G.Nest (Semi) Mid-Season Review

Author: Dev. Reviewer: @Metfanmike.

Introduction

We’re a bit more than three months into Season 1 and we in Growth thought we should share a quick (Semi) Mid-Season review, given much of the new DAO structure is an experiment, there are many experiments happening in the Growth Nest (G.Nest), and some of our actions, news, successes and learnings might not be known to folks who cannot join Growth calls or keep on top of busy Discord threads.

First, the financials

/Season /Month Over/under
Core personnel
Forecast cost $518,333.35 $103,666.67
Actual cost (av/M) $494,671.92 $98,934.38 -4.56%
Expected May cost $496,980.00 $99,396.00 -4.12%
Expenses and flexible rewards
Forecast cost $493,750.00 $98,750.00
Actual cost (av/M) $285,183.33 $57,036.67 -42.24%
Total
Forecast $1,012,083.35 $202,416.67
Actual $779,855.25 $155,971.05 -22.95%

The TLDR is that core personnel costs are about on target with flexible contributors and bounties being used less than planned, resulting in Growth currently spending ~23% less than budgeted. Actual /Season numbers assume /Month (av) to date carried forwards. We hope to continue coming in under budget, potentially realizing some further efficiencies via reduced flexible rewards.

Thanks to Elliott and Hammad for providing some numbers and reviewing mine.

Second, what we’ve been doing, the successes and the learnings

In this sort of update, it seems to make most sense to score the last three months of work primarily against two of the highest level goals of Index Coop (via ICC1) and the ones which directly relate to G.Nest, before also looking at other things we’ve been working on as well as what hasn’t worked so well and what we’ve learned.

The aforementioned goals of Index Coop which relate to G.Nest (established by LemonadeAlpha @Metfanmike):

  • Increase the availability and accessibility of our products
  • Generate global awareness and understanding of our products and brand

Availability and accessibility

  • Via our Partnerships folks, we have achieved some key wins:
    • DPI and INDEX were listed on Gemini: enabling the KPI of one Tier 1 CEX listing in Season 1 to be hit and driving close to 500k units and $1.5M in DPI holdings since listing. This also opened the door to many more Partnerships conversations with funds, IRA providers, RIA platform providers, family offices, etc. We plan to execute a range of co-marketing initiatives with Gemini to increase the awareness of DPI (and INDEX) to their larger user base and drive more units of DPI purchases. Kreds @Metfanmike and thanks for your service.
    • Our partnership with Argent, where almost our entire suite of products is featured in a prominent placement in their mobile app. This sort of product placement is a dream (we hope to earn the right to achieve similar at the Geminis of the World!) and driving solid flows into our products - especially icETH which is often seeing >30 ETH/day in volume in the last week. We’ve also been providing lots of the co-marketing assets and strategy to make the co-marketing hum. So many people to tag for kreds, including MrMadila, LemonadeAlpha, Mringz Caf, Static121, @TheYoungCrews, OA and anyone I’ve missed, I’m sorry, DM me and I’ll ensure you’re attributed.
    • A ZenGo wallet partnership, which is earlier stage with more co-marketing to execute, but another helpful wallet win as we seek to land grab partnerships like this generally and have a presence in as much of the ecosystem as possible. Kreds Mringz.
    • DPI was approved for listing on Aave Arc for institutions and should be available shortly. Kreds to Gov House for an achievement which significantly helps increase the use of our products around DeFi, and potentially unlocks a few other key money legos and strategies too.
  • We also hope to achieve another Tier 1 CEX listing in Q2. Come on Mike!

Awareness and understanding

  • We’ve launched numerous products, supported by a bevvy of content in the form of videos, social posts, blogs. Some of these blog articles about icETH have become our first to break through the 1k and 2k pageview mark. Kreds Seb, Static121, Caf, @TheYoungCrews, @NFTZach, Marshmellow, @kindeagle, Madison.
  • Often via product launch news, we have been able to achieve some PR success via features or mentions in Bankless, Bloomberg, Coindesk, CoinTelegraph, Decrypt, Defiant, Yahoo! Finance and others. Seeing our infographics being used in Bankless videos was fantastic. Kreds Static121, Caf, Seb, Joseph, LemonadeAlpha, @TheYoungCrews. Kreds also to the folks involved with pushing our wires for really big news too - @Lee0007, El, Caf, Marshmellow, Madison.
  • A feature in CB Insights Top 50 blockchain startups - as one of three in DeFi, alongside Aave and Uni - was a credentializing highlight, realized in these last few months but also coming from historical work by many folks across the DAO. Kreds @metfanmike.
  • Our social community has also continued to grow, increasing 3,774 to 44,142 from Feb 1 to Apr 30, though the growth rate of 9.3% is down 58% compared to the prior three months. We generated 1.9m impressions, down 26%, this last three months - though engagement rate is up 13% to 3.2% overall across social media. Kreds @TheYoungCrews, @NFTZach, Caf, Static121.
  • We also successfully launched our hosted blog, which has seen 3x growth Mar-Apr to nearly 8k pageviews, and a weekly newsletter which is showing an open rate of 20-25% and a click through rate of 2.5% across >3.6k recipients. Within this work, 80 legacy articles were migrated while also meeting monthly article output targets. We added 2,782 emails to our list Feb-Apr - some coming from previous promotions - and have added 107 via signup forms to-date in May. Kreds Teddy, EthereumPete, Martin, Marshmellow, @kindeagle, Madison, Emil, Static121, @Lee0007, Gavin and all the writers.
  • Finally, the team has been busy hosting or attending webinars with CFA Institute, JPMorgan, OnRamp and BitGo, and podcasting with Copper, Sygnum and Intrack Investment Management. Kreds @metfanmike and Jordan.

Third, other things we’ve been working on:

  • We’ve expanded and executed the design asset checklist for product launches fostering better education and understanding of our new products. Kreds Caf, Static121 and Seb.
  • Phase one of a partnership with ArcX has been executed enabling us to explore bleeding edge use of incentives (DeFi 3.0!?) to incentivize clients to hold, increase their holdings, tell their friends, etc. Standby for more here, driven by (kreds) LemonadeAlpha, who has also been working on a potential partnership with Optimism.
  • Begun to establish a video presence on Youtube (including six product highlights and three deep dives), while also developing a comprehensive strategy for the next six months of growth on YouTube. Kreds Seb, Static121 and Henry.
  • Significantly honed in on the visual identity of the Index brand in terms of color and consistency via an evolved Brand Framework. Kreds Caf and Static121.
  • A range of SEO work, covering site hygiene, content production and optimization as well as external link building. We’d like to thank @Lee0007 for planning and building these SEO foundations, some great work being realized and built on top of by Gavin. Easy and medium-difficulty site hygiene issues have been attended to, articles can now be published to the blog scoring 14/15 against our internal SEO Content Scoreboard and a high quality and efficient cost link building service provider has been onboarded. Kreds also to Teddy, Marshmellow, @kindeagle, Madison and all the writers.
  • There has also been much work on analytics reporting and infrastructure by *kreds) Turgut (Marketing Mix Modeling project phase 1, presentation, now starting phase 2) - who’s now working with Product and Growth - and (kreds) Danilo, who’s helping set up and optimize Google Data Studio for marketing analytics. On the subject of analytics, we’re also working closely with Product to understand our target customers and the markets they live in more - this action is easiest to see in the Market Research channel.
  • Legal analysis, using Morrison Foerster and Fried Frank, has been ramped up to advise us on key things related to long term organization structure and business execution. This will help protect the DAO from a range of risks while also helping us sign more real business partnerships. Kreds @metfanmike.

Fourth, things which haven’t worked as well / key learnings / areas to improve

While there have been some pleasing achievements and good work, there have also been some learnings for us - with certain things not working well. Here’s a brief run down of the notable callouts and what we’re doing to improve/prevent the same issue happening:

  • Paid advertising: crypto still doesn’t have the size of paid platforms necessary to do this properly at scale, with many itty bitty fragmented ad ecosystems which are difficult to manage and get data out of. We’ve stopped paid advertising - saving us budget - to focus resources on other things. Kreds to @Lee0007 and Aakansha for monitoring this and then pivoting.
  • Communication and alignment between Marketing and Partnerships: we think we’ve done ok here, but there’s more to do - especially in light of the new Product Strategy. As part of a review of the overall Growth Strategy we will be thinking deeply about how Marketing can serve Partnerships folks to help them win more meetings and close more deals, some of which have the potential to ‘10x’ our TVL.
  • High level funnel numbers: our visits to the website, impressions in social media and searches in Google, for example, are all relatively flat for the last three months. Bear markets have a role in this - see Turgut’s research into correlations of various factors with our onchain transactional activity - but we will also be looking for ways to increase these numbers. We have a head wind right now, but let’s not stop striving to grow.
  • PR ownership and execution: we’ve probably been a little too fragmented in how this was owned (many people part-owning) and not resourcing it with folks who are experienced PR pros. We’re talking to a few agencies and PR professionals now about potential working arrangements.
  • Pressure and stress on our designers: the fast-moving product roadmap and number of product launches this last three months has made it very challenging for our designers to plan, execute well and keep up. Some work on ETH3xFLI, PEI and SOCIAL may either not be realized, or realized over a longer time frame. We’re continuing to work with Product to improve this situation and hopefully a more focused, narrow product roadmap over the next six months enables less but larger more plannable launches, from a Marketing perspective. Kreds Static121 especially - who’s now a saint.
  • Growth Grants: it feels like we’re not really a large enough DAO (Treasury size wise) to have a significant grants program, or a more niche one in G.Nest. So, we’ve decided to pivot this part of G.Nest into a Special Projects function. Kreds to LemonadeAlpha for insight here and pivoting.
  • Tracking impact of custodian listings: this has proven hard, with wallets sometimes not shared, data abstracted/obfuscated, etc, so while we will work with our partners to learn more we may also have to observe less direct data points. CEXs are easier to track.
  • Co-Marketing activities aren’t always optimal for getting client lead info from: we hope to make this sort of data share an agreed part of co-marketing initiatives, but some high value partners simply won’t entertain it. E.g. JPMorgan.

What next?

Two main things.

Firstly, We’re delighted to welcome new core hires onboard, some with a % split of their time across G.Nest and other Nests. These folks are either familiar faces coming back in a different context or folks who have shone brightly as flexible contributors and rightly earned the club membership. Welcome to G.Nest:

  • @TheYoungCrews , working in Marketing, mainly on Socials.
  • @funkmasterflex, working in Partnerships, mainly on DAO Treasuries and TradFi orgs.
  • @kindeagle, working in Marketing, mainly on content and email, with a large focus on our products and stories around them.
  • @Pepperoni_Joe, working in Partnerships, mainly on Yearn, brand partners and DeFi protocols.

With a few folks doing less within G.Nest (moving to other Nests, scaling back their time or moving on - a big thank you to you all @metfanmike, MrMadila, @Lee0007) core personnel costs should stay about flat and, hopefully, we will see a reduced usage of flexible rewards for the final two on-months of the Season, enabling us to keep coming in under budget.

We are also moving from one Nest and many Pods to one Nest and three Pods underneath - Marketing, Partnerships, Special Projects. Marketing is a large pod and will involve a number of folks and cover: content, social media, email, PR and other such ‘marketingy’ things. Partnerships will also be a large pod involving a number of folks and cover: institutions, defi protocols, DAO treasuries, brand and distribution partners, methodologists, etc. Special Projects is a smaller pod, led by LemonadeAlpha, focused on initiatives with outsized potential impact with the likes of ArcX, Optimism, etc.

Secondly, and as mentioned briefly above, we should reconsider G.Nest strategy and use of resources in light of a compelling and rallying new Product Strategy recently presented in a Leadership Forum call. We are in the process of reacting to this Product Strategy to share an updated Growth Strategy soon. You will be able to learn of this via the Leadership Forum, Discord and other communication channels.

We’re excited to share this new Growth Strategy asap, receive feedback and then get at it. We may be in a crypto bear market, but with luck and forethought we raised a great A-round last year, have excellent people across the whole DAO, a decent brand and much potential to realize with new products and focus.

All errors here are my own.
Thank you for reading,
Dev and G.Nest

PS - due to the 10 @ restriction, I @'d folks reviewing, leaving or joining G.Nest instead of being able to @ all of those mentioned.

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@DevOnDeFi
Great report, I was hoping something like this would be published to give an idea of progress. I know our products are somewhat at the mercy of market conditions and funnel length can be hard to estimate, but do we have sales targets or sales goals that can be shared? The work listed sounds like its all sufficient to deliver top line growth, but are there building block targets in place across the market segments that ladder up to some kind of hard goals? Do we have individual owners for each of those building blocks (whales, treasury, HNW, Mainstream)?

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Hi Shawn,

Thank you for reading and commenting.

We have some Partnerships goals mentioned in the Season 1 G.Nest Proposal here (using other pod names back then) and will be revisiting these as we: i) augmented strategy, in line with Product Strategy, and ii) finish Season 1, have a good dust down, and see how we did against such goals. EG goal - $XXm from Tier 1 CEXs/custodians. In terms of DRIs for customer types - such as onchain whales, DAOs, offchain HNWIs, offchain mainstream - wherever possible a DRI will be assigned, as for many other things in Partnerships. Sometimes there will be overlap across Partnerships areas though. IE - a couple of people on DeFi protocols, amongst other things too.

1 Like