Equitable DAO: Salaries at Pangolin
Written by Justin Trollip, Chief Herder at Pangolin
Web3 has a wonderful capacity to run you through the full gamut of emotions. Sheer joy at the unrivaled innovation occurring in this space, disillusion with rug pulls, pump and dump schemes, and serious security failures.
One of the emotions that brought me into this space was hope. Satoshi proposed a blueprint that would allow a more equitable future. It’s a guiding principle at Pangolin and part of the values we try to espouse.
As such I’ve been working hard on defining our internal pay structures. How do we define fairness? How do we deal with a remote first, location agnostic workforce?
It’s subjective and I’m not sure what I’ve done is the final iteration. But another guiding principle at Pangolin is that we favour action over analysis paralysis. So this is what we’re implementing and we can always evolve it over time.
Employment at Pangolin
First of all, members of Pangolin have a choice to be either a contractor or an Employee. Being a contractor means you lose out to certain benefits of full time employees.
These benefits are:
- Paid time off
- Access to deal flow after a certain amount of time
For this post, I’ll only include full-time employees. So let’s look at the concepts we need to take into consideration:
- Different Exchange Rates (US dollars, Brazilian Real, Indian Rupee, Turkish Lira et al). We use the dollar as our “Accounting/Reporting” currency. So we need to take into account historical depreciation against this base currency.
- The costs of living in their city/town. We find this by using Numbeo https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/
- The inflation rate in that country. High inflation would diminish their wages in real terms. This is especially valid for Turkish members and even the US at 8.5% is not insignificant *
- A base index for a point of comparison
- Each employees monthly salary expressed in USD
- A well defined target for differences in wages. As an example, what should be the maximum difference between the highest paid member and the lowest paid member be? Currently it’s 2. So this means the lowest paid member in real terms earns half of the highest paid member. We are currently around 15 members but as we scale through to 50, that target will change gradually to 4. For comparison, I believe Europe’s average is 8 and the US shockingly enough is 32.
Now we can work out our real employment Cost to DAO of each employee.
Defining Fair Wages Based on Location
Let’s use a Turkish employee as an example of what our future salary negotiations would look like?
We open discussions with Mehmet and he lives in Istanbul. So from there, we can compare the cost of our highest paid Employee with what it would cost locally to live in Istanbul.
For example, if Justin needs $10,000 to live in Brisbane, Australia, how much would Mehmet need to live a similar lifestyle in Istanbul.
This would include things like rent, food, a meal out. Day to day things.
Let’s take a look:
So Mehmet can live the same lifestyle as Justin for $3,728.
Now we have a baseline.
We then need to consider the fact that Mehmet lives in Turkey. Two key metrics determine Mehmet’s lifestyle and purchasing power:
- Inflation at 61% (Some people think this figure is manipulated by a centralized state and is more than double this)
- Turkish Lira’s devaluation against the USD at 44%. Since we have to pay in Turkish Lira to make sure Mehmet is compliant with local laws.
If we add those we get over 100%. That means every year Mehmet becomes poorer by losing half of all his earnings.
That’s seriously bullshit.
So how do we make sure that Mehmet earns a fair, equitable wage at Pangolin and doesn’t fall victim to the monetary policy within their country?
We establish what a fair wage is in USD for where he lives. We then adjust that for inflation and a depreciating currency every 3 months.
Basically Mehmet gets an increase every 3 months in local currency — USD equivalent salary remains the same to make sure they can maintain their same standard of living.
Laying the Foundation for Growth
So while we have many challenges ahead of us at Pangolin on our path to hit the next milestone of 50 members, we have the beginnings of a system to help us move our DAO to the next phase while still remaining true to our core principles of equity, decentralization and personal freedom.
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