Restructuring the Investment Committee

Title: Restructuring the Investment Committee
Author: @Lavi
Reviewer: @verto0912
Date: 21.04.2021

Summary

  • The Investment Committee was initiated as an experiment within the Growth Working Group 1 with a great vision and high potential
  • It soon developed good momentum and positive feedback, but went into a “pause” mode over the last two months. With this post, I’d like to propose a few changes to the IC in order to revive its original vision
  • I propose to follow a similar approach as pioneered by the Growth Working Group I, which created a lot of momentum and onboarding opportunities for new community members
  • This should be beneficial for the Coop in a few ways. First of all, we want to create great content and increase our marketing funnel. And secondly, we want to focus that content on our underlying assets, to also strengthen the relationship with the underlying projects

Context
Before diving into this, below is a quote from the original vision for the Investment Committee created by @verto0912 n this post.

Vision

The focus of the Investment Committee is on creating Index Coop-branded investment content, covering general investing, the underlying assets in Index Coop products (incl. their governance structures), and the benefits of Index Coop products.

We want to build a brand-awareness reflecting competency and become a well-known contributor to the wider DeFi and crypto ecosystem by publishing useful content and learning material.

Problem - Time & Resource Constraints
Since the inception of the Investment Committee in January 2021, two articles about the underlying tokens were released (introduction on Comp and Aave), a risk return analysis, plus a few other publications (Meta Governance, DPI monthly, etc.) went out. However, this was mostly done in January and February, not much was released since then. We discussed this in the weekly Investment Committee call, and we agreed that the main root-cause is time constraints of IC members. Many contributors are highly involved in other tasks (e.g. community methodologist, treasury, org, etc.).

In addition, writing deep-dives or becoming a token expert is time consuming and requires deep knowledge of the crypto space. At the same time, there are many other (more) attractive or more important ways to contribute to the Coop, which lead to high opportunity costs when writing for the Investment Committee.

Hence, we need new talents, because our resource-pool of owls (referring to long-term contributors) is limited and they are often swamped.

Solution - Investment & Research Committee (IRC) V2
I therefore want to revive the Investment Committee by forming a new iteration, which is more focused on open participation, onboarding new talents and providing a structured process for contributors.

I do not yet propose to form a sponsored working group with a dedicated budget, for purposes laid out below.

What do we do?
The original vision does not change. The goal of the IRG is to create content about:

  • Underlying projects of the $DPI (and other indices)
  • The Index Coop and its products
  • Crypto and DeFi in general

Recent discussions around content have made clear that we need a strong focus on impressions/ marketing, and that the content of the IRG should be created with this in the back of the mind. Therefore, we’ll work closely with people involved in marketing and other content activities.

How it’s structured
The idea is to continue with an informal working group for now. The structure is inspired by the growth experiments used by the Growth Working Group I:

  • Writers and analysts propose articles they want to write
  • A selection of topics is provided for writers who are not sure what to write about
  • Rewards will only be paid out with publication of the article (similar to growth experiments)
  • The main forum will be a weekly or bi-weekly call and Discord, where we discuss progress, ideas, allocate the work, and analyze what worked well. Plus 1:1 calls to onboard new joiners
  • KPIs are # of impressions (substack/ twitter/ medium) and website clicks through articles (Google Analytics)

Expected benefits for the Coop
The positive feedback we received in January and February was great and encouraging. If we can get this up and running again, I imagine the following benefits:

  • Create awareness of Index Coop products through informative content (marketing)
  • Build internal knowledge about the underlying projects and DeFi/ crypto in general and spread information (create great content)
  • Knowledge funnel for new people → IRC as a career starter to join the Coop (similar to Messari)
  • Establishing strong relationships with underlying assets and other entities in the crypto ecosystem (partnerships)
  • In the future: Support the Index Coop in its Meta Governance duty as informed meta-governor’s/ambassadors (look for forum post coming soon)

Rewards
Rewards are always a delicate topic and I’d like to get the community feedback before proposing any numbers. Furthermore, this should come with better experience of what works well and what not. But currently there are still some questions that need answering first, e.g. how do we reward (only per impression or per #words / quality), how much (pay per word), how to assess quality, etc.

Hence, I propose that for now the rewards will be done separately by the treasury team according to the same principles as before. However, creating transparency and potentially a framework for rewards in the near future is on the backlog.

Roles
In order to achieve our vision, I imagine the following roles are needed:

  • Lead / co-lead
  • Research Analysts - anybody who wants to write great content can propose to write an article
  • Reviewers / linguists - anybody who wants to review and help improve great content

Tasks for the lead
While this is not a fixed book-of-work and doesn’t need to be done by just one person, these are some tasks to be tackled by the ICG lead / co-lead:

  • Decide which content will be published (in agreement with marketing content team)
  • Manage content pipeline and publication (e.g. notion board / substack)
  • Provide support during “onboarding process” by inviting each new-joiners on a 1:1 call to explain how we work
  • Support authors during the writing process, i.e. connect them to reviewers, provide framework for content and publish on substack / medium
  • Lead / Co-lead will work as a proxy for the meta-governance and marketing content group
  • In a later stage: Create fair and transparent reward framework for contributors, together with the treasury team
Community Sentiment
  • Yes, the IRC is something we should keep and fund
  • No, the IRC is not necessary and we should park it for now

0 voters

Next steps

  1. Collect and implement feedback
  2. If we proceed, work out reward framework and collaboration platform
  3. In the meantime, continue working on the introductory articles
  4. Attract talent by offering to work with the best community
  5. Create high-impact content

Hey Lavi,

Thanks for putting this together! Curious if there are any data on the work that has already been done by this committee (impressions, clicks, etc)? That seems like the best tell as to whether we should continue to invest in this area (or in what “form” we should continue to invest in it).

1 Like

Continuing our 1:1 convo :smiley: a few questions come to mind:

  • What were the quantitative and qualitative outcomes of those two posts that the IC produced?

  • What do you think could improve from that first iteration?

  • What is the intended audience for content on underlying tokens? This seems to be a focus of the IC.

At first blush, it’s hard for me to believe that we’ll produce content on underlying assets that is better than what’s already out there.

Instead, I’m wondering, “What do INDEX holders and other stakeholders need that they aren’t getting from us?”

Some topics that come to mind as possibilities are:

  1. Monitoring meta-gov protocol forums so that the Coop is prepared with a pros/cons list of meta-gov votes before the vote goes live
  2. Thinking about, “how do we engage the ~2,800 INDEX holders who do not participate in governance?”
  3. What do core Coop contributors need to be better meta-governors and protocol politicians?

For now I have voted “no” and am excited to continue this conversation to figure out what an ideal niche might be!

2 Likes

Great points @gregdocter - seems like gov and meta-gov are much more pressing issues than content at this point!

Hi @jdcook thanks for asking! And yes sure, we have some data from Substack.

Substack is also used to publish other content like the weekly newsletter and podcast, but we can clearly see a steep increase of subscribers from end of January to mid March, when most of our articles were released.

And to provide some context, the weekly newsletter or podcast typically get between 350 to 450 views. In comparison, some views from IRC articles:

  • Introduction of Compound → 1012 views
  • Introduction of Aave → 959 views
  • Should you add DPI to your BTC & ETH portfolio? → 893 views
  • DPI monthly update February → 1045 views

These numbers are only from Substack and do not include Twitter impressions when sharing these posts. Would be interesting to see these stats if anyone who has access can provide them.

And here some impression from the latest release:

Bildschirmfoto 2021-04-26 um 14.14.40

Hey @gregdocter, thanks for adding your inputs.

I hope I was able to answer this with the post above. And as a qualitative outcome we could highlight the relationship established with Aave through @Matthew_Graham which only came about via writing about them.

I think in the beginning, we underestimated the effort it takes to write these articles. That’s why I proposed to onboard new talents and increase the number of contributors to create content. I also think that a transparent reward framework could help a lot, so authors know what to expect when contributing to the IRC. And in the longterm, I’d like to add another channel besides Substack for the content to live on, e.g. medium or our website (which is also proposed in the website update).

Well, the introductory series were planned to be the starting point and essentially, the IRC would create content that people are most interested in. While there is not much experience to draw from, the introductory articles were read more often than most other publications on Substack (except for the monthly DPI report).

This next iteration has a slightly modified focus towards marketable content and should provide an additional entry channel for new joiners to start contributing to the Coop. This is already working with @allan.g and @george who have expressed interest to contribute to the IRC. In addition, there are also veteran owls like @MrMadila and @Mringz digging into underlying projects and writing about it.

However, as mentioned before, this a voluntary attempt to revive the original vision. If the community finds that other matters add more value and this iteration is not necessary at this point in time, I obviously prefer to pause this for now.

I definitely agree with the points raised above regarding meta-gov. My question is whether we have to decide for one or the other at this point, or if both initiative can be done (and funded) side by side?
Keen to hear what others think?

2 Likes

I have one small concern, why should this group exists alongside our content marketing or growth WG?

I voted no, for now, due to the overlap. Hopefully with more discussion we can tune this into something useful.

I voted for because, though it is tough to find time and resources, I see the knowledge gained from any work done will be valuable for meta governance and potential token holders. If the committee can function in a way that helps develop that, then I am for. If token research is formalised elsewhere, then maybe I would answer differently.

I voted for, I believe the investment committee helps contributors build in depth knowledge of the underlying tokens that make up our indexes. It also helps us become more effective in interpreting proposals for meta-governance activities. Lastly, it shows our expertise and professionalism as a DAO, having the a group of analysts build confidence in our abilities to create and manage the best index products in the DeFi eco-system. It is hard to track the quantitative impact of the investment committee but I believe there are plenty of qualitative advantages to keep the investment committee running.

1 Like

I agree with the value of much of the activity happening in the Investment Committee. However, I have some concerns based on the stated vision for this group:

My challenges are as follows:

  • Content is currently being created in the growth, design, content-marketing and IC working (sub) groups. I feel strongly that a more coordinated approach to development and distribution is a high priority (instead of encouraging further fragmentation).
  • Instead of writing articles from scratch, can we identify and share articles which already exist about Crypto and DeFi in general (so as not reinvent the wheel).
  • Can we not push some of the responsibilities for content creation on our index Methodologist. Part of their roles is to provide robust research informing their selection, and given the rewards methodologist receive, I believe this should be part of their remit? Especially with DPI, I don’t think Index Coop team members should be spending time researching the underlying assets as this undermines their role as methodologists.

Interesting discussion, and I welcome challenge on the above.

1 Like

I’m glad that we are high lighting these concerns and discussing some issues with the original investment committee.

Outside of the topics already raised here is my perspective.

  • This is a key function for any financial institution. The investors we speak to consistently highlight their desire for more professional high-quality information about the products in our portfolios. As we bring more and more institutional investors on-board we need to be building out this capability.

  • @LemonadeAlpha’s use of impression mining has had an immediate and large effect on our twitter presence. The amount of IC related content on Twitter has dramatically improved in both volume and quality. Impression mining was a lightbulb moment for me. Every content the is produced by IC that can be tied back to impressions should directly lead to compensation.

  • There will always be some over lap between different working groups and verticals. The second we start preventing new energy and initiative in our order to preserve some arbitrary org structure we start to lose.

Finally- we need to recognize that every single person in this organization is learning and getting better. The DAO is a completely new structure and way of doing work. If we base our support of initiatives solely based on how they did in the past cycle we wont get anywhere. When looking back at my time so far at IC far more of my initiatives failed or didn’t work than the ones that did work (pls dont look up Index Coop Meme Team). We should encourage community members to continue to iterate and improve.

@gregdocter makes some solid points - I support the IC and think this should be passed and funded. However, we do need to start thinking more outside the box about what kind of content should be produced and researched and how this committee fits into our larger structure.

Some things that you guys could build/contribute to that would be helpful

  • Monthly Index Coop shareholder style letter. By working with @jdcook you guys can easily produce a monthly run down of both our internal KPIs and the performance of the key assets in our portfolios

  • Managing all Index Coop related materials. We desperately need some org to manage all the materials we produce and ensure that everything is up to date and collocated.

  • Organize community learning sessions - I for one would love to have @overanalyser spend an hour talking everything LM with new community members.

  • Structure research and content tasks for new joins to execute.

In my mind the only KPI you guys should be tracking is impressions. If the above activities can get Index Coop 100k or 200k impressions a month this committee is well worth it. Lets take the feedback from the community, recognize that direct improvements need to be made, and fucking crush this thing.

3 Likes

Great feedback, thanks everyone for adding your thoughts, really appreciate it!

We discussed the forum feedback and vote in our IRC call yesterday. I think key takeaways were:

  • We acknowledged that concerns are valid
  • Which made me think whether going forward as proposed above is the correct way or not
  • We all agreed that there is definitely something here: There’s demand for content, demand for learning, demand for research (investor relations) and on the other side community members interested to create such content
  • So we don’t want to ignore the community’s feedback, but we want to find a suitable way to go ahead with this (one idea by DFC was to do content mining on Substack, we’ll def. have to look into this)

Thanks @BigSky7 for the great ideas and encouraging inputs. Definitely agree that we need to be able to iterate and learn what works and what not!

1 Like

Hi guys apologies for being a little late to post here.

It seems we are struggling to define and agree on the value of this content so I cannot agree more with @BigSky7 that we should outsource that decision to “the market” and let the impressions tell us what is worthwhile and what isn’t.

Aligning the rewards as such is the fairest way forward and offers those that believe there is value to go and find out for themselves. A hard truth here is that we are spending more time facing off internally and debating the merits and value of XYZ than actually going out and making content.

I voted FOR as NOT creating longer-form content is just not an option imo

If the market leaders in the investment industry do it so should we. :point_down:

We are nailing the Twittersphere so let’s fully send that energy and professionalism along the entire content spectrum and be the market leaders in all spaces.

2 Likes