A Hands-On Approach to Aligning Goals & Incentives with Meta Gamma Delta DAO

About Meta Gamma Delta

Meta Gamma Delta is an inclusive and empowering society supporting women-led projects in the blockchain ecosystem. It was summoned as a DAO at ETHDenver 2021 and has grown to become a virtual space of over 50 members distributed around the world. 

MGD is a community which provides valuable mentorship, resources, grants, and connections for those who want to build great things. It does this in a way that increases the level of diversity in the Blockchain ecosystem by training, teaching, and mentoring women who are crypto-curious.

Finding Gitcoin Grants

MGD was introduced to Gitcoin through one of their current members, Yalor, as the DAO was looking to re-align on their goals and the methods they use to achieve them. Forming at the beginning of a pandemic and learning to grow virtually has come with its challenges.

Their first interaction with Gitcoin was creating a grant to fund their first Grants Round Program. The mission of the program was to fund women-led initiatives in the blockchain space, and MGD was able to take advantage of the Gitcoin platform to gain visibility in the community. In total, MGD has raised over $20k through Gitcoin as of May 14th, 2021.

What Gitcoin Provides

Gitcoin’s mission is to grow open source software. We do this through Gitcoin Grants, which employs a novel funding mechanism that democratizes public goods funding. 

We have outlined a path that builders and their communities can follow to become self sustaining. We offer opportunities to earn, learn, connect, and fund on our platform. These include Bounties, Quests, Kudos, Hackathons, Fellowships, and Kernel. 

We also believe in decentralizing the political and architectural weaknesses in ecosystems. Over time, we have worked diligently to progressively decentralize gitcoin grants architecture to include a community multi-sig wallet for the matching pool and non-custodial transfers of donations. 

Community IS Participation

As we enable the community to participate in the building of gitcoin, we must recognize that the relationships in the community are more powerful than any individual or ecosystem.

When asking ourselves how we can be a leader in the community, the answer always comes back to enabling and empowering the community to better serve themselves and others. Now and in the future. 

In an effort to help MGD capitalize on their moment of growth, Gitcoin offered to set up a series of workshops to give the DAO resources to determine priorities, areas it could improve on, and ways members can work together to move forward.

Our decision to actively participate in communities we serve has a long history. Examples of that include hosting webinar and builder events. We wanted to take this effort to a new level of actively sharing knowledge and domain expertise with other organizations playing positive-sum games. 

About the Collaboration

Many approaches were considered. The one that was chosen was to host a series of workshops where Gitcoin would facilitate sessions designed to help MGD achieve their goals. An outside facilitator gives the opportunity for DAO members to share their concerns in a safe space built on empathy.

We needed to first understand the divergent needs and opinions of their  members. Only then could we align on a north star which could be encoded into a governance system. To finish, we connected the dots between the incentives and the outcomes they were looking to achieve. 

“After 5 sessions of guided workshopping we are super grateful to the Gitcoin staff. By dedicating time and expertise to helping MGD explore new governance processes they have helped us accomplish the mission of serving women in the Web3 and Ethereum ecosystem.”

Zayi Reyes, MGD DAO member. 

Here is how the sessions accomplished this goal:

Creating Empathy & a Shared Sense of Purpose

The first session was the bento box in the section above. Bentoism seeks to align our individual and collective interests while at the same time finding balance between short and long term benefits. We first wanted to understand what the goals of the individual were. How do these goals align with their future as a DAO? From there, we were able to spark optimism and excitement about the project ahead of us. 

This type of session is great for reminding the participants why they are here. Before we start with the tough conversations, we need to remember our purpose. MGD had 10+ members show up and participate in these 1.5-2 hour sessions every other week for 2 months! We couldn’t be happier with the level of commitment this group had. 

Once we aligned on purpose, we needed to gain empathy. We needed everyone to be able to put themselves in each other’s frame of reference. A simple empathy map is a great tool  for airing grievances. It allows members to share their thoughts, feelings, and perspectives in a non-threatening way. 

Understanding the Inner Workings of the DAO

A DAO needs a north star to work for multiple reasons. One difficulty for DAOs is figuring out the HOW of executing initiatives. The operational work can be daunting, while other roles garner more recognition. 

Identifying Roses, Thorns, and Buds allows you to collaboratively align on what is working, and what is not! Roses are the things you are doing that you want to keep doing. Thorns are the things that you want to stop. Buds have the potential to become roses, but only with a little TLC. 

The primary goal of this exercise was to more clearly articulate what the DAO should be doing. This then allowed us to align on ‘what the DAO does”. These items included education sessions, funding women in crypto, onboarding new members thoughtfully, layer 2 development work, making connections between members, connecting with partners and potential partners, marketing, and the internal operations to support these activities. 

We also looked at the places where improvement was needed. These ranged from members who lacked engagement to members who engaged too much relative to the rewards for doing so. Most of the issues stemmed from a lack of a clear mechanism for receiving recognition. 

The rules for the system had not been clear enough for members to participate in a way that aligned with the expectations of all members. The most important thing we discovered together:

Because we didn’t have a process for proposing, executing, and reviewing changes to the current rule set, we could not steer the ship as effectively as would have been desired.

Deciding on a North Star

Equipped with our newly found knowledge, we were able to align on a north star. Each participant was given time to work on ranking the items we agreed the DAO would execute in the future. 

Each member created their own ranking. Working “Together, Alone” participants created their own versions of what is most fun and most needed. (We were obviously listening to the Gitcoin Spotify Playlist for this.)

Next we voted on all of the rankings. Everyone had two votes so they could vote on their own ranking and one other. This is how we aligned on the importance of each activity relative to the others.

How Incentives & Governance Structure Lead Behavior

Relative rankings in the executables gave us a position to quantify the value of the work being done for the DAO. The process we used to get here made sure all viewpoints were heard and the decisions created legitimacy as we established a new rule set.

Before diving into MGD’s specific incentive structure, we took a look at the way BTC, ETH, and APPLE incentives work to effectively accomplish their collective goals. 

We took this understanding into consideration as we discussed how a quantified incentive would need to work to provide MGD DAO with the “autonomous” part it requires. 

Next Steps in the Building Process

MGD was really grateful for the experience! Working as a decentralized autonomous organization can be challenging to change  because there are a variety of voices and opinions, and it can be hard to focus on priorities. 

Members may have differing interests, so it is important to flush out those thoughts in a creative, safe space. Gitcoin was able to provide that.

Having Gitcoin as a leader and intermediary through these workshops allowed members to feel comfortable sharing their vision and goals for the DAO. It encouraged every person to have a voice.

By the end of the sessions, MGD was able to decide that they wanted to move forward within three key areas: DAO incentives, their grants program, and continuous member growth through member-only events and networking opportunities. MGD is really excited to begin creating working groups for these different work streams and build the DAO they have envisioned from their inception! 

Comments from Meta Gamma Delta DAO

“I really enjoyed the workshops with Joe because they gave us the time and space to take a step back and work on the DAO rather than in the DAO. In addition, it was great to have a facilitator take us through exercises where we had to think and reflect on what we truly wanted to accomplish. In the end, we realized that our individual visions for MGD are aligned and came away with some fantastic new initiatives to focus on. I really think we can take our DAO to a magical place!”

Kseniya Lifanova, MGD DAO member

“As a DAO member, I truly felt that Joe from Gitcoin took the time to connect with MGD members and learn about the DAO’s history and current goals prior to jumping into the workshops. This made the vision seeking sessions feel extremely personalized and we even offered Joe an honorary DAO membership for the empowering work provided at the end of our time together! We are looking forward to accomplishing the goals we discussed during the workshops and building great things.”

Zayi Reyes, MGD DAO member

“The exercise of taking a look in other networks and organizations was very valuable. As systems develop with different incentive mechanisms (such as mining rewards for BTC and ETH or dividends as an APPLE shareholder), it was important for our Meta Gamma Delta members to have this outside perspective. Joe was a good mediator to point out the different organization structures and their incentive mechanisms to our DAO members. I hope we can continue our mission to empower women and better incentivize MGD members to continue our journey forward”.

Juliana Passos (@itsencrypted), MGD DAO member

Gitcoin’s Commitment to the Community

This experience helped us as much as it helped Meta Gamma Delta. We are all learning together. Our Grants program depends on sybil-resistance which is an unsolved research problem. We plan to continue connecting ecosystems and contributors and enabling more talented individuals to provide value to the open source. 

As we progressively decentralize, the shared learnings of the open source community and our shared experience with DAO’s, builders, and ecosystems will make our future structures more resilient and better equipped to take us to Quadratic Lands. 

2
grants