Cuts, Cuts, Cuts & The ShapeShift DAO

As we move towards cutting out essential workstreams, and furthermore leaders - I am starting to question exactly where these ideas/recommendations are coming from.

Could the community that is recommending that we make cuts please explain/speak up not only on the cuts, but the sustainability solutions that are being recommended be run in parallel outside of cutting/firing people?

Further, I’ve been told to fire contributors within Marketing, Growth & Globalization by people that are not elected leaders (to be frank some of them are ex-centralized ShapeShift executives). Does the community actually find that acceptable?

I have struggled with this situation for almost two months now as I’ve been asked to fire half of my team - Now, with myself suggesting to the community that I step down as a leader (under completely unbearable pressure by a number of FOX whales) - I find myself questioning the future of this DAO in its entirety.

If anyone has input on this topic, please feel free to chime in. I am starting this thread as a general discussion thread, and I do not mind what anyone has to say about the topic - this is a free and open discussion where anyone and everyone’s opinions/input are welcome.

Do you believe leadership is acting effectively?
  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

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I think it’s time for ShapeShift to conduct an internal survey, such as one developed by talentDAO for its DAO Health Initiative. There may be other models that I’m unaware of, but talentDAO seems to have put a lot of research and work into theirs.

It should provide some insights – without the noise or bias of any personal drama that went on behind the scenes. Then once the key areas of obvious problems are identified, some changes would be warranted, if leadership is truly committed to the long-term health of the DAO.

Just as in the real world, psychological and emotional health should in theory be just as important as financial health. No idea whats been going on behind closed doors, but maybe this is the way to really take a step back and self-evaluate the DAO’s health in a more ‘scientific’ method, instead of everyone bickering back and forth in forum threads, or (cough) misjudging the intent of a post so badly that he/she posts the most over the top satirical response (cough).

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Thank you for being this issue to light. I agree 100% you are not an effective leader, @hunt — stirring drama like this is just the type of thing I find objectionable. Please resign as a forum moderator, as well.

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Thanks @Joshua I appreciate the feedback

They are coming from people with experience running organizations and being accountable for multimillion dollar budgets over long periods of time. This includes but is not limited to me. However, all decisions in the DAO ultimately come down to the voting process and thus pro rata to those holding FOX tokens. Each day, those who hold FOX tokens are bearing all financial risk with their own capital on this enterprise. Anyone who doesn’t approve of where the DAO is going can sell and depart freely. Anyone who wishes to risk their capital may enter and influence our direction.

The first rule of any lifeform, or any business, is to survive. ShapeShift has survived through 2-3 brutal bear markets over 8+ years. It did this by making excruciatingly difficult decisions to cut staff and other costs as a bear market arrived. Significant scrutiny is being applied to the efficacy of workstreams and their output relative to costs right now, because the DAO should be spending less than it is. Nobody likes this process. It is the opposite of warm and comfortable. People’s feelings get hurt. People’s lives get affected and their relationships soured. It is pain and it is struggle, and yet it is the way through so we take it.

When you say, “I’ve been told to fire…” you are not acting like a leader, but like a victim without agency. You are currently a leader of Marketing and Growth. People can suggest things to you, and you can make decisions. You are accountable for those decisions, and ultimately the community will decide “what is acceptable” by voting to retain or remove you based on your decisions.

There are also a fair amount of people who are unwilling to publicly speak out against you @hunt because of the way you treat criticism and dissension (you attack people personally and revert to unprofessional, adolescent antics). When the dust settles from this difficult time, I hope you reflect on this feedback.

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Interesting perspective and feedback, thanks @Beorn

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Putting any objections to the delivery of the content in this post aside, I think the poll above reveals that there might be something important to be discussed here. At the time of this writing, there are 19 total votes with 68% voting ‘NO’ and 31% voting ‘YES’. That alone is a reasonably high turnout for any post on this forum, and with this being a touchy subject, I do suspect that there are a significant number of opinionated DAO members who have decided not to get involved. If 68% of those who were sufficiently compelled to participate here do not feel that leadership is acting effectively, then something is wrong. With surveyed DAO members expressing discontent with leadership at a ratio greater than 2:1, I think it is very unlikely that we are operating optimally, and with external factors posing a direct existential threat to the DAO, it is imperative that we do so. I think that if we steer this thread in a more positive direction, there might be a very worthwhile conversation to be had.

I have previously expressed significant unease with the leadership structure that has emerged within the DAO, and as a FOX holder, have expressed strong discontent with the DAO-wide austerity strategy ostensibly having been formed and put into action by a small number of individuals from the DAO outside the governance process. I do not think this is fair to the community of FOX holders. There are other strategies on the table, and whether or not any of them are viable or realistic, I think that the entire community should have been given the opportunity to make the decision on which of those the DAO would take. It is very likely that we would have arrived at the same outcome by governance vote, but the community would have been able to rest assured that it had made the best decision for itself with all factors considered.

@Beorn, to some degree this is unavoidable, but I think the negative effects could have been minimized should we have taken a direct community approach to organizational problem-solving. It is incumbent on every FOX-holding DAO participant to adopt an ownership mindset and keep the success of the DAO as the top priority. With ownership comes the responsibility to endure discomfort in support of a higher objective, and sometimes this even means taking one for the team. I think this comes in contrast to the role of a hired participant in a traditional corporate structure, where the understanding is that decisions will be made from above and imposed on those below, regardless of whether there is group consensus or even majority support for those decisions.

We are a new instance of a new type of organization in a new industry. Significant growing pains are to be expected, and this is okay. I can’t be sure why those who voted ‘NO’ above did so - these could be objections to the existence of the leadership group, the actions that group has taken, or absolutely anything else, but given that we are sailing in shallow waters with low winds and it is crucial for us to chart an optimal course, I think we would be remiss not to listen to these concerns and to quickly course correct where it is appropriate to do so. Absent any fortuitous external factors, rocking the boat is sometimes the only way to get it unstuck.

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I agree that @hunt is not an effective leader. I say this as a friend, and after watching the stress levels and double-binds compound upon him over recent months. Somehow, we’ve taken a promising and dedicated individual, someone brave enough to take on a job which needed doing and take on a significant amount of personal and career risk to do so, and chewed him up and spit him out. His failure is the DAO’s failure, and placing the blame on him for not being emotionally resilient enough or buckling too easily is thoughtless and counterproductive.

What sticks out the most to me about this post is how non-dramatic it is compared to the usual stressed-out-hunt! Everything he’s brought up is reasonable, the wording is professional, no-one’s called out by name — the degree to which this represents a positive response to previous feedback is amazing, and speaks of the depth the concerns he’s expressing.

Frankly, anything that’s a big enough problem to make stressed-out-hunt stop cussing about it scares the shit out of me, and should probably freak everyone else out too.

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This is kind of the problem. Recommendations to cut — and how deeply — have not come from a place of community consensus. Certainly runway forecasts and advice have been delivered by Tokenomics, but at least as far as I’m aware people matching this description have not been the public drivers of in the process. More to the point, anyone like this who is driving the process has therefore been perceived by hunt and others to be doing so in an less-than-public and potentially inappropriate manner. (This includes myself, though in my case it’s probably fairer to say that I perceiving the possibility that things could be perceived that way. Besides, I only had one possible cut to make and an unexpected family situation come up which made doing do the obvious choice!)

Personally, I don’t feel that whatever “emergent governance phenomenon” is occurring here can be fairly described in terms of a sinister shadow government of ex-ShapeShift officers. Still, I can definitely appreciate how it could be perceived that way, especially by people under significant stress.

One of the things I’m very aware of as a security professional is how essential it is not just to act in a trustworthy manner, but to be perceived as acting in a trustworthy manner. It is by no means your duty — or that of any other former ShapeShift-the-company executive — to confine yourself to providing input through the public governance process. Freedom of speech is a thing, and people have the right to express their thoughts to certain people and not others. However, I believe that former ShapeShift executives who involve themselves in governance in any manner that is not very obviously public, consensus-based, and above-board is extremely risky to the DAO, especially in light of recent events — or more precisely, perceptions of them.

(I don’t see the DAO as being able to successfully function if any significant portion of its membership feels that they don’t have a real voice and distrusts the portion which they perceive does.)

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Thank you brother. I appreciate the feedback.

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With respect, it may bear repeating that this DAO (as with all DAO’s) are not a democracy. While polls are useful tools to gauge sentiment, we do not govern by poll of forum users. We govern by on-chain vote of FOX holders.

Regarding this 2:1 ratio in vague disapproval, let’s ask ourselves, “if we polled ShapeShift ( the company) ahead of layoffs, what would the vote look like?” I bet most would vote disapproval of the layoffs. Shrinking an organization is, by definition, unpopular. If the majority of people were actively engaged and in favor of reductions, they would’ve happened. They aren’t. So, other cohorts of FOX holders are taking the initiative to propose specific plans to the community.

As always, any one of you are free and welcome to propose alternatives! What isn’t helpful, though, is vague references to alternative plans that are always on the horizon. We need to see things in writing, in this forum, and then formally moving ahead via the governance process.

This is quite a removal of responsibility from Hunt. Hunt is responsible for his actions and behavior as an individual and as a paid leader.

I’m not sure what you mean by this. Anyone in the community is welcome to propose plans here, and move them through governance. “Community consensus” comes from the on-chain vote. If a plan moves forward without a vote approving it, then we have a problem. I’m not aware of any such thing happening, are you?

Are you suggesting that individual members of the DAO should be forbidden from private conversations among each other? Are you suggesting that all conversations about the DAO need to occur in public?

My assumption is that quite a few conversations happen in private, continually, in parallel to public discourse, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’d be shocked if anyone in the DAO hasn’t had private conversations with others?

What must be public is declared via our governance process: Specifically, the forum post which initiates a proposal and the formal comments, the resulting proposal itself, and the on-chain vote. All of this is public, always.

To everyone: If you don’t like something the DAO or people within the DAO are doing, please propose alternatives, rather than complaining or insinuating sinister conspiracies. Move your ideas through governance. We are all free to do so, and to vote on ultimate outcomes.

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I don’t believe any of the recently-implemented cuts have come at the direction of an actual vote. As I understand it, that’s the core of the question this topic was raised to ask. I know I’ve heard others, like @pastaghost, echo the same sentiment; if I’m missing something here, please enlighten me.

I can say with confidence that my job as a workstream leader would have been significantly easier with clear guidance based on community sentiments expressed in the form of actual votes. For example, in the face of bear-market pressures, I chose not to spend the budget the security workstream was allocated to create an NFT Hall of Fame, and not to pursue hiring any additional contributors. On reflection, however, I realize that while I had discretion over how to spend my discretionary budget (and thus, given how the security budget was structured, whether or not to make any hires) I did not have the discretion to choose to abandon the NFT Hall of Fame. I made that budget-saving plan and executed it on my own, and gave the community no chance to give any input, and that was wrong.

Not at all; I attempted to address this specifically, and I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear. You and other former ShapeShift executives should exercise great prudence when involving yourselves in DAO governance in any fashion that is not done publicly, since the risk of your actions being misconstrued and the potential downsides if they are are both disproportionately large. No one can (or should, or should be able to) make you do so, but my recommendation is that you should do so voluntarily, which I believe makes sense purely from the perspective of rational self-interest.

I also want to make absolutely sure that I’m clear on another point: I am not insinuating that there’s a governance conspiracy. I don’t think there is. On the contrary, I think that everyone involved is trying to do what they think is best for the DAO in ways they genuinely feel are legitimate. (N.B.: they probably are legitimate, but that’s not nearly as important.) What we’re observing is the outcome of a squishy, still-evolving, still-painful pile of raw human relationships and interactions being forced to speedrun the learning curve of organizational governance. There’s nothing going on so conveniently amenable to a narrative structure or the assignment of blame as a shadow government.

But I do I believe that some people think there is one, and that many others might reasonably be afraid of it, and that’s not something we can afford to ignore.

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Not sure why someone flagged my post “Inappropriate” as it offered potential insights and solutions to recent tensions via what I believed to be a neutral methodology. Instead of flagging it behind the wall of anonymity, I would’ve rather had a meaningful discussions on what could be done to salvage the community and allow the community to begin healing.

I have no financial or political motives to gain, I just hate seeing the once united and friendly community obviously going through some very ugly moments.

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GM thank you for sharing your input and voicing your thoughts, I believe having this and your perspective in a public forum and brought to any discussion is important. I do have some of my own thoughts I would share if the community would entertain.

Given Boss move, but being the case, providing options and multiple pathways would speak volumes to having done this for long periods of time. I haven’t followed your companies or the companies others may have participated at length so forgive me if I misrepresent the information at hand. But If the goto over and over is downsizing or removing capacity or roles I think the experiences could be limited. This may have worked in one or more cases and granted is a goto for TOP down organizations with the primary goal to safe guard stock, and safeguard funds, but who does this directly work for?

I feel experience should also provide for options and a broader perspective to achieve. So yes removing roles is a limited short term solution, and yes the financial risk is higher for those who hold large sums of FOX. I can imagine this includes those who have purely financial motivations for the large vested FOX Treasury (VC investors and the like) and those who could be motivated to the success of the organization.

How you do this matters, and this holds relevance in a public global organizations or as an individual. What you did then for the organization it was and the accompanying structure it was is not the same as now. Markets are called the same thing “Bear” but it also is not the same, it could be worse or it could be shorter or longer, this is why having options is important verse it worked before so let’s run it again.

I believe that @mcchadwick had a good reply and I get the feeling of some disconnect for what this DAO is working to achieve. That said I very much agree with your later posts asking for options.

While it can seem to counter intuitive to voice concern and offer ideas, without getting hit like a whack a mole. I don’t have a problem doing so, I will present the DAO with some options and hope that in doing so, people can see it for the benefit of the DAO. And for the record this medium of talking “at” one and another verse with each other can be odd.

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@beorn,

Every awful authoritarian regime in history has come to power under some version of the same request made of its citizenry: “to ensure the well-being of all, it is necessary to relinquish authority and autonomy to a small group of individuals who endeavor to look out for the best interest of the community.” These requests have only ever proven to be inauthentic acquisitions of individual authority couched in altruism. It is all too easy to make the argument that the well-being of the community as a whole is to be considered before the well-being of any individual, so the attempts at acquisition of power by those arrogant, ignorant, or depraved enough to believe themselves to be capable of wielding it responsibly are self-justified to come by any means necessary. Two fundamental, perhaps defining characteristics of fascist enterprises are collusion amongst a small group of “elites”, and acquisition of unchecked authority by the same small group. It is no coincidence that the structure of this organization is rapidly toward that of failed states and organizations of history, every one of which failed spectacularly.

I know that you of all know this. I do not believe it to be the case that many involved in the current conflict at the DAO are sufficiently arrogant to believe themselves to be uniquely unsusceptible to some of the more undesirable facets of ordinary human behavior, nor do I believe that most are too ignorant of history to heed clear warnings from the recent past. Instead, I think that the tremendous potential of this organization to dramatically improve the lives of all with sufficient financial stake in the organization has allowed most who seem blind to the salient concerns about the current direction of the DAO to engage in a heavy round of motivated reasoning about traveling the same paths that lead so many in similar situations before directly to ruin.

Why is it reasonable to assume that we should fare differently?

Several have made arguments for the appropriateness of top-down hierarchical direction at the DAO by comparison to the effectiveness of traditional corporate structure. Traditional corporations are, by definition, authoritarian and fascist in form and operation. I mean that with no negative connotation implied – in that context, the structure is entirely appropriate specifically for the reason that corporations have no basis in community ownership. In those organizations, every employee engages voluntarily in an exchange of services for monetary compensation with value of those services set dynamically by the free market. It is of no surprise that the motivation to adopt a top-directed hierarchical structure exists within the DAO; it is the same motivation that lead every authoritarian state to adopt the same structure. Societies organized in this way are substantially easier to govern, but it is not directly implied that those societies should be more effective as a result, and history has shown that in general, they are not.

The analogies to traditional corporate structure cannot apply here, because the essential preconditions for successful operation of an organization of that form do not exist here. Fundamentally, the DAO is a community-owned, self-directed endeavor in which individual ability to control the strategic direction of its operations is distributed in direct proportion to the financial stake each individual has taken in the organization. This is directly analogous to the citizens of a society sharing unequal ownership of land and the economy, and having unequal, but proportional, political influence as a result. One could certainly make a legitimate argument that if the individuals with the greatest financial stake in the organization collectively decide to delegate practically unchecked authority and autonomy to a small group of appointed individuals from the community, then that is how things should be. That is a fair line of reasoning, but one could just as easily make the counterargument that, given even a cursory glance at the annals of history in the context of government, to do so would be exceedingly foolish. Just because one can does not mean that one should.

“Point Eight. All cases arising from and rules not specifically provided for in this directive, shall be settled and determined by the Unification Board, whose decisions will be final.”



I’d really hate to see us make such an obvious mistake.

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Of course not. I think the objection here has become mischaracterized. Every individual significantly involved in the DAO has private conversations with other DAO members on a daily basis, myself included. As a workstream leader, I see nothing wrong with the act of communicating privately with any other DAO member, leadership-designated or not. Now that I’m thinking about it, I should correct some of my previous statements about this - with each workstream leader bringing expertise on the internal activities of the workstreams to which they belong, it’s likely to be advantageous for workstream leaders to communicate with one another and collaborate on solutions to challenges faced by the DAO. However, there is a categorical difference between collaborating to generate solutions to a problem and making a decision to put those specific solutions to action.

Should the workstream leaders have generated one or more solutions to the current budget crisis and put together a proposal asking for community input on a specific plan, I would have no objection whatsoever. This would have likely fostered a collaborative forum discussion where alternate solutions could have been discussed as a community, and the best of the ideas coming out of that discussion could have been put to action with community support. The DAO-wide austerity measures that were decided on in private leadership channels drastically affect the strategic direction of the DAO, and these were in no way put to the community for input or explicit approval prior to action being taken. This occurred due to some of the workstream leaders believing themselves to have unilateral authority over budgeting and resourcing decisions for their workstreams, and the resulting situation is precisely an example of why that authority and autonomy needs limitations.

The vehement objections coming from the engineering workstream are not, in fact, exclusively a result of the proposed layoffs. Each of us has quite a bit of industry experience. Layoffs suck, but they happen, and usually only when obviously necessary. The majority of the strong disapproval on the engineering team stems from a much larger issue, of which the proposed layoffs are only the most recent symptom.

It is absolutely correct that we do not govern by polling, nor should we, and I am under no misapprehensions about that. Polls are indeed a useful way to gauge sentiment, and an understanding of community sentiment is useful to inform both the policies that are drafted and the opinions that community members hold on those policies at voting time. Currently, there is a big problem on the engineering team, and this is likely set into a concern that is shared DAO-wide. Anyone who casually dismisses voicings of this concern as, “Oh, they’re just upset about the layoffs. What would you expect?” runs a substantial risk of missing first insights into and the opportunity to correct an issue that, if left to fester, has a significant likelihood of destroying the DAO from within.

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I said this before. Noone told me i had to make any cuts. was totally my own thinking/planning. I thought i was at every leadership call, but i must have missed the one where we were told we must cut. Ideas were tossed around, saying what if you had 25% more, or 25% less. what would you do. Now what do you do knowing our runway has a limit. that was the extent of discussions that i recall.

*i will admit my memory sux however.

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