Fund the Orcanauts to Develop Organizational Bootstrapping Plan for NounsDAO

tl;dr: The Orcanauts – a community-led initiative of Orca Protocol– propose to implement an updated governance structure within Nouns DAO that will enable members to more efficiently organize their energy in a thoughtful, meaningful, and effective way.


The Nouns DAO and community has shown itself to be a powerhouse player in the NFT space. Its unique position in web 3.0 has garnered massive attention and scale in a short amount of time. This rapid success has shown the inefficiencies that come with a flat DAO organization. How do we implement a cohesive structure within Nouns DAO? We see a path to align the expertise and enthusiasm of Nouns contributors with Nouns DAO and its resources with a streamlined plan. The deliverables presented in this proposal have two goals - to provide an impartial view of the current state of Noun DAO governance and to sustain a global collaborative effort that organizes the energy of members.

Helping DAOs organize is at the core of what the Orcanauts do. We understand that each DAO is unique and has its own style, personality, and characteristics that attract members from all over the internet. Organizing new Nouns members into contributors and then teams takes a keen eye and attention to the dynamics of the DAO itself. This is where the Orcanauts come in!

Through “podifying” parts of Nouns, the Orcanauts will help Nouns DAO bring to the surface the most meaningful content, efficient teams, and future thought leaders of the organization.

Organizing members is not a feature that is implemented once and then forgotten about. Organizing is in constant flux and evolves as the DAO grows, expands, and reaches new parts of the internet. How we organize individuals within Nouns will be a crucial dynamic to keep Nouns running smoothly.

Program Scope

This proposal is to determine the resources needed to execute a timeline for the organizational bootstrapping plan below. Please note that the organizational bootstrapping plan will be a separate proposal that includes our findings and additional deliverables from the Environment Exploration phase.

The Orcanauts program scope for this proposal will conduct 3 main activities for Nouns DAO:

EcoXP: Environment Exploration

  1. An audit of the current organizational structure & current governance processes.
  2. A review of current proposal procedures and workflow.
  3. An analysis of how teams are operating, communicating, and creating.

After delivering a report of the Environment Exploration phase, the Orcanauts will produce a 2nd proposal to execute the following 4 main deliverable projects:

Organizational Bootstrapping Plan

  • Create a blueprint for scaling and operating pods for creative endeavors.
  • Design a system that addresses and tracks key milestones set by contributors through a pod structure.
  • Deliver a content management schema that coordinates a content cycle from start to finish.
  • Help build a viable governance framework that reduces the time, resources, and attention it takes for decision making.

With the combination of our initial reporting and the organizational bootstrapping plan, the Orcanauts will deliver the following high-impact benefits to Nouns DAO:

  • Find teams within the Nouns ecosystem to shape inspiring stories.

  • Reduce the friction between creative experimentation and scalable projects with lasting impacts.

  • Engage community members (both Nouns NFT holders & non-holders) across the entire organization.

  • Create a long-lasting reputation that builds a legacy for the Nouns collective.


Nouns governance will evolve and change as new community members join, new pods are formed, and teams dissolve to move on to other projects. Members of Nouns DAO trust that the group is making the best possible decision in the best possible way. This is why measuring the impact of a DAO’s governance is of the utmost importance. As the Orcanauts find ways to improve Nouns governance through identifying the pain points and evolving the organization, the whole community wins.

Nouns DAO and protocols have ample opportunity to improve their governance by:

  • Finding/delegating resources to the right governance participants.
  • Ensure those participants have the information required to perform their due diligence.
  • Hold these participants accountable to the decisions made.
  • And provide transparent reporting on governance flow.


Phase 1 - Initial set up. 1 week.

Phase 2 - Execute the “EcoXP” phase of the program scope. 3-4 weeks.

Phase 3 - Compile and report on findings and on-going research efforts. 2-3 weeks.


The compensation for the EcoXP: Environment Exploration phase is one payment of 25 ETH to The result of the exploration will give Nouns DAO a high-level overview of their current structures, teams, and processes.

Based on the findings of the EcoXP deliverables, the Orcanauts will build a proposal for the Nouns governance community to enable the organizational bootstrapping plan and follow through with the high-impact benefits. Essentially, we want to close the gaps on potential inefficiencies within Nouns DAO.

How The Orcanauts Think About Success For Nouns With This Proposal:

  1. Improve organization of projects, proposals, resources, and teams as Nouns DAO scales.
  2. Strengthen accountability of project team leads + members working on projects.
  3. Improve visibility of how teams are operating, communicating, and creating.
  4. Increase the flexibility of Nouns DAO organizing structures while preserving its flatness essential to community participation.


The Orcanauts are excited to work with Nouns DAO and the community to ignite collaborative environments for creation, organization, and storytelling!

About The Orcanauts

The Orcanauts are a team made up of different pods derived from the Orca Protocol that work in all aspects of a DAO. We are artists, engineers, writers, and leaders that have a deep depth of experience and knowledge in our respective fields. Check out our pod @!


Thanks for the proposal and detailed schedule of deliverables! Having a cohesive framework in place as the DAO grows will pay dividends.

We’re getting the opportunity to work with a top-tier team like Orca due to Nouns being considered a high-status project and I think we should take advantage of it. Showing that we are open to DAO2DAO relationships will encourage other domain experts to begin relationships with our community.

I plan to vote FOR this proposal :slight_smile:


Hi Avi, thanks so much for the proposal. I think that the success criteria of the projects are well laid out and on point. It’s been amazing to see what the Nounders have achieved over the last few months, and we want to make sure it keeps accelerating, so thinking about how we operate is vital.

I had a few questions/concerns which I hope won’t come across as dismissive.

  • I know Orca/Orcanauts have started to work with a few projects and think it’s beneficial if you could share some success stories/achievements and traction you’ve had with other organizations that might be relevant for Nouns.
  • I am fairly familiar with the pod structure in traditional organizations and have been a fan; however, could Orcanaut provide an impartial view when the assumed starting positions is that “Podyfing” parts of Nouns are the right approach?
  • How many contributors will participate in this project? I see that it’s scoped at ~7 weeks; is it FT for how many people, what are their credentials? some more details would be helpful to ensure it’s aligned with other proposals, especially as it’s one payment and no milestone or streamed
  • What is the rationale around a one-time payment vs. streamed or adding another milestone?
  • Is Orca protocol going to fund this initiative as well? (Apologies if I am missing the Orca <> Orcanaut relationship)


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Hello Nounsnnn,

Thank you for your questions and for reading through the proposal. We appreciate it!
Pods are the primary functional alternative to hierarchies. If you flatten an organization, you still need structure. Pods are those functional units of structure. They are known by other names, such as guilds, domains, sub-DAOs, nodes etc. But the effect is the same – group people by shared areas of focus so that the work can be done by the people who are most involved with it. In the absence of a “boss”, this is how people tend to organize. Pods are a way of formalizing the process of groupings in a way that can be tracked and adjusted as needed. We consider them to be a governance primitive. Within the framework of pods, there is also tremendous flexibility. Operations, votes to quorum, the culture of that unit– all are adjustable.

For greater context to the Orcanauts – we are a community-led initiative that is supported by the Orca Protocol. Orcanauts are basically the stewards of the DAO-ing tools and necessary requirements by each individual DAO we design for. One of those tools is the Orca Protocol and the pod design. Through these organizational structures and methods Orca Protocol allocates the necessary resources, through knowledgeable guidance and funds, needed to build the best possible product with Orcanauts servicing DAOs in the most decentralized framework to facilitate the creation and scaling in the most efficient manner.

The Orcanauts are 12 part time contributors, including devs and designers, as well as more involved contributors in other areas of expertise! As the Orcanuats grow, we foresee having more pods and organizing new teams with the Orca Protocol!


Thank you so much for the additional context on Orcanauts, I’d love to followup on some of the questions from before:

  • I know Orca/Orcanauts have started to work with a few projects and think it’s beneficial if you could share some success stories/achievements and traction you’ve had with other organizations that might be relevant for Nouns.
  • What is the rationale around a one-time payment vs. streamed or adding another milestone? just to get an estimate on what will the contributors get paid
  • Is Orca protocol going to fund this initiative as well, did it raise money from VCs?
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i’m personally very much in favor of experimenting with orca protocol as software, and very much against this management consulting style engagement for a few reasons.

  1. it’s not clear to me that the founding assumption that ‘daos are flawed and inefficient’ is correct (it’s possibly a skeuomorphism that judges DAOs by the standards of corporations)

  2. i think our experiment is still small enough and fragile enough that having ‘The Bobs’ step into the organization and interview everyone about ‘what they do here’ could have detrimental effects on the culture

  3. i can’t find any evidence of a proven track record or even functional software that justifies this expense, or more importantly, the allocation of attention for large numbers of ecosystem participants. correct me if i’m wrong, but doesn’t link a functional prototype or demo, and digging around YouTube yielded a video from 3 months ago where a demo-day style pitch from the founder showed design mocks of a very early product Mainnet 2021: Demos: BitGo, Gelato, Orca Protocol, EPNS, Vega - YouTube

you are of course free to interpret this as paternalism or risk aversion from a project founder, but i think what we have going here is special enough that this kind of organization-wide intervention requires (at minimum) a track record of success and a body of evidence that it will ‘do no harm’. happy to be convinced otherwise upon reviewing the evidence, and as mentioned above, more than happy to test the software or even help spin up prototype ‘pods’ inside the org. the small grants committee seems like a logical place to run this experiment.

a final note: my sense is that the ‘sponsor’ of this initiative is an investor in the project, and i think we should normalize disclosing conflicts when we bring proposals that impact our personal interests to the wider group


My opinion is that the Orcanauts would be a good partner. It is in the Nouns’ best interest to work with people who are motivated to contribute and have the skills to meaningfully do so, but are not (yet?) full DAO members. This is especially important because the daily auction rate-limits membership growth.

I am sure the Orcanauts would be happy to schedule another demo of for you and any other Nouns who were unable to attend.

I will defer to their team on the details here, but several prominent communities in the DeFi space are in the process of integrating Orca.

The first deliverable of this project is just a report and subsequent proposal. To me this satisfies “do no harm,” but I would love your ideas on ways to ensure the interview process doesn’t harm the Nouns culture.

Yes, I mentioned this to the other Nouns on the demo but good callout, I should have put this in my first response to this thread.

I am an investor in a fund that invested in Orca. My exposure to Nouns is somewhere on the order of 20-40x larger :slight_smile: but both organizations are awesome and I would love for them to work together.


Orca Protocol core team member here, would firstly like to establish that engaging with nouns is a community initiative by the orcanauts. That being said the core team is excited to support this however we can.

  1. it’s not clear to me that the founding assumption that ‘daos are flawed and inefficient’ is correct (it’s possibly a skeuomorphism that judges DAOs by the standards of corporations)

This may not be the case for every DAO, but there is a general consensus that the many DAOs struggle with creating an environment that maintains activity and engaged participants: (Vitalik on the problems with token voting) (Leshner lamenting the issues with compound governor based DAOs).

I would agree that we should not assume every DAO is broken, and orca doesn’t have a secret sauce for what makes DAOs work, the core team and the orcanauts are students of coordination, and eager to uncover what things work best, which is why the first milestone of this proposal is an assessment. Nouns is a unique coordination experiment and it would be nice to have some visibility into what things Nouns excels at

  1. so you can double down on them
  2. so other DAOs can incorporate them

The milestone for this proposal is very much research based which I think falls squarely in the “do no harm bucket” the main intent with these type of assessments is to facilitate knowledge sharing between organizations within the space.


@johnsterlacci and Avi; I believe the core question @4156 and myself raised and is yet unanswered is:

  • What evidence/proven track record that the Orcanaut/orca product has? At this point, I understand that there is a lot of passion, eagerness, and some tools built, but such an endeavor requires a payment + time investment from the community. I believe there needs to be something more tangible to point to. I saw this tweet with some of the highlights, but I don’t know if any of these are relevant/evidence enough. (also, nouns is hinted which is perhaps premature)

  • If it’s just early and there is no evidence yet, and it’s more like “we are smart people, trust us and let us do something amazing together,” It might be better to propose a milestone-based or stream-based payment, or as Orca is funded, perhaps Orca protocol could join in sponsoring/participating in the costs or self-fund research into Nouns, at least into a point that there is concrete suggestion/plan

Crazy ideas section:

Set up a payment based on how valuable the community felt the assessment is:
To illustrate: base case if the community is not excited by the repost Orcanauts are paid a minimum of 10 eth, if the community think it’s valuable 20 eth, if it’s insightful and valuable and they want to proceed to the next stage they vote to pay 30 eth, all settled by a vote after the report is released; all amounts are made up, and this requires an honor/trust system, but this way the honor system goes both ways.

A more extreme suggestion, should the payment buy some equity/token allocation rights for Nouns in Orca? that way, all parties are aligned.

I’ll stop with the wacky suggestions; excited to see how this proposal develops.

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This is a good idea imo - perhaps the minimum payment should be funded by the small grants committee, with a proposal for retroactive compensation to follow

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Small Grants isn’t really for this type of thing. To the extent, we push forward with Orca, it should come from a regular way onchain Proposal, whether streaming, whether staggered based on timing (some upfront, some later on).

I reiterate @nounsnnn’s and @4156’s questions re: track record and evidence of product. The answer to it would help Nouners and the proposers figure out how best to structure the Proposal in a way that makes mutual sense.

I am personally excited to see if there’s a fit for Orca with Nouns – I coincidentally blind mentioned it in chat a few months ago but no one was an insider or had experience with it. My recommendation would be for @willprice and the Orcanauts to narrow down the scope and focus on one area where Nouners could deploy an Orca Pod/structure and a team of Nouners could build direct experience using it and see how it fits and how it doesn’t. Would likely be more useful than a topdown report or a broad implementation from zero.


This thread is now closed as the Orcanauts have revisited and revised a more aligned proposal. The new proposal can be found here.

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