Relentless focus: Q3-2021 Priorities

This post shares a rundown of 4 strategic priorities for Q3-2021

  1. Engineering and product focus (Tier 1)
  2. Doubling down on the most effective growth & distribution tactics (Tier 2)
  3. Fostering our impact-oriented culture (Tier 2)
  4. Maintain a long-term sustainable organization (Tier 3)

It is a call to the entire Coop community to focus on the few things that drive massive outcomes for Index Coop stakeholders.

If successful, we will unlock our next stage of growth.

These priorities emerged during a call with full-time core contributors on the topic of Q3 priorities, was shared with Working Group leaders for feedback, and was flagged on today’s Org. Call.

Principals

Here are some of the principles underpinning the need for strategic priorities:

Product-led growth: The #1 way for the Coop to grow and succeed is to launch & maintain successful products.

Focus is required: To achieve big outcomes, we need to focus (Execution is Everything). “Success fails to scale when we fail to focus.” (Messy Middle)

Good strategy: “Good strategy works by focusing energy and resources on one, or a very few, pivotal objectives whose accomplishment will lead to a cascade of favorable outcomes” (Good Strategy Bad Strategy)

Where are we today?

Today, the demand for Index Coop products outstrips our ability to create & maintain those products.

This brutal truth was made obvious by our failure to achieve the Q2-2021 goal: 4 new products launched with $200M+ combined TVL.

See Engineering and Product Constraints & Engineering Constraints Follow Up & Next Steps for more

What are the challenges?

There are two key challenges to keep front & center

#1 - To unlock our next stage of growth, we need to solve our engineering & product constraints.

#2 - To solve our engineering & product constraints, we need relentless focus on the few things that matter.

This begs the question: What must we focus on to unlock our next stage of growth?

Answer

The clear #1 focus must be engineering & product.

  • The Index Coop needs to be able to expertly design, launch, and maintain the most desirable structured token products.
  • To achieve this vision will require us to focus on the constraints that exist today & to shield our limited engineering/product capacity from activities that don’t further that goal
  • Proposals and ideas that involve engineering but are not product related can expect to receive a respectful & firm, “sorry, not now.”

More is needed than just focus on engineering & product though.

For the Index Coop to succeed in Q3-2021 will also require that we zero a few mission-critical activities:

  • Double down on the most effective growth & distribution tactics
  • Foster our impact-oriented culture
  • Maintain a long-term sustainable organization

Here :point_down: is how this focus looks split into 3 tiers.

Tier 1 Priority

Engineering and product focus

  • Existing product maintenance, i.e.

    • Product improvements
    • Education
    • Parameter updates
    • Rebalancing
  • New product creation (the engineering of products, that is)

  • Preservation and protection of eng capacity (If an activity requires eng. that is not product-related, “sorry, not now” can be expected)

  • Liquidity management

  • Data/analytical insight

  • Engineering talent identification & culture creation

Tier 2 Priorities

Doubling down on the most effective growth/distribution tactics

  • Major DeFi integrations (i.e. Aave)
  • Major CEX listing
  • Direct sales of Index products to high-demand audiences - i.e. DAOs
  • Maximise twitter presence and reach
  • Educational content

An impact-oriented culture

  • Setting the DAO standard for focus & producing impact/outcomes
  • Ownership mentality
  • Engineering-oriented
  • Direct accountability for results
  • Clear communication between contributors
  • Embracing intellectual honesty (with empathy)

Tier 3 Priority

Maintaining a long-term sustainable organization

  • Cost control, focused on liquidity spend
  • Focused rewards/incentives (raising the bar for contributors in terms of impact and deliverables)
  • Data/analytical insight to drive strong decision making

A call to rally together

We will have a massive Q3 and beyond, if we focus first and foremost on engineering & product, and double down on effective growth tactics, foster our impact-oriented culture, and maintain a long-term sustainable organization.

I believe we can do this, and that all contributors that are up to it have a role to play.

When we’ve successfully achieved this, we will see the Index Coop community unleashed.

Next Steps

You can expect to see these priorities surfaced time and time again in decision making over the next 3+ months.

Request for feedback

What is unclear?

What do you think is needed to unlock our next stage of growth?

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I love this. Big agree on these priorities. And I want to note that the biggest outcome from these may not be the priorities themselves, but the synergy the Coop experiences as we all lean in and unify against the same strategic vision!

I am thinking hard about how I might tweak priorities within the AWG to align. I would encourage everyone else to do the same - whether you are a working group lead or an individual contributor.

If we can win against these priorities in Q3 we will level up as a DAO and enter a new phase of growth. Let’s all lean in and get after this together!

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owls
together
skronq

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@gregdocter
If my questions were covered on the org call today - I apologize. I have been out of pocket for the past week and just settling in.

Fully understand the Tier 1 focus on engineering and product. Tier 2 also makes sense.

What I don’t understand is:

  • Data and analytical insight was highlighted as a Tier 1 priority,
  • while also mentioned as a tier 3 priority.

I am probably missing some context, but clarification around this would be beneficial to me.

I also struggle to wrap my head around the Tier 3 priority and am not sure what is trying to be accomplished with this section.

This seems highly important to me and ultimately think Tier 1 priorities dovetail with this sentence. I understand we must address immediate concerns now, however, I also don’t think this should detract from the longer-term strategic vision. I could be reading/understanding this incorrectly.

Highlighting the importance of flexibility

Finally, I think we need to highlight flexibility as a priority. Given the importance of resolving constraints, it would make sense to me the WG leads are flexible with strategic priorities to best support engineering. As @jdcook highlighted, I believe WG leads AND individuals should take inventory of initiatives and their impact on engineering/product. This is a great time to take a step back and focus on supporting immediate needs. As we gather more information, we should shift our approach accordingly.

Apologize again if I missed any of these on the call today! If so, feel free to publicly shame me :slight_smile:

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Resources and energy within the Coop have rightly shifted to (1) existing product maintenance, and (2) preservation and protection of engineering capability after the Engineering and Product Constraints and Engineering and Product Constraints Follow-Ups and Next Steps posts and ensuing discussions.

However, I am now worried about this:

We have two products launching soon, BED and SMI, with two new methodologists, Bankless and Synthetix, but I’m not sure what’s next in priority given engineering resource constraints involved in launching SYI.

@Kiba and I are planning to bring the Data Economy Index (DATA) to a formal IIP within a week and we hope that it will pass and become the next highest priority index product for the Index Coop.

I am concerned that we are not giving enough attention to building the Coop’s product pipeline and the amount of time it takes to develop a new product from initial ideation to launch. As @overanalyser noted in INDEX.labs, there are now 8 potential methodologies that are stuck in pre DG1 discussions and another methodology (TTI) that failed to reach quorum for DG2.

I believe there is a significant opportunity to create compelling structured products within the Index Cooperative and feed them to the Community Methodologist Program (i.e. MVI) or partner with an external methodologist (i.e. BED).

Perhaps this INDEX.labs group could become an Internal Methodologist within the broader Product Working Group.

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absolutely no public shaming :slight_smile: questions & differing viewpoints are always encouraged.

Taking things one at a time…

Data/analytics
Having “data/analytics” in two places was intended to highlight that there is important contributions to be made from a data POV to both “engineering & product” & “long-term org”

Perhaps that is needlessly confusing.

maintaining a long-term sustainable organization

The purpose of that section is to highlight the 3 key priorities for “maintaining a long-term sustainable organization.”

It is important, and indeed, addressing tier 1 priorities will also contribute to the Coop as a long-term sustainable org.

Focusing on engineering/product is additive/part-of the long-term strategic vision (not detracting).

i’m curious to learn your point of view, how do you see that primary focus as detracting?

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hmm, i am a bit confused, so pardon me if i’m missing something.

new product creation – that is, building up the engineering capacity within the Index Coop to speed up the idea-to-launch timeline – is a tier-1 priority.

What about that is concerning to you?
What am I misunderstanding about your reply?

Hey @gregdocter, sorry for being confusing!

As you know, new product creation requires much more than Engineering, it also requires research and development (i.e. methodologist), business development, technical operations, marketing, etc.

My concern is that right now Engineering is the bottleneck, but that after those constaints are lifted that R&D (methodologists) will become the new limiting constaint.

For example, @Kiba and I have done a ton of R&D and business development on Data Economy Index and gone through a lot of iterations and product decisions. There is a ton of work that happens before even a DG1 vote.

I am saying the Coop will be in a lot better position if Index Labs became like a Methodology Research & Development Working Group so that we have 2+ products to release per month that can be supported by Community Methodologists or External Methodologists.

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Thanks @gregdocter, I understand now.

I was probably confusing in my wording. I don’t think focusing on engineering/product is detractive at all, but rather critical to a longer-term strategy. Because this post is focused on 3Q21, I will keep it short and say that debottlenecking engineering should be priority #1.

Switching gears a bit.

@TenaciousTerrier - I understand you are more looped into product than I am, however, I am not sure I agree with the following statement.

I believe I understand the type of work that goes into the backend to identify a successful index product (and risk associated due to potential limited adoption), but to me the resolution (of a methodologist constraint) hinges more on economic incentive rather than resources (personnel or education). My impression is money will only move the needle so far when resolving engineering constraints.

That said, I agree with your sentiment around INDEX.labs. I think this quote from @DefiJesus, adequately communicates the upside of a program like this. I am in full support of this initiative, however I believe the timing is early. My gut says we need to wait 1-2 months to give this real focus - I think this initiative should have a dedicated opinion from an engineer through implementation. Completely open to feedback here. Also, you have a new sub :slight_smile: - Plug - How to Buy — Token Terrier

Bottom line, I understand we need to get products to market and streamline the process. And we will.

If we have to choose, does the incremental $ (or current $, with Set or the IC) prioritize product release efficiency or security? I personally think it’s the latter.

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Hey @gregdocter, thanks for the update!
Great to see the strategic priorities clearly laid out. To me this absolutely makes sense, and it’s good to know what to focus on in the coming months.

One thing I’d be keen to understand is, where/how would meta-governance fit into the picture going forward? I understood that there’s some dev-work being done on this topic?

I’m coming in a bit cold here, but wouldn’t it be prudent to target hiring 1-2 senior develops under the Index Coop banner ??

If we have zero in house dev resources at the end of Q3 to me that is a massive fail on the communities behalf.

Index Coop should not be relying on a third party, all be it a founder, for engineering / developer resources. It just seems to be a massive risk to the future of the DAO to have all engineering tasks prioritised and implemented by a different entity.

We need a strategic goal to bring developer skills in-house. I can not think of a single DAO in DeFi with no full time developer resources. This truely baffles me.

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Is it possible to ask Set Team to hire an engineer for IC? I think it would fast-track the hiring process. They already posted jobs for them. TokenSets - Asset Management Simplified.

Those are to be Set employees. What we’re trying to do is separate ourselves from a reliance on Set as a crutch. This is on the DAO, not Set, to hire engineers

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Taking these at a high-level, the Index Coop was launched on the backs of Set engineers and so there was not a focus on day 1 to bring in engineers. Today, Set engineers remain as core contributors to Index Coop product creation & maintenance (small example: IIP-50 was recently executed by Set engineers). Clearly though, the Index Coop has evolved significantly since October 2020.

“Engineering talent identification & culture creation” is a Tier 1 priority for a reason :raised_hands:

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HI @gregdocter

Apologises for being pointed, but when can Index Coop post external job adverts and start building out a pool of external talent to choose from ?

What I am looking for is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound (S.M.A.R.T) objectives. I’m not a fan of narrative and wordy commits. Commit to achieving X and be accountable to that. “Best Endeavours” is what I tell clients when I have no intention of following through. The post still does not say hire a single dev that is a paid for Index Coop.

Index Coop needs its own Engineering/Developer team and needs to run independently of Set Labs. We need to be forward planning, everything to date has been a reaction to current events. This simple is not good enough. The community needs better planning from Set Labs on this front or permission to do something meaningful about it.

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Going quick here and so being something of a robot in my responses…

Based on IIP-51 & the snapshot – it looks like The Coop plans to be executing many more metagovernance votes going forward.

Right now, based on IIP-49, executing those votes falls on myself/punia/dylan. The idea is that the Coop owns metagov execution in addition to all the coordination work @cedrick owns today. Work (started weeks ago) is being done to make execution simple.

Beyond the work already in motion, where do you see meta-gov going?

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