Web3 Galaxy Brain 🌌🧠

Web3 Galaxy Brain

Llama Contributor DAOs with Shreyas

22 November 2022


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Nicholas: Welcome to Web3 Galaxy Brain. My name is Nicholas. Each week I sit down with some of the brightest people building Web3 to talk about what they're working on right now. Today I'm joined by Shreyas, co-founder of Lama. Lama is a community that works with the most respected DAOs in the world, including Uniswap, Aave, ENS, Gitcoin, MakerDAO, Nouns, and more. Lama's contributors work together to provide engineering, treasury management, and analytics services to these protocol DAOs. In this conversation, Shreyas explains the ins and outs of Lama's organizational structure. We discuss how blockchains enable a new way to organize laborers, which he calls a contributor DAO, through the lens of his article on Ronald Coase's theory of the firm. Very few people have experience making successful proposals to such a broad range of high quality protocol DAOs. It was a pleasure speaking with Shreyas. I hope you enjoy the show. Hey, Shreyas. Welcome to the show.

Shreyas: Thanks, Nicholas. It's great to be here.

Nicholas: So today we're going to be talking a little bit about treasury management. I read this article you wrote about contributor DAOs. that I think is going to be interesting to talk about too. And I thought first we could maybe just get into what your background is and when Lama got started and how that got started, just to give people a little context.

Shreyas: Yeah, for sure. So I'm a co-founder at Lama. We are a contributor DAO that works with some of the leading protocols on smart contract upgrades, treasury management, and on-chain analytics. We work with Aave, Uniswap, Lido, Maker, and a bunch of other top protocols. We really try to get embedded in these communities, do things that require engineering and financial expertise and work in quite a down, native and transparent way. We have a community of 65 contributors. These are engineers, data analysts, designers. And I think the idea is for us to really help maximize the impact that some of these decentralized communities have to do things that the core teams at these protocols are not doing, that is still extremely valuable for the protocol to be maintained and upgraded and grown. And my personal background is I actually started off initially as a DAO contributor. And so I started contributing to Aave and Uniswap and a few other projects. And I quickly realized that it's way more helpful to sort of form a group, a community of strong contributors. And there's some benefits for both the contributors and the DAOs that we work with to have a group like that. And I was previously on the investment team at Duke's endowment, leading their crypto efforts.

Nicholas: Let's take one second for that. So Duke has an investment team dealing with crypto? No.

Shreyas: Duke has an endowment. It's called the Duke Management Company. I think now it's about $25 billion. When I joined, this was 2017, probably caught the crypto bug like 2016. And I went deep into the Bitcoin and Ethereum rabbit hole. And I tried my best to get Duke to do things in crypto. So they are traditional endowments. They invest across all public and private asset classes. Yeah, little to no crypto exposure. I would give these presentations and how MakerDAO works and all the cool things happening in DeFi and crypto. And yeah, eventually we got to having some small crypto allocation.

Nicholas: Cool. And then you got interested in making contributions at Aave. I read a little bit of the background in the contributor DAO article, which I've shared a link to and will be in the show notes. But basically you were trying to make contributions as an individual. And you also tell this other story about another contributor. Is it DYDY?

Shreyas: Yeah, that's right.

Nicholas: And as individual contributors, you were having trouble getting things across the line. Is that the genesis of Lama?

Shreyas: Yes. The cool thing about DAOs and protocols is it opens up the surface area for anyone to contribute and add value. And so there's really no restriction on who can participate if you have internet access. But in practice, actually getting something done in a protocol requires both complex coordination as well as governance power and influence and people with different skill sets. So for example, let's take Aave. If you take an asset listing, so Aave lists a particular... There's a process by which you need to list a new asset on Aave for users to borrow against. And that process involves first a risk assessment of what this new asset is. So let's say you're listing 1inch, understanding what the risk profile of 1inch is, how it actually affects Aave protocol and whether it falls within the general risk parameters. Then you need some governance work to actually put up the post, get feedback. You need 80,000 Aave worth proposal power, which is, let's say, $5 to $10 million delegated to you to even put up a proposal. You need 320,000 Aave to get the proposal through. And you need to write a smart contract. You need to write a proposal payload for basically listing a new asset on Aave. So all these things require people with different skill sets. It requires a certain amount of governance influence that an individual typically doesn't have. There are really talented people from China who contribute to these protocols, who are... And I know there's people around the world. And with limited or no connections to get all this proposal power delegated to them, to people with complementary skillset, get this through. And so it is really helpful to have these individuals in siloed pockets come together and combine efforts to, say, do an asset listing or deploy a treasury strategy or upgrade Aave's safety module. I think it started off as me reaching out to a bunch of people who I thought were strong individual contributors. And then we formed this community of DAO contributors that would work with these protocols.

Nicholas: And that was more than a year ago? Around when did you start Lama?

Shreyas: Yeah, that was maybe a year and 10 months or just two years back.

Nicholas: Wow. Okay, so 2020.

Shreyas: Yeah.

Nicholas: In this vanilla scenario where individuals are making contributions to large protocols like Aave and their DAOs, what's the motivation for an individual? I assume there's no direct compensation for helping with a token listing as a proposal, right? It's just a part of governance, unless the proposal itself includes some kind of compensation for the person. There would be no compensation for such an activity before there is some kind of service relationship, right?

Shreyas: That's right. Yeah. The default is you don't get paid and then you could potentially have a relationship where either you have a contract where you get paid or you get paid for a particular asset listing, either from Aave or the other project. There's nothing by default, but you could quote a price for yourself.

Nicholas: Typically, I guess there are some people who do have the sway to make these proposals on their own or with the votes that are delegated to them. Are they typically paying themselves or in some way having a paid relationship with the DAO?

Shreyas: No one typically makes these proposals. I guess the spot of what's not a problem, I think it's just an element of DAOs. that I think I and probably Lama, we have a different view on is that DAOs are these abstract things in the ether. It's just protocol. There's some process for governance and there's a community around it. Really, no one is there in charge to make something happen, right? You kind of really need to just step up and do things. As you do more things, you get embedded and become part of the DAO. Why would someone just randomly take the effort to do an asset listing on Aave unless they want to get their own asset listed on Aave? That makes sense. A neutral other contributor wouldn't do that unless they know how to navigate the waters or they have a service relationship with Aave. Maybe these things change and become more structured over time. But I think if protocols are structured how they are now, there's definitely a lot of open questions on how you get to contribute, how you get paid by the DAO. We hope to make that easier for our contributors too.

Nicholas: We should talk about this contributor DAO article. I think you make a really interesting historical observation and that leads you to some conclusions about how DAOs and crypto and blockchains change the equation and maybe make it possible for independent contributors

Shreyas: to

Nicholas: collectively, I don't know, bargain, but at least collectively provide services in a way that wasn't the case in the traditional corporate model. Could you explain a little bit about what the contention is of this article?

Shreyas: The idea is that, first to start off, there's this question of why the firm exists. And Coase, who is an economist in the 30s, argued that the firm exists because firms reduce transaction costs. So, for example, the employees of a Ford Motor Company, the mechanical engineers and the designers and the assembly land workers, they don't contract out their services in the free market, but instead they come together as a firm and they sell their employees through Ford Motor Company because that helps reduce transaction costs. There's a lot of costs involved in mediating this relationship between the type of work and the money and the services provided by individuals. And so one of those costs is triangulation, which is finding and measuring the quality of service. Another cost is transfer, which is bargaining for and negotiating the contract for the service. And the third is trust, which is evaluating whether the counterparties trust whether or not. And so the Internet has reduced these transaction costs to some extent for specific work that is well-scoped. And so if you think about the ride-sharing services, Airbnb, they really help the people who supply these services find buyers and in a way that isn't mediated by another bust in our business. It's only mediated by a platform like Uber, I think. But there's still certain services that are difficult to be mediated entirely by the Internet. And those are things that require more complex coordination, that have a certain level of sophistication and maybe uncertainty in how it's done. And so crypto really enables this new form of work. And so crypto protocols are these very cool open source things that just exist on a blockchain. And that opens up this opportunity for anyone to contribute and add value. But it's hard to do that as an individual because of a bunch of reasons that I've learned before. Because it's kind of actually costly to do say an asset listing for Aave. It's costly in different ways for both Aave and the individual to actually execute that. And so contributor devs, which are these collective individual contributors with specialized skill sets that are like-minded in a certain way, that can join forces together and add value to these protocols, are a way to reduce transaction costs for contributing to protocols. And I think that there's always this wave of unbundling and rebundling. And so there's just an unbundling of work with having individuals really have the power to contribute to projects just with full agency. And I think now there's a little bit of rebundling force in the crypto ecosystem where there's a benefit of actually joining forces as a collective, still maintaining some agency and independence as a contributor dev. It's a little different from a firm in the sense that you still work your own hours. You have ownership in this collective. You're not necessarily sort of implied full-time, but you can kind of work for several hours. You can just leverage the governance, influence, and power of this contributor dev to kind of have a high impact.

Nicholas: Yeah, I really like the way that you explain in the article that, for example, if Google had to hire independent contractors for every single project, every new project that it were to work on, the costs of doing so would outweigh the costs of having a bunch of people on salary for a long period of time. to kind of contextualize this COAST in a modern context. And it is interesting thinking about that in modern world. I've often thought about it. My mother's a teacher, and she has to be engaged as a teacher, as an individual. And doesn't have the freedom that we in the DAO space do to incorporate ourselves, wrap ourselves in some kind of LLC or corporation, wherever we might be and have superior tax advantages and freedom of providing services to different organizations, be they DAOs or companies or what have you. So it's interesting in a number of ways that there's something new that crypto enables that the... You mentioned this Chris Dixon quote about what it is that blockchains enable. Blockchains are virtual computers that run on top of a network of physical computers that trade off performance for the novel property that you can make credible long-term commitments to users and developers. So what is it that changes? Maybe you could just repeat because the three things that COAST aligns and then how blockchains really changed the equation for that, the opportunity for contributor DAOs to exist.

Shreyas: Yeah, for sure. So yeah, the three costs again are triangulation, which is the cost of finding and measuring the quality of service. So like you said, it's difficult for Google if they had to find a new engineer every time they wanted to work on a new product. And it's easier for them to kind of have full-time engineers. that reduces transaction costs. The second one is transfer, which is the cost of bargaining and negotiating a contract for a good service. It is difficult to drive a price for something to negotiate the terms of the service.

Nicholas: I guess, especially if it's an amorphous or complex thing. It's not like an Uber ride, which is really tightly constrained.

Shreyas: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And the third piece is trust, which is it's hard to determine if the counterparty is trustworthy if you have sufficient recourse. The things with blockchains that are interesting are, you know, they really tackle this sort of trust piece. And so blockchains are slow and expensive computers, but they really enable something new, which is that you can run programs that make commitments that people can trust. And so Josh Stock from the Ethereum Foundation had a very good post in Adams Institutions and Blockchains, where he uses the word hardness, which is the capacity for a blockchain or any system to make something very likely to be true in the future. And so, you know, by having, you know, really nation state like properties, like contract enforcement and property rights, blockchains just have enabled these new things and protocols and DAOs, given that they're built on blockchains, they inherit some of those properties of blockchains. And so, you know, a DAO is an antonym native organization that has certain rules governed by, say, smart contracts on Ethereum rather than legal contracts. You can encode important, you know, critical things like membership, ownership, and the property of the DAO on chain. And so then use those sort of, you know, key, you know, trust properties to then have, you know, people have the freedom to just know that, hey, like, you know, when we build, we've actually, if we're examples of this, we're built something like Pronouns, which is like a bidding interface on top of Nouns protocol. The reason we could do that on top of Nouns is because Nouns is, you know, an open protocol that exists on Ethereum. Like the Nouns auction is going to, you know, according to the rules set on chain, it's going to be one auction every day forever. There's no way that we can be rugged. if there are changes to the protocol or upgrades, there'll be a governance process through it. So that's done. And so we'll know when it's happening. Unlike building something on top of Twitter, where they can, they can rug you, Nouns cannot do that because it inherits some of the properties of the Ethereum blockchain. And then it adds sort of some custom things that it wants to do for, you know, the experiment it's running. And it's cool for additional features, which is, you know, we don't have to, we can kind of, you know, use, leverage the community to build something really useful for them. But also, you know, potentially get product market for the easier because you're not starting from scratch. You're kind of bootstrapping this, this community of users and contributors and participants. And so, yeah, I think the, some of those properties of blockchains then allow us to, you know, reduce the transaction costs. So specifically about, you know, contributor DAOs, it really makes it easier to, to reduce those three costs. Like, you know, one, it makes it easier to find work. And so like DAOs have a very open service area for, you know, Aave, you could kind of do asset listings, you could allocate the treasury, you could, you know, save on a grants program. Contributor DAOs really help, you know, individuals get the context and like maybe what, what could or should be done in the DAO. And then it allows like the access for really anyone to then step in because it reduces the governance friction and these other things that don't allow someone to, as an individual to list an asset. It becomes easier to bargain and agree on a contract for a service and in terms of conditions, because it's, it's again, easier to kind of do this as a collective versus as an individual. If you're trying to get paid for an asset listing in Aave, like, yeah, good luck. It's, it's, it's just hard. Like the, the, it's not the right level of mediation you kind of want between, you know, the work you're doing and the protocol.

Nicholas: It's a whole opportunity to be compensated where it's unclear that there ought to be a compensation relationship in the traditional governance model where people are proposing these kinds of token listings or, or in fact, they're not proposing them because they aren't compensated. So it's actually solving this compensation by creating a kind of maybe collective bargaining is not maybe the exactly precise way to describe it, but creating the opportunity for a specific and constrained relationship between the DAO or protocol that's being governed and the entity that's providing that governance insight.

Shreyas: Yeah, I think I would, I'd frame it almost as like an, as a version of optimistic governance where it's like, almost like an extension of governance on most of these projects where we make it easier for individual contributors to get paid or make it easier for productive activity to happen, for allocations from the treasury to then go to productive contributions and contributors. And yeah, like it's, it's hard to do that. Like, you know, there's, there's various projects that can tend to do that. Like we're using the contributed DAO structure, I guess, to hit that problem. And I think, yeah, it comes from a lot of experience that I guess that I've had that others have had as individuals trying to contribute to these DAOs that it's in theory, it should be like you should get paid for these things. But there's some pieces of the, of the way governance works, which I think some of them are good. Like any asset should not be listed on Aave and it should be difficult in some way to list an asset because Aave is a lending protocol. The key thing is securing the protocol and making sure there's nothing that you list, you know, results in the funds getting drained. And so needed, but yeah, like then it results in, in actually reducing the funnel of people that can contribute and that can contribute.

Nicholas: I cut you off. I want to hear your third point from the prior list, but while we're on the topic, I mean, how does Lama do a better job of this than Aave itself? What, what gives Lama an edge?

Shreyas: This is kind of the hypothesis in the experiment. And so there's some, some piece of this that we would see for successful that this, it will be true that it should be easier to contribute through Lama than, you know, to, you know, directly to Aave and it should be beneficial for both the DAO as well as the DAO Aave as well as the contributors. The few things, so, so one. having a fixed long-term contract with the DAO is really helpful to then mitigate some of the uncertainty for the individual contributors, right? So we just passed a proposal to work with Aave for 12 months on protocol upgrades, treasury management, analytics. There's a bunch of work that will be done by Lama contributors through that scope of work, but the scope is fixed. It's a long-term contract. It's for 12 months. And we can internally then, you know, do things to distribute that work. In some cases, there will be contributors working on something for two months, in some cases for one month, in some cases for six months. It's like bounty type work. We can really make sure that this is, this is done like, like as an individual, you can kind of take on these tasks and work on them without having to sign a contract to like commit to one year or something like that, or working full time. You can work on your other projects. All you need to do is pick up the scope of work you think is interesting and do it while still knowing that you can take on more because there's, yeah, we, we have this relationship that's ongoing. I think that's the reason why it's, it's hard to create that, that equivalent, you know, structure and like in Aave, like maybe like one version of that, you know, I'm also involved in the Aave grants program. And so one version of that is maybe running a grants program, right? And so kind of doing allocations, you know, you create something like a sub DAO and then allocate from Aave to a bunch of contributors for that. It's useful for some type of work. I think it's useful to get seeded for making contributions. Like it's, it's good. It's a lot of these projects, first half grants programs, it's good to kind of seed hackathon type contributions, but there's some type of work that is much more at a higher impact or quote unquote. serious in the sense that it's like an asset listing, right? It's not a hackathon project. It's something that, that requires a lot of reps and is, is something that you actually can break down into a bounty type thing. Like in a sense, you can have a world scope thing for a smart, you know, a smart contract engineer to work on one piece of the asset listing for a risk analyst to work on another piece for having some, you know, simulations that you run to make sure that things are okay. But those things are just hard to, to just fund as, as like one off sort of grants. I think it's, it's actually better to fund to like a specialized contributor down some way. And yeah, and I think the other pieces are like, you know, we should have the contributors get paid really easily. Like that's the, like Daniel's on this call, like that's the metric that he and we track internally is to make sure we could get, have contributors get paid much, much better directly through Lama than through the DAO. And then build like some ownership in the, in the collective over time once we figure out a good model to do that. And so you have some exposure to these, you know, you get some payment at stablecoins, maybe you get some payment in Aave tokens, you know, you get some exposure to, you know, you get some exposure to, you know, you get some payment in, you know, you get some exposure to, you know, you get some exposure to, you know, you get some exposure to, you know, you get some exposure to, you know, you get some exposure to, you know, you get some exposure to, you know, you get some exposure to, you know. , but you also get some, some eventual ownership in the collective itself and you have incentivized to do more. that brings more to the collective's treasury and you can kind of govern over that.

Nicholas: In order to limit grifters just implicating themselves in Lama rather than directly in the DAOs that you're service providing, do you find that the contributors at Lama are solidifying around some kind of core crew of people who are always around? And that that essentially becomes like a consulting service where, not unlike some kind of consulting company, where it has a consistent stable of employees who are working consistently on projects over and over again and know each other and have the rapport to know that they're not going to... They can delegate something to a smart contract engineer and they don't need to read the code over themselves. They can trust that person does a good job. Do you find the same dynamics reproducing themselves, basically?

Shreyas: Yeah, I think there's two types of contributors. I think there's one that is like the extremely high context person that should know deeply what Aave is working on and what type of work Lama has done before, what's needed, can translate the needs of the DAO into work for the contributor DAO. And so that is high context. I think that is something that you want people with a lot of reps and experience to do it. And so, yeah, we have, say, people at Lama who are ranchers, who are like our top tier contributors, who stick around and they can do the translation. And I think a lot of the other contributors are really strong but on a skill set rather than on context with the protocol. So they could be very strong data analysts and if they get translated generally what's needed to be built, they can work alongside someone who has high context and just execute on it. Someone who is a smart contract engineer can get a spec and can execute on what's needed to be done. Same with the other types of work. I'd probably frame it as those two types of contributors and I agree that we need both. And the second type is one that is more amenable to a very fluid structure of work while the first one is more traditional.

Nicholas: So the ranchers are kind of vouching for and checking the work of these more transient members or newer members of the DAO?

Shreyas: Yeah, that's right. It depends on the particular project. There's some sort of analytics work. where you have different analytics people verify how the other projects are going. But typically the ranchers and the folks with context just see the quality of the work before things go through.

Nicholas: Because Llamas, you mentioned a little bit this idea that you could have multiple different teams working with different client DAOs. I guess you maybe structure it as a client relationship, but we can get into that a little bit. But the reputation of Llama is at stake in every single relationship. Not only is there some kind of accruing of value to this one organization across multiple relationships with smaller independent teams working with particular DAOs or client projects, but the value of bringing, collecting the remuneration, but also credibility that's gained through these projects is also put at risk every time a new project is taken on. If a weaker team is going to be doing lower quality work for some client, then future clients will be aware of that, not only the best work that the group has done. Do you think about that? Do you worry about that? Or is it not really a problem that you actually have more awesome contributors than you have projects to work on? How does it feel?

Shreyas: So far it's been going really well. I think as we scale, we definitely need some internal systems which are working on partly reputation systems, partly like when I say reputation, I mean a combination of I think social, monetary, and maybe NFT type reputation systems that ensure this. One is social, which is just having a few people at Llama being a tight-knit core unit, have the others pass some hurdle to get through Llama, but then once they get through, they know they're part of this collective. You don't want to, the more frequent interactions you have with specific people at Llama, the more you don't want to disappoint them. I think the other piece is we already have bootstrapped sometimes the pseudonymous reputation of some of the contributors where they have a traditional job and they want to build their reputation through another identity, and Llama is a way for them to do that. And there's consequences if they screw up, they're just not incentivized to do that. I think the other piece which we're experimenting with is some type of a credible NFT model where we have like we have Forte as the Llamas, there's the Ranchers, the Mountaineers, the Explorers, and Travelers, and the longer that someone stays a Rancher, potentially the more to the Llama PFP, and maybe that unlocks a bunch of social and economic benefits over

Nicholas: time,

Shreyas: and so there's incentive to continue to stay a Rancher and to do work that is of high quality and kind of rise up the system, and so things we work on, and that's definitely a problem we think about, and it's part of building the contributed hours to hopefully solve those problems.

Nicholas: What other qualifications are required to be a Rancher? Is it like a coordinate vote type thing, or it's an amount of work you have to do? How does it work?

Shreyas: Yeah, so it's typically based on the amount of output you have, so how much you've done, you've kind of made a lot of governance proposals, you've deployed a bunch of proposal payloads for Aave, you've worked on a bunch of data dashboards. It's also based on how much context you have. So for some contributors, they have a lot of context in a particular protocol, and they're driving a lot of value and relationships for that protocol over time, and then part of it is also just looking at the income that contributors earn, so you can almost drive reputation from the other way, which is the more work that a contributor takes on, the more they actually get paid from the contributor DAO, and all our top contributors get paid the most because they just do the most work. So it is qualitative in the sense that it's not a DAO vote, and I think that would be bad. This is why maybe the structure is not some trustless, entirely decentralized system to determine who's a rancher and who's a Martinian. I think that's good. Yeah, it's important for, just like in other organizational structures, it's important for this to not be quantified in a way that maybe denigrates the impact of individuals and also be made public in a way that is a popularity contest. The idea is, so right now, three of us basically determine this every month, or every quarter, and there's been zero issues in the sense that it's actually been extremely fair, but as we scale, I think we'd want

Nicholas: maybe

Shreyas: that to be extended to all the ranchers decided, or maybe the ranchers plus the Martinians, and have a way where a group of people decide this that have high context

Nicholas: and

Shreyas: are proven to be really reputed, strong contributors. But then the longer that someone stays a high tier, top contributor, the more they can accrue these social and economic benefits.

Nicholas: Yeah, because this is a problem. I've seen it a few times in different organizations where they use things like Coordinate to decide how compensation is done. It creates incentives for cartels within the Coordinate round to vote for each other, and it doesn't create necessarily good dynamics. Obviously, DAOs already have this problem where people who are the loudest often tend to be perceived of as the most, sort of greatest time commitment contributors, regardless of whether or not they're actually contributing the most valuable work. But it is challenging to give a community control over its own compensation because those games are non-neutral and they have aspects that can be gamed, or even just are degenerate games, regardless of whether people are intending to do so. It kind of can naturally lead to circumstances where people are behaving in certain ways in order to increase compensation or not. So that is a challenge. Right now, you're doing that on a quarterly basis. Three people are deciding. So it's not based on the contracts. It's based on the contracts with the clients. It's based on more of a quarterly performance review kind of thing.

Shreyas: Yeah, that's right. Yeah, I think this is where leadership and trust with the community really matters. Where it's important for people to understand who's making the decision. It shouldn't be opaque. And it's important for people to know how they can have upward mobility. And that's probably the most important thing is for top contributors to stay contributing and for people who are new to know that they have upward mobility. But beyond that, yeah, I think these other systems are intellectually interesting. They're just extremely bad if you understand human behavior. Let's take a different example. Let's say you put it up to a vote on who should be a rancher or you decide compensation by a DAO vote. That's bad because that leads to the most political people doing this. And it just leads to the discussion within the community being all of deciding power structures and compensation rather than anything else. I think you could do, yeah, you could have some quantification of this. We actually tried to do this. We were like, oh, what would it be to quantify contributions? And if you quantify contributions and you have a score for every contributor, can that directly lead to who's a rancher, who's a mountaineer? That generally correlates to how we would anyway make a decision. But there are just all these exceptions. For example, there's one contributor who is a star data analyst, Scott, who is an amazing data analyst. And he's just extremely friendly within the community. He will solve problems. if a lot of community members, they have an issue with their dashboard, he'll fix it. He's extremely savvy. He understands the backend side too, so he can go deep into fixing the data ingestion and pipeline problem. And he's helped a lot of people. And I've seen this, Daniel's seen this, a bunch of other people have told us this. And that's not going to get reflected in a quantitative assessment of what Scott's brought to the table, but it's extremely important. It's important for the health of the community, the social stuff, but also the output too. There's output that other people are doing that actually Scott's driving a lot of. So yeah, I think some of these things have enough subjectivity that it's important to make the process a little more human. And I think to then have it reflected, the part that can be reflected in a reputation system is like, oh, you're a Rancho, you're a Montaner for multiple quarters. And that's stored somewhere, that's reflected in some of your badges or the reputation you accrue or the points you accrue.

Nicholas: Makes sense. Makes sense. I know we've also talked a little bit about the idea of having independent P&Ls for different groups that are servicing different projects. I'm curious, maybe you could talk a little bit about the relationships Lama has had with clients previously and how you see that evolving going forward.

Shreyas: Yeah, I think the idea that was interesting, we have no plans to launch token, but the idea that could be interesting is having the token supply inflate and decrease based on the quote unquote productivity of the contributor DAO. And so maybe as a metric for productivity, you could say the profits that accrue to the contributor DAO. And so the more profitable the DAO is, the more profitable specific working groups are, like the more supply of tokens that accrue to the treasury, maybe that accrue to specific contributors for their work. And the less that that's the case, the less that accrues. For right now, maybe the specific working group P&L budgets, it's like maybe it's not enough groups for that to make sense. But I do think that's an interesting model if there's enough segregation. Like if the Lama Aave sub DAO is just so, there's hundreds of DAOs and there's Lama Aave sub

Nicholas: DAO and

Shreyas: there's Lama Uniswap one and there are all these independent like fluid groups between Lama and the DAO and there's a way that they all can manage their own budgets. We don't have that need now, but that's definitely interesting. And yeah, maybe we could explore using Juicebox for that.

Nicholas: Yeah, it would be interesting. I think just because there's some, I think the interest was that there's some idea that maybe these projects should be autonomous or something or semi autonomous or able to manage themselves with that heightened context that like the current Lama organization has within itself generally, but as it scales, maybe there's a need to break things up. What is the vibe? What is it feeling like if someone were to become a contributor today? You said around 65 contributors currently. Is it mostly in Discord? What does it feel like being a contributor? if someone's listening to this and they're thinking, oh, I do actually like contributing to DAO, I find it hard. What's it feel like?

Shreyas: Could you maybe actually give Bill the speaking voice if it goes down? Absolutely. If he goes down as a contributor, maybe he'll have better thoughts on this than I do.

Nicholas: Sure thing. Let's see if Bill can speak. Hey, Bill, welcome.

0xbill: Hey, how's it going? How do I sound?

Nicholas: You sound great. So you're a contributor at Lama?

0xbill: Yes. I'm sorry, I didn't get the full context on the question, but yeah, contributor at Lama and recently joined. So I've been there for just a couple months, honestly. So it's been about two, three months. But yeah, happy to share my experience.

Nicholas: Yeah, the question was, what's it like for someone onboarding as a new contributor? Maybe you could say a little bit about what your background is and how you got involved in Lama and what it's felt like.

0xbill: Yeah, for sure. So yeah, first off, a bit about me, a bit about my background. I started in the crypto space getting involved, or my first big FOIA work-wise was getting involved with Aave Grants. So I started, honestly, contributing. Like I started just, there was an RFP to create a sort of weekly recap newsletter and I started doing that. I joined one of the first community calls and made a simple Twitter thread with sort of a summary and notes and did a few other things. And eventually, Shreyas reached out and said, hey, do you want to start making this a little bit more full-time? So I started doing part-time with the newsletter, again, sort of fulfilling one of the RFPs that the DAO had. Sort of grew the role into more community management, helping host community calls, reaching out to grantees, doing some of the back-end stuff, and then grew the role more into events and sponsorships. And yeah, the role at Aave Grants grew from there. And then eventually, or again, yeah, more recently started working at Lama. And yeah, what that's like is, yeah, to focus on Lama, what that's like is it's been awesome. I mean, the first off is, I think, just the caliber of the other people. And I mean, some of them are definitely folks I sort of recognize from the ecosystem, but there's also a ton of people who I definitely didn't really know. And yeah, so I guess, yeah, it's a lot of, I'd say mostly goes down in Discord. But yeah, I think that's the first thing that stood out to me, was just the quality of some of the conversations, some of the discourse, if you will, going on and just how engaged everybody is. I think that's a really big thing. And yeah, what is it like getting onboarded? I mean, I think it's almost like joining any project Discord where you want to sort of get invited to channels slowly, you try and sort of give yourself some context, and then again, I think because there's so many great people, there's a lot of folks to sort of reach out to, help answer any questions or clarify anything that I might not have, or even just, I guess sort of the best way is even asking just straight up in the project threads or whatever questions. And again, everyone's been super, super helpful and engaging. And then I'm trying to think what else, you know, I guess the other thing is, I guess that's the beauty of contributor to DAO is that you can sort of start contributing from day one and having an impact and, you know, actually trying to move the needle. And, you know, there's so much white space with a lot of these things. So yeah, lots to do. So I think that's another exciting thing about it.

Nicholas: Cool. And are you familiar with just about everybody who's involved in Lama or more with a particular slice?

0xbill: You know, definitely not everybody. Yeah. The 65 number, it's crazy to think about, you know, slowly I've met a few folk in person, which has been really nice. And yeah, I'd say slowly acquainting myself. So yeah, Lama, I kind of a nice, or I think I have a super lucky role if you will, because I sort of get to see across all the different teams in terms of with Lama, it's sort of separated and maybe Shreyas talked about this earlier, but sort of separated by, I guess, yeah, your technical role, but then also sort of what projects you're working on. So there'll be a certain Aave workflow or a certain work stream, you know, certain ENS work stream and so-and-so for the different projects. And then I do some work on the social and community side. So I get to sort of see across all those different ones. But that being said, I'd say I've still only, say lots of Lamas to still meet. I've only met a small, small section of the herd.

Nicholas: Very cool. And what rank are you? Is it a Mountaineer or what was the other rank?

Shreyas: That's not part of the rank, but yeah.

0xbill: And yeah, to speak on that, I'd be totally honest and maybe this is going to make me look bad, but I'd have to check my role. I don't fully know. I know it's in Discord, so maybe that says a little bit.

Nicholas: I really don't think that it's a really good thing.

Shreyas: Yeah, it's not super hierarchical. I don't even know if it is maybe reflective that Bill doesn't know what his tier or whatever is. But yeah, it's like kind of we've kept it much more social than it is. Yeah, some like packing harder. So like it's, it'd be reflective more when we have these like PFPs. Yeah, maybe there's a sudden color choice that the Islam PFPs have when you're a rancher versus Mountaineer versus another tier. And then there's maybe there's like different cool opportunities you could. Yeah, you stay active in Lama for three quarters. And yeah, maybe you can now like speak about Lama in DevCon in Bogota or something. And we fund that. So I'd like to keep it like more social and have people just know that they could just unlock more opportunities as they stay active for longer.

Nicholas: Very cool. And so it's really just about how much time you're spending, not a strict ranking really.

Shreyas: Yeah, I would say it's like time is one component. Like there's multiple, like I think it's time, like how much value you're adding, like what specifically set of the context you have, like things like the example like Scott I gave where he's extremely productive in the data side, but also having a bunch of others on solving kind of data problems. So yeah, it's like a factor of things. I would say it's like similar to how people are evaluated in companies or nonprofits where there's so many things that would make someone good, but generally like work. ethic and responsiveness and showing up and being generally good and nice to your teammates are things that are valued and it shouldn't be anything different in a collective that is contributing to the protocols.

Nicholas: Very cool. So what haven't we talked about that we should talk about today? Is there anything that we've missed about Lama? I'm sure there's a million things that we haven't discussed. I'd love to know a little bit more about the actual projects you're working on too, but I know we're coming up on the hour. So I thought I'd ask what are we not talking about that we should be?

Shreyas: Nothing comes to my mind. I think there's really like this new form of contribution and work given that these crypto protocols are open source. Everything is kind of by default open in crypto. You have the discourse forums being open. You have on-chain governance being transparent in the sense that you could see how proposals can be created. You have the treasury and the balance of accounts actually be open. You have most of these discards be open. And so that really opens up a very cool form of work for hopefully millions of people around the world. And I think we'll see the more like quote unquote real use cases of crypto hopefully come through these protocol contributions over the next decade. And yeah, we'd love to play a part in making that easier for people and for DAOs and have an impact on that.

Nicholas: That's a really compelling vision. And I'm curious to see if other Splinter DAOs sort of emerge or people who've spent time at Lama or at least observed it go off and create even more organizations with some of these learnings and develop new things as well as to see how Lama evolves over the next year. It's pretty exciting. I mean, 65 dedicated contributors is really pretty impressive. I really think you only need a handful, so I can only imagine what kind of things you're able to get up to with several dozen. It's pretty cool.

Shreyas: Yeah, thanks. Yeah, I really appreciate it. And I've said this before to you personally, but yeah, I really look up to Juicebox with all the cool sort of crypto native experiments you guys are running. So yeah, we'd love to collaborate at some point.

Nicholas: Yeah, thank you. I think there is a lot of opportunity, particularly because there's so many. it's so rare actually in the space to find organizations where they aren't trying to operate like a traditional corporation one way or another. And I think Lama really is one of those that's

Shreyas: exploring

Nicholas: based on some of these insights, exploring what can be done now that couldn't have been done before blockchains or especially before this relatively mature state of blockchains where

Shreyas: there's lots

Nicholas: of people with wallets, there's protocols that are managing serious infrastructure that can be manipulated through governance, hopefully for the better. And yeah, I think there is a lot of opportunity for these organizations that aren't trying to just replicate what existed before, but with crypto tokens instead of US dollars. So I'm excited to see how we can work together. Well, Strayis, thank you so much for coming through and Bill also, Daniel also in the audience. It's been great talking about Lama and hope to learn more and continue reading these great blog posts. This Mirror blog that you've got is full of interesting information and insights.

Shreyas: Thanks, Nicholas. Great chatting and yeah, speak soon.

0xbill: Likewise. Thanks for having me.

Nicholas: All right. Thanks everybody and thank you for listening. See you next week for another conversation on Galaxy Brain. Thanks everybody. Have a good afternoon. Hey, thanks for listening to this episode of Web3 Galaxy Brain. To keep up with everything Web3, follow me on Twitter, at Nicholas with four leading ends. You can find links to the topics discussed on today's episode in the show notes. Podcast feed links are available at web3galaxybrain.com. Web3 Galaxy Brain airs live most Friday afternoons at 5 p.m. Eastern Time, 2200 UTC on Twitter Spaces. I look forward to seeing you there.

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