Development Agency Partnerships
NEAR's engineers are constantly building tools and infrastructure to make the NEAR platform the best in the industry, but it takes a village to keep up with the pace of growth. Agency partnerships, technical and otherwise, have been critical to our ability to deliver innovative features to our incredible community.
We're fortunate to see the explosion of web3 attract the best and the brightest engineers, resulting in new development agencies forming all over the world. Many of these businesses, large and small, are interested in contributing to NEAR. We call these partners "dev shops", and increasingly they are responsible for some of the most exciting infrastructure work in development today.
Bringing dev shops into the fold is as much about education as it is execution. We don't require dev shops to have complete mastery of NEAR technologies, but we do hold them to a high standard. Through our granting process, dev shops are compensated not only for their work but for their onboarding as well, so we expect our partners to show up as creative, curious, and courageous technologists.
Dev Shop onboarding
Before a dev shop dives into a project, we work through an onboarding flow. That starts with a discussion to determine interests, capabilities, capacity, and more. From there, we share onboarding materials to give our dev shops the chance to engage in self-directed learning.
Finally, we assign our dev shops a discreet task so we can better understand their technical, project management, and communication skills. Our goal is to form lasting and trusted relationships with our dev shops so these sometimes simple tasks can evolve into full projects, often scaling the relationship from one-or-two developers to an autonomous team.
Even during onboarding, NEAR pays grant money (fiat, tokens, or a combination) to our dev shops to reward them for their time and contributions. We also welcome our dev shops to be vocal about their partnership with NEAR, posting on social media and communicating through marketing per the terms of their grant agreement.
As our partnership grows, NEAR will reciprocate through our own channels. Through grants and exposure, we're growing together and assuring the best dev shops are always busy helping us build the best platform.
Dev Shop expectations
At a high level, we’re looking for development agencies that are web3-native and aren’t just dipping their toes into crypto because it’s the hot new thing. Successful agency partners also demonstrate a high degree of communication and autonomy, asking questions and using their creative problem solving skills to get themselves unblocked whenever possible.
And of course we want our agencies to represent strong technical and architectural skills, as well as mature development practices, so we're never compromising on quality. Let's get into the details.
Everyone at NEAR operates with an ownership mentality, meaning that success and failure is shared and everyone is highly accountable to each other. We expect our partners to fully own the work that they agree to take on, which not only means executing at a high level, but ensuring the work is complete, thoughtful, high quality, well-documented, and fully delivered in a way that can be handed off easily.
When you accept a task or project as a NEAR dev shop, you are doing so with confidence that it will be shipped and that you will be proud of the outcome. What does that mean?
Work strategically. You take ownership over the overall success of the project and always put the health of your team and the project above short term wins.
Take initiative. You actively drive the project forward and are not looking for someone else to do the hard or less glamorous work.
Take risks. You make bold choices backed by sound logic and engineering practices, and communicate those risks clearly to your stakeholders.
Be curious. You aren’t afraid to ask questions even at the risk of looking silly or uninformed. Getting to the truth, avoiding spin, and speaking up when something is unclear is more important than your ego.
Be accountable. You openly and assertively commit to your work and live up to that commitment, even if that means getting scrappy to accomplish something challenging. You follow-through on your commitments without needing a reminder.
Work sustainably. You care deeply about the health of your team, share knowledge freely, and help others without even having to be asked. You understand that individual success at the expense of the team isn’t success at all.
NEAR is in a constant state of iteration and evolution. It requires an execution-driven mindset where turning the best ideas into shippable products allows us to learn and grow. We want to see that same level of passion and fire from our development agencies. What does that mean?
Be web3-native. Your organization lives and breathes web3 technology, and understands the market extremely well. You’re aware of what sets NEAR apart from other layer 1 blockchains and are excited to grow the platform through your contributions.
Be tactical. You prioritize work that has a high impact, make quick decisions, and bring the right resources, skills, tools, and architectural practices to bear to get it done.
Communicate changes. You know that the best-laid plans will inevitably change, so you over-communicate and ensure everyone with a stake in the work is well-aware of any changes.
Drive your learning. NEAR provides a wide range of onboarding and learning materials, and we expect you to be self-directed and thorough in your research. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, but make sure you’re using the resources we provide and supplement them with others to increase your autonomy.
Ship on time. You operate with a sense of urgency, and take blockers seriously when they come up. You do what it takes to remove impediments and get back on track, while ensuring that the work is sustainable, high quality, and doesn’t cut corners.
Get to done. You understand that shipping a feature doesn’t mean that the work is complete. It’s not until the work is thoroughly tested, hardened, and documented can you consider a feature complete.
NEAR is maturing as an organization. The energy, excitement, and resourcefulness that made us such a successful startup will never go away, and we’ll never stop working toward a more open web, but chasing big dreams and scaling accordingly requires a little structure and predictability as well. No matter where our dev shops are in through own evolution, we expect a baseline level of professionalism. What does that mean?
Come prepared. You approach your regular check-ins with NEAR as an opportunity to show how organized, prepared, and accountable you are as an agency. You create agendas, solicit questions ahead of time, and have your demos ready to go.
Be yourself. You are authentic in your presentation and communication, treating your NEAR counterparts as equals and partners. You operate without judgment and without the fear that you are being judged.
Details matter. You care about the details and are highly organized. Your work is broken out into detailed tasks and are tracked, you take the time to use consistent naming conventions in your branches and files, you take notes during meetings, and you don’t let things slip between the cracks.
Risk awareness. You think ahead about the work and get ahead of dependencies, blockers, outages, and other avoidable risks. You’re proactive in identifying, communicating, mitigating, and solving for risk.
Think at scale. Your technical solutions are durable and scalable, and rarely create technical debt. You avoid band-aid solutions that will lead to rework and poor scalability, and will be vocal and honest when you need to pair instead of just slapping something together.
Getting started as a Dev Shop
Sometimes NEAR reaches out to promising agencies we find through search, social media, or referral. But more often, great agencies come to us by applying for a grant. Make sure you fill out the application thoroughly, and express your desire to partner with NEAR as a dev shop. We look forward to working with you!