[RFC] Team incentives

I’d like us to discuss the team’s incentives. IIRC they are paid in a mix of stables and Pickle. I have brought this up before, but I don’t think this arrangement properly incentives people to deliver. If the goal is to get TVL, why aren’t they paid in DILL? I realize the token is non-transferrable but there is a way to do it. The overall idea is that the team members will be paid by the protocol and thus have a more vested interest in delivering. Using DILL will incentivize people who want to work for Pickle to increase the weekly DILL profit share.

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A person somehow receiving DILL would be unnecessarily complicated. They would then have their salary dependent on a slew of variables. Not only are they depending on the performance of Pickle Finance for DILL revenue share, but they are also dependent on how much value and where they can invest in Jars and Farms in order to maximize the potential of DILL.

Why not just pay in PICKLE and then leave it up to them whether they prefer to lock it or sell it for stablecoin/etc? If I were thinking about doing a job the last thing I would want is a totally unpredictable paycheck. DILL is the most unpredictable and complicated way to “pay” someone. Both PICKLE and DILL “value” are equally and directly tied to the performance of Pickle Finance. If you are worried about incentive alignment, payment in either would work just the same. And PICKLE is far less confusing/unpredictable. So why pay in DILL?

That said, extending from the notion of unpredictable pay, I would never advocate that someone would be paid entirely in PICKLE unless payment was denominated in USD value rather than a set number of PICKLE. I see only two viable options. Either payment totally in PICKLE but of a value in USD, or of a mix of PICKLE and stablecoins. I am not aware of the current salary structure.

The purpose of paying in DILL is to align applicants long term views with the protocol’s. It does not seem that complicated IMO. If the information is still accurate, they are currently paid in stables and Pickle and/or vested Pickle. That does not align with the desire for higher TVL/more revenue. How is productivity currently measured? Is the work distribution fair? These are things that are not known but it appears that the team doesn’t really have to do anything and still get paid. If your long term view is the success of the project you’re working for then getting paid via DILL is better but I would support a mix of stable and DILL.

Probably many of you haven’t looked at the PIPs but PIP 22 hired a COO:
“$105k/year for paying a salary for a COO/product lead to work full time on Pickle to develop its product roadmap and lead operational initiatives in general. The compensation would be denominated in stablecoins and vested PICKLEs at a ratio of approximately 2:1.”

Mind you this was passed on DEC 30, 2020. It has been ~6 months months and what has been accomplished? TVL is still the same, token price is the same if not lower. Again, I ask the “DAO”, how are these things be tracked and measured?

It wouldn’t be possible to pay salaries in DILL because it’s a non transferrable token, the only way would be to create a wallet and pass on the seed phrase, which is then a security risk because it means someone else has access to your funds.

I can say that many of the team who received payment in PICKLE did indeed lock all/most for DILL. And some team members have actively bought more Pickle to lock up, so we are invested in the success of the project in one way or another.

As for your questions around performance, I’ll leave the DAO/community to assess.

The protocol pays the salary currently doesn’t it? So it’s already a security risk. Have it automated where the amount of Pickle that is for the employee is locked for Dill and then the Dill rewards are distributed weekly to the individual’s personal wallet. Doesn’t seem that complicated.

Is there an issue with connecting to the Farm? I have tried on 5 browsers and my wallet will not show my jars or farms. Thank you for a response.

Who’s the COO that was hired?

Exactly.

But iirc it’s @leekuanjew.

TVL is >10x higher. Token/share price has never been in the job description of any product hire, in DeFi or elsewhere.

10x? Higher than when? When you got the job? After one of the worst hacks so far in DeFi… I’m not trying to debate if you’re doing anything in your position cause there is no way to currently measure that. This post was to open the dialogue on how people are compensated and try to establish a way to evaluate work being done. Don’t take offense.

Yes.

We do have a GitHub and all code is open-source (except for our cloud infrastructure as it protects us from economic attacks). You can see contributors/committers, authors of issues and pull requests, and reviewers. We also have a feedback board and a governance member channel on Discord where we regularly answer questions about the work being done, provide estimates, and have started hosting community calls. There have been a number of public milestones achieved (DILL locking, revenue-sharing, L2 launch on Polygon).

However, rest assured that there is a hierarchy at Pickle, and non-performance results in termination (and has been the case). For the work that goes on behind-the-scenes (roadmapping, backlog curation, issue refinement, scrum, kanban) this is also reflected in the release schedule, security, and performance of the protocol, which has also increased manyfold. External partnerships can attest for business development work that was done (and can be evidence by the community when partnerships have been announced).

As we are all new hires, we are all on short-term contracts as well, which are due to expire around mid-month. There will have to be a discussion soon to authorise the hiring beyond this date.

None taken.

I believe the part about the compensation and suggestion was answered re: it’s unfeasible to pay in DILL, technically. There is also something to be said about the competitiveness of the salaries should the full salary be paid in the protocol’s token. We are following the best practices of our nascent industry, even going above-board in the percentage of salaries that is in the protocol’s token compared with other teams.

Personally, I have locked every PICKLE received for DILL, and used savings, salary, and other income to lock more PICKLE for DILL still. Max lock as well, and extending it regularly to Max. I cannot speak to the specifics of the others but it is known many locked for 4-years of DILL as well.

10X is not true then, according to DeFi Pulse anyways.

We’ve had this discussion before though. Yes these public milestones have been achieved but were they achieve in a timely fashion? Not to mention both are still buggy. People are having issues with just seeing the site for Polygon. How is work distributed? Who decides “non-performance”? Where does the much touted DAO vote fit in this hierarchy?

It’s really not that hard. I could write it if you all would like. I agree the salaries need to be competitive and no I don’t think the full salary should be in the native token. It’s also disappointing that the protocol continually relies on “best practices” in a nascent industry. How about we come up with our own ideas. If someone wants to work for Pickle then they should be open to being paid by the protocol through growing TVL/ revenue with their work. The current payment model does not incentivize that. And if you say you and others have locked for DILL then it shows that employees are willing to do so. Why not just make it that way from the beginning?

I think you are moving the goalposts, first you said the TVL is the same.

Post-hack, when I was poked from my multi-sig role and started working with Larry and others as BBB and Penguin left, we hit a low of under <$10M in the jars, you can see that in the DeFi Pulse chart at the end of 2020. Right now the protocol has >$100M locked.

That’s 10x, no? This is despite the bear market hitting in May.

Well, “nothing” is a lot different than buggy features. Yet, DILL isn’t buggy, neither is revenue-sharing. Both work as intended. For Polygon, there are issues with performance of some RPCs and in general the Polygon infrastructure is overloaded, yet our initial set of jars are out, usable, and the smart contracts are working and bringing in revenue. We are optimising and fixing things and have achieved performance gains on our frontend. Some users having some issues doesn’t mean the milestone hasn’t been achieved and we can move on to other milestones while taking care of issues as they arise. This is fairly common in software. Again, it’s an issue of moving the goalposts. If you take the wide view, a fair assessment should be possible. I believe most of the community will agree that the team delivering these major milestones in 6 months, together with the increase in TVL, the increase in revenues, the increase in community activity and morale, and the change in direction of the protocol are all big achievements for the core team in this short timeframe.

How is work distributed? Each JD that has been put out for approval has a clear description of responsibilities. But a TL;DR is: Larry is the CEO, I write specs, the devs code the specs into releases, Chim markets the releases, and Anon makes sure the revenues are collected and used appropriately. We do sprint planning weekly, as well as sprint reviews and retrospectives.

The DAO handed over the supervision of the team to the multi-sig, and the executive running of the protocol to the core team. So, Larry decides non-performance at the very top. Then those of us, like me, who oversee the work of others (in my case managing the dev work and capacity planning), make recommendations regarding performance (or non-performance).

There was no DILL when the first batch of these “contracts” were drawn up. However, now that there is DILL, personally, it makes no difference to me since I will lock these $PICKLEs either way. If you believe it can be made feasible, technically, then well, you are on the right track of securing buy-in from the community and then it can be implemented. We follow best practices because it makes the most sense: this is what the talent market expects and saves us time trying to reinvent the wheel. I wouldn’t call it disappointing, and I think that in the grand scheme of things we have come up with plenty of innovative ideas that are our own and widely copied, but I guess it’s just a difference in perspective.

Not moving the goalposts. Maybe I just wasn’t clear, it has been 6 months since PIP22 and TVL is the same as pre-hack when there was no COO. Additionally, as you noted, post hack the protocol lost 2 of the founding devs so it is expected that TVL would be low and grow as new devs/jars came out.

I appreciate this breakdown. I think it would be useful to incorporate that into docs if it is not already.

I think it is possible and makes sense IMO. I don’t think I’ve seen many original ideas here. The protocol is a fork of Yearn and Curve mechanics. But yes, it appears we have different perspectives on things.

I don’t think you are trying to be wilfully disingenuous about the causalities here, but the way you word it paints a misguided correlation about what actually happened. To recap, there were 3 founders to Pickle, so the “COO/product” area of responsibility was taken care of by one of them – it’s not like there was “no COO” (technically, now, there’s still “no COO”, since no one has used this title despite PIP-22, I use “product lead” and anon is actually the one that does “operations”). There just was no one with that title. When we talk about the founders, we use the term “dev” loosely. In fact, just because all of them were able to code, doesn’t mean that in fact they all took care of coding what was actually released. The founders we had multi-tasked, with some doing more actual coding/engineering/dev work, some doing more product work, and some doing more community-oriented work.

Since the devs who left were founders and devs we have hired afterwards are non-founders, they operate differently. Non-founder devs need to receive clear requirements and be managed, since they are expected to be coding most of the time. In fact, absolutely 100% of the devs we have interviewed have cited this as something they need, and many have left other protocols including protocols bigger than ours citing a lack of direction as the main factor that made them lose interest in the job. This was the intention behind PIP-22 – to bring in product orientation, direction, and expertise to the team.

So no, the TVL didn’t bounce back because new devs were hired – that TVL that left with the post-hack fallout never came back. The TVL you see now was grown from its the post-hack low because Larry and the people who stayed here despite the hack made a decision to bring in a change in direction, to form a new team, and the new team together conceived and built the releases that put the TVL back on growth mode again. From our perspective, this was a joint effort of devs, non-devs, and community. We don’t have a dev bias at Pickle, we are a balanced team with technical, business, and hybrid talent which is probably why we are doing better than 99% of DeFi protocols that have launched since the summer of DeFi. devs ≠ jars, and never have. There is a lot of work that goes on evaluating, estimating, and architecting strategies. This work is done before a single line of code is written, and what that means in Pickle under current management is that strategy/product work will almost always be done before the devs get involved.

Again thanks for the explanation. Very useful for people to understand the team’s perspective. But this is a bit disingenuous also. TVL has no loyalty and I did not say it was the same dollars coming back. The idea is that after the hack, there was a broken protocol. Nobody wants to put money into a protocol that is broken. Look at Value. Once it is working properly and there is a sense of security, then TVL should come back. An example of this is Harvest. Pickle actually had advantages after the hack given the Yearn connection.

Don’t get me wrong, I acknowledge you all have accomplished things outside of TVL and token price appreciation. However, I think there were also mistakes or things that could have been done better over the last 6+ months. IMO the current team’s disregard for token appreciation hurts the protocol the most because it dissuades the public from buying on secondary markets, and it kills the treasury when the price goes down. At least with the proposed idea of having new team members paid by DILL, the DAO will know that the member’s goals align with the incentives. And I know you mentioned yourself and other members have locked for DILL. Great. Let’s make it automatic.

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