PoolTogether DAOs purpose

I’ve just finished listening to the most recent Bankless interview with Rune Christensen and hearing Rune talking about a Maker becoming ‘a purpose driven DAO’. Rune Christensen attempts to set out the mission for Maker holders here. Its a ridiculously long read, but the gist is, he is trying to align the DAO with the purpose of making Maker and DAI a system that promotes ‘Clean Money’. Honestly I think its kind of a brilliant idea. Maker holders currently are only incentivized to be stewards of the Maker and DAI tokens and make sensible decisions about collateral etc. What Rune is doing is trying to set out a grander vision.

Rune outlines how its important for a DAO to crystallize around a shared purpose or vision, something that aligns all participants and makes the goals and mission clear. This is actually very common in the context of traditional large companies.

Sometimes a purpose is demonstrated in a short phrase, or even in a specific end goal.
Space X wants to "make humanity interplanetary" with cheap reusable space travel infrastructure.
Diageo America wants "be the most trusted and respected consumer goods company in the world"
Apple Incs corporate mission statement is " to bring the best personal computing products and support to students, educators, designers, scientists, engineers, businesspersons and consumers in over 140 countries around the world.

You can find a whole bunch of these mission statements from various companies and institutions here.

What we would consider the mission statement of PoolTogether DAO? I cant think of ever having seen one described. Rune points out in the podcast that a mission statement or purpose is one good way to strengthen the DAO against governance attacks. If a governance proposal comes through that is not aligned with the objectives/purpose of the community, it is more likely to be rejected.

I do think that generally most participants in our community get the idea of the protocol and what it is supposed to be. For me, the purpose of the product is to enable ‘a trustless savings account with positive gamified incentives to save more money’. This is just something i thought up right here, off the cuff, and is pretty crap imho. @Leighton sets out a Vision for PT in the narrative guide.

I wondered if we could brainstorm a really short phrase that distills the essence of what PoolTogether DAO is supposed to be and what we should keep in mind when implementing governance proposals in general. What is our purpose?
I certainly know what our purpose is not. To enrich token holders at the expense of user deposits and pool growth. But perhaps we can design a purpose that is representative of poth parties benefitting simultaneously, aligning all incentives.

“Does this proposal meet the objective(s) of the overall community mission statement?” should be a question everybody asks when voting on a proposal.

Im sure PT Inc team themselves have some ideas here about what they are trying to do. But maybe the DAOs purpose is slightly different. Or maybe its the exact same? I don’t know! Any ideas?

8 Likes

I’m absolutely with the idea to have things like purpose, vision and mission clearly defined and openly accessible.
This is probably too short, but it might hit it on the spot, so I’ll just throw it in: “Make everybody win.”

3 Likes

I can’t really sum it up in a sentence, but I see PoolTogether as a social good. The Lottery system is very exploitative and feeds off everyday people, especially the poor.

Ultimately, the goal of PoolTogether is to become the standard way to save in the 21st century and make the old lottery system obsolete. Pool together your assets with millions of others so you all benefit over time.

4 Likes

I’ll add “and disincentivize gambling”

3 Likes

Yes, and allow governance to use those funds for more social good. Maybe. I like how Rune is trying to build an innate purpose for DAI to be a green currency. That is a powerful position to be in as a cryptocurrency, especially with the narrative of crypto being a planet-killing exercise generally.

I can see PoolTogether also fulfilling similar purpose. How many times have people requested ‘charity-pools’ for example. There is a product market fit if i ever did see one.

PoolTogether could not just up-end traditional lotteries, but the administratively top-heavy charities of the world too. It is kind of ridiculous just how much wastage sucks up your charity dollars if you’ve ever looked into that.

Thanks for the input!

2 Likes

i like to use “no-loss lottery prize pools” as being the summary thesis for PoolTogether.
but i also like the savings-alternative approach too.
downside to both imo is they still need some additional qualification before that ah-ha moment though.

a good way to achieve this would be to visualize it for users. we’ve had some grants come in recently looking to gamify the drawing process like a traditional lottery draw. i think that could add a lot to bridging the gap between it being too complicated, and it actually clicking for folks.

2 Likes

Going to resurrect this post to continue this line of thinking as I think many on the Other Internet call this week thought something like this would be valuable.

I suggested that something similar to the ENS ‘constitution’ and made my own attempt at a similar set of principles that would fit PoolTogether. I suggested the following:

I. PoolTogether is a protocol for No Loss Prize Savings
No user will ever withdraw their funds from the protocol and come out net negative in regards to their deposits, but may indeed come out positive through prize wins.

II. Prize yield grows future prizes and funds operation of the DAO
The primary purpose of prize yields is to grow the prize reserves and provide bigger prizes enabling future growth in deposits. A secondary purpose is to provide enough revenue to the DAO to fund ongoing development and improvement of PoolTogether through smart contract development and auditing, marketing of the service and integrations with other projects.

III. Having fun and a positive, gamified savings ethos is at the heart of PoolTogether
The socially positive value of saving money is enshrined down at the protocol level of PoolTogether. We will leverage this to create a fun and engaging environment for all users of the protocol and within the DAO itself.

IV PoolTogether will make traditional lottery games obsolete and become the biggest prize savings game in the world
PoolTogether up-ends traditional lotteries that are value-extractive to users pocket-books. It hijacks the human desire to gamble value in the hope of a future windfall by making sure the user never loses money. However users can still receive a windfall or smaller sustained winnings over time that will create effectively an ‘invisible APR’. Ultimately, this will promote better financial health for millions around the world.

I think ultimately anything we do is mostly symbolic and thats fine. If people feel strongly about it, we can have some sort of formal snapshot vote on it or something. Or it can simply be a ‘guiding light’ that users see when joining our user discord. It sets up the right framing of what PT is aspires to be. It combines our disparate operational teams and working groups with a consistent set of guiding principles. The idea here is just to have an outline of the ethos of PoolTogether. For anybody that spends enough time in the community, you will have picked up on most of these ideas already. But it would certainly nice to have them laid out right? :slight_smile:

The decision to exclude things like “Increase the value of the POOL token price” is deliberate. Yes, token price is an important metric to the health and runway of the treasury, but it is a means to an end, (protocol growth) and not the primary focus. And generally such discussions in the community are not found to be particularly interesting or engaged in a lot.

These are just my ideas on a set of guiding principles. Would love more feedback!

4 Likes

Thanks for bringing this topic back @mkkoll. I think articulating a mission statement and the core values for the DAO is essential to keep everyone aligned. As new people join, they can look to our mission statement and values to see what we are about. As you mentioned, we can use our mission statement and values as a guiding north star for decision making.

The Seed of PoolTogether

Early on in PoolTogether’s life Chuck, Leighton and I met at IDEO. We had an activity where we each defined what we thought PT’s values were. What PT represented. All of us phrased it in a different way, but we all shared these themes:

  • financial security
  • empowering communities
  • fun

These themes guided us in early decision making, and seeded the culture of our community.

Our Community Now

Since those early days our community has grown significantly, but our vibes still resonate with those themes.

I believe our mission statement hasn’t changed: we make saving money fun

However, core values are more complex. Core values guide how we conduct ourselves. It’s a social consensus, and it articulates who the community aspires to be.

Google as an Example

Let’s take Google as an example. Their mission statement is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful

Google’s values are:

  1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.
  2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
  3. Fast is better than slow.
  4. Democracy on the web works.
  5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
  6. You can make money without doing evil.
  7. There’s always more information out there.
  8. The need for information crosses all borders.
  9. You can be serious without a suit.
  10. Great just isn’t good enough.

The mission statement drives the what, and the values drive the how. This list guides the organization.

It can also change. It should not be considered final or written in stone.

Defining PoolTogether

I believe our mission statement has always been: we make saving money fun. This resonates with everything we’ve done so far, inc and community. The DAO as one.

I think our values are more complex, as how everyone achieves our mission can be very different. There are different teams on the DAO that operate independently, so finding a common thread will require more coordination.

It would be fun if people submitted their ideas for a mission statement and values in this post, and then we created a multi-choice snapshot so that people can signal. No quorum; we know only the dedicated will be watching. We’ll take the strongest outliers and rally around those values.

I’ve presented what I believe should be our mission statement, as it’s simple and captures what we’ve done. I’ll need to think more about our values.

I would love to see others’ thoughts.

5 Likes

I like the separation of the what and the how of the mission statement. The what is aspirational. The how is practical.

This is getting pretty philosophical at this point, but I am a believer that a simple to understand mission statement combined with a strong set of values can really align our governance over the long term. The layer 0 or ‘social layer’ being the most important is a popular idea in crypto-land and I do subscribe to it. It will align our governance practitioners whether they be operations, working groups or simply token holder voters to carry out activities in a way aligned to the values of the protocol itself.

The ‘we make saving money fun’ idea I think is great, as ive found that maintaining the original founder vision of companies and protocols in crypto especially can go a long way to carrying that vision into the future. It has more weight if it was the original intention all along. The idea captures all the aspects in the 4 points I laid out above; fun, financial health and no loss.

See how I incorporate this language of ‘believer’ and ‘governance practitioner’ as we keep the different user groups of the protocol in mind here as we think about this stuff :slight_smile:

Now, to just create those values that can be converted into direct actions by the community.

3 Likes

So how does this work

Here’s hot mike with the bump!

6 Likes

I think it’s something that includes save(pool), win, and together

How about something like, “When we PoolTogether, we win!”

We’re a refuge for the recovering degens, we’re an oasis for the down-bads, we’re a home for those who want to spend more time building, exploring and educating rather than apeing.

Together is the most important part of the equation. Community is our most valuable asset and it’s what we must protect/foster/cherish at all costs.

Pool is second. Because we trust and invest our attention into this community, we also pool our tokens together too.

Win because we PoolTogether. Winning USDC, winning pool, winning delegations, winning NFTs, winning frens. Because we PoolTogether we win. And if someone isn’t winning we try to get them some wins!

This line of thinking helps me frame sales-pitches

To individuals: PT is a great community where you can save, win, and even help others win too.

To protocols: PT is aligned with your values, and we want you to PoolTogether with us so that your community experiences more wins and can help others win too.

5 Likes

As for values, this was in a Marketing Working Group doc from December:

  1. Financial health
  2. Help people generate assets who don’t have access
  3. Warm inclusive community
  4. Fun
  5. Prizes/winning
  6. Sustainability
  7. Safety
  8. Trust
  9. Generosity

I think we can land on something this summer. Who should lead this? @mkkoll? I’ll give you some GIVE of something!

5 Likes

I like the idea of having a purpose… i’ve always seen this as a sort of a Gameifying Savings…

changing this era of pure consumerism into people who actually think long term.

So dont really have a phrase but i would say in my head i think it should include something about Making Savings mainstream And fun, straightforward, and a priority in peoples lives who just seem to spend spend spend and actually Gamble.

4 Likes

Ahhh @tim, this phrasing <3

This thread has turned into a beast (positively)! Partly this could be to us extending the topic of the DAO’s purpose to far more than just that.

To all get on the same page I’ve summarized my understanding of the terminology in the hope we can tackle and clarify these points one by one.
Purpose

Answers the questions: Why do we exist? What do we believe?

Mission Statement

1-2 paragraphs that precisely explain why an organization exists.
Describes the desires and intent of the org, as well as the general and overarching organizational purpose.

Answers the questions: Why do we exist? Who do we serve? What do we provide?

Vision Statement

The future of what we aspire to be. Short declaration of the long-term goal. Forward-looking statement. Communicates the shared hopes, dreams, and image of the future.

Answers the questions: What do we want to become in the future? Where are we going?

Value Statement

A statement, series of words and phrases, or paragraphs that represent the core beliefs.
Represents how the organization operates, and how the leaders and members act and behave.

Answers the question: What do we stand for? The How, The Culture, …

Overall practicing its values should drive a group toward its goals.

Some of these things already have already been defined for PoolTogether but we have so far missed out to agree on them officially.

Mission Statement:

  • “We make saving money fun.” (link), or more recently
  • “The world’s savings protocol, run by you.” (link)

This applies to the PoolTogether protocol and it feels like if the DAO wants to have a separate definition it should support those above.

Vision:

The endgame of PoolTogether is replacing savings accounts and lotteries. The first step is becoming the first viral DeFi protocol to break into the mainstream.
› Leighton on PoolTogether Narrative Guide

[…] The PoolTogether protocol will be the underlying infrastructure for prize savings around the world.
› Brendan on PT Inc. Vision and Roadmap for 2022

A protocol that is integrated across crypto and institutional products. Our goal is that PoolTogether becomes the financial infrastructure that powers all prize savings globally.
› Brendan on PT Inc. Vision and Roadmap for 2022

This again applies to the PoolTogether protocol. Since the DAO is the community of token holders that actively governs the protocol I feel the vision is a fit for us. Possible would be to extend it with accessibility or the “community-led, community-driven”-aspect.

Values:
Our DAO’s values are strongly exemplified by the community but have never been articulated. With our growing structures and network of contributors, it’s definitely time to do so now.

I see PoolTogether not only as a protocol-DAO but also as a purpose-DAO driven by the goal to serve the people.

I like the above a lot already and think that echoes the community well. I’m also a fan of @mkkoll’s constitution attempt. Our truth is probably somewhere in the middle of both. Simple to understand but still actionable for daily decision-making.

The discourse forum doesn’t make it easy to collaborate and this is definitely a topic for many minds. Up to share a doc if you are @tim @mkkoll @DenicioDelToro1

5 Likes

Yes, let’s get a doc going! Want to share a notion?

3 Likes

Let’s go, make the doc your own everyone

6 Likes