[ Notes ] MCDP 1: Warfighting

I recently re-read MDCP 1: Warfighting - the Marine Corps’ basic manual for how to think about warfare. A few themes really stood out to me in the context of our DAO and how we navigate uncertainty and stress.

  • The need to act quickly and decisively in the face of uncertainty

  • The importance of speed and focus

  • The role of human will as the deciding factor between victory and defeat

Business and warfare are completely separate enterprises. War is non-cooperative human interaction, while business is fundamentally cooperative. Despite the vast differences, there are important martial lessons for how organizations plan, interact, and execute in the face of uncertainty and stress.

While our DAO is built around financial protocols it is not strictly a business. Increasingly I see our DAO as a digital city (thank you @puniaviision). Some of the most important questions our community faces are not business questions, but fundamental questions of human organization in the face of change, adversity, and friction.

Warfare is an unpleasant topic - our community is built around trust, loyalty, and mutual benefit. These core tenants are fundamentally non-aggressive. Even in the face of Vampire Attacks we have consistently taken the high ground. With that said, I believe these themes are important .

Here are some quotes that really stood out to me:

Decentralized Decision Making

“The occurrences of war will not unfold like clockwork. We cannot hope to impose precise, positive control over events. The best we can hope for is to impose a general framework of order on the disorder, to influence the general flow of action rather than to try to control each event.”

In our DAO an incredible amount of work happens in a decentralized manner. Despite our best efforts at coordination, precise controls will always be a struggle. This struggle will only grow as we scale. The framework we build today around our culture, shared values, and common methods of coordination will serve us incredibly well.

With this high level of decentralization the onus is on each community member to ensure the highest level of contribution. @LemonadeAlpha does a great job of holding us to a great standard when it comes to content released under the Coop name. This high level of outward professionalism is something we should strive for throughout the Coop.

Autonomous and decentralized action places an incredible deal of responsibility on the shoulders of the individual - we must meet and embrace that responsibility.

“warfare by maneuver stems from a desire to circumvent a problem and
attack it from a position of advantage rather than meet it straight on

The most important work done within Index Coop does not scale linearly. Highly complex work takes focus and small teams. We need to optimize this kind of work across our organization.

Our ability to swiftly and efficiently execute major enterprise level initiatives at the community level is what will set us apart. This work is by its nature hard to scale. What this means for individuals is quality over quantity - we need to pay attention and work to build the context needed to drive real impact.

Community Intent

“To generate the tempo of operations we desire and to best cope with the uncertainly, disorder, and fluidity of combat, command and control must be decentralized. That is, subordinate commanders must make decisions on their own initiative, based on their understanding of their senior’s intent, rather than passing information up the chain of command and waiting for the decision to be passed down.”

In a decentralized organization community intent becomes incredibly important. Community members act most forcefully when acting autonomously with a clear understanding of community intent. A large purpose of our weekly meetings is for our community to align its intent around short term tactical objectives and long term strategic goals. The more effectively we align our intent the more effectively individuals will be able to contribute in support of the organization.

“Decision making requires both the situational awareness to recognize the essence of a given problem and the creative ability to devise a practical solution. These abilities are the products of experience, education, and intelligence.”

Something I increasingly appreciate is the learning curve experienced by all of us working within the DAO. This is a wholly new form of human organization that was largely theoretical until this past year. No one is an expert at this. In order to improve our community decision making we need to build awareness and creativity. Every day that we operate as a DAO our collective experience and education continues to compound and grow.

Human Will

“War is fundamentally a dynamic process of human competition requiring both the knowledge of science and the creativity of art but driven ultimately by the power of human will. “

Human will is the single biggest strength of any organization. Our ability to overcome adversity and persevere through the most trying circumstances is a direct result of human will. Index Coop will become the leading crypto asset management platform in the world. During the journey of the next few years we will undoubtedly face times of crisis, uncertainty, fear, and failure. These obstacles will only be overcome through culture, community, and collective will.

Our community has an rich range of backgrounds and interests- so excited as we continue to synthesize a vast amount of human learning, culture, and experience into something incredible :rocket:


Fascinating; thanks for sharing! I have recently read Extreme Ownership and The Dichotomy of Leadership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, who spent several years leading SEAL platoons in Iraq and Afghanistan. As you said, war and business are separate enterprises, but there are crucial leadership lessons to learn from the battlefield.

They defined Extreme Ownership by the following:

Of the many exceptional leaders we served alongside throughout our military careers, the consistent attribute that made them great was that they took absolute ownership—Extreme Ownership—not just of those things for which they were responsible, but for everything that impacted their mission. These leaders cast no blame. They made no excuses. Instead of complaining about challenges or setbacks, they developed solutions and solved problems. They leveraged assets, relationships, and resources to get the job done. Their own egos took a back seat to the mission and their troops. These leaders truly led.

Their views on maintaining a high standard is interesting, especially for a DAO where there is less hierarchy than in a traditional company:

When leaders who epitomize Extreme Ownership drive their teams to achieve a higher standard of performance, they must recognize that when it comes to standards, as a leader, it’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate. When setting expectations, no matter what has been said or written, if substandard performance is accepted and no one is held accountable—if there are no consequences—that poor performance becomes the new standard.

On leadership and vision, which is key for IndexCoop:

Leaders must always operate with the understanding that they are part of something greater than themselves and their own personal interests. They must impart this understanding to their teams down to the tactical-level operators on the ground. Far more important than training or equipment, a resolute belief in the mission is critical for any team or organization to win and achieve big results.

I love this one on simplicity because if the DAO becomes to complex due to the growing number of contributors or, lack of alignment, then it might fail:

Combat, like anything in life, has inherent layers of complexities. Simplifying as much as possible is crucial to success. When plans and orders are too complicated, people may not understand them. And when things go wrong, and they inevitably do go wrong, complexity compounds issues that can spiral out of control into total disaster.

Finally, because I don’t want to quote all the book, the concept of Prioritize and Execute is crucial for IndexCoop:

To implement Prioritize and Execute in any business, team, or organization, a leader must:

  • evaluate the highest priority problem.
  • lay out in simple, clear, and concise terms the highest priority effort for your team.
  • develop and determine a solution, seek input from key leaders and from the team where possible.
  • direct the execution of that solution, focusing all efforts and resources toward this priority task.
  • move on to the next highest priority problem. Repeat.
  • when priorities shift within the team, pass situational awareness both up and down the chain.
  • don’t let the focus on one priority cause target fixation. Maintain the ability to see other problems developing and rapidly shift as needed.

@Nicolas thank you for these insights. Extreme Ownership is such a powerful concept - especially in an organization like Index Coop. None of the work we do has a ready made solution or “right” answer. Each of us must find our own answers and solve highly complex problems with little guidance.

Extreme Ownership applies to every level within an organization. Three really strong examples of ownership stick out to me from my time at Index Coop.

  • The Metaverse Index was our first community led index. @DarkForestCapital and @verto0912 took complete responsibility for the success of that product. They relentlessly worked for months to make it happen. No one asked them to do this - they saw a problem and committed to solving it.

  • Our weekly Org meeting is really hard to get right. It fits in the intersection of a number of working groups and responsibilities. @MrMadila has taken charge and worked incredibly hard to build a strong structure for our organization. This may be one of the hardest jobs in a decentralized organization.

  • @DOC came to Index Coop with no background in finance, crypto, or tech. When he saw a post asking for help building IC materials he jumped on it and owned that process. I will never forget spending an hour together on the phone walking through $FLI and how it functions - and then seeing the finished work he did that synthesized the product better than I ever could.

Everyone in our community - regardless of background and experience can take responsibility. The first step is taking the responsibility to learn - this is a large and complex structure that is impossible to operate in without a high level of context. The second step is taking the responsibility to contribute - our protocol is only as valuable as the summation of all our efforts. And finally taking responsibility for each other- by building trust and deep relationships we forge the bonds of community.


This is so interesting & helpful to pull this type of knowledge into the Coop; love this sort of sharing :raised_hands:

could not agree more here – culture is absolutely critical and trickles down into every. single. thing.

again, major +1 – and at the same time, small teams sharing context with the broader community (i.e. Progress reports PWG, MVI, GWG, AWG) is crucial.

this is great and begs the question, “is community intent clear enough? If not, how can we improve it as a community?”