Where code, art and creativity intersect

Scaling GEN.ART

Setting ourselves up for success

Since founding GEN.ART, both Chris and I have always believed in the power of community.

Give a challenge to a collective of smart people, and they’ll tackle it much better than any lone individual.

As a result, community has always been one of our founding principles - and the reason why we structured ourselves as a DAO. We want the collective, as a whole, to have a voice – and to help steer the ship.

Fast forward to today, and I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve managed to accomplish in twelve short months. Albeit, Chris and I had to deal with a few burnouts each. 99% of what you see on GEN.ART was built by two people. Branding, technology, infrastructure, communications, the list goes on. All whilst navigating and pioneering a nascent market.

Now that we have solid foundations, we want to welcome more participation from community members - with a mix of voluntary and paid ‘contract’ gigs.

This will be a difficult challenge, and I’m sure we’ll stumble over the next few months as we find our feet.

It’s no secret that ‘organizational’ design is difficult - it’s a science that has been studied for decades. Add to that the fact we’re on the bleeding edge of reinventing the very notion of ‘organization’ and ‘community’.

People are not always that easy to work out - and our goals, aspirations, drivers and motivations are individual. For GEN.ART, some are here for passion, some are here for friendship, some are here for technology, alongside many other reasons.

A reminder on our mission

GEN.ART is committed to telling the story of the artists behind the works. We endeavor to act as a platform for artists to share their talents with the world. Our responsibility is to bring quality art to art collectors. As a result, our definition of success is not tied to floor prices, secondary volume, and/or mint completion rates. Quality art brings quality artists and quality collectors to our platform; the rest will follow.

So how do we progress?

We want to establish something similar to an Objectives & Key Results (OKR) framework - many of you from the start-up world might be familiar with this.

OKRs greatest value is in bringing teams together on a regular basis. They facilitate the discussion of current events, and current direction – all whilst providing the chance to reflect and discuss about the future.

OKRs are bottom up, meaning they’re well suited to a DAO. The DAO as a whole can brainstorm either on an annual or quarterly basis what high level objectives make the most sense - voting on the core focuses. Chris and I will ensure that they’re coupled tightly with GEN.ART’s founding values and mission.

These objectives are then broken down, for all of us to think about how to tackle, as a community - a community of volunteers and paid specialists. With those in their respective specialities knowing how best to achieve a particular goal or target.

DAO Vision => GA Goals => Specialty Goals (Marketing, Art, Tech) => Individual Contributor Goal/Target

We also appreciate that measuring goals is difficult. Measurement can quickly become overly complex or bureaucratic and block meaningful progress. Add to that the complexity of human behavior in terms of rewards and incentives and it can quickly become a minefield.

We want to start simple.

We suggest that we set the measurement for the Key Result at the beginning of each quarter, when we’re setting GA’s overall OKRs. If the Key Result is not realistically measurable at that point, we have to move it to the next quarter, come up with a proxy measurement, or choose a different Key Result.

Some OKR best practices; from our experience it’s better to have OKRs based upon a positive framework (e.g. achieving something positive, rather than reducing something negative). Also we should avoid binary YES/NO goals - and make our OKRs incremental and able to be broken into steps. And finally, goals that allow the possibility for teams or people to catch-up on the goal if they start falling behind.

This will take commitment from the community

I’m sure both online, and IRL, you’ve been part of a group focused on a goal. The first few days or weeks are great, everyone’s motivated, jumping on calls. But bit by bit, over time, the enthusiasm wanes and the calls suddenly have fewer and fewer people. We don’t want to end up in the position where it’s just back to everything resting on our shoulders, so before committing to anything - really ask, do you have the time and passion to see it through?

Decentralizing

Our Snapshot (voting mechanism) should be getting a lot more active over the coming weeks and months. Proposing and voting on a GIP should be a weekly, normal, occurrence. We collectively need to get good at following best practices for GIPs (e.g. specifically setting the scene, highlighting the options, providing a recommendation, voting and following through).

Rewards

Some of the tasks will be best suited to those who have spare time - for those who want to learn more about DAOs, art, community and so on. We don’t want to make all of this overly transactional, as we think it changes people’s motivation. We want you to help build GEN.ART because you want to and because you care, the rewards are there to justify and respect your time.

For tasks that have clear scope within a specific specialty with clear deliverables will be paid and subject to a basic ‘freelance’ contract - and paid upon task completion, rather than hours spent. A draft contract will be made available shortly. We’ll also have some occurrences where there is a ‘bounty’ to the individual who comes up with the best plan-of-action, and sees it through.

We’re constantly surveying other communities to see how they are tackling problems similar to the ones that we face. Again, we are all - within web3 - navigating unexplored territories.

We don’t have an infinite amount of funds (we’ll soon have a blog post on this), so we have to be prudent and bootstrap. The higher our burn rate, the fewer months of runway we have.

Initial ‘Tracks’

Below are the initial specialties that came to mind that members of the community may want to help with:

  • Operations
  • Marketing
  • Art Curation & Relationships
  • Technology
  • Strategic Planning

We will move slower

All of the above will result in us moving slower, it just comes with having to collectively decide and action items. A huge amount of work has to go into communication, so that everyone is on a level playing field. Communication that is well written and succinct - if someone is out of the loop for a couple of weeks, they can read through a couple of key places and be up to speed.

Example OKRs

These are GA’s high level objectives, set by Chris and Adam (but of course discussed by the whole community) - they effectively establish the direction of travel for the quarter or year ahead. These will act as the seed for the Objectives of the various tracks and contributors.

Objective: 24 drops on GEN.ART Platform for the year of 2022

  • Key Result 1: [TBA]
  • Key Result 2: Establish a blind curation board (7 members)
  • Key Result 3: [TBA]

Objective: Grow our community of GEN.ART ‘Members’

  • Key Result 1: Collect feedback from 20 members/month
  • Key Result 2: Increase CTR from /join from X% to Y%
  • Key Result 3: Increase CTR from /join from X% to Y%

Objective: Grow our artist pipeline

  • Key Result 1: Have a response time of <48 hours for any inbound applications
  • Key Result 2: Speak with at least 15 artists per week
  • Key Result 3: Host 2 IRL Exhibitions per year

As an example, under these KRs we would have the Operations and Marketing working groups establish their own KRs that feed into this - e.g. What needs to be done to have a response time <48 hours for inbound?

Objective: Structure ourselves for scaling

  • Key Result 1: Any recurring processes automated or checklists
  • Key Result 2: [TBA]
  • Key Result 3: [TBA]

Objective: Become the #1 generative art community

  • Key Result 1: Surpass x Discord members by [date]
  • Key Result 2: Create partnerships with x other communities
  • Key Result 3: [TBA]

Objective: [Tech scaling / documentation]

  • Key Result 1: [TBA]
  • Key Result 2: [TBA]
  • Key Result 3: [TBA]

    It’s been a while since we’ve highlighted our values, so as a reminder:
  • We love telling the story of the person behind the art
  • We endeavor to bridge both the traditional and digital
  • Community, all that we do is built around the strength of diversity of thought
  • Pushing boundaries, innovation is in our DNA.

Closing words

Chris and I couldn’t be more excited for this next phase of GEN.ART. We know that there’s an incredible number of smart and talented people in the community. We’re still going to be working as hard as ever to help push this creative renaissance forward.

Thank you to the community members who read early drafts of this and provided feedback.