Who am I?
My name is Javier Mendonça and I have been involved with the WAX and EOS community since their inception and in the cryptocurrency space as a whole since 2014. I am an independent member of the community, I don’t run a guild and I am not affiliated with any either. My goal is to make impartial and transparent evaluations on the performance of active and standby WAX Guilds.
With a background in engineering and 10 years of experience as a software developer, I have successfully led design, research and mobile development efforts at several companies across multiple industries in Sweden, and even collaborated with block producers such as EOS Sw/eden in the past.
Such experience allows me understand the value of blockchain, the challenges WAX Guilds, users and developers face and what is required from a product and business development perspective for the WAX blockchain to grow, be resilient and be a success.
Back in October 2020 I was nominated and got 2nd place on the second Inspector General Election. Since then I have learned much more about the OIG, the WAX Guilds and the challenges they face.
I have followed closely the evaluation reports of the OIG and noticed few things that can be improved, specially when it comes to the product development category.
Instead of blindly proposing things I believe are necessary, I talked directly to the majority of the top 21 guilds to understand their needs when it comes to the OIG evaluation on different categories.
I got response from 2/3 of them, which is a good ratio to represent the majority. This is the feedback I got.
- An astonishing 75% of the guilds are not satisfied with the way Product Development evaluation is made nowadays.
- 66% of the guilds I talked to believe the evaluation as a whole is unfair. More on this under my recommendations below.
- Another 66% brainstormed innovative ideas with me which I am happy to bring to light and hopefully implement.
- 58% are not glad with the OIG tools.
- 33% believe the ecosystem evaluation should be given more points.
- 25% of the guilds reported their feedback not being heard by the IGs.
I am all for the best of the community and make the WAX blockchain a thriving ecosystem. The following are the areas I consider critical for improving the OIG evaluation and the relationship with the Guilds in the short and long term.
Product Evaluation Improvements
Most guilds believe the product score criteria is flawed, and so do I. To begin with, the scale doesn’t properly honor the products since all of them are subjectively compared with what is considered the best.
How does it work today?
- The best product gets a 5.
- If a product is somewhat “near” the best, it gets a 4.
- Everything else gets a 3, since they are doing something but not as good as 4 or 5.
The challenge with this scale is that “average”, “above average” and “below average” products keep getting the same score (3) since they are at the end of the day not close to a 5.
If we would increase the scale let’s say from 1–10, there would be more room to accurately rate a product. “Average” products would get a 5 while “below average” would get a 3–4 while “above average” could get 6–7. This gives a greater spectrum for IGs to choose from, making the evaluation more accurate and fair.
Another thing I believe the OIG can be better is at making the evaluation more objective by setting up parameters a product will be scored upon.
To put such parameters in place we need to ask ourselves, what makes a digital product valuable?
This is a tricky question, specially for blockchain-based products. When dealing with intangible assets, we need to look at things we traditionally don’t look for in physical assets.
What do VCs value in startups? That could be a good starting point:
- Daily active users (DAU)
- Network effects
- Are there other products or services dependant on the given product?
- Monthly monetary value transacted by a product
What I like of those metrics are that are quantifiable. If a guild can’t provide evidence to support one of them the guild would get 0 on that parameter.
Other metrics, although more subjective, are:
- Does the product have competitors? If so, what’s the key differentiator?
- Does the product has product-market fit?
- Is the product solving a need or providing a service?
- Community channels
Finally, a thing I would like to see in the product evaluation is clear examples of what different scores would represent. For example, is a 5 (or 10) a product that has at least X amount of DAU (daily active users) or the one transacting more than Y amount of WAX in daily volume? What would a 1 be, a product that barely exists without no usage whatsoever or is it the copycat product that provides no value at all?
Setting product metrics is hard. I don’t intent this list to be final but a starting point. Perhaps we will realize some metrics don’t make sense for us while discovering new, relevant ones.
Weighted Criteria Evaluation
Everybody is different as a human being, and so are guilds. Some shine at the technical level while others at community engagement. Why should all guilds be evaluated the same?
I propose a weighted system, where guilds can choose what category they want to be primarily evaluated for.
This doesn’t mean a tech guild can’t do a community event, but rather be evaluated for what they know what to do best.
A guild can choose to distribute weights among the different categories, or have all the weight in a single criteria.
Guild A chooses to be a purely tech guild. They care about infra and provide top notch nodes. They are shy and don’t want to engage in social media.
Their points weight distribution would as such:
Guild B is a more extrovert guild, which chooses to be an ecosystem/community guild. It’s score distribution would look like this:
This way, both Guild A and Guild B can focus all their resources on what they know what to do best instead of underperforming on categories they are not good at.
The key of course for a solid WAX ecosystem is to have diversity when it comes to guilds.
Notion is not sufficient. Why relying on a centralized service when we have a decentralized database on WAX? This is luckily something being addressed already as I understand 🙏.
However, something that can be improved is the way the OIG takes feedback. Currently, the main way to get feedback is via Telegram, or the evaluation form (which many guilds miss). Email probably works as well, but what I have seen is that guilds run into discussions on Telegram and at the end nothing is settled. It’s impossible to follow up such things on a chat, so we should have a tool explicitly for providing feedback.
And more important, the feedback should be heard. Some guilds mentioned their frustration since they pointed out certain challenges they had and they have been ignored to the point they stopped mentioning them.
It shouldn’t be like this. The guilds are running the WAX blockchain for the community, they should be treated as first class citizens and their concerns should be heard and addressed immediately. If we lose talented guilds the WAX blockchain deteriorates, which is the opposite we want.
I discussed with some of the guilds innovative ideas on what they would like to see implemented, or how things should be done in the future to improve both the guild evaluation and the WAX ecosystem as a whole. I want to bring light to those ideas since I believe they are indeed valuable:
- The guidelines are changing too fast. This was mentioned by few and usually the evaluation is changed from month to month. It’s great to iterate and be agile, but sometimes guilds don’t have enough time to settle by the new rules since within few weeks the criteria could change, thus disabling them to tweak what’s needed and perform at their best.
- Expand the OIG team
- More points to the community evaluation
- More points for maintaining the testnet. It’s not prio 1 but as a developer I can tell it is a crucial element of every blockchain. If the testnet is not maintained properly, where are the developers supposed to break things and prototype their new ideas? The development halts.
- Making the evaluation more transparent. A global matrix following product developments through time would be helpful since everybody could easily see where the points are going and how a guild is performing. This is applicable to all the categories.
I’d be honored to serve the Office of Inspector General for the next period!
Don’t forget to cast your vote between the 18th and 24th of January at https://oig.wax.io/