The Cardano Foundation’s communiqué on recent organizational changes and community feedback

The Cardano Foundation’s communiqué on recent organizational changes and community feedback

(Written by the Cardano Foundation team)

The recent staffing changes within the Community Management department has raised various questions in the community.

Some community members have stated that they no longer feel adequately heard by the Cardano Foundation. Likewise, there is a concern that the work, which has been done by the Community Management team, will not be continued or will not be properly monitored by the Foundation following the recent staffing changes; or that two-way communication channels will be lost.

Rick McCracken, one of our community members, shared a video on 2 September 2020, via his personal YouTube channel, to draw attention to a perceived lack of communication and dissatisfaction.

He posed some questions surrounding the current leadership and the further practice of community management at the Cardano Foundation, which we are glad to address here. All questions—whether hard or easy—are always welcome, and we need to constantly reevaluate our processes to create a better Cardano, improve its reputation, and expedite widespread adoption.

There are also healthy discussions with the community on producing a public roadmap for the Cardano Foundation, and this focus group has expressed diverse goals. These include setting out community expectations, providing more guidance, and offering help to the Cardano Foundation.

The Cardano Foundation always welcomes and actively encourages our valued community to congregate, discuss, and suggest ideas. You act as an extension of our team in our efforts to achieve our missions, and you complement our work to drive the adoption of Cardano. The ongoing community effort is a clear signal that our community is mature and willing to go the extra mile to build a global social and financial operating system. This is an effort that will take years of dedication and patience, but we are confident that together we will get there.

The Cardano Foundation has collected and examined the community’s questions and identified two common themes:

  1. There is a desire for better transparency from the Cardano Foundation, in regards to current workstreams, achievements, and the leadership of the Cardano Foundation;

  2. There is a desire to maintain the current two-way communication channels between the Cardano Foundation’s team and the community in light of recent staffing changes.

We would like to take this opportunity to ensure you that we are on the right track as an organization, and we will address these wider themes below.

Does the Cardano Foundation have a leadership problem?

No, the Cardano Foundation does not have a leadership problem—we have a very committed Council and a diverse leadership team assembled from multidisciplinary fields, including representatives from EMURGO and IOHK. In addition, we will soon be bringing a CEO on board to steer the Cardano Foundation even closer towards its missions.

As blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLT) become more mainstream, it is evident that the Foundation is on the right path with its plans to bring talented persons with diverse capabilities onboard, and to maximize the adoption of the Cardano protocol. The current leadership has assembled a team of talented individuals and we have grown from less than five team members (excluding the Council) at the beginning of 2019, to an entire team of almost 30 people today—an incredible achievement, which brings the Cardano Foundation closer to delivering on its missions.

Investing in talent and adding more skills at the Cardano Foundation is absolutely critical—as our ecosystem partner IOHK delivers the technology of tomorrow, we must be ready for maximal impact and widespread adoption. As such, we will further strengthen the Foundation’s team, add more skills, and keep close contact with the community on ways we prioritize implementation that will bring us closer to the Cardano vision.

All of our new team members introduce themselves on our forums, and you are always encouraged to reach out to every single one of them in case of questions—either to find out more about their role or just learn more about them. The entire Cardano Foundation, including the leadership team, is very easy to approach.

Staffing changes are a normal course of business—we have only had four changes over a two-year period—and we will continue to be very effective with our growing team. Our growth as a Foundation has only just begun and we are glad you are with us during this trying journey—holding us accountable along the way and asking testing questions.

Is there a plan in place for the Community Management team?

Yes, of course, there is a plan in place to expand and further strengthen the community management function within the Foundation. While we recognize that a change in the Community Management team may raise some questions, we would like to highlight that we have multiple strong and capable Community Managers, who continue to lead and serve the best interests of the community, the Cardano protocol, and the Cardano Foundation diligently, and with the full support of the rest of the Foundation.

You will know many of these Community Managers personally, they are the face of the Foundation, and we rely on them heavily to gather your concerns and communicate with you on a daily basis. In fact, we have onboarded many former Cardano Ambassadors as Community Managers to our ranks since 2019.

We kindly ask that our wider community respects the work of our current Community Management team—they do a fantastic job overall and these past couple of weeks have been tough on them.

Keeping two-way communications open and transparent

We always welcome and encourage open and transparent dialogue with our valued community and everyone else. We have processes in place to ensure two-way communication channels remain open and transparent, to that extent, every team member of the Cardano Foundation is reachable. Together through frank discussions we can accelerate our missions.

The entire team has a great deal of autonomy within the Cardano Foundation, in keeping with our decentralized roots. When a question is asked by the community or the wider public, any team member of the Cardano Foundation—irrespective of their role—is empowered to reach out for answers.

We have well-established internal procedures for addressing community and any other feedback. Usually, the frontline for community feedback is our Community Managers, and questions are escalated internally as needed through our organizational channels. In every instance, senior leadership and Council members are aware, and when required they step in to support.

Many of our communications channels have been established by our Community Management team. For example, our YouTube channel, which features our Davos Diaries, yearly reviews, and educational content, was produced by our Community Management and former German Ambassador Tommy Kammerer (unfortunately, due to Covid-19 restrictions our filming schedules have considerably shifted).

Similarly, Tiago Serôdio in Portugal has led the hugely successful Phase 2 (Rewards) of the Ambassador Program. Niels Schoof, another former Ambassador, established a dedicated channel, LINE, for our Japanese-speaking community—making Cardano content accessible for more people.

Ryan He in Shanghai has grown our Chinese-speaking community many times over, and Andy Hendrikx, former Ambassador from the Netherlands, has been evangelizing Cardano since the first exchange listing in 2017 and promotes the protocol in the Dutch-speaking world.

All of our team members as well as our Community Managers produce valuable contributions to Cardano every single day, and they are invaluable for keeping our community together. We would like to ask you, our community, to recognize the contributions our current team has made and will continue to make long into the future of the Cardano Foundation.

We also invite you to read our regular updates on the Cardano Forum and our official websites.

The current set-up of the Cardano Foundation

The Cardano Foundation in its current form is the result of multiple phases of development both as an organization and alongside the needs of the evolving Cardano protocol.

You have all helped shape the Cardano Foundation through various initiatives and your active contributions to the Ambassador Program. We can assure you that we are on solid fundamentals, employ agile methods, and we have achieved so much since the new administration came on board. Let’s recap on where we have been, and where we are heading.

Past – Present plan

  • Phase 1: Nathan Kaiser, Domino Burki and Manmeet Singh took over as Council Members at the end of 2018. The focus in 2019 was on putting the Cardano Foundation on the right track (more than a 100 control measures were implemented), hiring key people, and bringing the operational basis to one that is compliant and sustainable. In 2019, we had less than five full-time staff members—we are now a team of almost 30 people in more than 20 locations of the planet, with women making up over a third of the personnel.

  • Phase 2: In December 2019, Nicolás Arqueros and Tamara Haasen joined the Council to bring additional skills to the Council (Nicolás in Technology, Tamara in Human Resources). Additionally, the Cardano Foundation grew further, bringing additional skills into the team.

  • Phase 3: In March 2020, the Cardano Foundation initiated a strategy workshop for all of our Cardano ecosystem partners to harmonize various streams, align and agree on the next steps for the protocol. As a result of this gathering of more than 50 people from all three entities, various workstreams—not only for the Cardano Foundation—but for Cardano as a whole were established. The efforts of the workstreams from all three entities are ongoing and will take a considerable amount of time until full fruition. Phase 3 saw the Cardano Foundation’s team growing further, and also saw initiatives, such as the Ambassador Program’s Phase 2 (Rewards), Project Renovare, the WEF at Davos, the rollout of RFPs and CIPs, and the release of Shelley.

Future set-up

  • Phase 4: Starting when our new CEO joins in November 2020 or earlier, the Cardano Foundation will reach a phase where we have solid, compliant, and sustainable operations, and now need to laser focus on adoption, partnerships, and third-party integrations. The Cardano Foundation will also take over key responsibilities from IOHK later this year.

  • Phase 5: Will start with the launch of Goguen, smart contracts, DApps, Marlowe DSL financial contract, and a whole host of enterprise partners joining the Cardano ecosystem when IOHK delivers this innovative technology.

The community-led roadmap and future of Cardano

We welcome the recent community-led initiative to produce a roadmap for the Cardano Foundation.

Our needs, the needs of the community, and the needs of the protocol are dynamically evolving and are heavily interdependent on all involved ecosystem partners—such as EMURGO and IOHK. An agile roadmap for an innovative technology, such as blockchain, is advantageous especially when there are numerous interdependencies and many involved parties.

Given the close collaboration between the three entities and the community, any roadmap should be inclusive of all Cardano organizations—providing actionable, tangible and measurable suggestions. All three entities have the best interests of Cardano at heart and act as one ecosystem, and as such the roadmap should be inclusive of all stakeholders and Cardano as a whole.

Yes, we need to be more transparent with our agile goals with our community and wider public. Therefore, current initiatives are very welcome, and they compliment our work, empower us to advance our missions knowing we have our community’s support and we encourage any initiative that will bring us closer to achieving our goals of adoption.

In our efforts to achieve our goals, hiring and building a world-class team takes time and patience. Firstly, it requires time and has a long funnel, and secondly, we have also focused on building the teams to be ready for the product launches as and when they occur, and this continues to be the case.

For example, in the lead-up to and immediately after the Shelley release we brought nine new team members across multiple functions within the Foundation, and we currently have open positions for technical staff ahead of Goguen. We do not have a staff turnover problem, in fact, we are growing at an unprecedented rate in a sustainable manner.

Further questions, follow-up answers, and your feedback

Our goals and mission at the Cardano Foundation are multiple and diverse. You, the community, are a crucial area of focus for us, and you keep us accountable and transparent. In addition, we have wider goals and we gladly can elaborate on these.

We are responsible for bringing together multiple stakeholders, including our ecosystem partners, to build on and explore the Cardano protocol. This is no easy task. For example, our work with legislators and regulators, just one facet of what we do, takes years of behind-the-scenes work to reach major milestones.

The same is true for enterprise relationships and attracting established businesses to the Cardano blockchain. Many of the Foundation’s leadership are busy delivering on these projects. Because of this, it may seem that they are not always visible in community channels—but they are available and interested in your feedback.

Lastly, we would encourage you to submit feedback and even tough questions directly to our Community Management team, or through dedicated channels such as our contact form on cardanofoundation.org.

This is important for us to be able to collect and formally respond to feedback. Questions asked in busy public Telegram or YouTube channels quickly get lost in the midst of hundreds of messages, or even worse become easy points of attack for bad actors and damage Cardano’s brand and its reputation—hampering our adoption efforts.

We will be answering more of the community’s questions in a dedicated session on the Cardano Effect podcast. We invite you all to take part and leave your feedback, and once again we sincerely thank you for holding us to account and keeping the Cardano Foundation and the entire Cardano ecosystem fit for purpose for every stakeholder.

20 Likes

Thanks for the update and enjoyed reading about the next two phases of development (4 & 5), planned for later this year.

Detailed, data driven, transparent and timely updates from the Cardano Foundation regarding these next two really important phases of development will definitely benefit the Cardano ecosystem.

3 Likes

Thanks CF Team, appreciate the direct and open response,

To assist both the community and Cardano Foundation maybe have a fortnightly /monthly 60 sec update, posted to Youtube ? or as a podcast could work to offer quick updates highlighting changes, updates/questions posed etc. would be an opportunity to spotlight particular activity (obv after some level of success/ movement has been achieved) or introduce new team members.

Content could also be taken from the Forum, would give the community the opportunity to bring important topics to the forefront (maybe by vote on forum).
This would also encourage more engagement with the CF Forum, great for CF, as the more community members log in on a regular basis, the bigger we grow our community.

A more detailed report can then be produced as per the above article, when specific goals programs have been achieved.

3 Likes

Kinda ironic that so many people had “concerns” but now that you respond to them barely anyone cares.

2 Likes

This is because its full of half hearted truths and nothing seems to be changing.
Two examples:

“No, the Cardano Foundation does not have a leadership problem”
Yet they are hiring CEO and the community clearly called them out on having a leadership problem. True leaders would instead look at why the community thinks they have a leadership problem.

Regarding the changes in the cardano community teams
“Staffing changes are a normal course of business—we have only had four changes over a two-year period—and we will continue to be very effective with our growing team.”
Yet the changes are in the team members closest to the community and the critisism has been that both times it has been people in direct communication with the community that has been fired and that it has shut down effective communication lines and this is one of the major critisisms that sparked the roadmap debate. True leaders would state that while staff changes are part of normal course of buisness in this case they can see how it has hurt the community communication channels.

3 Likes

There are real concerns from the community and ambassadors in regards to the Foundation favoring one Ambassador’s stake pool.
I’ve asked clarity in this issue through slack and have been receiving the silent treatment. Even it’s leadership refrains from giving me a direct answer to my question.

I don’t understand what is meant by ‘transparency’

Why can’t CF give a direct answer to my question. What is there to hide?

1 Like

If I am welcome and encouraged to an open dialogue then answer my question, since there is reason to believe that one ambassador is being favored

Simple Question
“To what ambassador pools is CF currently delegating?“

Yet everyone refuses to give an honest answer

1 Like

The concerns are that there is a lack of communication, like you said. And they are now communicating with the community and a huge part of the community, who seemed to have “concerns”, seems to ignore it and don’t communicate back (barely any attention to this thread or on reddit). That’s ironic. First complain about communication and then when they open up to communication basically ignore them.

Several council members are directly communicating with many community members to improve the situation. They had a Zoom meeting just yesterday with Rick and many others which is uploaded to YouTube. They are in Telegram t.me/BuildTheRoadmap. And in this forum post they acknowledge there needs to be better communication and other improvements, they gave answers and are asking for feedback. “nothing seems to change”? Very clearly things are changing.

They are hiring a CEO to improve leadership. That doesn’t mean there are leadership problems. They replaced the old ‘corrupt’ council end of 2018 and have been hiring tons of people throughout 2019 and 2020 to create a solid team to move forward with. The current council was meant to be temporary to steer the Cardano Foundation in the right direction and they have been doing that but obviously this is not easy and it takes time (they have to catch up on years of no activity from the old council). They are not perfect but we should still appreciate what they have been doing instead of scrutinizing a few sentences in a forum post.

Trying to keep it real here…

That blockchain is becoming more mainstream doesnt make it evident that the foundation is on the right path. Those things have nothing to do with one another.

What kind of communication has there been in a bit more detail, and how do you identify that there is a desire to maintain the current channels?

Where is it?

As a broad point, respect can be eroded and must be earned.

In the end you can say that you assure, but you have to demonstrate solidity not talk about it.

Youtube is a primary public facing forum. If you are not on Youtube, are you doing your job? And worse, if you consider Youtube comments an “easy point of attack for bad actors”, what is your perception of social media in general?

3 Likes

It really is not. Notice how reddit is much more active than the Cardano Forum. There is a reason and that is that communcation lines are not as clear here and there is simply better discussions then.
There are 88K users on reddit and 11.5K all time users on the forums accoring to the about pages of both platforms. I dont know about you but I like hard facts and the hard facts are there are way more communication happening on other platforms. That happens for a reason.

Regarding the Zoom meeting I was there and tried to have a say but no time slot for me to voice my opinion. (this was 1AM my time I stayed until 2:30am). I also contributed on the roadmap twice (cardano platforms and with a full time scale up until 2024 and the governance tab). What I will say is I think the roadmap discussion is great but it happened not because CF wanted this but because the community wanted it. Step in the right direction sure, but a clear example of leadership problems to not have addressed this earlier.

Regarding leadership changes I should know I was part of the original guardians demanding change from the old ‘corrupt’ as you say leadership. The hires have been good but it is still questionable to fire the communitys direct communcation lines and not once but twice. Nobody is perfect and they should have time but they have had time and now the community is reaching out they should not be doing what I call half assed excuses but fess up to the reality of things. That is how you make real change. We are on a good direction if we can agree on some KPIs and how to measure and implement them. The community holds everyone else accountable as well and ourself as well. When shelley was late it was a tough time for IOHK but they came through and it was a honest dialogue with the community. CF should be more honest with itself and where it is now and instead of this commonique that more sounds like a excuse really look deep into this and try to understand why the community is so many times historically now dissatisfied with them. When community had stated they feel you have a leadership problem and you answer no you dont then you are really not taking a deep look into yourself. Particurlary with the history of community critisism. Anyhow for me this could been a great moment to move things forward two steps. Instead I feel we reluctantly got half a step forward half a step back.

1 Like

They were in the process already to hire a CEO to do exactly this… Or do you think this is just a lie? :man_shrugging:t2:

Just a minority did that. Rick’s video got downvoted on reddit and criticized harshly and rightfully so. I never felt they had leadership problems. And seeing the activity on reddit right now about this I don’t think many really did.

Sorry but you just say that because you don’t agree that they don’t. There are communication issues, yes. But not leadership problems.

Sorry you feel that way. I don’t. There have been massive improvements in the last 18 months and I am very happy with their response here.

On a highly related note, the Cardano council members joining the recent video call about the public roadmap were highly encouraging! I think the problem is mainly related to the lack of communication that has been going out.

1 Like

This is not the same as making a transparent roadmap with KPIs that can be measured. As I said it is a step in the right direction but I am not sure how you can say that this was not a community lead effort as it has been. Sure its been welcomed but it also is welcomed with a reduce and abstract mentality. (first question to work on) instead of say a mentality where one can look what can CF do what can community do - how can we do the most - expand and delegate.

KPI’s. almost 13K views, 138comments most supporting the msg of the video clip. 700 members joining in one week. 97% upvote on the building a roadmap draft reddit thread. I don’t know what metrics you are reading but there is overwhelming support for the ciritisism. Also try to ask the backroot of the network the SPOs and I guarantee you there are tons of community members and long term members supporting the efforts.

2 Likes

I’m talking about the implications that there were leadership problems. This is very different from communication problems but you seem to think they are one and the same. They have been doing a lot of things that are on that public roadmap but just weren’t communicated and they acknowledge this and they were already planning to work with the community on something similar as this roadmap with the new CEO.

I’m just going to leave it with this. I don’t feel the same as you. There are no leadership problems imo and many people expressed the same opinion on reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/cardano/comments/ikys90/does_the_cardano_foundation_have_a_leadership/
There need to be things improved but there are no massive leadership problems like years ago which Rick implied in that video.

:v:t2:

I read the video comments it is definitively not as clear cut as you project it and it all ties into multiple people leaving CF from same position. That is not only a communication problem.

2 Likes

Been doing a bit more research and also in response to other comments

Ref the above changes and proposals.

I appreciate this is only one channel/way of monitoring activity and input, there are so many other ways that people can ask question/support the Cardano eco-system (people will be adding value that is not visible here). as mentioned in other posts.

How much time spent on this Forum is the right amount for team members?

I ask this because the CForum seems to be, the preferred method for people to connect with the Cardano eco-system (it’s top of the list on the community link). It’s also the forum suggested here to connect with for updates/discussion.

CF will be closely managing all channels, hopefully going forward they will be closely checking involvement here as well as other channels, (offering choice) although currently the figures for time spent on this channel, are not great for team members.

We are all busy, although i feel we should be measuring involvement with this Forum in particular.

This ‘Forum’ is monitoring all community involvement and awarding ‘badges’. as it should, it rewards good ‘behaviours’.

This Forum channel can be used by both investors/pool operators and in particular CF/IOG/Emurgo employees and community support to engage as much as they can, in particular CF/Community support should be offering a good example to the general public, demonstrating a great eco system to connect with, keeping you up to date with what’s happening.

Pool operators appear to have put a lot of time input to this Forum, it makes a lot of sense as contributing/commenting etc. offers a great way to let people know about what they are doing to support the Cardano project and how people can connect with their Pool, they have plenty of ‘skin in the game’. I appreciate we (others) have also spent time in the community, we are all measured (system does this automatically) Let’s have some more CF/Community connecting here.

My post is essentially about performance, accountability and feedback, which are the main metrics i use when choosing my stake pool. Let’s use it to grow this community.

People will be looking at Cardano and measuring it against other projects, we can do this, let’s improve together.

1 Like

I feel like this post should have been signed by someone or group of people.

2 Likes

An outstanding response, thorough and positive, that instills confidence in the responsiveness, competence and vision of the Foundation and in its abilty to collaborate effectively with its members and with the Community to realise the vision.

2 Likes

Great job, i like this team

2 Likes