Resignation as Chair of the Exchange Committee

Secured
#1
I have resigned as the Chair of the Exchange Committee.

In the coming year I will have more obligations to my ANO company and will not have the bandwidth to put what I consider a sufficient amount of time into chairing the committee. In addition, I do not feel I have the best background for the types of struggles the committee is facing as I have no legal background and no connections with exchanges, OTC desks, high-profile attorneys, etc. I don't want to hold on to the position if I'm not going to be effective at it, so at this juncture I believe it's better for the committee and the community if I step aside and let someone with more experience and bandwidth lead it.

So far no one in the committee has stepped up to be chair so I am deferring to the ANOs on how they would like to proceed for finding a replacement Chair for the Exchange Committee.

It's been a pleasure to lead this committee as its members are competent and highly motivated individuals. I hope to stick around and keep contributing as I have time, just not as the Chair. Thank you to everyone in the committee who has put time and effort into working on the difficult tasks of getting FCT on more exchanges, particularly to David Chapman who put more time in than I did, and who was a source of never-ending drive to get things done.
 
Secured
#9
Sorry to see you go, Sam.

Is there a sense of who would make a good candidate that’s already in the ecosystem? Maybe someone from Multicoin?

If there isn’t an ideal candidate, I wonder if this is something worth considering as a compensated position hired from outside?

It could be a part time position (maybe even just a consulting kind of thing) with someone that has all the connections/experience we’re looking for. The grunt work would still come from our native ecosystem members.

It wouldn’t be my first choice but if it’s the best choice then it’d be one worth making.

Just throwing it out there.
 
Secured
#11
Sorry to see you go, Sam.



If there isn’t an ideal candidate, I wonder if this is something worth considering as a compensated position hired from outside?
I think that's exactly the kind of slippery slope that needs to be avoided for as long as possible.

This was briefly discussed on Discord by concerned FCT market community members. There is this trend where people might be looking to end up in multiple committees for a future compensation potential. It was then promised that committee positions will 'never' be compensated, but this is the kind of action that will eventually get you there.

Even if it's an outsider, which you would argue plays by different rules, it's not gonna work to have a compensated overseer position while all the grunt work is left unpaid. It creates all sorts of problems.
 
Secured
#12
That’s the issue though. Much of the grunt work is unpaid, so people in all aspects of the protocol are starting to down tools or focus their time only on their ANO and Grant applications. Eventually no one will be on the core, exchange, or marketing committees. It’s not an easy fix, and we need to find the balance somewhere without being a slippery slope.
 
Secured
#13
Mandate some level of committee or other ecosystem work as a minimum requirement of being an ANO/Guide (thus included in the compensation)?

Non-ANOs/Guides can be encouraged to participate in committees and other ecosystem work (like me moderating the discord) out of pure interest in advancing the protocol and/or to develop some good will and credibility to pursue ANO/Guide election in the future.

Does that align interests properly?
 
Secured
#14
I really think the solution is going to be "Award Grants". Grants that can be awarded for good work after the fact. Right now, there are a lot of people on committees that don't do anything. There are also some people that are doing fantastic work for the ecosystem and deserve some compensation. There will also be times people do work they think the ecosystem will like but isn't actually valued by the community.

Award Grants not only help incentivize quality work to be performed, but allow for competition as well. I think there's absolutely room for competition in some areas and it'll help further decentralize the protocol.

As an example, if 4 people on a 7 person committee work hard to create X solution for the ecosystem they can apply after the fact for FCT via the grant pool. And they can split the FCT among those four people as they determine. Or if a lone wolf creates Y solution for the ecosystem which is valued, they can apply after the fact and receive all the FCT if awarded.
 
Secured
#15
I really think the solution is going to be "Award Grants". Grants that can be awarded for good work after the fact. Right now, there are a lot of people on committees that don't do anything. There are also some people that are doing fantastic work for the ecosystem and deserve some compensation. There will also be times people do work they think the ecosystem will like but isn't actually valued by the community.

Award Grants not only help incentivize quality work to be performed, but allow for competition as well. I think there's absolutely room for competition in some areas and it'll help further decentralize the protocol.

As an example, if 4 people on a 7 person committee work hard to create X solution for the ecosystem they can apply after the fact for FCT via the grant pool. And they can split the FCT among those four people as they determine. Or if a lone wolf creates Y solution for the ecosystem which is valued, they can apply after the fact and receive all the FCT if awarded.
"Award Grants" for committees, especially when the work that needs to be done is necessary and vital doesn't make sense to me. That's devaluing the project and making it much less important as well as devaluing the skills and expertise needed to bring this home.

"Award Grants" are good for non-critical initiatives but here it's shit that needs to get done.
 
Secured
#16
"Award Grants" for committees, especially when the work that needs to be done is necessary and vital doesn't make sense to me. That's devaluing the project and making it much less important as well as devaluing the skills and expertise needed to bring this home.

"Award Grants" are good for non-critical initiatives but here it's shit that needs to get done.
Let's see if I can articulate the reality of the situation.

1. There is no requirement or social repercussion for not being on a committee.

2. Even if there was, it's easy to be on a committee in little more than name. There are plenty of zombie committee members in this ecosystem. Note that I don't really blame people for that as most people are REALLY BUSY on other things but a precedence has also been set that leaving a committee and then coming back later when you have time or something to contribute is frowned upon. All the while it looks good on your monthly or quarterly reports to state you're a member of X and Y Committees.

3. The price of FCT is such that many people need to focus on other forms of revenue, often outside of this ecosystem. When you have an ANO with 3, 4, 5+ people on it the money just isn't there to focus your time on critical work for the ecosystem. Some of us are lucky enough to be able to spend more time but that's not the reality for most.

4. I'll use myself as an example for this next point. I'm a member of the Exchange Committee and we realized we need a legal opinion regarding whether FCT is a security or not. I decided to head up this initiative. Sound easy? Heh. The amount of time I have spent researching attorneys, calling them, driving to where they are multiple hours away, meeting with them, driving back, communicating with the Exchange Committee, generating information, pushing people to get shit done so we can properly portray the state of the ecosystem, further communicating with those attorneys, and then the... behind the scenes meetings and disagreements surrounding the process that no doubt has had negative social consequences for me in this ecosystem, is off the charts. Oh, and if I screwed up, there was potential legal liability for me as well.

All the while I'm not able to focus on solutions that will benefit my company's bottom line and guarantee myself a place in an ecosystem which is very much, "What are you doing for me now?" focused.

It may sound like I'm pushing for reward grants because I want one. I'm pushing for reward grants because I know many others are going to eventually come to the exact same conclusion as me when they try to get important work done.

"Why am I going through this headache when I could focus on my company?"

I don't know if Sam's resignation was the result of this same realization or not. But what I do know is he is now focusing on his ANO rather than leading the Exchange Committee. And in my opinion, that's a loss for the ecosystem as he's a fantastic leader I was honored to work with. I wouldn't have supported Sam being paid for the position but I would absolutely support Award Grants for him IF HE DELIVERED QUALITY WORK. Fund committees for work that needs done and then provide Award Grants to those who execute well.
 
Last edited:
Secured
#17
Let's see if I can articulate the reality of the situation.

1. There is no requirement or social repercussion for not being on a committee.

2. Even if there was, it's easy to be on a committee in little more than name. There are plenty of zombie committee members in this ecosystem. Note that I don't really blame people for that as most people are REALLY BUSY on other things but a precedence has also been set that leaving a committee and then coming back later when you have time or something to contribute is frowned upon. All the while it looks good on your monthly or quarterly reports to state you're a member of X and Y Committees.

3. The price of FCT is such that many people need to focus on other forms of revenue, often outside of this ecosystem. When you have an ANO with 3, 4, 5+ people on it the money just isn't there to focus your time on critical work for the ecosystem. Some of us are lucky enough to be able to spend more time but that's not the reality for most.

4. I'll use myself as an example for this next point. I'm a member of the Exchange Committee and we realized we need a legal opinion regarding whether FCT is a security or not. I decided to head up this initiative. Sound easy? Heh. The amount of time I have spent researching attorneys, calling them, driving to where they are multiple hours away, meeting with them, driving back, communicating with the Exchange Committee, generating information, pushing people to get shit done so we can properly portray the state of the ecosystem, further communicating with those attorneys, and then the... behind the scenes meetings and disagreements surrounding the process that no doubt has had negative social consequences for me in this ecosystem, is off the charts. Oh, and if I screwed up, there was potential legal liability for me as well.

All the while I'm not able to focus on solutions that will benefit my company's bottom line and guarantee myself a place in an ecosystem which is very much, "What are you doing for me now?" focused.

It may sound like I'm pushing for reward grants because I want one. I'm pushing for reward grants because I know many others are going to eventually come to the exact same conclusion as me when they try to get important work done.

"Why am I going through this headache when I could focus on my company?"

I don't know if Sam's resignation was the result of this same realization or not. But what I do know is he is now focusing on his ANO rather than leading the Exchange Committee. And in my opinion, that's a loss for the ecosystem as he's a fantastic leader I was honored to work with. I wouldn't have supported Sam being paid for the position but I would absolutely support Award Grants for him IF HE DELIVERED QUALITY WORK. Fund committees for work that needs done and then provide Award Grants to those who execute well.
You make some good points David however I don't see how "Award Grants" are relevant in this discussion when we're talking about critical work like Exchange Committee and Marketing Committee. At the end of the day, ANOs are strongly rewarded with FCT and grants are paid in FCT so they will be the ones to suffer the most from this. I don't see how if we had an "Award Grant" here then that would be solved or the work would be done in this case. We need to find the right person to lead this and compensate them for it. See what Factom Inc has to say about it.

What really bothers me about "Award Grants" is the fact that the person/entity is expected to work and provide value without getting paid unless the ANOs deem the work worthy of being compensated. This won't attract the best talent for critical work needed. Now unless maybe what is meant by "Award Grant" is actually an "Escrow Grant" where the payment is made after delivery but it is guaranteed payment and agreed upon before. Not let off to chance especially for critical work.

So I'm not against "Award Grants" but it just doesn't solve the problem in this discussion. I'm all for Grants, Escrow Grants & Award grants in general. Anything that rewards valuable work. It would be unwise not to either way and short sighted. I do see the value in making this something official so I say we should push for it now.
 
Secured
#18
You make some good points David however I don't see how "Award Grants" are relevant in this discussion when we're talking about critical work like Exchange Committee and Marketing Committee. At the end of the day, ANOs are strongly rewarded with FCT and grants are paid in FCT so they will be the ones to suffer the most from this. I don't see how if we had an "Award Grant" here then that would be solved or the work would be done in this case. We need to find the right person to lead this and compensate them for it. See what Factom Inc has to say about it.

What really bothers me about "Award Grants" is the fact that the person/entity is expected to work and provide value without getting paid unless the ANOs deem the work worthy of being compensated. This won't attract the best talent for critical work needed. Now unless maybe what is meant by "Award Grant" is actually an "Escrow Grant" where the payment is made after delivery but it is guaranteed payment and agreed upon before. Not let off to chance especially for critical work.

So I'm not against "Award Grants" but it just doesn't solve the problem in this discussion. I'm all for Grants, Escrow Grants & Award grants in general. Anything that rewards valuable work. It would be unwise not to either way and short sighted. I do see the value in making this something official so I say we should push for it now.
Does being a member who contributes regularly on the Forum and Discord in key discussion eligible for Reward Grants? ;) Sign me up if that's the case.
 
Secured
#19
Does being a member who contributes regularly on the Forum and Discord in key discussion eligible for Reward Grants? ;) Sign me up if that's the case.
I appreciate that you and a handful of other non-ANOs take your time to participate in governance here on the forum (I don't know who you are on Discord). It really is good to get input from outside the ANO sphere.
 
Secured
#20
Does being a member who contributes regularly on the Forum and Discord in key discussion eligible for Reward Grants? ;) Sign me up if that's the case.
@liveanddie, I can say (from experience -- in my year in the ecosystem prior to joining an ANO -- I'm formerly Sanfranseahawk) that providing an active voice on Reddit, Discord, and Factomize does get noticed, does build your reputation, and is extremely valuable for the Protocol. Before I was ever approached about the possibility of joining an ANO team, I was privately thanked by numerous ANO's, Guides, and Protocol leaders about how appreciative they were of my involvement in discussions. As an effect of that involvement, my first opportunity (so to speak) in the Protocol came when 88mph asked me to join him in becoming a Sponsor for Factom Inc.'s Dev Grant. I was honored to be included in something special like that.

In addition, on an irregular basis, there are sometimes opportunities to contribute for money. As a quick example, David Chapman posted on Discord (about a week ago) that he was offering $100 worth of FCT to write a blurb on Protocol Governance. Also, sometimes Grants have gone unapproved, but community members will crowdsource some funding for a valuable Grant proposal that didn't make the cut (such as the HERC Grant).

Another example is that when Grants go unawarded in a given Grant Round, sometimes the members proposing the Grant decide to put their best foot forward (assuming it's financially possible and responsible to do so) and make it happen anyway, and if it goes well, they can apply for a back-Grant, Award Grant, or whatever we want to call it. Damo's "What The Fork" Podcast, as an example, was an unawarded Grant last round, but having heard the podcast episodes and seeing how much work he's putting in shows me that his podcasts are certainly very worthy of consideration (in my personal opinion) for an Award Grant at some point in time if he chooses to seek that out. I do realize that for larger Grants that involve considerable amounts of labor, time, and money, taking that risk (of doing your Grant proposal without Grant funding) is not possible or realistic, though.

@Samuel Vanderwaal If you could conceive of a perfect Exchange Committee Chair, what would that person be like? When you pass the torch to the next person, what sort of skills should they have in their arsenal? Do they need to have "connections" to lawyers, exchanges, etc? Should they expect to have to invest some personal funds (as David alluded to above when he mentioned driving hours back and forth to consult with attorneys)? I am sad to see you stepping down, but am hopeful you'll find another great leader to head the committee.
 
Secured
#25
David, how do you compare having a chair vs. not having a chair? What has changed in how the committee works and the output? Would be good feedback to know for governance as we might see other committees without a chair.
Sam was absolutely invaluable for getting us jump started and operating efficiently. His leadership was truly impressive.

Now it's a matter of doing more of the same. If we had great leadership again I certainly wouldn't complain, but we get enough done where I don't feel the need to ask people to step up.

I think every committee will be different so I'm not sure our experience is precedent setting.