As discussed elsewhere, focusing on marketing and iterating SmokeSignal will be our immediate focus in the short- to medium-term. Getting usage on SmokeSignal will be a huge achievement and help us move toward Foundry goals in a number of ways. To name a few:
- Activity on SmokeSignal makes Foundry’s proposition a lot stronger, because it will be immediately evident that Foundry actually builds useful things.
- Activity on SmokeSignal will generate income for the Foundry Treasury. Even in small amounts, this is a crucial proof-of-concept for Foundry’s claim of being profit-focused.
- Users on SmokeSignal have a good chance of converting into FRY holders. They’ll value radical freedom, and will become aware that SmokeSignal’s success can be reflected in a token they can invest in.
- For similar reasons, these users will have a high chance of converting into High Fryers: pseudonymous individuals who provide Foundry with decentralized, resilient, bold intelligence.
- Individual SmokeSignal posts can be made to have their own SEO, and a successful post that ranks high on Google will essentially serve as the beginning of a marketing funnel that will direct further users to SmokeSignal itself as well as Foundry and its sale.
Given all the above, we’re considering hiring out more Elm development (Elm being the language we write all our front-ends with, including SmokeSignal), as this is the bottleneck for how quickly we can iterate SmokeSignal.
The cost, of course, is that doing so would transform our “infinite runway” given our current costs to a limited one. But in general we have to make a decision like this, because scaling up our operational throughput is a crucial step to achieving Foundry autonomy by Feb 2022. Anyway, let’s look at some numbers.
Running Some Numbers
Assuming a rate of $40/hr, hiring a full time Elm developer would cost an additional $6.4k/month, doubling our current monthly cost footprint. Running similar math and assumptions as my previous post here, (including assuming that the DAI income via the sale doesn’t increase or decrease), that leaves us with about 10 months of runway. That’s not really too scary.
And what would we get in exchange? It should about double the speed at which we can iterate SmokeSignal (and other front-ends for Foundry stuff), because of the two existing devs, one (me) is usually doing other thigns, and the other (@hcryptoz) is only working part-time and is still getting up-to-speed with Elm.
If instead we hire two additional Elm developers, then we get 4.2 months of runway, and should roughly triple our speed of iterating front-ends (SmokeSignal and otherwise). Hiring three would bring these values to 2.7 months of runway and four times our front-end iteration speed.
When thinking about the above, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, a short runway shouldn’t freak us out too much, because anyone we hire we can fire as the Treasury gets closer to zero. For example, if we hire three additional Elm developers, and 1.5 months later none of their work has translated into increased DAI entering the sale, we’d have about $22k left in the Treasury from our current $50k. That’s not a happy scenario, but we can decide to let them go and stop hemorrhaging money while we try other things and determine the next action.
On the other hand, we should also keep in mind that the Elm developers won’t immediately be at 100% capacity on day one. We’ll hire for proficiency in Elm, but they’ll have to spend some amount of time (a day or two? A week or two?) simply getting familiar with the codebase. On top of that, this process of onboarding will take up my own time, which is a more invisible cost, slowing down my work with leadership, writing (like this post), marketing, and general admin tasks.
While discussing this, there were other ideas for how to turn Treasury money into increased operational throughput. Here are some.
- Hire a technical admin, freeing up a significant portion of my own time). However, a difficulty here is that we’d need someone with extremely high trust. Hiring an Internet stranger for this feels extremely dangerous.
- Find and hire a growth coach, who specializes in the strategy of transforming from a small team into a larger, faster-moving beast. This could be a crypto guy or someone more about general business.
- Hire a marketing lead.
For the record, we also intend to spend some of the Treasury money on marketing too.
Any other ideas, for how to turn Treasury funds into increased operational throughput?