How much is your Proposal worth? Estimations, Rate per Hour, Rate per Task, and more

I am still discovering many aspects of Genesis DAO community. I’ve used 50-60$/hour in my first 2 proposals as I thought it was the standard used across the board. But then I got several people saying they disagree with this rate & realized there was a lot of different opinions on this hot topic.

What we are trying to solve here is something many other organizations already solved in the past decades (centuries?).

Models I’ve come across in my career:

  1. Pay per hour

  2. Pay per task (i.e. milestone based)

  3. Pay per task + per hour

The “Pay per hour” model is kinda nice for both parties, especially if the estimated work time required can be precise enough. The hourly rate has to be agreed on & can be adjusted according to the skills required.

The “Pay per task” model is very good if a certain work is very hard to value “per hour”. For instance, for the-said task you will access your incredible network because of years of experience in a given field.

So far we’ve only used these 2 models in Genesis DAO (correct me if I’m wrong). Regardless of the model you choose, I recommend 2 things:

  1. never do more than 30% of the work before the proposal passes; if it doesn’t pass, you don’t get rewarded)
  2. try to make the proposal have the narrowest focus as possible, so your estimation can be as precise as possible (that’s best for both parties). For instance, Polkadao capped proposals to 1000 USD to enforce this. Also, try to never bundle 2 different topics in 1 proposal.

What would be great for new & existing pollinators is to have a better idea of what they should request for the work they do (i.e. price brackets), regardless of the model they decide to use.

I propose to address the common topics for which we have/want proposals (fee free to suggest more):

  • Events: workshop, meetup, hackathon, conference
  • Content creation: article, podcast, video
  • Product development: Code, UX, Mockups, Design
  • Biz Dev: Onboarding new pollinators, Onboarding new DAOs
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Thank you for bringing this issue to light. I think it’s a really tricky one.

Some thoughts:

  • Both models you describe are wages– where each job, hour or other unit is paid separately. Another class of models is salary which is paid on a periodic basis like monthly or yearly. This might make less sense for DAOs but it is worth considering in some cases (for example, ongoing community management or recurring administrative tasks).

  • I generally prefer task-based with deadlines. (“I will publish this video by July 1”) than hours (“I will spend 30 hours over the next two weeks on this video”). Tasks are less awkward and more results oriented.

  • Another nice aspect of task-based is that many different factors, including expected hours, can be priced in. I think proposers should define a task and justify a price based on:

    • Priority: how important is the task?
    • Complexity: how difficult or specialized is the task?
    • Time: how many hours, days or weeks will it take to complete the task?
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One interesting thing that @Runy brought up here is that you can pay per hour with tokens that are pegged to the hour, instead of some standard fiat rate. This is an interesting design decision that could be useful for Community DAOs,

For implementing reoccurring or salary payments I recommend we evaluate 8x Protocol as a potential solution. I think many DAOs that want to be more structured as a business, such as a BBLLC will desire this feature.

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Indeed this is a tricky one. A few thoughts:

  • I agree with Ori and also prefer task based activities, but we should probably allow people to submit proposals in either format
  • People live in various parts of the world with different income expectations and needs. We should recognize this somehow, but not sure how.
  • My general feeling also is that competition will drive down proposal estimates (for example, if I see a proposal and think I could do it for 50% less, I could submit the same proposal with a smaller requested amount). This certainly doesn’t foster a collaborative environment, but I fully expect this type of behavior to start occurring within DAOs.
  • We also need to consider that Genesis should aim to recruit talented people - which likely means paying people competitively, whatever that means in this person’s geography.
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A good question and I had to opportunity to meet Adrien last week in Zurich and discuss this topic as well. As a DAOstack newbie, it’s very difficult to find out what seems reasonable to ask for. Believe that task model is appropriate up to a certain request complexity. But when it gets more complex I think the overall request should be separated into multiple milestones of a meaningful size. Every milestone should deliver a measurable “minimum viable product” (delivery costs should be also in a manageable size to reduce DAO loss to failed delivery or bad quality). The initial request should outline all milestones to be planned and then request for the first milestone. After the first milestone execution the community may check delivery and quality and decide to go for the next milestone (which will be offered then) or not. For the delivery side it has the benefit to readjust the effort for the 2nd milestone. Based on the experience either ask for more or less (explaining that in a “Lesson Learnt from Last Milestone” section). I did such a request in the PolkaDAO to test water, currently in the voting phase (https://alchemy.daostack.io/dao/0x440583455bcd85ab2bd429c015d3aabcae135f0a/proposal/0x0798839173cd9ce679d728de5988899b96ca2280a3e24e463a711c37138d5c96). Got some good feedback up to now (see the discussion on Discord PolkaDAO#proposal if interested)

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In general, for creative tasks, paying per hour is the only mechanism that makes sense imo. But because we don’t have a way to approve a task, and “submit the invoice” later, we basically have to pay in advance. Even if we put the trust issue aside, this still requires a thorough estimation process in advance.

That said, the fact that most of the past proposals have the same (pretty high) hourly rate doesn’t feel right.

Another thing to take into consideration is the value a task brings. even if there’s no debate on the estimated price a task would cost, we must always remember to ask ourselves if it’s actually worth it… maybe it’s just not worth the trouble, maybe there’s a different way to achieve the same goal…

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Just some random thoughts here:

  • sometimes a higher rate might be a reaction to compensate for other undervaluated activities.
  • multiple times we have discussed how some activities are underpriced, overpriced, while other are simply not priced at all (like note taking). so this is really a challenge here. kuddos to @AdrienDLT for starting this discussion here.
  • besides the type of activity, there are also 2 important categories (intentions?): those that aim at current bottlenecks (even if suboptimal) x those that don’t but will be useful in the future or simply interesting to try.
  • closing thought about pricing: if we had some clear way to visualize our priorities, OKRs etc, we could negotiate the budget x scope in a simpler way.

Whatever we decide to do there, makes sense to consider "bootstrapping stages’ for specific objectives, allowing for streamlining and cutting gordian knots rather than accepting bottlenecks and frustrations as facts of life.

Some agile references:


image

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The basics of the time banking approach - and I’m learning about this, is that your time is equally valuable than my time. No rates. A senior developer cannot say her rate is $250 an hour and a project manager’s rate is $50 an hour.

An hour is an hour. We all have 8 hours a day to work.

The powerful aspect of this is that we stop thinking in money terms. The dollar value can collaps, it is volatile. But the value of 1 hour will stay stable.

When you create a project and some deliverables the only thing you have to ask your team is: how many hours will this task take you? If I can do something in 2 hours while it would take you 1 week than that means that I’m the expert in that thing. It is my core.

But if the junior developer can create a logo in an hour while it would take us all 8 hours or more, that means that she is the expert graphic designer. It is her core.

With the hour banking thing everybody specializes in their main thing. They do it and they can paid in hours.

It also leads to natural trade. If I want to have a bag of yours and I say to you: how many hours? And you say:50. And I go like woooo. That bag would cost me 500 hours to make, then I say: deal!

I want to explore how this would work in project management and creating new digital assets. Software like daostack. Because I think if you work together on a project and I have 1000 hours and somebody has 5000 hours etc. We should all get a fraction of that asset based on our hours put in. The narrative will be: the more hours you put in the more the asset becomes yours.

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First of all I’d like to draw attention to a way one can figure out “what reward to ask for” before submitting a proposal: using discourse polling feature. This is offchain yes, but kinda does the job for now. In the midterm I could see such polling system being implemented onchain: an onchain doodle.

Addressing a few points

Overall I think everyone brought some valuable insight on how they perceive this topic. The various backgrounds, cultures & locations are definitely can make that sensitive topic difficult to find consensus on. Much like @Hutch said “Consensus is expensive”, much like for validators in a network, the more people in a dao means the harder/slower consensus gets.

Totally agree. Regarding that, I’m starting to accept/realize that I’ve been narrow minded on that “reward topic” and that I should (we should?) take a step back & listen to what others have to say. Hence this very thread.

Great milestone proposal. I think that’s the way to go forward. I’m doing the same with ParachainTracker & Eric has been doing the same with a series of article. It’s awesome to see some dev effort going through this too now.

This comment slightly goes off topic but I think it’s a very valuable point. That’s actually one of the key takeaways I have had recently & from now on I will try to only work on tasks where I add a lot of value.

Totally agree. This reminds me of points such as “why a freelancer can be thought as expensive?”: often it’s simply because the actual job being rewarded for is only a fraction of the total activity that led to the work being done (i.e. freelancers often spend over 1/3rd of their time looking for work). In the DAO case, contributors do spend huge amount of their time on non-rewarded tasks (weekly calls, this very forum, telegram discussions, onboarding friends, etc).

As a contributor, I think (for now) that the best way to solve this for oneself is to make sure one tries to use communication tools that are more efficient & constructive (i.e. lower time in chats such as Telegram). This leading to lower one’s time spent on unrewarded time.

I like the principles, and I question where the care for apprenticeship comes in.
The Dragon Dreaming approach identifies tasks and collects interest from the group around who wants to do the task. A red pen is used if you want to learn. A green pen is used if you guide the task, similar to ‘Reality Guide’ in Borderland’s beta system for self-organizing. A black pen is used if you are an expert, but don’t feel personally motivated to keep doing the thing you’re already good at.
Any model which decreases the learning window might be overall harmful to a living ecosystem.