Season 1: Value-Creation, Impact & Validation
August 3rd, 2022

Boom! And just like that, Season 1 is upon us, and it’s finally time to open our doors a little wider, and get out into the world!

Season 0 was focussed on a small core group of ‘believers’ engaging in sensing, design-thinking, and building as we sought to understand how we could represent and capture the value-flows in the startup community in a more positive-sum way.

Season 1, launching this week, shifts gears, to open our doors wider, and test that thinking and models with new members of the community as we grow our membership and capacity.

Our season 1 theme, therefore, is all about Validating Value - testing our value-creation hypotheses with the wider startup community, delivering initial value and impact, and growing our community and capacity so we can create more impact.

After spending the majority of last season understanding the value flows that make startup communities tick, especially the unpaid ones, and how we can create more impact in the space as we merge the startup value economy with the Web3 ownership economy, we’re slowly refining our operating ethos to better land on what we’re doing and why, reflected in our season 1 strategy.

Season 1 Strategy - Validating Value

We believe that entrepreneurship is one of the most important ways to have personal impact in the world, and whilst people often say it ‘takes a village to raise a startup', the value created by all participants of that village are rarely distributed back in fair proportions to help the entire village grow.

Navigating that journey is unnecessarily hard, often exclusive, and primarily rewards founders and financiers, not everyone else who helps create value along the journey.

We created Positive Sum DAO (+Σ DAO) as as a way to solve that problem by creating a peer-to-peer community of startups, founders, and startup community ‘enablers’ who collaborate to help entrepreneurs and startups grow using open networks, shared resources, and in a way that grows a positive-sum community.

We are doing this using Web3 as a platform to allow us to share our networks, knowledge, and know-how to help each other create unfair advantage through who we know and and what we know, and reward contributors through a contribute-to-earn model where the community, rather a company, is the primary stakeholder.

You’ll see this refined approach reflected in our updated mission, vision, purpose and core thesis in the season summary diagram below.

Positive Sum DAO- Season 1 Strategy
Positive Sum DAO- Season 1 Strategy


Overall the last season we developed some key models around how we can reward participation in helping other founders, startups, and ventures grow using a contribute-to-earn model.

This is probably the biggest point of difference in the work we are doing. The difference between those ventures which are successful and those which never quite take off is often down to finding the right introduction, or the right mentorship, or a key insight from someone who has done what you’re trying to do before, but much of this value exchange is rarely able to be captured other than in an altruistic way.

The contribution model we built in season 0 set out to quantify this, and understand exactly how much value a key introduction is worth or a significant piece of mentorship, or your volunteered ‘community’ operating capital to run events for others; and critically how much these are worth relative to each other.

It’s a key part of our contribute-to-earn model that starts to quantify some of the invisible value exchange that makes up connective tissue in all startup communities.

The primary goal this season then is to test whether these models work, whether they ‘feel’ right, and whether people engage with this method of contribution and get some visible reputation and tokenised upside for their efforts in exchange.

Ultimately, this season is about answering the question of can we create quantifiable measurable impact in helping others grow their ventures, and in doing so, have all of those contributions recognised, recorded, and rewarded?

You’ll see this season theme strongly represented in our season 1 goals:

Season 1 goals
Season 1 goals

Let’s unpack each of these goals a little.


Like we tell all early startups…

So a couple of really good questions for us to test and validate this season:

  • Do the models of value-creation we designed work?
  • Will people offer networks, provide mentorship, and create intellectual capital- as we thought?
  • Will people participate in the value creation → value capture → reputation & tokens reward loop?
  • Does our primarily Web3 proposition resonate with the broader community?
  • Do we see retention and referral to prove people see value here?

Impact Creation

And closely related to doing the validation work, does any of that lead to measurable quantifiable impact for the startups in our community?

Alongside designing the contribution model last season, we also built some platform tools to help our community members log value exchanged between members.

The Value Exchange, one of our shared community platform tools currently in development and launching soon!
The Value Exchange, one of our shared community platform tools currently in development and launching soon!

This platform allows the person providing value to rate the quantum of value created for the recipient, with the recipient doing likewise, to measure exactly how much value the capital transaction represented to that member (some, lots, massive?!)

Not only does this value exchange model allow us to record value, it creates a feedback loop, whereby we hope to help members discover and quantify their actual value versus their perceived value and better target their support over time.

Assuming members do indeed start trading value, then we should be a good position to start measuring and visibly representing this value using our platform tools.

Early design wireframes for how we might visibly recognise the top contributors on our platform
Early design wireframes for how we might visibly recognise the top contributors on our platform

Some key questions for us this season from an impact creation point of view:

  • What does impact look like for individuals coming into the DAO?
  • What does impact look like for contributors, for creators, what about shapers building out the DAO itself?
  • How can we measure community engagement, value creation, and platform usage?
  • Will more crazy, cool ideas see the light of day because we existed and organised together in this way as a community?
  • Can we generate data or case studies that show our impact, and specifically how people have created value for one another?
  • Does the contribution → reputation → satisfaction flywheel work (i.e does it lead to more and more value creation)?
  • Does visibility of contribution and impact create more momentum? By the individual? By others?

Community Growth & Stickiness

Season 0 was focussed on an intentionally small group of 20 ‘believers’ of which 10 members became part of a core team moving things forward. As we open our doors, we now look to spread the word a little further to grow our membership both so we can start testing some of our value creation hypotheses as well as finding new converts to get involved in helping us build the DAO.

Stickiness is important in any community-building effort as a measure of how engaged your members are. So like any good startup making sure people stick around and are engaged is the next big goal to make all of our efforts bringing people here in the first place all the more important, that’s why we also plan to focus on retention this season.

How can we use tools like the Orbit Model to increase members' love and reach?
How can we use tools like the Orbit Model to increase members' love and reach?

And whilst we’re currently light on core team members, it will be interesting to see how many new members we can convert into helping build the DAO in the background as well as just helping each other get ahead.

Some important questions for us this season then:

  • Can we grow the DAO from a core set of 10 believers to our first 100 contributors?
  • Can we figure out who, how, and what we need to bring people here and keep them engaged?
  • What do we need to do to move people from explorers to navigators to contributors (i.e. increase their love!)?
  • Do we have strong onboarding to get people excited about being here?
  • Do we have activity, energy, and events to help people get engaged when they turn up to make them stay?
  • Do people get engaged, stick around, and contribute?
  • Do we have the right resources here, and contributors, so when people show up we have access to the resources (internal or external) that they need to be successful?

Capacity Building

Closely related to community growth is building our own capacity.

Whilst we’ve have yet to define our tokenisation strategy and issue tokens proper, we don’t yet have an easy way to remunerate contributions other than recording contributions and awarding community reputation.

We’ll likely launch our tokens in season 2, and start raising funds for the treasury at the same time. Until then, we’re still banking on community members stepping up and contributing on the promise of these future token rewards.

In some ways, we are starting with the very problem we’re trying to solve(!) although we do track historical contributions through other mechanisms and will back-date initial token grants based on these contributions at the point we launch tokens, which will likely be season 2.

But this lack of tangible carrot-and-stick has definitely been a challenge during our initial season as we’ve seen waning commitment and contributions from some members as they got busy during their other full-time roles, something which is a lot easier to fix if we could properly remunerate roles with stable coins, or even just our DAO-native tokens!

Still challenges for the future as we look to launch our tokens next season, and hopefully one that for the right people, the promise of the bigger mission and of future tokens can alleviate in some way before we properly fundraise.

Given the heavy lifting is currently being done by a few core members in the DAO at the moment, one of our key goals this season therefore is to grow our operating team, so that we have more independent and specialised working circle leads, and to provide some support, new energy, and relief to the others currently doing the lion’s share of the work.

Overall, we hope to triple the capacity of working circles by the end of the season!

Story Telling

Our final objective this season then is to improve our internal and external storytelling and brand architecture that we started to develop out during the last season, but with Covid striking down key members of the branding team, faltered a little during that time.

One of our brand goals in the community is to build a IRL + URL vibe that’s more than just another online community, where we get together regularly to hang out and feel like you belong to something different, and use some of these emerging Web3 models like POAPs and NFTs to give us a little bit of a different way to think about participating in these events and how we might reward that participation in future.

This storytelling aspect will be critical to position us in the market so potential partners don’t think we’re building something in competition to them or stealing their resources, both of which we couldn’t be further from our goal:

We aim to build the ‘open commons’ for all types of capital which startups need to get ahead - network capital, mentor capital, intellectual capital, community capital-, and, over time, human and financial capital too; and to provide the reputation and reward infrastructure for those organisations who consume this value.

Being able to tell this story, one where it’s owned and operated by the very community who provides the value, and the story of their impact is what we believe will set us apart as platform infrastructure for those organisations who consume this value in their own support programmes.

Future Strategy

The short term strategy, assumed to play out over the next few seasons, should then allow building upon this season’s framework showing growth and validation of our proposition, to position us well for starting to focus our efforts on investment, revenue, and building a treasury to allow us to scale our activities accordingly.

Once we have the ability to properly remunerate our working circle participants, and invest in additional value creation activities, it’s likely we’ll shift our focus into looking at more formal programmes, platform, or partnership- opportunities to deliver value and revenue generating opportunities to support larger future initiatives and longer-term upside to token holders.

Thus a high-level emerging seasonal roadmap could look like:

  • Season 0 - understanding value:
    • Determining how we represent value in the startup community and delivering initial value
  • Season 1 - validating value:
    • Testing our value-creation hypotheses with the wider startup community, delivering initial value and impact, and growing our community and capacity;
  • Season 2 - capturing value:
    • Generating initial liquidity, fundraising, development of tokenomics, and our revenue-generating roadmap;
  • Season 3 - delivering value:
    • Delivering programmes (direct or through partners), partnerships, products, and shared assets to continue generating new value for the community.

Season 1 Outcomes

Our Season 1 outcomes
Our Season 1 outcomes

So wrapping up our strategy, by the end of Season 1, we hope to have realised the following set of outcomes:

  • We will have validated our contribution model;
  • We will have grown our community by up to 10x;
  • We will have grown our working circle capacity by up to 3x;
  • We will have retained new community members;
  • We will have seen measurable impact in our community, and;
  • We will have a clear and compelling value proposition that resonates in the market.

How You Can Get Involved

During this season’s transition we started to build better documentation about the what and how we’re building the DAO, so if any of our mission or season journey resonates with you, please take a look around our shiny new DAO documentation, read through our new member onboarding guide, or just reach out and get involved!

Our DAO documentation starting to take shape at
Our DAO documentation starting to take shape at

Join Our Community On Discord

All our community discussion happens on Discord
All our community discussion happens on Discord

With this season’s launch, we’re also opening up our discord server which we use as our main day-to-day community and discussion channel, primarily for general chit-chat, asking/offering help for community members, and for communications between circle/working group members working for the DAO.

If you’ve never used discord before, don’t worry it’s just like Slack, but black, with audio and emojis! Most other Web3 communities live in discord too so if you’re early on your Web3 journey, welcome to the future.

Come join our discord and say hi - we’d love more support and ideas on how to use Web3 to build more open source networks, mentorship, and the resources people need to get ahead on the startup journey

Anyone who turns up now is still super early so plenty of opportunities to contribute-to-earn, add some value to others on the journey, and to help shape our future direction in one of our working groups.

With that, we’re excited to officially launch Season 1 as we learn more about DAOs, create some value, and build community - the real reasons we’re here in the first place!

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for further updates. All feedback welcomed.

A massive hat-tip to our amazing core contributors, who also inspired and co-created much of the content in this article – Jonah Merchant, Vic Jack, Helen Flitcroft, Tracy Moyes, Justin Douché, and Colart Miles.

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