Progress Update: July 2023

The main advancement for July was deployment of the bounty directory and getting the initial set of eight bounties constructed, published and seeded. This is the first pass at the bounty directory:

They’re setup like baseball cards with key stats, problems they address and a memorable name & image to create an identity for each. Clicking through to the details page reveals more context on the specific issue to solve, a discussion section seeded with some directional recommendations from ChatGPT on potentially viable strategies for addressing it and the real crux of the bounty which is its payout criteria:

This is the elegance of this whole approach in that the bounty’s funds are disbursed only upon satisfaction of the bounty criteria specified by its creator. This enables the bounty’s creator to hinge the payout upon achieving specific outcomes and use these to guarantee that the desired result is obtained by the project. These payout criteria are completely open-ended and can include any stipulations or restrictions. For instance it could be that the bounty funder insists that the project demonstrate 3 months of a viable recurring revenue business model with X level of MRR in order to qualify (that would help ensure the sustainability of the program after the bounty funds have run out).

The bounty directory IMO constitutes the final missing technological piece to this whole puzzle. The system in its current form is now at what I would consider a v1 MVP state with all necessary components to deliver on the vision of applying retroactive public goods funding to coordinating open, trustless, permissionless, citizen-led initiatives for social impact.

Other Wins

Other notable developments:

  • Drawing some inspiration from Kaggle I refactored the design of the project details pages and ordered the info using tabbed navigation so they’re cleaner, more intuitive and less overwhelming.

  • The uptime monitoring mechanism I had built to notify me when the MessageQueue system goes down was flawed. You can read the nitty gritty details here if interested but basically I figured out a way to sidestep monitoring altogether and create a self-healing mechanism that auto-restarts the message queue process if/when it goes down.

  • Added Opengraph thumbnails and meta info so key pages are more compelling when shared via social media.

  • Made a standard and more intuitive convention for how to add elements across the site (Problems, Bounties & Solutions) to make it more obvious that this is an open platform like Wikipedia instead of a closed top-down system.

  • Submitted a grant application for the Effective Altruism Infrastructure Fund to get on their radar and get the initial set of bounties fully-funded.


At this point we need to demonstrate a win with some measurable impact and success on one of our projects. The two that represent the most promise thus far are Message Anywhere and Onesta. As the solo entrepreneur behind this effort I’m constantly faced with the decision of “what is the thing that most moves the needle at this point.” I could go heads-down as developer on one of those projects but that would be at the cost of getting the bounties funded. Ideally I need to find a technical cofounder with Bubble expertise who can support the top projects full-time and get them to MVP status allowing me to remain focused on getting the bounties funded. Absent that it’s an ongoing game of backgammon to advance each piece around the board a little bit at a time.

Next Month’s Focus

I’m taking off my developer hat in August and focusing on what I believe is “The One Thing:” getting the initial set of bounties fully funded. For this challenge I’m employing a two-pronged strategy of pursuing grant funding and building up a cold outreach process I can run at scale to reach philanthropists and high net worth individuals. For grant writing I’m currently taking this Udemy course as a primer to develop the boilerplate and then using various LLM’s and autonomous agents to hunt appropriate grant programs and funding sources to which I will apply. I have not yet started approaching private foundations and HNW’s but my approach there will be to start with my own network and ideally figure out what works and then automate and fan out from there.

Project Success
I’ve proposed a slight pivot to the Onesta project which would use ChatGPT to perform an intake assessment and invert the process of scheduling with a talk buddy enabling the talk requestor to specify times and making it a first-come-first-serve claims process for the talk buddy to take the appointment. For Message Anywhere I’m working with the Executive Chairman of the Creighton Community Foundation and our friends at ProNocoders to sort out some compensation and build vs. buy questions on what is needed there.

I have not yet started planning our next event. My hope was to get at least a few of the bounties funded first so that we have some real stakes for that but it’s been awhile since our last one and is probably time to target mid or late September for the next in-person event.

No episodes planned but the pod may prove to be a useful way of engaging key contacts. I am interested in doing more of the subject matter expert interviews but everything right now is subservient to focusing on bounty funding.

Open Questions

The main questions I’m wrestling with at this point:

  • Most effective path to get the initial bounties funded? Best way to rapidly experiment and try paths with HNW’s, private foundations, Federal government grant programs, on-chain grants, etc.
  • Can I roll with running Problemattic as an LLC or will this preclude us from access to enough grant opportunities such that it makes sense to convert to a 501c3 or b-corp? What other implications does that conversion carry and what is the simplest path to get max grant exposure with minimal squandered calories and negative ramifications in terms of extra bureaucracy and paperwork?
  • Best way to find a competent technical cofounder? Hope is not a strategy so what is a more deterministic path for offloading the technical Dev and DevOps burdens so I can stay focused on making the movement work? Is it possible to run a horserace on Upwork and use Problemattic Meta to dogfood this and use the platform to incubate the platform itself with untrusted labor?
  • How much (if any) energy to devote to writing the admin UI so I can start to expose the ability for people in other cities to use this platform to throw events in their locales?

These ^^ are the main questions as of now. I welcome any constructive input.

Key Stats

Adding a new section to these #buildinpublic updates with some KPI’s:

  • MAU’s: 143
  • Total users: 266
  • TVL in Bounties: $1600
  • Trades (fungible): 8
  • Trades (non-fungible): 0
  • Confirmed Events: 0

The technical roadmap as always can be found here.