Survey for the Ethernaut DAO

Hello folks,

apologies for the long post, grab a cup of coffee or tea.


I am very excited that things are taking shape with the NFT proposal. I honestly don’t have the skills to assess or make any comments as to the technical merits of how the NFTs will work but I am confident the team has the necessary experience to make it work.

This is a proposal to have a discussion and execute a survey about where the Ethernaut DAO wants to go and how to get there.

I’ve had a few discussions on the future of the DAO and heard ideas that span from being a bootcamp with paid mentors to being an agency and uptaking projects.

One thing we all agree on is the goal: Onboarding engineers to crypto.

I didn’t have a particular vision for what the DAO will be, I got into it on my desperation as to the extremely steep learning curve that crypto has. But I understand the value of giving back to the community. It pays dividents in multiple.

One of the lessons I learned the hard way is that when starting out, one should have “boots on the ground” and validate their assumptions before they venture head first.

From what I’ve read and talked about so far, there are a few assumptions that have been made and a few observations that steam out of those assumptions:

1. Will Rewards Raise Mentor Commitment?

This isn’t a yes or no answer, I think it’s a spectrum. Mentors are expected to be senior engineers with full-time occupations already. What motivates them to become mentors? How much time can they afford? What kind of mentorship are they willing and able to do?

And the ultimate question, will rewards have any effect on the time they can commit? Or is it a question of them convincing the companies / projects they work for that it’s to their benefit to commit to mentorships?

2. Are we Willing and Able to Act as an Agency?

Uptaking projects for payment has been mentioned multiple times. Let’s be clear on the terminology, this is an agency.

There are two questions involved here, the first one is are we willing? I believe yes, who wouldn’t want to get paid while learning? On the other hand it might not be feasible to make the time commitments required by a professional services venture that an agency is. A question that I am very interested to see the results from the survey.

The second question is “Are we Able?”. And that involves a whole bunch of things that we need to start considering if we are to take this direction seriously:

  • Sales: Who will ensure there is enough dealflow to justify the overhead that comes with professionally uptaking a project?
  • Administrative overhead: who will do account management? Marketing?
  • Management: Who will manage the projects? Who will properly source the projects, not only with engineers, but with all the other professions that will be required (i.e. copywritters, designers, UX researchers, specialists, etc).
  • Product Management: Who will be responsible for each project? Collect requirements and draft specifications? This I guess is the an easy answer: “the lead mentor”… or is it? In the professional services, we all know that the PM is usually not an engineer, it’s a different skillset.
  • Fair Participation: If I understand the mentorship-project concept correctly, a fair rotation of the team members will be required. For each new project, a completely new team would have to be formed. This will be a problem; It will be an ever increasing challenge to maintain quality standards and deliverability while under these requirements.

This sounds too much? It is… but I am of the opinion, that anything less, should not really be part of the DAOs aims, goals and vision.

To be more clear on what I mean: One project here and there because one member has a connection, will not be adequate to be a core part of what the DAO does and how it trains mentees. It would be much more preferable if the project was executed by that member, or a group of members, under the auspices of the DAO but not “by the DAO”.

3. Observation: Sponsored Mentorships Are Job Offers

So far we had a few projects sponsoring mentorships. Projects, pay the mentees(?) and the mentors with the intention of hiring the mentees.

These mentorships, are practically Job Offers that include a mentorship as the onboarding package. They should be treated as such. Normal world rules apply here.

What I mean by that, is that as there is a selection process, which eventually leads to interviews. Those interviews should be “job interviews”.

We all know what a Job Interview is and what that process involves, I won’t tire you with that. But it’s important to mention that in the end, a job offer needs to be made; with full terms and expectations, before a mentee choses the mentorship.

If that’s not resolved upfront, both parties take the risk of having expectation mismatch and in particular for the case of the project, not have a fruitful outcome.

4. Observation: How do we Justify the Overhead of a DAO?

I am making two assumptions on this observation:

  1. The mission and goal of the DAO is to ramp up as many developers we can to crypto.
  2. We are all very time poor.

The kind of management and overhead a DAO managing funds and tokens will introduce, we all know is significant. It’ll consume much of our precious time and take it away from having a bigger impact towards the goal: helping more developers.

Humor me for a moment… Provided that mentors are not motivated by rewards, what would be the utility of the DAO managing NFTs, tokens, or any other short of funds?

Why don’t we focus on getting one cohort of developers out the door, trained and ready and with that work apply for a grant on gitcoin / and or / major protocols, projects and companies?

Funds are “easy” to come buy in the DeFi industry, much more so than any other technical industry… If mentors don’t really care for rewards, how can we use the funds to better achieve our goals?

One thought could be the DAO itself producing bounties to incentivise the creation of educational content (blog posts, guides, tutorials, videos, etc).

The Survey

The survery’s purpose is to give answers to all the above questions and assumptions by all stakeholders (mentors and mentees). Please review and amend as needed and in good time publish and promote the survey to the DAO members.

With the published results, we can all draw conclusions and the DAO get actionable insights that can highlight the path to our goals.

Draft Survey for Mentors

:point_right: Edit the mentor survey on hackmd

  • What is your current professional status?
    • Working full-time on a single project.
    • Working part-time on 1 or more projects.
    • Freelancing / bounty hunting.
    • I am a degen.
  • As a Mentor, how much time can you commit for mentoring on a volunteer basis?
    • None
    • 2 hours per month
    • 4 hours per month
    • 8 hours per month
    • Two days per month
    • A day per week
  • Would you be interested in participating in the DAO operations and decision making processes?
    • Yes
    • No
    • Don’t know
  • How would you prefer to mentor? You can choose multiple:
    • [ ] 1 on 1 Code Pairing sessions.
    • [ ] Small group (up to ~4) sessions.
    • [ ] Office hours with small time slots to view as many mentees as possible (i.e. 15’ slots for 1 hour).
    • [ ] Code review work of projects executed by mentees.
    • [ ] Help online on discord.
    • [ ] Other, please describe…
  • What is your primary motivation for mentoring?
    • Hiring for the project I am working at.
    • Giving back and honing my skills.
    • Have an additional source of income.
    • Other, please describe…
  • Given a satisfactory compensation, what is the maximum commitment you would be willing to make?
    • Wouldn’t make a difference, but thanks.
    • Up to a day per week.
    • Up to two days per week.
    • Up to two weeks per month.
    • Full-time, 40hrs / week.
  • How important are mentorship rewards for you?
    • Not at all, but they are welcome.
    • They would motivate me to commit more time.
  • How likely are you to get a grant from your job / protocol to fund a mentorship?
    • 1 Not Likely
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5 Very Likely
  • How likely are you to do paid work on a DAO project? Your commitment may vary from implementation to supervision / code reviews / leadership.
    • 1 Not Likely
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5 Very Likely
  • Share anything you believe will help shape the future of the Ethernaut DAO
    • [ Free Text …]

Draft Survey for Mentees

:point_right: Edit the mentee survey on hackmd

  • How many years have you been a software engineer?
    • Less than a year.
    • 1-3 years
    • 3-5 years
    • 5-10 years
    • 10-15 years
    • 15-20 years
    • 20+ years
  • What is your current professional status?
    • Working full-time on a single project.
    • Working part-time on 1 or more projects.
    • Freelancing / contracting.
    • I am not currently working.
  • What is your experience with Crypto & Ethereum development?
    • I know nothing.
    • I can read contracts from etherscan.
    • I have written an application that reads data on-chain.
    • I have created a bot that signs transactions based on events.
    • I’ve deployed a smart contract used by other people.
  • What is your primary motivation for learning crypto development?
    • I am just interested in the technology, looking around.
    • Participate in a project in a part or full time capacity.
    • Build my own project.
    • Become a freelancer / bounty hunter.
    • Other, please specify […]
  • How would you prefer to be mentored? You can choose multiple:
    • [ ] 1 on 1 Code Pairing sessions.
    • [ ] Small group (up to ~4) sessions.
    • [ ] Office hours with small time slots (~15min) with a mentor.
    • [ ] Code review of your work.
    • [ ] Get help online on discord.
    • [ ] Other, please describe…
  • How likely are you to accept a paid mentorship that includes a job offer?
    • 1 Not Likely
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5 Very Likely
  • How likely are you to do paid work on a DAO project? Note: This would probably require a significant time commitment depending on the project’s urgency. So if you have a full-time job you should choose “Not Likely”, unless you plan on quitting your job.
    • 1 Not Likely
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5 Very Likely
  • Share anything you believe will help shape the future of the Ethernaut DAO
    • [ Free Text …]