PIP36 - Appointing Ben as a PNF Director

Attributes

Author(s):@Dermot

Implementer(s): POKT Network Foundation (PNF)

Category: Governance Upgrade

Related: PIP-26

Summary

@b3n 's current role is Head of DAO Ops at PNF. This proposal proposes appointing Ben as a director of PNF, which is in addition to his core responsibilities relating to upgrading the DAO OS and contributor pathways.

Motivation

Ben has proven himself to be an extremely pragmatic yet values-driven leader in the POKT Network ecosystem over the last 18 months. He has consistently delivered impact in every area he has involved himself in. Amongst myriad examples, he led the realignment of POKT Network’s mission, vision and values (via DNA), the launch of the quick grants (Sockets) and open RFPs (POPs) community innovation mechanisms, our community prioritisation framework (ERA), and is also the driver behind CREDs, POKT’s new governance framework that will launch soon.

As part of Nelson’s transition out of PNF over the last few months, Ben has taken on a lot of Nelson’s financial and operational responsibilities, including becoming a signer on the multisigs that PNF oversees for itself and the DAO.

I believe that Ben will add a lot of value to the board as it navigates the final stage of the current Road to Shannon ERA, as well as the exciting possibilities that lie beyond that.

FAQ

Why not appoint someone else?

Ben brings a lot of experience to the table from his past at EY, TikTok, and Aragon, as well as his university business and economics degree. He is a perfect fit for what we need right now.

His appointment does not hinder PNF’s ability to fill any other identified talent gaps in the team. We will share a post about the types of talent we want to hire next week.

Does PNF plan to add anyone else to the board?

Yes, as per the post last month, we want to onboard at least two new people to the board: a senior technical leader and an industry leader. We will share more information about this next week, including the process for the DAO to appoint an observer to the board too.

Implementation

Appoint Ben Perez as director of PNF and notify our supervisor, Campbell Law, to update the register of directors once the DAO has approved the proposal.

Copyright

Copyright and related rights waived via CC0.

16 Likes

This proposal is now up for voting on Snapshot

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So I’ve been out of the loop for a while and just listened in on the community call, and this proposal was brought up. @ArtSabintsev mentioned some “behind the scenes” vague reasons for voting against it, also hinting at PNF’s funds mismanagement. @Jinx also voiced his rejection advocating for a more technical figure for the Director role. This left me super confused.

Here’s my two cents: dropping these on the final voting day? Smells fishy and like last-minute social games, I might be wrong but I don’t care I call it as I see it. It’s the kind of stuff that makes you question the viability of DAOs. For a DAO that prides itself on transparency, these backdoor convos tell a different story.

Art’s talk about navigating through a tough 18 months and using this vote as a corrective step doesn’t quite add up. The hiring spree pitfalls that left PNI on the brink were a PNI self-goal, so taking responsibility should be the narrative, not shifting blame.

And about Jinx’s point on technical expertise, isn’t that what the DAO observer’s seat is all about? Seems like the rejection votes are rooted in something deeper. Yet again, I might be wrong, and yet again I don’t care if I am, this is what it seems like.

This isn’t a vote for/against Ben, although I do like him and from many I’ve spoken with he knows what he’s doing, this is more against the social manoeuvring I believe is going on.

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The accusations here are silly. PNF is quite aware that I’ve had concerns about, and conflicts over, the lack of an experienced software engineer in leadership there. This has affected strategic decisions there multiple times, to the degree that community members have worked around the Foundation instead of with it on at least one occasion.

And no, the board observer seat does literally nothing to solve this. A board observer carries no operational input nor a vote on strategy, and additionally, the selection of such is fully subject to PNF approval (per their own post). My entire point, which I outlined explicitly in the call, is that there is an opportunity to bring in outside expertise to fill skill gaps in the current foundation leadership.

Shane stepping up to cover much of Matteo’s responsibility is a positive step in the right direction (in that it brings actual POKT engineering expertise into an important role), but it doesn’t solve for the lack of a CTO. Technology leaders who answer to non-technical directors without a “C-Level” (Director) advocate struggle to execute well. This has been a constant in my 20+ years of technology experience. I’d wager that Matteo would express that this was part of his decision to step down.

I see that three of the Foundation members liked this post, which endorses an incorrect assertion. I would expect better.

Once you acknowledge that the board observer seat does nothing to resolve the issue, you have zero axiomatic base upon which to build your “something deeper” narrative. It’s just mud slinging.

Ben (and other PNF employees) have done a helluva job, and my rejection of this proposal is not in any way a reflection on his performance. I have clearly outlined my reasoning behind my decision, and I’d appreciate being debated on the merits of my arguments versus the suggestions of untoward behavior.

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When a large group of influential voters does vote in a surprising direction without addressing it publicly (on the forum), it creates room for speculation - I suspect that’s what’s going on here. I don’t think there are any reasons to point fingers, but the DAO deserves an explanation as to why a voting block has come out against someone they proclaim has done “a helluva job.” I would urge voters to use the tools provided to them to explain their position.

If we assume positive intent, we can look at the merits of the argument.

  1. Lack of technical expertise has affected strategic decisions - I have no basis for refuting this claim, but there aren’t examples provided to support this claim. I would like to see examples of where @b3n’s lack of technical expertise has caused the Foundation to make poor decisions. If this didn’t fall on @b3n, then we need to think about whether he would make the same decisions as prior directors.
  2. Board Observer possessing no actual power - At face value, this argument holds water, but I posit that board observer seats can be extremely valuable/effective if used correctly. However, most view it as a passive role, where the observer doesn’t feel empowered to share their expertise or weigh in on decisions. I would like to hear from the observer whether they weighed in and then were ignored.
  3. Lack of Technical Advocate - I agree with this statement, but may disagree that this is a function of PNF. In any organization, the functions without advocates with a voice and power tend to underperform. I, for one, would support additional technical leadership at PNF, but excluding @b3n from the director role does seem misaligned with the objectives laid out in PIP-26.

  1. (continued) Taking this a step further, I don’t believe that the technical person needs to be a Foundation Director to be able to do their job. Many people are extremely effective at their jobs, and they are not board members at their companies. While being on the board gives you the final say, it isn’t the end-all-be-all of executing. Based on the above mandate, the person should be an expert in DAO operations and amplify the work of the community, as opposed to giving technical direction.

Further, there does appear to be a risk of not putting @b3n in this position. The time lost in searching for a technical unicorn who wants to be on a foundation instead of building a product could set the Foundation behind for months or even quarters. A timing risk is a risk I’m not willing to take in a market such as this.

This situation feels like one party paying the price for the sins of others. I fail to see how @b3n couldn’t deliver on the above mandate. If the mandate has changed, then the points could be valid. If the mandate needs to change, then we need to rethink many things and punt on this decision.

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What’s up, Adam? Been a hot minute. Nice to hear your (virtual) voice.

The vote currently stands at 8 to 6, which seems to indicate that folks are divided about it, not that there is a “large group of influential voters”. And while I’ve taken the time to explain some of my concerns, there is no mandate for voters to do so, or to debate to some degree in the forums. If you recall, PIP-22 passed resoundingly with 27 Ayes and 6 Nays, and there are only two more Nays here than that. Instead of speculating and demanding explanations, perhaps it’s a better idea to get the other 60+ voters in here to weigh in with their thoughts and votes. “I don’t like your vote” isn’t grounds to challenge intent, and to be honest, it’s insulting.

As noted in my previous reply, it isn’t about Ben at all. It’s about the Director role. It’s an important role that shapes the future of the protocol, and given that I hadn’t voted yet, I thought it bore further thought.

I didn’t bring the specific example because we resolved it with a community project that the Foundation supported, and I didn’t want to relitigate the issue. Ben was not an active part of that conversation, but the absence of a senior technical leader was what affected the outcome.

The board observer role is not currently filled, so you won’t get feedback on that front. My observations on the operational input about the observer role are based entirely on PNF’s communication about that role, but as it turns out, there’s a wrinkle there. More on that in a minute.

Much has changed since PIP-22, including many internal and external conversations about where the responsibilities of the future of protocol architecture and engineering lie. And PNF is deeply involved in decision making around ancillary tech aside from the protocol including the wrapped token, wallets, and other supporting tech. Until recently, Matteo was the senior overseeing that. Shane has now stepped in as a contractor to help fill the gap.

Show me a technology based organization where the engineers don’t answer to a senior technical lead, and I’ll agree with your sentiment. While CFO and COO are often later to be filled, CTO is generally an early and critical core component of the leadership team at any software based startup. And given PNF’s current role in shaping POKT’s technical landscape, we can’t argue they don’t have a responsibility there.

I pulled this out of order, but it was necessary to the context. The point is, that mandate is not the complete picture of the organization or its mandate, which has been ENTIRELY my concern.

I think part of the reason that a handful of folks have felt like this was a good place to lodge a protest vote for what appear to be various and disparate reasons is that this risk is not clear. As noted in the proposal, Ben is performing these tasks in his current role, is already a multisig holder, and has carried these responsibilities admirably without the Director title. I am quite open to being further educated as to the risks of the role remaining open a little longer.

But first, THE WRINKLE:

Thanks to a conversation with @doctorrobinson , it seems that the role I’m concerned about IS on PNF’s radar, albeit presented in a horribly underlit way which buries the lede, or perhaps just isn’t totally thought through yet. Although the post is titled Board Observer Application, it describes the Technical Leader role thusly:

Need 1: Technical leader/visionary

  • Position: Technical Leader (Future Focused CTO concept) - Board Director (but can be an observer instead, depending on the circumstances)
  • Why We Need This: PNF needs to steward the ecosystem. A core component of this is to capitalise on opportunities presented by technology advancement (technical partnerships, commercial opportunities) and to protect the ecosystem from threats (Existential technical shifts, time and resources rabbitholes/graveyards). The Technical Leader will support the board by acting as the main technical lead within the foundation and act as a conduit to technical teams across the ecosystem. They will play a major role in product strategy and evangelism for the ecosystem.
  • Key Requirements:
    1. Knowledge: In-depth understanding of web3 ecosystem and blockchains, and particular knowledge of developer needs and trends
    2. Skills: Experienced as previous CTO or Technical leader of a web3 protocol, Excellent communicator and public speaker, Experienced leader ideally as a founder or founding team member for major rollup or protocol
    3. Attitude: Candid, Driven, Focused

This is EXACTLY what I’m talking about, but there seems to be some question as to whether or not this is a full board seat. I believe strongly that the foundation needs a proper CTO, not a technical observer whose input may simply be hand waved away, and PNF also appears to recognize the need, although it has not been presented well (I ignored this post for the most part because given the title, it appeared to be strictly for an observer role). Pulling this role out from the Observer post and making it a clear and highlighted standalone requirement would go far towards satisfying my concerns about the required technical leadership.

Of COURSE it is. All of the above (and more, to be honest) are exactly how one might vote against this proposal despite Ben doing a helluva job. Thus is the nature of politics. When relevant legislation and/or elections are occurring are when the voters express their thoughts and will. Sometimes in the form of debate responses, sometimes in the form of their vote. Both you and PNF’s leadership understand this quite well. While some folks along the way have (in dramatic style) called for Jack to be removed from the foundation, most voters aren’t willing to put their name to a proposal for that. They are, however, willing to vote against a connected proposal to express dissatisfaction.

Also, regarding the timing: I literally learned LAST NIGHT that Matteo had left and Shane was stepping in to cover that role. It doesn’t take a mathematician to see how that 1+1 led to a 2 of my concern around missing skill sets. I hadn’t voted yet, and talked to a handful of people including Shane about my concerns before making the decision that I did. And @shane can verify that in my conversations with him, I explicitly outlined my thoughts that we needed to pull in outside expertise with mature chain experience.

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EDIT on FEBRUARY 1 - I have changed terms referencing mismanagement of funds to mismanagement of outcomes as that was the intended term. I have expounded on it on a post farther down in this chain.

TL;DR: This isn’t a reaction against Ben at all. He is a valued member of this community. This is a vote against the current and proposed makeup of the Foundation as I have a personal belief that a veteran community voice with a bias-for-action isn’t being represented, and the DAO isn’t currently a good enough forum for that representation to be experienced

Hey @BTTheDefendoooor - thanks for the post. Also, hi @adam - definitely been a while!

First, I’m glad that we have an active conversation going on around what I believe is the first critical proposal of the year.

Second, I’d like to state that I don’t always vote with the crowd. I have in the past participated in whipping votes and have been whipped myself to vote a specific way. Our governance system enables this and I’ve been a party to both sides. I have also taken many contrarian stances in the past with my opinions or votes, such as:

  • Voting against funding GRIP (though was later convinced to vote in favor)
  • Voting against funding the Reddit social media posts
  • Voting in favor of compensating the Thunderhead team for unnecessary tooling (to prove a point that we needed what ended up becoming sockets/pops)
  • Voting in favor of MSA’s reimbursements (twice), though was later asked to and convinced to vote against it both times (which were highly contentious each time for reasons I am not going to get into right now)

I say all of this because I want to express that though I hold a significant role in this ecosystem, I am not one to always, at least initially, vote with the crowd. However, it’s rare that I vocally speak up with my contrarian view points. In this case, I decided to be vocal.

I’d like to state clearly that my NO vote is not because it’s Ben being nominated. It’s not a vote against his character. It’s a vote against the process of an internal PNF hire being voted into the Director role. I have a personal belief that at least one of the new directors that are to replace Nelson (and Jack in the near future) should come from the existing vocal and veteran community. I am taking this opportunity right now to state that belief. I think a veteran community member’s voice is missing, especially one that has a bias for action. This isn’t to say Ben isn’t part of the community - he’s put in the work over the last year, and is most definitely a member of this community in my eyes. I am just saying that my personal next vote for a director role should be someone like @shane or @Jinx or @BenVan (examples of the type of people and skillsets I’d like to see elevated). Individuals who are visible, proactive, have stood the test of time, are builders in THIS community from early on, have the weight of experience through multiple market cycles in THIS community, and so on. Were this to happen, I believe Dermot and this veteran community-member-turned-director work together on making the case for a third director, and then making the further case to expand the directorship, add an observer seat, and so on. I would, personally, feel way better about the future of PNF were we to have this makeup.

Given that the Directors must be voted in, I took this opportunity to state my opinion. Albeit, I wish I had done it when the proposal appeared, but I didn’t see this until last night, at which point I felt would be the right time to make a move. Though I believe a PNF or DAO Constitution (or some other official charter) allows for folks to be voted in/out at any time into the Board of Directors, I felt it better to use a scenario when an organic exit was happening to vote no and start that conversation there. This could just as easily have been done ad hoc after someone was elected, but I did not feel that to be appropriate, since it would require ousting someone forcefully.

As for Ben, I think he’s done a good job with Sockets and POPs. The existence of these micro-grant initiatives have been a value add to the ecosystem and fixed the issue of individuals building necessary tooling and working on much needed projects. I have overall negative feelings towards the 3D Governance/CREDs initiative. It’s beyond convoluted, and in my opinion, the result of what happens when one spends too much time theorycrafting a solution. I’m not here to offer countervailing solutions, but to state that the new system, with its multiple paths, varied weighting system, decaying properties, and so on is not what I envisioned to be the upgrade to governance. If anything, it’s even more convoluted, and presumes that individuals voting in our DAO are over-indexing their time on POKT (which is most likely not the reality) or having more technical chops than they do (e.g., proving ownership of a stake on-chain when non-custodially staking for more voting power). Again, my personal opinion, but I know with certainty others hold these thoughts.

Now, with respect to mismanagement of funds outcomes , first, I should say that Grove/PNI is no paragon here. We had our issues - I caused part of it with decisions made very early in my tenure, but at that time, PNI was also undertaking all the responsibilities of PNF, so we collectively felt that we should be doing all the things we were doing. Thankfully, we’re past that, and I can say with confidence that as of September 2023, we have become way better at managing our funds and runway now that we’ve finished downsizing and focusing.

With that being said, when I called out PNF for funds outcomes mismanagement, it’s based on the following:

  • Consultants for CREDs (I forgot who mentioned it, but I recall hearing that paid consultants were used for this, and given I personally don’t think the result was worthwhile, nor do others I have spoken to, I believe this was not a good use of funds. If I am wrong, then I will retract this statement.)
  • BlockScience has also been an initiative which I have been told my multiple parties was a poor use of funds
  • The need for a team like CoUnity to clean up Discord.
  • Hiring practices (purposefully not elaborating publicly)
  • Hiring a PR Agency, though to @Adz’s credit, that was rectified swiftly.

@BTTheDefendoooor I think I’ve addressed your statements. You’re right, this isn’t a vote against Ben at all. It’s a vote against the current and proposed makeup of the Foundation as I have a personal belief that the veteran community isn’t being represented, and the DAO isn’t currently a good enough forum for that representation to be experienced.

On to @adam - I am going to address your concerns next, which were not addressed in my post above.

I shared my opinion and asked others who have privately expressed frustration with the lack of speed/bias-for-action in their dealings with PNF over the course of a year. Even PNF has called this out as a known weakness in their SWOT analysis from their DNA project from about a year ago. I am also heavily biased to operating this way, and as someone who exhibits this quality, I don’t see folks like me in the Foundation, and this has led to, at times, a tenuous working relationship, and built up some of the frustration that blew open publicly in response to this proposal.

There are many who believe that the DAO is not a successful tool. Personally, I have always felt, and have expressed to Jack, Mike, and Dermot on multiple occasions that it would have been so much easier to work in this space without the DAO, and were I to have my way, there would be no DAO, at least not until the project was much further along in its maturity (which is not based on time, but based on reaching a stable non-beta version of the protocol with consistent usage). Again, the DAO, in my mind, hinders moving fast - hell, I and others have decided to NOT put up proposals because we didn’t want to litigate things for months and decided to accept the status quo. This is a sign of failure to me.

To your three points, though consolidating two of them in the first bullet:

  • Technical expertise and technical advocate. It is well known that @Olshansky is the primary expert on both iterations of the protocol at this time. He’s not the only one, but he’s the primary one, so much so that he is, in my mind, a Bus factor. He is also someone that cannot simultaneously work in Grove and be a part of PNF. In an ideal world (again my opinion) Olshansky could/would be part of PNF and fill the CTO/technical-board-member at PNF. He already publishes papers, speaks at conferences, and as needed, participates in X Spaces and podcasts. He’s also very well connected in multiple ecosystems in this space and has proven that through various intros he’s made for the benefit of Grove and the wider ecosystem. Could he do more? Sure, but we need him coding, and some of these marketing efforts can go live when Shannon is about to go out (or is out) and he can spend the months afterwards evangelizing.
  • Board observer. This position is valuable for insight and experience only. As they do not vote, they do not, at the end of the day, have a say in what transpires. I know at Grove’s board, we value the 2 observers we have and have in the past voted with their recommendations in place.

I think Jinx answered everything else, so I will move on to one last section.

Finally, I want to call out @dermot. He has an absolutely thankless job and I just made it unexpectedly miserable for him and the PNF team today. Personally, I think Dermot has done wonders for the ecosystem as a whole. The ability to get listed on multiple exchanges recently, launch wPOKT on time, and providing and sustaining incentives is a testament to his leadership.

What I want is to do here is add more representation of the veteran community to the make up of PNF. As mentioned above, that is missing, and I think some of the projects that have been undertaken, or the speed at which things have been done, are due to not having that voice or viewpoint.

Most of you do not know, but Mike and I meet with PNF biweekly to catch up, and typically it’s me and Dermot finding ourselves on opposing sides of ideas/opinions/arguments and Mike either mediating, and occasionally taking one side or another. Rarely, if ever, do they spillover into the public, but this one, in my mind, is very different for the reasons I stated above. PNF is a public organization, with a mandate to be public and transparent on their business. I do think a vote for a new director should be done publicly and all sides debated. As mentioned above, I wish I brought this up sooner, given the proposal was up for ~2 weeks, but I didn’t see it until 24 hours ago, so we’re here now.

I’ll live with whatever transpires and continue working through issues as I have in the past. At the time of writing, the current voting is 9-7 against Ben’s appointment, so clearly the community has a mixed opinion, and as Jinx said above, there really isn’t a voting block here - it’s just a group of people who have one way or another felt that this specific vote is a way to get better representation at PNF.

Thank you.

4 Likes

100% agree with Arthur and Jinx

I rarely put my comments on any of the forum though I was one of the early voter of Pocket Network. For so long, I felt like current DAO exists for the sake of ‘maintaining’ DAO structure. Millions spent just to maintain DAO structure? Am not attacking any one person directly but promises not met due to a lot of excuses (like Tier 1 exchange), results unsatisfactory but DAO seems to exist to make restructuring or trying to form a new structures for DAO’s existence. Vote participatin? Yeah like out of 60+ voters how many actually do vote? and spendings (I believe almost half) were salaries. Every dollar PNF spends, it’s out of pocket of all pocket community.

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This appears to some as a blatant power struggle by PNI and it’s vested interests to maintain influence and control of the foundation. Many don’t vote regularly because it generally feels perfunctory, most either vote with the crowd or when they’re whipped to do so, and there are only a few active entities which exert their influence to sway and they are all connected to each other.

What entity was in control and at the helm for many of the worst problems the community has had to bear, the amount of money they wasted hand over fist at the expense of the community already, the culture of pseudo-open source we suffer through the examples they’ve set. Can the foundation even remain credibly neutral if so many seats of influence are held by their alumnus?

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I stand by my words; when I call it like I see it, it’s with deliberate intent. You’ve also aired grievances regarding Ming’s departure, hinting at deeper discord. It all feels like typical DAO drama.

It strikes me as peculiar that, despite your proclaimed “living and breathing” the ecosystem, you missed the PNF’s explicit request for technical expertise in their Observer role call, a detail that predated the prop going up for vote.

I share @iannn’s sentiment that this seems like a power play. The suggestion to nominate @Jinx as a Foundation Director, made by @ArtSabintsev, borders on the absurd. While I hold no grudge against @Jinx, their deep ties to a significant node operator and past advisory role with PNI raise questions about their ability to remain impartial—a non-negotiable for a Foundation Director.

In stark contrast to PNI’s era—marred by hyperinflation, a non-existent wPOKT bridge, and misalignment within the DAO—not to mention ANKR’s questionable actions with the PNI Portal (only lord knows what effect that had on token price)—we’ve seen the PNF make leaps and bounds in just a year. The gravity of PNI’s legacy, including the DAO’s substantial POKT allocation to them, cannot be overlooked.

The lack of speed/bias-for-action by PNF mostly came during the PNI/PNF era and the SWOT analysis you speak of was probably done when the separation first happened. Remember, the restructured Foundation has been in full swing for merely a year, and I’m open to being corrected on this.

My original point stands—what we’re witnessing seems to be nothing more than political manoeuvring.

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There were serious allegations raised by @ArtSabintsev on the ecosystem call yesterday and in what we understand was a private campaign of calls that took place over the last 24 hours.

We want to bring these allegations out into the open, address them as best we can, and give the community a chance to discuss recent developments.

When conversations happen behind closed doors or even in public forums, with intimations of secret knowledge and insight, it creates information asymmetry that makes good decision making impossible for all. And the distraction involved, as we seek to detangle valuable signal from insinuation and noise, is harmful.

This post will strive to start a process, but we invite you to join us at the community call today at 11am EST in the POKT Network discord server to hold us to account publicly, openly, and transparently. In line with our shared values.

Allegation of “mismanagement of funds”

We’ll start with this as it is probably the most serious of the allegations. @ArtSabintsev used this inflammatory term when suggesting that PNF were not spending responsibly and was too quick to bring in consultants to support our activities.

We publicly account for every line of spend, openly and transparently. We will always do so, and any element of that spend is open to your scrutiny and your challenge.

However, PNF is a team of 5, and we have a huge agenda that we are driving through. We are committed to avoiding bloat in the foundation. In addition to community contributions, that means contracting expert talent where needed to accelerate our progress.

We’re happy to discuss any concerns openly on the call.

Allegation of a “lack of technical leadership” in PNF

While we haven’t seen any material complaints about failings in our strategy, we absolutely want and need more technical leadership in PNF. It is something we are actively addressing. Especially as we continue to decentralise things like protocol development and move towards the credible neutrality that is required in an expanding Gatewayverse.

We understand that this process also involves a shift in locus of control over time, back towards the DAO, the community, and PNF as ecosystem stewards. This will inevitably cause friction among invested parties. That is natural and understandable and we will continue to do what we can to ease the process and provide confidence.

We hoped that Matteo was the answer when he joined the Foundation last June. We now have a much better idea of what we need (a senior technical leader) and what the protocol team needs (an awesome “get shit done” PM type, eg @shane !).

Trying to find one person to do both didn’t work out.

We are working with two recruitment firms and activating our networks to hire a new technical director to sit within PNF. Two interviews have taken place already.

We believe that the right technical hire for this role will want to become a Director, but if we meet an amazing technical leader who can tick all the boxes but doesn’t want to take a Director role, we can be flexible.

We could have done better communicating all of this, which we will learn from.

Allegation of a lack of transparency in Director changes

Art claimed he wasn’t aware of @b3n ’s appointment, the DAO observer appointment process, or PNF’s plan to bring in more talent (including Technical leadership) in parallel with the observer process.

There have been posts about all of this on the forum (November update, December update, the post about Ben directly two weeks ago, January update on board processes) and mentions on every community call since the end of November.

PNF also holds bi-weekly calls with Grove leadership to support protocol development and discuss ecosystem evolution etc.

We understand that it can be difficult for many of our stakeholders, who don’t enjoy bi-weekly calls with PNF, to stay abreast of all of the changes and workstreams in the DAO. If there are any other ways that we can highlight these, please continue to share this with us and we will work to do better.

For example, @Jinx made a very valid point about missing the Technical Leadership figure because the title of the post felt less relevant. We could have done more to call attention to this.

Allegation of a lack of community representation

In an open system like ours, where the DAO can directly force appointment/removal votes, observers can have a lot of influence. We expect the DAO-appointed board observer to have a big role in shaping PNF’s future, which is exactly what we want.

We presume that this is an unfortunate misinterpretation as the process clearly sets out that anyone can submit (provided that they aren’t a scammer essentially) and that the DAO will vote to approve their preferred choice. We doubt that anyone would suggest that PNF would ever rig the process.

Vague allegations of ineffective performance

It is (perhaps intentionally) difficult to address these since they are never fully articulated.

But we understand that @ArtSabintsev has suggested privately recently in 1:1 calls that he has concerns about PNF’s performance.

We strongly believe that private calls are not the right way to go about this and would like to invite @ArtSabintsev to bring any legitimate concerns into the open, to substantiate them, and give us a chance to address them openly and without politics.

Implied allegation of cronyism over the proposal of Ben as Director

@nelson stepping down as a Director left a gap that @b3n is well qualified to fill.

Our full rationale is in the forum post, but I’m sharing a couple of headlines here for ease.

And:

As you’ll see in that post, appointing Ben isn’t a zero sum exercise.

TL;DR

We are at an exciting point in the evolution of POKT Network.

Anything that helps us raise our game and accelerate towards that will always be welcome.

Anything that doesn’t, that isn’t shared in good faith, is a distraction that hurts our collective ambition and that should be called out as such and put an end to.

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Yes, I missed the non-proposal post made last Wednesday, and only read (the exact same information) posted yesterday. I very much noted the technical expertise called for in the Observer role when originally discussed, and as I explained at length and with detail, do not feel an Observer is adequate for a technical organization.

It’s not surprising you’re able to manufacture an alternate motivation for my stance when you make things up out of whole cloth. Once again, I will ask that you engage with the merit of my ARGUMENT, not made up bullshit about my motivations.

I assume you mean Node River, where the vast majority of my sizable stake lives, correct? Oh, no, you don’t mean them? Curious. Oh, you didn’t realize I have multiple stakes all over this ecosystem? Wow. It’s almost like I’m deeply connected to this ecosystem and have put my money where my mouth is supporting the ecosystem in many ways and across many providers. I’ve been dealing with these baseless claims of impartiality around PoktPool since I helped start it as a minor partner. And of course I have deep ties with the person who wrote the economics whitepaper and one of the first investors. Like them, I’ve been around since the project’s inception.

Unlike these two replies, I haven’t engaged in character assassination in the slightest. I’ve clearly stated my position and reasoning, neither of which you’ve addressed, instead choosing to respond with ad hominem.

Weak sauce.

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LOL, I’ll make this my final post on this prop to sidestep any further back-and-forth and keep the focus on the vote. I still stand by everything I said. PNF MUST stay neutral.

But i’ll do you a solid though, I’d recommend you revisit the link from my quoted message and verify the date before capturing screenshots and marking them up. Then maybe delete that part of your response before anyone sees.

Ahh I see you quickly edited it from " Observer post was made 16 hours ago" to “Observer post was made last Wednesday”. Gg

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:roll_eyes:

The screenshot I caught and marked up was from yesterday, and someone pointed out that there was a previous explainer link posted last Wednesday, which I clearly missed, and updated the post to reflect that. Incredible call out, that I missed a single post, which still contained the exact same concern in structure that I actually addressed in my argument, and which you’ve once again completely failed to rebut in any way.

It’s a significant sign of weakness of position when you can’t rebut a point at all, and instead attack the person. The accusations of bias are similar. You can’t point to anything at all demonstrating the bias, you just fling the word like a weapon. As my grandfather used to say, comes mi culo. Put up or shut up.

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@ArtSabintsev, could you please clarify the point around the PR agency under ‘funds mismanagement’?

For transparency, I advocated for the termination of that contract because it was not performing. I do not believe that the use of agencies or consultants per se is mismanagement of funds.

But I’d like to better understand points of view on this topic.

Also, IMO, if you’re going to publicly allege mismanagement of funds, and seem to suggest some kind of shady hiring practices, then you need to elaborate on that publicly too. You either make an allegation publicly or you don’t. Otherwise it just hangs there but can’t be responded to, and that isn’t right.

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Given that this is related to the concerns I voiced here, I think it’s important to note that I have directly spoken to the foundation more than once about this concern, with specifics, and have recapped some of the details of those concerns in multiple conversations over the last 24 hours. Given some of the other posters’ propensity for attacking my character in this forum, I can’t let that go without clarification.

That being said, I appreciate the acknowledgement of the need, along with the need for better communication around these points, and have found the Foundation to generally be in alignment with my position around this issue. I’m looking forward to hearing more on the next call.

I certainly wouldn’t suggest that. This position was based on two specific points:

  • The foundation is appointing one of the two observers unilaterally.
  • The foundation reserves the right to reject any application not just on it being considered spammy, but also on them not considering the applicant to be fitting with POKT’s DNA, which is a qualitative versus quantitative choice:
  1. PNF will have the right to remove any submission if someone’s submission is not for themselves, is spam, contains a personal attack, or otherwise does not align with POKT Network’s DNA.

I don’t think this is a misinterpretation as much as a point that may need further clarification so as not to feel arbitrary. The DAO and the foundation may disagree on whether a candidate aligns with POKT’s DNA, and in that case, which perspective reigns supreme? From my reading, the foundation is the final say.


Aside from the boring personal attacks, I do feel that some important concerns have been addressed in this thread, and I’m glad to see that the foundation shares my desire for the addition of critical skills currently missing, and recognizes my concerns around those voices having appropriate sway in strategy and decision making. I’m looking forward to the call this morning.

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Seems to me that there’s two issues at hand here – succession planning for the Foundation directors, and litigating some of past PNFs spending/hiring decisions – and we’re doing ourselves a bit of a disservice by lumping them together.

My vote was in favor of PIP36, based in part the fact that this had been announced in advance coupled with @Dermot 's glowing recommendation of Ben. It also seems that Ben has already taken on some of the roles of a Director, so a ‘yes’ vote would help ensure a smooth transition. Art’s concerns are last-minute, and while they didn’t change my mind on the vote, I nonetheless think it’s worth having a conversation about the makeup of the new Foundation as it relates to the skills the Directors bring to the table, and which ones are the most pressing at the moment. I don’t see much disagreement that someone with technical expertise is needed on PNF; however, I don’t know whether having a tech-oriented director trumps the skill set that Ben has in the short term. Hopefully this conversation will continue, because it seems that there are still many opportunities to affect the makeup of PNF, in the form of bringing on board observers and finding a replacement for Jack.

As far as the issue of PNFs spending/hiring practices… to me, this touches upon larger issues of transparency, communication, and working in the open. On both the community call and in some of the forum posts, allusions were made to private conversations between PNI, PNF, ex-PNF, and community members at large. And I find it hard to have a productive discussion when some parties are operating on information that others aren’t privy to. I think it’s fair to periodically (re)evaluate whether the Foundation is getting its bang for the buck on big spending items. But I’m not sure we’re doing that effectively. As an example, I recently questioned the spend on the Messari reports, as I was (and continue to be) disappointed with the end product. @JackALaing was quick to engage my posts and provide some helpful context. But I can’t help but note that almost 11 months passed between communications (from the announcement that the vote had passed, to my post questioning whether we were getting value for our pokt). I was unaware that PNF regularly meets with the larger stakeholders in the ecosystem; all that I saw from my end was a lack of updates, and an alleged partner that had snubbed us in their reporting. I think having some kind of regular (e.g. quarterly) updates to allow for this discussion would be helpful, both to keep the community updated, and to allow for feedback/suggestions for improvement. @Dermot has on numerous occasions praised the strength and level of engagement in the community, and PNF should take every opportunity to leverage that. But I think that’s a separate discussion, and bringing it in as part of this vote muddies the waters somewhat.

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Strong points here.

This is not (by far) the first time that relevant connected issues have been litigated in a not directly related proposal. We’ve seen that a number of times (such as the Foundation for the Future proposal), so it’s not as though this is unusual for a proposal.

I think there are two different perspectives here around this proposal:

  • Is Ben qualified to be a Director? Seems to me there is strong agreement that he is.

  • Have the Director roles been filled appropriately to account for the skills and resources required for the foundation to be successful? This is the question where much of the side litigation has come from, and why it’s a relevant proposal for that discussion.

Completely agreed at large on the issues around communication, which underpinned a lot of my replies.

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Big thanks to @Dermot and @doctorrobinson for a very productive and informative community call addressing a number of these issues. I am encouraged with the amount of direct community engagement I see from the Foundation these days.

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