Project Compass: DAO Vision Setting Working Group

Project Compass: DAO Vision Setting Working Group


Since February, an initiative has been taking place in the Autonomous DAO working group concerned with establishing and formalizing a process for vision setting, called Project Compass.

The priority for this group is NOT to create a vision, but rather to propose a framework for future consensus-seeking on a direction the DAO should be taking.


Firstly, with the introduction of Core Units and the increasing decentralization of decision-making in the DAO, a clear need for alignment between various teams and the wider DAO arises. Secondly, limitations in resources will necessarily lead to some objectives being prioritized over others. Lastly, the goal of decentralization, as lofty as it is, should never break the protocol itself.

All of those reasons create the need for the DAO to consolidate its thinking into a single vision.

In our considerations, we’ve identified three governance groups that should be a part of the vision setting process:

  • Mandated Actors (and their respective Core Units)
  • On-chain Governance
  • Off-chain Governance

What’s needed for a coherent vision to materialize is then a process of discovery utilizing on-chain and off-chain voting tools to measure the sentiment in all three groups.

A resulting mandated vision would serve as the essential foundation for Core Units to base their activities upon, and for Governance to utilize in any subsequent review of these activities.


The working group consists of:


We’re currently in the process of collecting initial feedback from all three aforementioned governance groups. As the early iterations of the vision setting framework solidify, we’ll make sure to keep the DAO updated.


This is great, thank you - I’d love to be a part of your planning session. A lot of what we do in the team(s) will need to ladder up to a broader vision to aid in our prioritisation alignment so this is well timed!


Something I’d love to see explored is dispute resolution. We’ve seen a couple of things in the past where it would have been useful to be able to escalate something to MKR holders to remove ambiguity.


Sure thing, I’ll reach out to you on Rocket Chat!

Are you referring to disputes between Core Units here? And if so, is your main concern disagreements relating to high-level objectives?

I believe our framework should include quantifiable metrics and have taken inspiration from Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s first shareholder letter in 1997 where they grew revenue over 800% (which coincidentally MKR is on pace to do this year). The share price is up over 600x since then so seems like their philosophy and vision has worked out pretty well for them :slight_smile: .

  • Delivering the best value and experience to customers (vault owners)
  • Ensuring long-term sustainability of the protocol
  • Prioritizing long-term investments and value creation over short-term profitability considerations
  • Build a culture focused on innovation and collaboration, attract, hire, and retain the most versatile and talented DAO members then incentivize them with a MKR allocation. Success will be largely affected by our ability to attract and retain a motivated workforce, each of whom must think like, and therefore must actually be, an owner.
  • Make bold rather than timid investment decisions where we see a sufficient probability of
    gaining market leadership advantages. Some of these investments will pay off, others will not, and we will have learned another valuable lesson in either case.
  • Measure the effectiveness of our investments analytically, to jettison those that do not provide acceptable returns, and to increase our investment in those that work best. Learn from both our successes and our failures

No just disputes in general. Whether it be between mandated actors and community members, two core units, or any other internal DAO apparatus. Basically I’d like to see a level of recourse that any aggrieved party can have directly to the MKR holders that’s not just “vote them out.”


I agree, to establish a framework for non-nuclear dispute resolution seems like an important goal. However, it may be a discussion for another time.

In essence, a formalized dispute resolution process would need to be swift and impervious to bureaucratization, and as such is out of this working group’s scope: we’re looking to design a system in which efficiency and in-depth consensus-seeking go hand in hand. The stronger the consensus, the stronger the mandate surrounding the vision which translates into alignment within the DAO.

With regards to the future direction of Maker I personally feel the need for simplicity and minimalism, taking human involvement step by step out of the system.

Is there any way of measuring this? How do we know or feel we are on the right track?

One way of doing it is measuring the need for governance in the form of voting events. If this is a good metric we are possibly going in the wrong direction, although the Instant Access Modules have been a huge help.

Another metric, and perhaps a better one, is measuring how long time it will take for the system to fall out of use if human involvement stopped altogether. Presently I feel we are somewhere around a year or two on this one, mostly due to rate changes.

Is this too much vision? Or too limited? It is at least a nearly universal endorsement of any attempt at automating the Maker system, perhaps even to the extent of accepting limitations.

I don’t believe the goal is to remove human involvement.

“Money will not manage itself, and MakerDAO has a great deal of money to manage”

Nevertheless, my view is that we should remain lean. It can be measured by assets/employee, net revenue/employee, expenses / net revenues (a regular bank has 60% maybe we should target 25%), …

Franco Nevada (gold royalties) has 38 employees for 338M of net income.

Maybe we can limit the headcount. 42? 300?

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I think the concept we’re dancing around is “governance minimization,” rather than limiting the number of people working for the DAO. I put a governance minimization R&D core unit on the “wish list,” but maybe it’s something that a more informal group can start thinking about now? Happy to join in the brainstorm if you guys are interested in discussing where the balance lies.


I second that. Governance minimization.

Efficient governance is hard nut to crack, DAOstack kinda failed at it and Aragon is still trying after years of experimentation and dozens of millions of dollars poured into this effort.

DAOs tend to have a lot of noise as there are a lot of participants — that’s the downside of being totally open — and so far the tools available are not tailored to such use case (to DAO communities). Tools being used are very imperfect: i.e. 1/ this forum that can be hijacked by literally anyone, even anonymous people who may have malicious intentions (whether intentional or not), 2/ the votation system can be hijacked by whales, censoring the less wealthy although maybe more committed contributors (who donate or work full time on the project).

I have been going through this DAO forum for only 24h to catch up on everything you guys have been doing so far and I believe you guys have exactly the same challenges we had in previous I have been part of. It’s a good and bad news: it means it is a pattern, nothing unique to your community; but it also means that you may face the same downward spiral that many DAOs have suffered — talents leaving because of high levels of frustration. MakerDAO community definitely needs to put some work into how to avoid a similar destiny.

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Not to nitpick but this isn’t hijacking or censorship, it’s literally the way the system is designed and intended to function.


lmao. This couldn’t be better formulated. I totally agree.

Any updates from the working group? Is there a date something will be posted by?

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Yes, we have a document in the works that we’ll be posting soon.


Related thread:

I would appreciate answers if anyone has any pointer

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