Ask Forgiveness not Permission: Five Tenets for a Productive DAO

With the imminent upgrade to MCD, I’ve been thinking over the last few weeks about what I can do to ‘upgrade’ other parts of MakerDAO. While I think most would agree that there are many aspects that could use improvement, I feel that there is one fairly low-level issue that, if solved, could potentially lead to some big improvements.


Ask Forgiveness not Permission

What do I mean by this? Put simply I’d describe the problem as the following:

  1. There are lots of things that need doing…
  2. There is money to pay for people to do them…
  3. There are people that are interested in doing things…
  4. But things aren’t getting done.

By saying this I don’t mean to imply that people are lazy, or that people are in some way incompetent. I think that the issue is one of attitude and expectations. Society in general tends to push us down strictly defined paths: it’s not that anyone is ever telling us that you can’t do something, but everyone assumes that we won’t do anything interesting, that we’ll follow the path laid out in front of us. This starts from childhood, is it any wonder that we’ve internalised this behaviour?

We are all part of something that is new, poorly defined, and that no one really understands well: a DAO. There has been lots of discussion, and will continue to be lots of discussion on what exactly a DAO is, but a part that I think is key is that it is 'Autonomous’

Which brings me back to Ask forgiveness not permission. I’d like to set out a couple of tenets that I feel should govern activity within MakerDAO (at least for the current bootstrapping phase). These mostly apply to those that want to be more involved, but are unsure how to get there.


Five Tenets for a Productive DAO

1. If you are waiting for permission to do something, no one is going to give it to you.
2. If you see something that needs doing, just do it.
3. If you don’t see anything that needs doing, go looking.
4. If you are worried about screwing up, don’t be. Everyone screws up, the DAO won’t hold it against you.
5. If you can consistently bring value to the DAO, no matter what form that value takes, then the DAO will pay you for that value.

Note that point five is partially theoretical at this point. MakerDAO can’t pay people directly (yet.) However, Dai is available from the Foundation, distributed by @rich.brown , @Davidutro and possibly others I’m unaware of. Having interacted fairly heavily with Rich at this point, I am convinced that he’s willing to pay people for consistently doing useful things.

My belief is that once the DAO is able to pay people directly, that this policy should continue. Obviously I have a personal stake in being paid, so keep that in mind, but I like to think that I’d be pushing for this as a general principle even if I weren’t.


  • Sign and agree with the five tenets above.
  • Disagree with the five tenets above.
  • Undecided
  • Abstain (I just want to see the results)
  • Abstain (I disagree with the poll options)
  • Abstain (I have a different objection)
  • Abstain (I have no opinion)

0 voters

Edit: I forgot to make the poll public and you can’t modify them after the first five mins. Sorry all!


There is naturally also room to discuss and debate these tenets. If anyone has something to add, or wants something taken away, please speak up.

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Just for a sake of argument:
Where is TODO List :wink:

Doesn’t exist, but it sounds like we need one! Congratulations, you’ve been drafted.

I’m mostly kidding, but creating/crowd-sourcing a list of things that need doing does seem to be a great first step to kick things off. If someone wanted to take the initiative on that it would be fantastic.

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