Election of Jonathan Howard as Head Chef

I suppose this sums it up then. This was an internal filtering process done by the team and large stakeholders that was intended to exclude the other DAO participants.

I understand the reasons given for doing this privately. Lots of eyes and voices leads to considerable noise and chaos to filter through. I think this process would have been better done once a Community Oversight Committee was developed. Without this piece in place the process was carried out in a manner that only represents individuals with very large personal/institutional holdings. Maybe Sushi would rather be a company with a small investment group?

I suppose the other interested parties should simply be using the forum and community calls to directly appeal to the community so they can demonstrate their qualifications. Since the community has no idea what scoring mechanisms were used and if there were any biases (since no COC exists), it might be helpful for us to hear from other interested parties directly so that we can compare them to the team and large investor’s recommendation. That way the unwashed masses can still cast their governance votes and feel like they’ve participated and are not simply being placated.

Maybe Nick and Kenneth would still wish to speak about their visions for Sushi in their own forum posts and community calls? @SuperGenius I suspect many would like to hear you speak about how you would manage operations, if you’re still interested in sharing. I don’t know if Nick wants to reach out to the community but @BoringCrypto could probably find out.

Ah, that was April 27… didn’t remember that until you just posted it. I didn’t think you’d bring only a single option to the final vote though. I guess I expected a few vetted candidates to be presented to the community and figured I should stay out of the pre-selection/vetting. So who was on the investor side?

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So funny. “single” and “option” are oxymorons. But yes, had I known this I wouldn’t have even participated and gone directly to talking with the community.

incentives should be based on eth/sushi or btc/sushi ratio or other metric that isnt sushi/usd if we want true performance incentives

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@nickjrishwain you’ve been pretty thoughtful on here - would you be open to sharing more of your thinking on the idea of separate votes for compensation vs candidate? I sat this out last week to let ideas form between forum users and comp committee, but seems that’s baked out more now. In discussing it offline, I’ve encountered some concerns (that I share, to be honest) which I haven’t seen discussed here yet.

Essentially, if we set a precedent that we publish comp for roles first, then one of two things happens, or both. First, we lose out on great candidates because back when it was abstract we picked too low a number. We may not even know they would’ve applied otherwise, they just see it and decide not to. Also, our competitors or their current job can snipe them behind the scenes, since we showed exactly what they have to beat.

At the same time, if we end up abstractly picking comp that’s too high, then we’re wasting money and we risk making others resent them or the people who made the decision.

If we realize we’re in any of those scenarios and try to adjust, then we’re right back to where we are now anyway, negotiating comp with a specific candidate.

Curious to hear if you (or anyone else!) share these concerns, maybe have thoughts on mitigating these, or even have a different perspective altogether? Do you think it doesn’t actually set any precedent? Any other details on how you think it would work if we did it?

@jhoward thanks for inquiring further. There is no perfect solution for an organization that is intended to be transparent and community governed. There are pros and cons for each potential decision we make. I’m going to include each of your questions and/or paragraphs in an effort to respond thoroughly.

There are flip sides to your “one of two things” happening. If we did publish compensation and it was too low, we would certainly lose out on great candidates. The flip side of this is, had we published the prospective compensation of $800,000 annually (I’ll just use the base salary for brevity), we would have likely heard from dozens of outstanding candidates impressed by the outstanding pay offered by Sushi. To that end, I heard from one individual who said they totally would have applied had they realized the compensation was going to be so generous. This is one candidate I tried to get to apply, who has significant startup experience.
In regards to your second item topic of the candidate getting sniped by competition or existing employer, yes, this can happen. Again, at $800k a year. Or, even $400k or $500k a year, that compensation level is going to encourage a wide variety of talented individuals to apply for the head chef position. The pay is significant and life changing enough for many, that it’s going to get some pretty good applicants. Especially in a market where technology firms are halting hires or letting staff go.
Another item for consideration, since we’re discussing precedent. What precedent do we set when our only candidate put forward is requesting ~ one-seventh of annual revenue? What if we have to hire others in the future? Do they also ask for significant compensation? Can we afford them after hiring our head chef? I don’t mean this as an attack and I hope it is not taken as such. It’s a legitimate concern for the precedent we’re setting on all future compensation.

Abstractly picking compensation would be problematic. However, I feel like I have a pretty good idea of web2 compensation and comparative compensation in web3. Much like any compensation package it should be competitive. An $800k base-salary could appear predatory in the startup space. A 2 year old protocol with decreasing revenues should be looking to avoid wasting funds, avoid spending frivolously, and avoid the appearance of poor financial decision making. Especially a protocol in the financial business.
You are aware of the resentment issue. It is a fair concern. Especially for you, who is being asked to lead. Will you be leading from a position of weakness based on the compensation? I do not have an answer on either of these issues. I do think there is room between proposed compensation and competitive market compensation.

I do appreciate your inquiry. I do not think your candidacy is the same as past negative experiences we’ve had with other significant DAO-changing proposals. With that said, what we move forward with here, will set precedent one way or another. You will have to deal with that precedent if you take the position.

In more of the big picture of separate proposals:

To mitigate the issues on compensation, we can do like many businesses before us have done, and provide a range. We’re looking for a outstanding candidate with impeccable credentials and pay will be based on merit, between the range of $300-600k a year in compensation. Still significant compensation for any 2 year old startup with decreasing revenues and traffic. Still a compensation plan for a war-time “CEO” or head chef.

For example, we can vote on a compensation range. Approve a compensation range. Then once a candidate is selected, the negotiation on the final compensation can be done with the comp committee and the head chef based on that range, which should be comparable to other startup ventures with similar market values and revenues.

In the end, the benefit as I see it, is in the turnaround. Taking a head chef role for Sushi or other struggling web3 protocols and turning the ship around. Improving revenues, improving traffic and users, and proving that the head chef can turn a struggling protocol into a stalwart of DeFi… man, that is is the good stuff. That’s the stuff of legends. Anyone can operate a successful business. Not anyone can stem the flow. In the long run, that type of herculean effort will be worth $5M a year to the next struggling company or protocol.

These are not easy issues. It’s the dirty business of trying to govern in the open. I guess I can go into more detail on the separate proposals, if I have not answered your question on that thoroughly enough. Though it did seem that you had other questions and concerns as well. My idea on separate votes for compensation and candidate would probably require a few more votes and a little more time.

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Really appreciate the thoughtful and productive dialogue. One question I have since it concerns comp committee:

If you have already approved a range what dynamics would lead to the candidate not ending up with the highest number in the range since it’s already been approved & then they’re the candidate selected. What would be the negotiation?

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Thanks for the question @Neiltbe. So, I guess the best way to accomplish this openly is one of two ways.

  1. Community gets to select the range. Within the proposal, we give the compensation committee the authority to negotiate with the candidate on the final compensation. So it empowers the committee (the members of the committee probably should be voted on), to make some level of negotiation and decision on behalf of the community. The benefit of a range of competitive salaries, is we likely wouldn’t be offering the top dollar.
  2. Community gets to select range. Compensation committee negotiates and makes a proposal for compensation for whichever candidate is selected in the separate candidate proposal. Final vote is taken to apply proposed compensation to proposed candidate if the candidate is willing to take job.

Lots of votes I know. Probably have to accelerate voting timelines.

Another approach might be to have the compensation range selected in one vote (if we did this, forgive me, I do not recall). Then have a separate proposal on the compensation committee members and the authority given to the committee. This would recognize that the community have instilled authority with the comp committee to negotiate directly with the candidates. So the committee knows they have the authority. Community knows committee has the authority. Community has to accept what the committee presents.

This last process would be more transparent. It wouldn’t make it so that the community had to vote on the candidate. It would simply mean that we voted to have the comp committee select the candidate. This may be a more efficient approach.

With that said, I do not have all the answers. Others probably have some solid suggestions as well that make the process competitive, efficient, and transparent.

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Thanks for the thoughtful replies! I don’t have specific other questions or concerns, just looking to flesh out the idea concretely, understand you, and think through risks. I agree ranges could partially mitigate, as could empowering a search committee and detailing any important specifics that aren’t delegated (it seems to me they thought in good faith that that’s what Sushi 2.0 did).

Fair to say you don’t see whatever we decide here as setting precedent for positions other than Head Chef? Or do you see it impacting all hiring?

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I appreciate the thoughtful discussion, @jhoward. It is my belief that we have to tamp down any toxic approaches that we may have gained in defense of the protocol, in the past. There is a time for a call to arms but it should not be our primary response.

You may be correct. The compensation committee may have believed, in good faith, that they were empowered to search and negotiate compensation using powers that were not specifically delegated. I’m not certain I understood it as such.

In the future, we probably need to be more explicit detailing of authority. When I say that, I’m fully aware that actions need to be taken without the community voting/approving the action. Otherwise, we become another bureaucracy. So clarity in what authority is designated, should be specifically outlined.

I actually think any action taken in the head chef position, will have precedent setting effects for all other positions. If we lavishly compensate a head chef, it will appear as though we are not competent in allocating funds. What happens when we need a vice head chef? Or, a CTO? Or, a COO? Will they assume they can ask for $800k base salary, annually?

As a minimal example, there has been some talk about me coming on as a multi-sig signer. As a point of principle, I will not take on what I view as an advisory-like or board-like position without some remuneration. I expect there is some opportunity for liability in such a position, so I expect multi-sign signers should receive some compensation to incentivize action, compensate them for their time, and treat the position as professional.

What is an appropriate number for this advisory-like / board-like position? Is it $1,500 per month? Is it some mix of SUSHI and USDC? If our head chef is lavishly compensated, does that make those being asked to take multi-sig signer role think they should be getting $50k year? Does it set precedent for requests of larger payments at all levels? Do all participants start believing they should make more lavish requests? “Well if that person gets that, I should get this!”

What precedent is set? How does that make us appear to the DeFi ecosystem? Does it make us appear to be bad stewards of a treasury?

That’s probably a long way of saying that I do think it can set precedent at all levels. We’ve already had an article or two written about the compensation. Do we start being viewed as the place devs, marketers, customer service, and others can go to get paid way above fair market value?

It’s worth look at these things because it will have an impact on operations as a whole.

This is key to me. Unless the “large investors” have already made up their mind, then they should just push Jon through. If not, let’s put a comp proposal out there and get that done asap?

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Jon’s concerns are relevant. There’s at least 2 sides to each action we decide to take.

Imagine we cannot plan for all potential unknowns. But I do believe we would have interest at multiple levels of compensation. Even at the $300-400k amount there are many who would be interested.

It may not be unreasonable to add some sort of a premium or decent severance for whomever takes this on. Being that a web3 protocol doesn’t have all the protections of a corporation. Plus, the difficulties of working for a community are numerous. So, some premium makes sense to me. What that number or package looks like, I’m not certain. Though I am open to hearing the thoughts of others on this matter.