👋Duncan’s Homepage

My Role: Product Lead from Sept 2022 — Nov 2023

Team: ~12 remote, mainly developers


How We Shipped Sail

The idea for Sail began in September 2022 as a product shift in the previous DAO protocol.

The product was shipped 5 months from inception in February 2023, gathering 200+ ETH in volume, 500+ users, and 50+ “ships” facilitating group NFT trading.


The Problem

The SZNS product offered a DAO framework using direct democracy for groups to make decisions about NFTs they collectively own.

The most obvious problem associated with SZNS: voting is not viable to make fast or informed decisions within these communities.

To simplify the process, we decided to reduce decision-making friction by building a product narrowly focused on the most common action in the NFT space, trading.


Once we realized this, we looked into other products and protocols to identify:

1. How do the best NFT traders behave in the market? and

2. What other products allow groups to trade NFTs together?

Solution Analysis


The key takeaway from this research resulted in our focus to provide a protocol that allows for multiple NFTs to be bought and sold within a single lifecycle.

MVP Development

The key for our work in this stage focused on creating a mock to share with NFT traders and gather fast feedback on the feature set. We were still using the previous design system to build out mocks at this time.

We also developed the initial Smart Contract Interface after building the UX Flow Chart to define different functions needed from each user at different phases in the product lifecycle.


In parallel to the MVP development, I provided video demos, sent surveys, and spoke to hundreds of NFT traders in Discord DMs to validate and gather feedback on the most critical feature sets and information they needed to effectively use our product.

Feature Validation


As we validated the feature set, and narrowed our scope to launch the v0 protocol, we were able to revamp the brand with our in-house designer, finalize the UX Flow, and finalize the Smart Contract Interface.

Feature and Design Clarity


The final step prior to shipment involved thorough testing of the smart contracts, as well as an audit supported by Omniscia.

In this slide you can also see the work done with Documentation for the protocol, Roadmap management in Notion, and test cases written to ensure our application was thoroughly tested prior to launch.

We also developed the GTM strategy using NFTs as a ticket for initial Captains of the protocol to launch ships and make decisions on behalf of their Sailors.

Testing, Documentation, and Launch!


After five months of building, researching, testing, we launched the Sail protocol.


In the following months we added new features and two new lightweight products to continue bolstering user growth (see Sail today).

Unfortunately the NFT market suffered a significant decline in trading volume throughout this time, and despite initial growth and traction, the user base refrained from continuing to heavily rely on the product.

I still think this product will work with another iteration of development!