned out to be way too low ($500/month per member). That said, right out of the gate, without knowing how many proposals (i.e. how much work) there will be and how the tasks will be divided among committee members (incl. the administrative/operational lead), both $250k/6/7 = ~$6k/month and $150/hour per member do seem high. I’m no expert in how similar work is compensated in different geographies, but at least in the countries that I have personal experience in, these numbers are comparable to (even higher than) what many mid-level (even senior) experts earn for full time employment. That’s not to say it’s therefore not justified, but I also didn’t see a clear breakdown / relevant reference point in this thread other than the shared agreement among proposed committee members. I would caution the DAO against underpaying, but I also think it’s easier/better to start conservatively and increase compensation based on proven need (incl. during the first 6-month period, if necessary) than it is to try and figure out ex post whether people are being overpaid.

Excited to see the grants program launched!

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It’s difficult to draw direct comparisons with other grants programs because each project/context is unique but, for what it’s worth, here are three examples:

Aragon (ended up dissolving the grants program altogether)

Zcash/ZOMG (in process of addressing various issues with the initial structure)

Balancer (learnings from the first wave of grants, incl. a short section on compensation)

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Thank you @bordumb. Two more questions from my side:

  1. What’s the rationale for a fixed rate salary for the grants lead? vs applying the same rationale that is applied to committee members with a potentially higher rate?

  2. Concerning payment in RAD, what will be the exchange rate between RAD and USD? the exchange rate at the time of approval? the exchange rate at the end of every month? or something else.

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Are all proposals public at every stage of the process, or is the Grant Lead’s pre-screen private?

Short answer: Yes, they will be public at every stage.

Please reference the section called “Application Process”

Specifically this note:

Note
In the short-term (this grant wave), Applicants may substitute this workflow with GitHub using PRs. We will mirror RFPs there. But canonical RFPs will be on Radicle.

All of these repositories (whether on GitHub or Radicle) are public. So if an application appears there, it is inherently a public process.

I’ll make this more explicit when rewriting.

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Thanks all for the great discussion here. I am in favor of proceeding with a revised compensation structure and with putting into place a compensation committee

@bordumb and @lftherios i would actually suggest to resolve the discrepancy between a monthly rate for the grant lead and an hourly rate for the committee members by moving everyone to a monthly rate.

Serving on a grants committee doesn’t strike me as the type of work that should be measured by hourly productivity. They are not manufacturing widgets. As someone who manages capital full time it becomes a sort of “always on” part time job where strides are made by learning, connecting the dots, meeting new people, late night research, etc. I think if I were having to propose how many hours I “worked” I would really struggle. It’s an old fashioned paradigm. Self reporting also invites error and strange incentives.

So my proposal would be for this group to decide a fair, well-benchmarked monthly salary for the committee members and a likely higher monthly salary for the Grants Lead given the increased commitment as defined by the procedures and enhanced level of responsibility. This person probably takes the blame of the Grants money is mismanaged or falls flat and therefore that level of enhanced responsibility should be reflected.

All the salaries should reflect the fact that A. this is skilled work but B. this is also part time work.

In future I would suggest compensation levels for committees or roles should be decided before members are chosen. That way we can select for the appropriate level of talent given what we are willing to pay and this avoids the obvious conflicts of the earners themselves deciding compensation amounts. They are likely the only ones who due to inherent conflict should not be deciding the comp levels

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@lftherios

  1. Concerning payment in RAD, what will be the exchange rate between RAD and USD? the exchange rate at the time of approval? the exchange rate at the end of every month? or something else.

End of every month.

  1. What’s the rationale for a fixed rate salary for the grants lead? vs applying the same rationale that is applied to committee members with a potentially higher rate?

Fixed rate salary for myself is out of personal preference. I would rather be paid what amounts to a retainer fee to be “always on” and not worry about hours worked. This is not something I felt like budging on.

I am not so concerned about whether a committee members end up getting paid more than me due to an hourly rate. Some of the people we have on the committee very well may bring more value than I do (I looked for people who know things I don’t know!)

I think @niloconthecob comment below on a Compensation Committee is super important. My rationale is simply my personal preference. And if that doesn’t sit well, then there is misalignment that can be solved by a Compensation Committee that makes clear guidelines for myself and others to adhere to.

@niloconthecob

As someone who manages capital full time it becomes a sort of “always on” part time job where strides are made by learning, connecting the dots, meeting new people, late night research, etc.

This is exactly what my thinking was originally. A salary is essentially a retainer fee to keep that person “always on” mentality.

If we go with hourly, I would not be surprised is many committee members (myself included) do the bare minimum of reviewing applications and showing up for votes.

In future I would suggest compensation levels for committees or roles should be decided before members are chosen.

I 100% agree with this. I don’t actually like handling finance issues. I prefer being in a position to think objectively about product building, somewhat divorced/not influenced by finances. This is why companies have finance departments.

So my proposal would be for this group to decide a fair, well-benchmarked monthly salary

How would you propose we do this?

My approach was this:

  • Think about what my time is worth (I have another job where I make about $150/hour)
  • Ask committee members what their range is ($4,000 - $6,250 per month), assuming 10 hours of work per week
  • Found that my own compensation of $150/hour more or less matches the upper end of the range from other committee members. I went with this as I like the idea of committee members being equally paid.

As I write this out, it is more and more apparent how important a Compensation Committee is.

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Probably through: 1. Realistic calculation of time spent and 2. Cross project comparisons, incl taking inspiration from committees in traditional industries.

WRT calcs I think @cloudhead comments are relevant: a. That most of the work should be done by grantees and b. Seven people are likely too many.

10 hours per week by seven people is 303 total hours per month. That seems crazy high for the amount of capital allocated and likely application flow. It should probably involve 3 hours per week tops - max 2 hours each person reviewing the applications and 1 hour discussion, no?

Just shot in the dark but those assumptions feel more realistic. I also don’t think it’s good value for the DAO or the committee to be allocating more time to the effort. This is a test and if f the team is underwater they can bring on more resource or increase comp after tracking time spent for the next iteration.

So for 13 hours of work per month what’s the appropriate compensation? Let’s round up to 15 to account for spontaneous brain space awarded to the effort. At $150 per hour that’s $2,250 per month or $13,500 over 6 months and ~$94,500 in total. Maybe Grant Lead gets 50% higher given the increased responsibility so in total that’s $20,000 and brings total comp to $100,000 which appears to be more reasonable in terms of the DAO paying 10% to allocate its own capital.

I do not believe the above is necessarily right, but that’s probably somewhere around how I would break it down. As mentioned above crowdsourcing alternate grant committees would be great for those who have access?

A question, from a newcomer (so please excuse if this is entirely off):

A lot of the discussion above on salaries / compensation seems to be focused on how much the committee members’ (hourly/monthly) time costs.

Rather than focusing on costs, is there a way to focus that discussion around how much value their commitment to this program would be generating for Radicle (in which case, it would become much more straightforward for both sides to agree on what is “fair” compensation) ?

… just a thought …

I don’t think this is tenable.

A few high-level questions that make this approach very hard:

  • How do you define value? How do others define value? (read: it’s subjective)
  • How do you reconcile projects that finish that end up being useless versus projects that flop but would have been useful? The point here is: investing capital in experiments with a chance of failure (i.e. not providing value) is all part of the task

These 2 questions alone are why I would not advise using this approach.

The question of value is a lot easier if you’re talking about a Sales program (i.e. selling $X worth of software). But in this case, I don’t think that’s an easy thing to gauge.

Thank you for the answers @bordumb. From my side, I feel that my points have been addressed and the current proposal works for me.

To @niloconthecob’s @abbey’s and your point about a Compensation Committee: I think it’s a great idea. I don’t particularly think that Foundation members should be involved, but we should debate that when that proposal moves forward.

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Thanks for engaging!

To be clear, I was talking about the expected value that Radicle Grants would bring to Radicle, as a whole. Not about the individual projects which the committee team members would be evaluating.

My train of thought was:

  • Presumably, some team, somewhere made a decision that Radicle Grants is “a good idea” ™. :slightly_smiling_face:
  • That decision was made because it was agreed upon that some value would be generated from this program for Radicle. (it sounds to me that this is - after all - a kind of an investment)
  • If there was some expected return on that investment, that could be the expected value.
  • Once we knew that value, we could then decide - for example - a % of that value that would be the amount that could be used to compensate the committee.

I guess you get the point by now… I don’t mean to be putting any obstacles here or anything, I just wanted to offer an alternative and better explain this idea, that’s all. :wink:

Thanks again!

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That makes sense.

I can see a useful framework for categorizing and prioritizing grants work.

For example, if we say that the value proposition of the grants program is to grow the Radicle user base, we might categorize projects as follows:

  • Acquisition: anything that brings in new users (e.g. new features, enterprise features, lowering friction on any features, etc.)
  • Retention: anything that keeps users engaged with the platform (i.e. network effects type stuff that makes it sticky)

But I’d still say putting a value - as in a monetary value - to each of these tasks is a bit tricky. Radicle itself is not a subscription service with a fixed cost (i.e. users aren’t paying say $10/month for usage). It’s very easy for web2 platforms like Netflix to do this sort of valuation of tasks because they can say things like: “Our new XYZ product feature will bring in 100,000 new users, which will convert to $10 subscriptions. So the estimated value is $1,000,000 incremental growth per month.”

I like the idea of applying some framework as noted above.

But how might you actually put a number to each of those tasks, without any fixed income coming from the user base?

hmmm, I have lots more thoughts on the topic, but perhaps it’s time to take a step back and consider whether this discussion should spin off into its own thread or something?

It doesn’t sound like this discussion is directly related to the Radicle Grants program, and - considering that such a framework does not appear to have been used so far (as far as I understand, being still new to all this) - it should probably not be blocking the program from moving forward with the current approach.

I am more than happy to contribute further if you feel such a framework would be helping Radicle however - please just let me know what is the best place to do that in. :wink: