Although he will no longer be involved in the day to day, Luis will continue being the Chairman of Aragon One’s Board of Directors, which is comprised by just him and me at the moment, and he will become an active advisor to the company.
I am beyond thrilled about transitioning into the role and definitely feeling the weight of the new responsibilities.
Although I have ideas for things I want to do to write at least ten more posts, I am well aware of how disruptive major transitions like this one can be if not done with the upmost care.
I will be slowly introducing new ideas, seeking consensus with my colleagues in the leadership team and greater team, and thoroughly executing on them.
However, there are some changes that I am implementing immediately.
Mission statement and scope
Given Aragon One’s history of spinning off from the preceding entity to the Aragon Association, we have always had a hard time defining what Aragon One's mission was and what it should do in the context of decentralizing development. Luis and I have spent countless hours since the summer discussing this, and our current stance is:
Aragon One is an independent company on a fight for freedom that does whatever it takes to make Aragon tremendously successful and spread the Aragon Manifesto in the world
With the mission statement in place, we took a look at Aragon One's scope, and reminded ourselves how important aragonSDK is in accomplish the overall mission. Last week, Aragon One took over the leadership and ownership of aragonSDK from the heros at Aragon Mesh (an in-depth post on that is coming soon).
With this addition to the scope, the team structure of Aragon One now looks like this:
Aragon One is a technology company that works on creating value for three different user or stakeholder groups:
- Aragon users: End users of Aragon that use the product to create and manage their decentralized organizations. They are Aragon One's most important stakeholders and our mission is to empower as many people in the world as humanly possible with the tools to fight for their freedom.
- Aragon app developers: Making Aragon a successful app platform is key to making sure Aragon can work for as many different use cases and social contexts as possible.
- ANT holders: Supporters and stakeholders of the project that have provided capital to make it happen. By servicing ANT holders we will make the company successful (as major holders) and the project sustainable.
New leadership team
Being a good CEO is more than a full time position. That's why I'm not attempting to maintain any of the responsibilities that I had before the transition so I can focus all my energy in the CEO role.
My main focus during 2019 has been leading the Research team at Aragon One, and more specifically managing the research and development of Aragon Court and Aragon Network. Since transitioning to the Network team at the end of July, Facu Spagnuolo has been critical to the development of Aragon Court, pushing it to the v1.0 freeze that happened this Saturday. Facu is becoming the Aragon Network team lead at Aragon One, and will be managing the completion and release of the network.
After two years of unconditional dedication, hard work and incredible growth, I will be joined in the new Aragon One leadership team by Brett Sun, who will be CTO at Aragon One, effective immediately. Brett will continue providing the tech leadership and direction he has been giving unofficially for a very long time now. He will also be the team lead and product manager for the Aragon Client and aragonSDK teams within the larger Aragon One product team.
I will continue working on expanding the leadership team in the coming months, both with internal promotions and executive hires from outside the team. Building a strong leadership team that can excel and navigate the exponential growth that is coming for both the company and the project will be one of my most important priorities entering into 2020.
The next six months
My main focus for the first six months in the job is going to be about stabilizing the team and the multiple projects Aragon One is undertaking. Taking a excerpt from the introduction to our Q4 OKRs:
Q4 2019 is our "Quarter of Stabilization" (which I believe applies to the next full 6 months as well), or put in another way, a quarter to really clean up our house and get it ready for new people and projects to come in. Before we can grow our scope or ambitions as a company even further, we need to ensure that what we are doing, we do really well, and that we start operating from a calm state.
Stabilization needs to come on multiple fronts:
- Stabilizing the human resources related to scope: After merging aragonSDK back into our scope, I now believe that the product team is understaffed by a factor of 2-2.5x. We need to fix it. Growing the team to the size we need to be while maintaining the culture is a huge challenge, and although there is someone directly responsible for it, it should be in everyone's mind and a collective effort.
- Stabilizing our commitments: We have been piling up commitments since mid-2017. Aragon Network, Payroll, and Agent are commitments we made a long time ago that just require a last mile of effort to ship them. We will focus on getting these products into the hands of users before undertaking any new product commitments.
- Stabilizing aragonSDK: We recently decided to re-integrate aragonSDK into Aragon One, making it a first-class Aragon One product together with the Client and Network. This re-completes our theorized Network ←→ Client ←→ Dev tools flywheel, and our first step is to re-gain stable footing in this area.
- Continue pushing for Product-Market fit: finding PMF has been one of the most important topics of the year. We are feeling the first signals of PMF with Fundraising and protocols using Aragon for governance. This quarter we should focus on proving this hypothesis, establishing baselines, and gathering the data we need to be conclusive about doubling down in this market.
November 11th will mark the third anniversary of the original Aragon whitepaper draft. The last three years have been full of hard work, tons of learning and a lot of great things. Luis and I were chatting how similar these days are feeling to the time when we started the project. It's hard to point to something in particular and say that's why it feels like the early days, but the energy, the excitement and the growing outside interest in the project definitely feels similar. Also the feeling that we are starting something new now and things are changing.
I'm incredibly excited about this transition. Luis has built an incredible team with an unseen culture and passion for Aragon's mission. Continuing to build this team and growing it, not only in terms of head count but also leverage and team happiness, is my most important priority, and everything can come naturally next. Only if we keep doing a great job at this we will succeed.
I don't take this new responsibility lightly and I am committing everything to doing it right. We have an incredible opportunity to build a long-lasting, massively successful company that does really meaningful work that will impact the lives of millions of people. And we are not going to waste it.
To the next 3 years and way beyond,