A worried investor

I have been trying to hold off for a while, but here it goes;

I am a worried DXD investor.

Here’s why;

  • Lack of cadence (proposals take time, but decisions take even longer around here)
  • Lack of execution (governance changes, Swapr liquidity etc. etc.)
  • Lack of priorities (adding liquidity to Swapr to grow vs hearing what Almonit have to sell us?)
  • Lack of focus (unwillingness to ask ourselves hard questions and set real actual goals)
  • Lack of accountability (when did you last see an actual KPI or MoM number around here?)
  • Failure to leverage Delphi and other industry experts when joining the DAO (bad sign for me).
  • Poor governance structure (been discussed for ages, but still status quo, which makes it worse)
  • Poor treasury management (holding ETH has accidentally been a great plan… but no yield farming or anything that could extend runway or start adding ETH to the buyback. Nobody seems to care much for managing $25m USD in DXD holders interest - but hey, at least we are securing salaries).

Overall, the greatest thing I have learned so far from this experiment is why VCs normally structure investments the way they do (18-24 month runway, voting rights etc) and why startups have a CEO and management that is accountable, can set priorities, create focus and follow up on them actually being hit.

When I started my own business, the first advice I got was to find someone to be accountable to. That’s the advice I’d give here too. To me that means a real commitment to generating revenue and focusing on growth. At the moment that can only mean making DXdao members accountable to KPIs as zero other accountability mechanisms exist at present (beyond possible legal means).

So my question to the DAO for 2021 is;

  • What milestones/targets will our products hit this year (milestones, KPI’s etc.). If not, then what?
  • What revenues does the DAO generate monthly (and how are we tracking against our goals?)
  • Can we have this added onto the monthly update as a data sheet (key growth KPIs, revenue per product and total spend will do just fine for now). I frankly think we all need a monthly reminder of the the reality of things around here.

So at this point, for my own sanity, I consider my investment written off. I am unwilling to sell the tokens at this price due to the extreme discount on book value, but I am by now thoroughly disappointed over the lack of progress that’s been made in the last 9 months and the lack of appreciation for DXD holders valid concerns, backed by actual actions. I knew what I was doing getting involved in an experiment like this that is completely unproven, but it doesn’t make it any less lamentable to all DXD holders.

I have every belief that, if the current trajectory and processes remain unchanged, there is next to zero chance of DXdao generating meaningful revenue to the buyback curve in the very foreseeable future, above and beyond yield farming. Combined with the above concerns, my guess is that people will increasingly loose faith, decide to cut their losses and move onto other projects - as seems to be exactly what is happening.

Why don’t we build something to maximize the returns on our $25m treasury next - instead of playing with xDAI for governance? No offence, but hopefully that illustrates the point I am trying to make here quite nicely. No sense of priority and value. No KPI/goal driven decision making.

I have not ruled out further actions, but the time to speak freely was now well overdue.


I suggest we start with adding the following to the monthly update blog;

  • A North Star metric for each product
  • Last month vs current month actuals (growth %)
  • Net monthly revenue (even if 0 + growth %)
  • Target vs % achieved (this require us to actually have targets, though)

@madmax I appreciate your concerns and also that you’re actively engaged. Personally, I don’t think it makes sense to consider your investment written off, but rather than write a mini essay on DAOtalk about it, I think it might be more useful to have a phone call / video chat about your concerns. Happy to schedule some time if you’re interested.

Also, at this Thursday’s meeting each of the product owners of Swapr, Mesa, and Omen are presenting their 6 month roadmap and there will be time for questions after each. If you can’t attend, happy to read any questions off that you might have.


Hi John,

I don’t think you need to dedicate a call to me, but I really appreciate the offer and the spirit of it. Very aware that I brought more issues than solutions in the post too and that it is easy to criticise (my board are the ones that normally get to do that to me, and just saying “spend less, earn more and do it all faster” is surprisingly unhelpful at achieving those very things).

I think if there is anything it is to try to keep pushing for defining goals/milestones in terms of meaningful and measurable numbers (not just revenue). I think one of the dangers in a very tech/developer heavy organisation like this is to primarily think of goals in terms of features and board (technical completion and functionality) - hence me adding the stuff about the north star.

E.g. for me Swapr’s only relevant metrics is trading volume. That is what we can extract revenue from and what any tech, product or initiative should be measured and prioritised on. Attracting liquidity, as an example, is an enabler of trading volume (as it allows us to get arbitrage bot trades at least), but it is not a goal in itself. Neither is certain governance or other features. Same can be done with Mesa and Omen. What is the metric that we can measure and communicate about as a group that will tell us all honestly if progress is really being made? That would be the only real question I have to each team, knowing that a good answer and plan often takes time to execute. My best advice is to not shy away from the hard metric, even if it is hard to move. Center everything around that.

I guess I meant the writing it off part more psychologically. And as the old adage goes you should only be really worried when people can’t be asked to critique anymore. So there is definitely still hope and it was one of the reasons for me continuing to speak out bluntly and try to raise some of the concerns that I know many are feeling uneasy about.

Note the above doesn’t address the ongoing governance and treasury issues. Could a similar ops team be formalised to address these things. Similar goals could be set and executed against?

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