So just throwing out some unrefined preliminary thoughts of mine after this month off spent mentally and emotionally digesting the work we’ve done this year. I’ll have more to say and a need to refine my thoughts, but I want to get them recorded and out there regardless.
1. Some of our bigger achievements this year feels like:
a. Community Expansion from a group of like, 5 people to a community of over 30 or more.
b. The cultivation of our community culture as one of the more inviting, wholehearted, and humane spaces within the tech/crypto/OS space.
c. While unpolished, opening the path for contributors to start evaluating their own values/goals when it comes to the work they do in the world.
d. Turning the algorithm on for multiple useful platforms.
e. Attracting and maintaining a few key co-communities who seem to genuinely want to use our technology.
f. Really starting to organize and name the different pieces/goals of this project overall (the trunks and branches).
g. Having some actual documentation!
I’d be super curious to hear an answer to this question from those in the project who are more economics or SWE inclined, as my answers are obviously impacted by the community work I have a front row seat to.
2. I think some of our biggest struggles relate to:
a. Coordination. We struggle to orient ourselves and keep our work connected/communicated across disciplines. This goes for both the bird’s-eye-view of an entire community trying to work in coordination, as well as smaller individual groups trying to recreate the wheel of project management.
b. Bandwidth. Everyone in at least the Core group seems to have a large array of responsibilities that feel unrealistic for one person to take on. This quickly leads to burnout, a common practice in capitalist spaces which I personally abhor.
c. Strategy and priority. There’s always so much to do, and no real idea of exactly what should be focused on in the present moment. That really left our team feeling like we were always chipping away at an endless iceberg of tasks. We need an ability to examine, decide, and focus as a distributed entity.
d. Reinventing the wheel. We are treating ourselves and our project as thought we’re the first to ever tread this ground. We’re not. There’s an entire legacy of humans thinking about these challenges and coming up with different ways to overcome them. I’d love to see us work harder in consuming the thoughts, successes, and setbacks of those who came before. I’d love to see us build the skill of parsing through other’s work and incorporating the pieces that are applicable to our vision. (And flowing them legacy Cred!)
e. CRED LITERACY. This one has been huge for me. We’ve really failed to help participants of our internal community understand when/why/how they should flow Cred within our available tools. In some cases, we are operating as though Cred flows one way when in reality it doesn’t (eg: all normal emojis in discord flowing 1 Cred, when in reality the and emojis flow a different amount!). I think it really undermines our community’s ability to trust the technology when misunderstanding and contradictions like these exist. Tbh, it’s been driving me nuts.
f. Onboarding. We have always struggled to communicate our vision and a newcomer’s place in the work we do. As a consequence we lose out on a lot of powerful participants. This includes things like resources and flows for newcomers; but also includes our lack of product management and our lack of ability to provide financial stability for newcomers.
3. I’d say in the coming year our priorities across the project should be along the lines of:
a. Building the technology. The technology is a core aspect of our product and I would love to know that at the end of next year we have not only built out all of its most necessary functions, but it also runs smoothly and intuitively for the communities using it (including our own).
b. Building out Governance. It’s becoming more and more obvious that our product isn’t just an algorithm, it’s a technology for collaboration. A huge aspect of human collaboration is governance. It’s also the time for our internal community to start learning how to be distributed in our decision making and thereby move away from our centralized TBD governance model. I want us to use tools like Emergent Strategy (thanks Thena!) and DisCOs (thanks Seth!) to not only build our own internal ability to govern ourselves (with decentralization, interdependence, fractalization, adaptation, resilience, transformation, etc.) but to also improve the ability of any community using our technology to do the same.
c. Internal functionality. Beyond our governance, I want our community to feel aligned and functional. I want our whole community to understand our vision, our values, and what kind of conduct we expect and why. I want our tools to be clean, smooth, and easy to use. I want our processes and project management flows to be intuitive and widely used. I imagine this resulting in a better ability to improve our onboarding, moderate behavior in our community, have better communication, and move forward on extremely important processes such as generating good Docs quickly.
d. Better Co-Community Support. We’ve identified that we aren’t ready to grow and therefore aren’t actively attempting to draw in co-communities from the ecosystem to be using our product. However, I don’t think that means we should sit on our hands until the technology is more refined. We should be evaluating how we can create strong community ties with those who use our product already (eg: Maker, 1Hive, MetaGame, eventually Balancr). Let’s build out what it means to be an effective Ambassador bridging the gap between us and another community, let’s evaluate the best way to provide support to these communities who are taking this journey with us. Eventually, having lots of co-communities will be vital to our financial independence, let’s move at the speed of trust by building impecible trust with our ecosystem in a way that supports the thriving of every project in it.
4. In the coming year I think our community will need:
a. Better compensation. Now, I don’t necessarily mean more money per participant, what I really mean is better clarity per participant and better security per participant. I think this combines better internal Cred literacy with a more fleshed out technology. By having methods of flowing Cred we all understand inside and out along with a technology that is functional and useable by every participant we’ll be able to create more consistency and transparency with our Grain. Once there’s transparency and consistency, participants will be better able to direct their efforts knowing that they’ll be rewarded and how. This creates more trust (move at the speed of trust) overall and will give existing participants a better footing from which to encourage newcomers to join up.
b. Orienting on outcomes/vision. We have a really hard time staying focused on our the appropriate scope. Within a single conversation we often yo-yo between vision, tactics, strategy, etc. and I think that makes it really difficult for us to decide what our scope ought to be, what our priorities ought to be, or to orient on any concrete/logical next steps. From our reading of Emergent Strategy, I’m starting to think that we should focus first on the vision and the outcomes we’re trying to create for ourselves; only then should we orient on the various actions we could take to achieve those outcomes while acting within our vision/values.
c. Utilizing the elements of Emergent Strategy. During the break we started a book club to read the book “Emergent Strategy” by Adrienne Maree Brown and discuss it together. We’re not even half way through and it’s already revolutionized the way I (and probably others) are thinking about this project. I think that taking the time to deeply understand the elements of Emergent Strategy, use them for ourselves, and embed them into our product will have hugely positive impacts on this project and our ability to coordinate/get things done.
To summarize, I think that this year we’ve done an incredible job of building out our community’s emotional environment to the point it’s become our biggest hook and brought us some notoriety within the ecosystem. And for good reason! I love that one of our gifts to the ecosystem this year was an emotionally safer and more humane space than capitalism can provide. I think that where we really struggle is to coordinate as an increasingly larger group of engaged individuals. We need to find a method of working together that is distributed and adaptive like a flock of birds in the air.
This last year, we’ve been the project where people look at us and say "WOW! I’ve never seen such a wholehearted, emotionally healthy, and welcoming community in the tech/crypto/open source space! I don’t know how they do it, but I want to be a part of it!"
By the end of next year I want them to be saying "WOW! I’ve never seen such a wholehearted, emotionally healthy, and welcoming community in the tech/crypto/open source space! And DAMN do they get shit DONE! I just don’t understand how they’re such an effective group, it seems like they could do anything they set their collective mind to! I don’t know how they do it, but I want to be a part of it!"