In this post, I am suggesting 3 immediate strategic priorities for the Index Coop:
- Establish North Star Goals
- Establish Core KPIs
- Empower High-Impact Contributors
The goal of this writing is to crystallize challenges felt among community members today and establish a strategic direction to guide the Coop.
If successful, we will remain on the path to becoming the dominant provider of crypto indices and other structured products.
Where are we today?
In October 2020 the Index Coop launched with the DeFi Pulse Index (DPI) as its flagship product.
From October 2020 - November 2020 frameworks for north star goals, core key performance indicators (KPIs), and empowering high-impact contributors were put forward, met with rough community agreement, and put into varying degrees of practice.
The Coop was much smaller at that time and this rough agreement worked!
Since then, the Coop has grown & evolved. We have not yet made similar frameworks practicable at our current scale.
Before suggesting where we go, it is important to understand where we are coming from.
Let’s now take those 3 guideposts - north star goals, core KPIs, empowering high-impact contributors - one at a time.
North Star Goals
North Star metrics are supposed to be the one measurement that’s most predictive of a company’s long-term success. It is an exercise in simplifying the overall strategy into terms all can remember, understand, and apply. (Mixpanel)
A few north star goals have been shared, rallied around, but never put into practice.
The stated goal in October 2020 time was for the DPI to reach $50MM TVL within 6 months. At some point, another number, $100MM TVL, was shared. DPI breached the $100MM mark in just 5 months after the launch of the Index Coop in early February 2021.
Shortly after the $50MM goal was shared, @overanalyser shared “The Road to 1%-” and articulated the goal: “Get a single product (DPI) to 1% of the DeFi Market.” This too was rallied around. Though we never articulated a time frame, set up tooling to track the metric, or put it front & center of any of our meetings or decisions.
Core Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
KPIs are used to answer, “How are we doing against our north star?”
Similar to the north star goal, several KPIs have been shared and rallied around to different degrees. These include:
- Market Cap
- Number of holders
- Trading volume across exchanges
- General awareness
- Growth: TVL, # holders, distribution channels, # Indices, # impressions
- Sustainability: # $INDEX holders, $INDEX price, protocol revenue, governance power
- Autonomy: Reward system, Onboarding process, culture/values
- DPI Holders
- Unincentivized TVL
- @ indexcoop twitter impressions
- DPI total supply
- W-o-w Total Supply Growth %
- Uniswap volume (no-arb)
Again, we have not yet solidified our focus, or put them front & center of all of our meetings, conversations, and decisions.
Empowering High-Impact Contributors
Finally, let’s move down from Core KPIs to individual contributions. A similar story applies here.
We have agreed on what types of activities by community members deserve remuneration:
- “Members should be rewarded for their contributions to the coop if the community believes the contributions are valuable…”
- “Meaningful contributions encompass contributions that help the Index coop grow the overall AUV (assets in vault) and holders…”
- A number of examples of high-impact activities are laid out in that post
We have not, though, put this into meaningful practice. Further, these structures were created at a time when the Coop was smaller. We have evolved significantly since their creation.
Summary of “Where we are today?”
We have already circled some North Star objectives, Core KPIs, and a contributor-compensation framework.
What we failed to do, though, was solidify and explicitly use them to guide value-add processes & make high-quality decisions that aim to better the Coop as a whole.
What is the complication?
So what’s the big deal?
The lack of clear direction has made it challenging for any one community member to be able to answer several important questions, including:
- How do we run the Coop?
- Who makes what decisions?
- How are they held accountable?
- What should I work on?
- How will my work be used?
- Will my work make an impact?
- Will I be compensated for my work? How?
This is leading to confusion and frustration in our community today.
The burning question is then, “How do we solve this problem?”
Note: I use the word “finalize” to signify, “Agree to for now, so we can start learning now and iterate as-needed in the future”
Here is a sensible plan to start addressing these areas of confusion. These are the immediate actions I plan to take over the coming days:
- Establish North Star Goal(s): Finalize this objective. Track it. Put it front & center.
- Establish Core KPIs: Finalize & measure them so we know our progress against the North Star.
- Create clear work structures: To enable high-Impact contributions. Make clear what work should happen, what work should be compensated, and the different paths to compensation.
- Evangelize: Make North Star/KPIs/work structures usable and accessible. a) Make decisions: Ask each other, “What goal does [proposed initiative] drive towards? How? Is that the best way?” b)Add to: Forum, Gitbook, Discord, Medium c) Use in: Meetings, conversations
Intellectual honesty: So far in the Index Coop, we have not routinely made clear decisions around what deserves working on and why. Are we ready for intellectual honesty? Are we ready to respectfully say “no” to ideas that don’t contribute to our goals? Are we, as individuals, open to hearing that “no? I hope our culture allows this level of rigor and openness.
Maintain status quo: It is an option to not set a North Star, Core KPIs, or clear compensation structures. This would be the wrong course of action for at least 4 reasons:
- Confusion will continue. We enter the failure modes described here.
- Perverse incentives take hold. Members contribute work that is not directed at clear outcomes or goals with expectation of remuneration.
- We will harm our brand. We will produce work that is not unified or directed.
- We won’t know what activities truly drive growth of Index Coop products.
Speed: To implement these changes will take some time since it will be done in public and thus requires writing & discussion. These problems will linger on for a little bit. This is okay, the path is clear, and we will get there.
Measurement and tracking: We need to be able to measure whatever goals & KPIs we set. This requires the appropriate tooling & tracking. I am comfortable taking on most overhead I can myself, though I will need help from others.
Allowing space for creativity: Allowing space for creativity and experimentation is an important ingredient to long-term success. I don’t expect creativity to be stifled by these suggestions. However, if that does occur, we can set up targeted solutions to that problem (i.e. Google 20% time, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works). Let’s solve that problem if & when we get there.
With these considerations in mind, it is time we move forward on north star goals, key performance indicators (KPIs), and empowering high-impact contributors.
We are on the cusp of becoming a major force in crypto: the DPI is a massive success, the CGI just launched, the FLI was just voted-in and more products are coming down the pipeline.
We need to move as one. We need to focus on what is impactful. We need alignment on these overarching goals so we can sprint forward together. Let’s go!
Request for Feedback
What is missing from this high-level plan?
What else is making it hard for you to contribute high-impact work with the Coop?
I will begin executing the plan above in public channels.
That means you can expect to see posts from me in public channels pushing each of these forward: 1) North Star Metrics 2) KPIs 3) Enabling high-impact contributors.
Addendum - Prior Work
Introducing the Index Cooperative - Felix Feng (October 6, 2020)
What is a North Star metric? - Mixpanel blog
The road to 1% - - OverAnalyser (October 2020)
Roles, Contributions, and Rewards - Inje (October 2020)
October Rewards Distribution & Methodology - Dylan (November 2020)
Governance Call Deck 003 - Felix Feng (November 10, 2020)
Launching a Growth Working Group - Regan Bozman & LemonadeAlpha (December 2020)