AIP-350: Shaping Success: Building a Stronger Future with new Special Council Pay

PROPOSAL NAME: Shaping Success: Building a Stronger Future with new Special Council Pay

PROPOSAL CATEGORY: Process

TEAM DESCRIPTION:

Author: @BoredApeG
Co-Author: @CaptainTrippy
Co-Author: @Gerry
Co-Author: @Waabam
Co-Author: @veratheape

ABSTRACT:

The Special Council of the APE Foundation provides, at the behest of the ApeCoin DAO members, stewardship and oversight of the APE Foundation.

Detailed Special Council job responsibilities are found here:

To shape long-term success, our community needs to continuously attract top talent who are both aligned and effective at serving the vision of ApeCoin DAO.

The ApeCoin community has indicated the desire for the opportunity to provide input on the appropriate payment for ApeCoin Special Council.

This AIP would give the community that opportunity, by providing a number of possible payment options for the community to choose from.

These payment options could include payment paid partially in $APE, with the $APE amounts being calculated based on the price of $APE on the first day of the Special Council member’s term, and vesting on the 1-year anniversary of such term.

BENEFIT TO APECOIN ECOSYSTEM:

This proposal directly benefits the ApeCoin ecosystem by building a stronger future with focused alignment between the expectations of community members and the payment of ApeCoin Special Council members.

STEPS TO IMPLEMENT & TIMELINE:

Proposed new Special Council member annual pay options:

Option 1: 125k USD + 50k USD in $APE (calculated using $APE price on first day of SC term and vesting on the annual anniversary of such term)

Option 2: 125k USD

Option 3: None of the above (leave SC pay as is)

All base pay is paid monthly over the one-year term.

The new ApeCoin Special Council payment structure will apply to any Special Council member terms commencing January 1, 2024 onwards.

OVERALL COST:

Varies by option chosen.

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Hey @BoredApeG glad to see this proposal, and giving the ultimate choice to the community on what a fair compensation is.

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Interesting to see this.

So while I’m not against the concept of a fiat + $APE vest, the vests outlined are extremely generous. In tech, a 1 to 1 stock grant compared to salary is not uncommon for higher level / critical roles. It can even get higher for high-end leadership positions when the person is helping lead a multi-billion dollar company. But the big catch here is the vest. Typically the vest is across a 3 to 4 year time period, with partial vests happening throughout the term of the vesting schedule.

As such, a 1 to 1 $APE grant that vests completely at the end of 1 year is very, very generous. I think a more reasonable number would be $25k to $33k in $APE to hit a more industry standard number. This still gives the SC incentive to perform (especially at current $APE prices.)

Also as a point of interest, while such stock grants in industry are given to make employees think about the performance of the company and want to elevate that performance, I’d argue they’re more about employee retention, and thus the long vesting schedules. I struggle with this proposal a little bit as for obvious reasons that’s a non-factor (I guess unless an SC member were to step down or be voted out within the 1 year period, which would certainly be a spicy event.)

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We built off the great work and discussions done by the community including yourself, in addition to our perspective of the roles. Giving the ultimate choice to the community between various options seemed best to shape long-term success.

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Totally see your point, but consider this - SC positions are a unique one or two year position since they’re elected. Vesting over 3 - 4 years is typically intended for retention and/or bonus structures which this isn’t. We included the $APE as a part of the base pay with alignment specifically correlated to the members term not their successors.

Really appreciate your candid feedback. We’re very open to all sides of this conversation.

Totally, and I actually noted the vesting angle for retention. I just think the core amounts are far too high, so I’d like to see more variance between Option 1 and Option 2. Maybe keeping the USD value the same, but dramatically reducing the $APE in option 2.

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Always appreciative of the perspective Matt. A key distinction is that this not a stock grant for employment. $APE is not stock, which inherently means there are certain disadvantages when comparing to ownership of stock in a company. It is simply compensation for service performed by a provider which in this case is providing such services over a 1-year term. Therefore it wouldn’t be appropriate to have a longer vesting schedule (if any).

Also just a note personally speaking from my own experience providing CFO services to tech startups, any vesting I have received of stock grants have been over the course of my engagement, whereas employees have the typical 4 years vest and 1 year cliff.

As for “industry standard comp” respectfully the figures you indicate are too low. From a potential finance/accounting experience perspective, using Yuga Labs as an example they have a posting right now on their Careers page for a Senior Financial Analyst (which is lower than the first level of a manager, then senior manager, Controller, CFO) and base comp is $140K, plus equity and benefits meaning annual OTE is easily $200k+ for that, for quite a “junior level” of individual compared to who we expect to be considered for this SC role (from a finance and accounting experience perspective at least). Even if normalizing for “part-time” on paper, we’d have to normalize for experience.

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I am coming at this from the POV of the DAO that the SC are overpaid. That’s why we’re seeing AIPs come through to cut the number of SC, and also cut the salary of the SC. I can only assume this proposed AIP is a direct response to that. I lack the transparency required to make the call on what is or isn’t fair comp for SC members.

If I had to guess, if any of these options were to pass, it would be option 3. That’s why I’m suggesting taking the $125k and pairing it with $25k in ape as an incentive bonus. I think it would have a shot, as many DAO members have expressed that they WANT the SC to care about the value of $APE. I’m a bit dubious on it myself. If we’re talking compensation, that should be flat fiat, IMO. When a volatile asset comes into play where the SC’s action may be able to make the price go up or down, I’ll continue to treat it like an incentive bonus.

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I’m just going to say it.

Is this an attempt to front-run AIP-337?

Also…

  1. What was the logic behing the fiat/token split?
  2. If the pre-existing $20K per month isn’t enough to “attract top talent”, how is the pay reduction going to do that? Especially when the token continues it’s rapid and sustained decline to zero.
  3. What’s the incentive for vesting a portion of the pay annualized when in fact the term is every 6 months after which some positions rotate out?
  4. How is reducing the SC salary a thing now when in fact there’s an active AIP-239 to create more positions (working groups) at an approx cost of $864K per year starting FY 2024?
  5. Why are we still paying WebSlingers $75K per month?
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AIP-337: Not at all. I expect that would go along through its process but it’s evident to consider that us as co-authors are going to openly advocate for this multiple choice option to see its opportunity to go to vote, independent of whatever may happen with AIP-337.

  1. It seems everyone will have their own interpretation/logic but in any case, it is simply an option voiced by community members.
  2. It’s for the community to decide with their vote
  3. The term is every 12 months, not 6
  4. These are independent of one another, and also there’s still an option to not change pay. The community vote will decide. Additionally, it is worth noting that those other WGs have not yet had budgets passed.
  5. It’s the pay for the scope of services they provide which were approved by the DAO. Also for clarity, they get paid 25% of that in APE which to my understanding they keep in APE.
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Like the DAO, Yuga is a startup, and should in no way shape or form be the benchmark for the DAO salary and compensation guidance. Plus, you simply cannot compare the work involved in that Yuga position to the work that you in the SC are doing; especially when we’re already paying a third-party $75K per month for most of that work anyway.

I see. So, given that AIP-337 stands a high chance of passing, given the current DAO sentiment around these salaries, what you’re suggesting here is that after that passes to reduce the salaries by 50% to $10K per month, this AIP will later come up for vote. And in that case, if AIP-337 passes, there’s a very good chance that option 4 in your AIP will likely be the prevailing choice given that it would be lower than the options in this AIP.

  1. I see. So, how exactly is this ‘vesting’ supposed to work? Please explain it in detail.
  2. Really? You guys put up the AIP with options that reduce the salary - which by all accounts will happen. And in one sentence you are stating that this [salary reduction] is necessary to “attract top talent” but then write an AIP in which the community gets to vote on what is basically a non sequitur? How does that make sense? And thus, what’s the purpose of option 4?
  3. Right. I was talking about the election term, not the role term. I just want to understand the incentive to vest a portion of the pay. Meaning, why would anyone want to do that?
  4. Yes, they are independent. However this is an AIP seeking to lower costs via the reduction of SC pay while there’s still another [needless] expense (AIP-239) looming. And I would imagine that for those 9 roles, I can’t imagine them being paid less than the GwG.
  5. Yeah, I am aware of their role and pay. I was just wondering why there’s no discussion about cutting costs there too and just moving to a more cost efficient a la carte invoicing system.
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Wholly inaccurate. The duties and responsibilities for SC and the Foundation’s Cayman administrators are publicly posted and are distinctly different. I don’t understand why you are pushing this false narrative when it is obvious to anyone who does a little bit of due diligence on the forum and website (which you being such an active member would have done more than most) that they have very different responsibilities. Again, not constructive and questions your intentions.

It appears you are drawing your own conclusions, but they are certainly not mine. I’m not here to speculate on whether or not an AIP passes, the chances of one passing, etc. Simply the process will play out as it plays out. That is the only thing I was addressing about your front running inquiry.

As for your other notes, I have no further comments at this time. I believe the Idea speaks for itself and we’ll continue to consider additional feedback provided during this time.

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Hey G and Council Members. I think this idea of giving the community opportunity to choose payment options is very considerate. Having interacted often, I’d like to attest that what you do is important for the ecosystem. As an informed and highly active community member, my vote is Option 4, leave it as is. Blockchain and DAOs are incredibly difficult and require expertise. You’re worth the money!

I see the value of what you do, and behind the scenes, I’m confident that you handle youractivities with upmost professionalism, properly representing the ecosystem, review AIPs for their ramifications, and our community-elected Special Council members have fulfilled their promises made during last winter’s elections. I would like to see compensation stay as-is. That’s how I’ll vote with my 2 apecoin!

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It seems to me that all these AIPs aimed at changing the payment structure are meaningless until the voting system changes. And this looks extremely difficult

You misunderstood what I was talking about. That’s probably on me as I could have been a bit more clear there.

I was referring to the Yuga finance roles that you referenced as a baseline for the SC pay. I wasn’t comparing the SC and WebSlinger roles. My point was that the SC is neither qualified for nor doing the work of the Yuga role; and that most of that type of work in that role is being done by WebSlingers - not the SC.

For context and the avoidance of doubt, let me elaborate…

The intrinsic point here is that regardless of your [finance] qualifications, you weren’t hired in the SC to perform any of those roles - and you don’t. So, why are you suggesting that because you happen to have a finance background, the compensation should be comparable to that of a Yuga financial analyst? Especially in light of the fact that you are being paid top Dollar for a part-time role whereas the Yuga role is full-time.

I mean, it literally required AIP-282 of this past Aug to force you all to explain to the community what you actually do, and AIP-305 from this past Sept that complemented that one regarding accountability.

To wit, Yuga also has an open position for a head of development in gaming which pays $200K - $250K per year.

The US base salary range for this full-time position is $200,000 to $250,000 in addition to equity and benefits. Our salary ranges are determined by role and level. The range listed encompasses several levels. Within the range, individual pay is determined by additional factors, including job-related skills, experience, and market demand. Please note that the compensation details listed in role postings reflect the base salary only, and do not include equity, or benefits.”

There are very few people in the industry who could fill that role because it’s very specialized. If someone like me were to apply (which, even if I didn’t own my own studios, I wouldn’t since I am over-qualified and make way more money than that anyway), I would be expected to meet or exceed that level of experience and qualification - in a full-time role. As such, if I were in the SC, I certainly wouldn’t be expected to fill the role of a head of bizdev for games because that’s not what the SC does - and isn’t what the role is for. And then to be paid almost $250K per year for a part-time gig is as astonishing as it is wasteful and absolutely ridiculous. Better yet, that role would best be suited for the Metaverse Working Group team; but even so, the author didn’t put up actual bizdev qualification and experience for such roles. Instead, he came up with this in AIP-245 - completely devoid of anything resembling qualifications and experiences required for the role. Which is why literally everyone in this list - believes that they are qualified for it. Why? Because the role isn’t clearly defined, and so, anyone can apply for it.

Not to menton the fact that, regardless of qualifications and clearly defined job specifications, people are voted into these roles not because of criteria befitting a corp environment hire but rather via an inequitable - and flawed - voting system that’s literally a [corruptible] popularity contest.

So, no - please don’t compare the SC role and payment to one in a corp environment like Yuga.

Noted.

However, like opinions, speculation and conjecture are the core tenets of discussions as well as data aggregation and analysis. My opinions rely on the core sentiments surrounding the SC salary and roles, as well as data flow analysis. e.g. If AIP-337 passes and SC salary drops by 50%, it’s unlikely that your AIP will result in a vote to increase it above option 4.

For the record, I need to repeat this:

I simply don’t care about what the SC is being paid. The founders put these salaries into play; we didn’t.

What I do care about is that in AIP-1 the founders created that pay structure without community input, and during the Web3 Gold rush when funny money - without accountability or consequences - ruled the day.

Then, when a DAO member attempted to revise it via AIP-277, amid much controversy, the SC literally placed itself above the rules by refusing to send it up to vote because it would put the Ape Foundation in a position whereby it would be in breach of signed contracts. Said contracts which are in fact the SC contracts. The end result forced the author to create a new AIP-337 which was modified to only make the salary changes effective in the next SC term. Which basically means that the Ape Foundation is OK with modifying and using a revised contract in the future but not in the present. This would thus lead to the belief that it was using a [flawed] contract which - shockingly - couldn’t be terminated with or without cause. Such a contract is simply unheard of in a corp environment. So, an AIP can’t modify a contract because it would be a legal violation. And so, if true, that’s basically saying that we could end up in a situation whereby 1) we can’t terminate a contract if we run out of funds to pay, or 2) we can’t terminate a contract if an SC member were found to have engaged in activity that violates either laws or DAO guidelines. While those may be extreme examples, those are the consequences of a contract that you can’t terminate because it would put the Ape Foundation in breach of said contract.

These are the sort of things that I care about because they are directly related to the people we vote in to serve in the SC, and who are being paid a significant sum of money to run the DAO in a fair, legal and equitable manner.

All that aside from the fact that AIP-1 actually allows for the removal of any SC member, for any reason, by DAO vote. So we can fire people - who have contracts - but we can’t modify their contracts.

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This is not correct. Conflating breaching contractual obligations with terminating for cause. Just because the Foundation will not breach an agreement it has entered into (because if it did it inevitably would open it up for lawsuits by an infringed party) it does not mean it cannot terminate an agreement for cause.

Also your first example is simply easily avoidable by the DAO not entering into such an agreement in the first place if it knew it was going to run out of funds. If the runway is limited, the DAO would not be budgeting to sign contracts it could not pay.

I am fine with the suggestion being proposed. I know it’s never easy and had been a tough journey executing the roles and jobs scope. I am fine as long as it’s transparent and leads to smooth execution for the ApeCoin dao.

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TLDR in numbers

$APE needed at market price
USD USD in $APE Total USD Difference Percentage of current pay 1 1.3 1.5 2
Option1 125,000 100,000 225,000 15,000 93.75% 100,000 76,923 66,667 50,000
Option 2 75,000 100,000 175,000 65,000 72.92% 100,000 76,923 66,667 50,000
Option 3 125,000 125,000 115,000 52.08%
Option 4 240,000 240,000 0 100.00%
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Hey @BoredApeG,

Thank you and the team for putting forward this proposal. It’s great to see an initiative that focuses on building a stronger future for our ecosystem - having multiple payment options, allows for flexibility and involvement from the community in shaping the compensation structure.

How might each option affect SC motivation and decision-making? Are there any potential risks or challenges that need to be considered?

Also do you think the community can add additional options, if so, how can we be sure it’s fit SC role expectations?

Look forward to seeing how the community discusses and votes.

-Mr. Hype :fire:

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I understand that this whole debate is important, because it really brings together people who have a little more difficulty understanding certain subjects, like me.
We managed to clear up some doubts.

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