Management is the act of assigning resources to tasks based on agreed-upon goals.

However, management is much more than that: it’s verifying execution, it’s managing goals on several time horizons, it’s achieving consensus, it’s ensuring the morale of employees, commanding business relationships with 3rd parties, and many other aspects. At the bottom line, at a high level, and for the sake of this article, management is:

The act of assigning resources to tasks based on agreed-upon goals.

Totem is a DAO. A decentralized organization is owned and controlled by all of its members. But what does it mean? Who makes the top level decisions? How are daily decisions made?

Below we'll review some of these questions and describe parts of the framework for how the project is managed and governed. 

Governance Limitation and limiting Governance

There is always a balance to strike between governance and operational freedom. For example, A DAO decision can be made to allocate $1M for a marketing effort, with a following vote deciding to allocate $300K of this amount for marketing efforts in Africa. It's easy to see that further votes can be made to decide how exactly the 300K are allocated, or even a vote on choosing the team that will determine how to allocate. But if any decision has to go through a ballot, no actual work can be made. That’s why countries choose governments for periods of several years and give them the ability to govern while limiting their power, and their tenure.

A word about automation

In a decentralized organization, the members ultimately decide the organization’s goals and other critical decisions. Those goals are carried out by members who perform the actual implementation of these decisions. In simple DAOs, those decisions are often made automatically: the vote of token holders immediately triggers a smart contract that manifests the vote’s decision. While Totem strives to become more automated, its complexity doesn’t allow it to be a fully automated organization. While some of the critical aspects will be automated early, many others will not be. As Totem progresses, we’ll gain a better understanding and tools that would allow increased automation.


In many companies, employees are the most important resource, aside from financial resources. As they perform most of the work, they are bound to the company in legal agreements where they agree to some form of compensation in return for their services to the company. Critically, most companies demand “exclusivity” from their employees, so they will not work for other or competing companies.

Totem will always have a few members who work based on continuous compensation, such as its council members. However, most of the workforce would be compensated through grants that they would receive to perform specific tasks. Totem members are not employees, and they have no required exclusivity or loyalty to Totem. They receive compensation for their work on the agreed tasks.

This, of course, raises the need for clear guidance on the compensation model that would allow members to have clear expectations regarding their compensation and tasks. We are creating a straightforward grants program that will evolve significantly in the coming months, together with the organization’s evolution.

Totem Council

The Totem Council is responsible to allocate resources based on DAO decisions and pre-agreed rules, which in turn are subject to members’ votes.

The Council is a limited group of people who receive compensation for their role. They are selected to carry this critical role for a period of time. Their term is always limited in duration.

Initially, the council is made up of the early founders of Totem, who are driving most of its progress in the early days.

Daily operations


Here is a quick comparison between a public company and Totem:

 Public CompanyTotem
Ultimate decisionsShareholders decide and approve Totem token holders decide and approve 
Operational decisions  Board of Directors and Management Totem Council 
Actual work Paid employees, or 3rd parties Totem members, or Totem grants receivers
Totem Game Development Network 2022