The Super Season: Proposing a 6-month season between April and October

The Super Season: Proposing a 6-month season between April and October

Special thanks to The Incredibles for forming the basis of humor in my childhood.

“Ford Motor Company once estimated that its planning and budgeting process cost around $1.2 billion a year. You read that right: the process by which the company controlled how money was spent cost it more than the GDP of Grenada.”
—Aaron Dignan, Brave New Work, p. 95.

The problem:

  • Coordinators and leaders are tasked with budgeting four times per year, which expends tons of bandwidth that could be going toward working on and in the organization.
  • BanklessDAO spends a lot of time preparing and talking about budgets but not enough time executing on the bigger goals of designing the org.
  • Coordinators often use the same budgets (or nearly the same budgets) from last season rather than thinking critically about how to become self-sustaining. I believe this is a symptom of our crazy-fast seasons.
  • Budgeting can be expensive (contributor time and opportunity cost).
  • We were supposed to work “on” the organization in Season 3, but that hasn’t happened to quite the scale we would’ve hoped. That’s okay! We can fix it.

The solution:

  • A six-month season rather than a three-month one, for the middle of this year. This would be a one-time occurrence that we could implement again if we want.
  • I believe we need a solid six-month runway for GSEs, project/guild leaders, and core contributors to work deeply “on” this DAO and all the subDAOs within it.

Six months of focus.

Six months of not racing toward the next season.

Six months of long-term roadmapping alongside short-term building.

Six months of deep work in which we can emerge from the other side with concrete plans on how to make this crazy experiment self-sustaining and viable for the long-term.

We’re already doing great work, according to Web3 thought-leaders like Joe Lubin. We’re setting the precedent for other DAOs following in our footsteps. Let’s take a solid six months to make sure we’re building structures for everyone in the DAO to do the best work of their lives.

What: A Six-Month SUPERSIZED Season 4.

Break week: April 4-8

Season 4 Start: April 15

Founding Day/One Year Anniversary: May 4

Permissionless: May 17-19

Break week: July 11-15

Season 4 End: October 7

Why we shouldn’t do two three-month seasons between April and October:

  • Budgeting is exhausting. Doing it four times a year is burning out contributors and forcing them to just repeat what they did last season, rather than thinking critically about what their pod/subDAO/group needs to become self-sustaining and profitable.
  • Our seasons are jammed. Three months is really short when contributors are spread thin across other jobs, other DAOs, and IRL work/responsibilities. We need a longer runway for contributors to work “on” their projects/guilds rather than “in” them.
  • We’re making this up as we go—we don’t have to follow the corporate quarters! Actually, I’d rather not emulate the thing which I seek to destroy :wink:

Why we should do a 6-month season instead:

  • Let coordinators and leaders have a chance to pull their heads out of building and focus on the future. Rather than racing to the next season, projects and guilds can do the “deep work” of building out governance documents, addressing long-term sustainability, revamping internal onboarding, and designing better models for contributor retention.
  • Projects/guilds can focus on the capital-W “Why” of their initiatives and zoom out, rather than racing through 12-action-packed weeks of a standard season.
  • Coordinators can host retrospectives and take more time to improve for the future.
  • Give our possible GSEs a six-month runway to do the work, election and snapshot vote pending.

How we can pull this off:

  • The Grants Committee selects a percentage split for projects vs. guilds. I recommend 70% for projects and 30% for guilds.
    • This can be a guideline, not a hard and fast rule. If they allocate 65% to projects and 35% to guilds, that’s totally fine. But I believe we need some predetermined split.
  • Projects/guilds will request six months of funding rather than three.
  • Halfway through the Super Season (July) Grants Committee members (and possibly GSEs and the PLM workgroup) will check in with project/guild coordinators to:
    • See what roadblocks they’re having.
    • Identify which roadblocks could be solved via a boost in funding.
    • See what’s working and what’s not and try to identify solutions together.
  • Since the project/guild will already be funded for the remaining three months of the season, these check-ins will be more about big-picture ideas rather than small-scale, sprint-until-we-run-out-of-energy stuff.

Expectations by the beginning of Season 5, starting October 17th

  • Projects/guilds will have a better idea of their long-term plan because they’ve had the time to slow down and think deeply on these issues.
  • We’ll have a better idea of the funding runway for the DAO as a whole.
  • We’ll have a better idea of which projects/guilds will become self-sustaining and which won’t. Then, we can plan for that.


What if a leader wants to step down from a paid role mid-season?

Build an internal governance process for your project/guild that allows that. Seasons should not be the end-all-be-all constraint for our operations. The process can be as simple as “give a two week notice, new people can express interest, then hold a one week vote for a new person.” Done.

How will the Grants Committee adhere to the project/guild split for the superseason?

They can call in subject matter experts to advise them. They can also use a +/- 5% margin to play with.

How will project/guild coordinators be held accountable for working “on” their pods/subDAOs/groups?

Social dynamics are a powerful thing. If we make Season 4 all about working “on” our orgs rather than “in” them, we could see a cascade of coordinators leading similar initiatives. We can build in public, too—an example of this is when the Writers Guild publicly posted the governance framework for the guild. The GSEs could also help lead this initiative. We have lots of options—we can attack it from multiple angles and get multiple groups involved in leading the initiative.

Next Steps

  • Aggregate comments on this post and publish a second draft if needed.
  • DM Joe Lubin and thank him for saying such nice things about bDAO.
  • Possibly have a discussion in a CC.
  • Publish a write-up of the Super Season in the Weekly Rollup.
  • Hold a formal vote via snapshot as part of the seasonal spec.
  • Yes, let’s do a superseason!
  • Maybe, with edits.
  • No, let’s stick to 3-month seasons.
  • No, let’s [fill in the blank]
0 voters
1 Like

Totally resonate with everything you’ve outlined here, Sam. :100:

Having been a guild coordinator over the first couple of seasons and involved in the the processes and pain points you describe, I cannot agree more that the budgeting process consumes valuable time and energy that could and should be put to more productive uses.

While I don’t think we need to (or should) throw out everything from the corporate world (project management anyone?), the carryover of short-termism that pervades society through mechanisms like quarterly budgeting need to change. We should be a catalyst and an example of that thoughtful change.



Totally agree that we don’t need to throw everything out. But yes, let’s be a catalyst for changing the things we should throw out! We’re paving the way. Let’s keep on keepin on :muscle:


Agreed. it’s almost amazes me how season 3 is almost over in a blink of an eye. The DAO faces major issues that need total focus by key contributors and the community in general to tackle. almost the last month of each season has started to be focused on working out activities for next season. which essenitally takes focus off the current season. making the season sort of a 2 month cycle in practice. I agree with this. Great idea @samanthaj .

1 Like

Thanks for posting the summary around this topic.

I generally think budgeting is a problem because guilds and projects ask the DAO for funding not the result of short seasons. This is the core problem in my opinion since the DAO is greater than any project or guild and it should be the DAO that tells how much it can afford to pay for activities.

Budgeting is a problem because contributors are wasting time trying to calculate how much BANK their projects/guilds would need over the next ‘x’ months, but the real question is how much BANK can the DAO afford to spend over the next ‘x’ months. If we put the needs of the DAO above the needs projects/guilds, then we don’t have to deal with budgeting problems because the DAO(with voting) will allocate between guilds and projects.

eg: let’s say we decided to spend 20M BANK in S4 (considering a 3 month season), and 75% is allocated to projects and 25% to guilds, now in order to decide which project/guild gets how much BANK we simply do a token-based voting (altho its not ideal) and figure out distribution. Then projects and guilds can decide within themselves how to allocate the BANK instead of going with a yolo 1000 BANK/hr number, contributors would all be forced to rethink funding within their projects and sustainability can be a project issue and not a DAO issue.

Taking this thought ahead, we can have less and less BANK going out each season(since it’s the DAO that tells its contributors what it can afford and not the other way round) and ensure our BANK lasts longer than 3 years. In theory we can decide how many years we want our BANK to last and that sets a predefined budget for each season.

When it comes to the length of seasons, since we are YOLOing, we can even experiment with 4 month seasons, or pick whatever random number, it won’t stop contributors from going to work with other projects in other DAOs. I generally think shorter seasons are better since it allows us to iterate rapidly and redistribute BANK allocation based on what is relevant at that moment.

The length of seasons does not stop us from focusing on the long term, calculating the work we do in 1000 BANK/hr stops us from focusing on the long term because we are thinking like mercenaries instead of thinking like missionaries


I am going to do a bit of a brain dump here so please bear with me.

Another way to look at the seasons issue is that the reason for the short season was so we together can iterate and adjust the DAO experiment to overcome deficiencies . The short season also substituted for the absence of project management and created an artificial milestone and visibility . If we take that away, it increases certain risks.

If we rephrase that: the risk of a project draining DAO treasury funds and not delivering was mitigated by measure 1- creating visibility into the progress of the project and measure 2 - creating a milestone called season end.

Despite these risk mitigation measures , funds were occasionally still drained and projects not delivered. However overall projects worked reasonably well.

The DAO proposal process is basically asynchronous planning without an environmental scan. Which in itself creates risks . For example the risk of identifying surface friction or symptoms as a “problem space” and adjusting with a solution without identifying DAO wide risks. Risks are not problems , problems are the outcome of risks manifesting themselves.

We do not as a DAO-habit customarily identify inherent or emergent risks and sometimes address issues that are symptomatic of the presence of risks.

If we make the season longer, to mitigate against proper threats to DAO success , we will likely require a change somewhere else in the system or process. Typically, when we adjust only one line attached to a sail, the boat slows down unless other adjustments are made at the same time.

WRT to budget, I agree that budgeting only occurs yearly in the meat space but it also takes years to bring a product to market and the budget cycle and time-to-market are not divorced from each other . The main commercial advantage of a DAO is the ability to get to market fit and roll out by magnitudes faster.

Over in my other DAO which used to be a company , we rolled out products in 6 months that took 18-24 months when it was a company. To be fair, they don’t have any seasons, use a different process and produce different things. But the benefit of DAO over company is speed and agility to market.

I’m not against a longer season or even no season. But we have to identify what we are removing and what we are adding a little better.

I also agree with the comment about how budgeting occurs. Which effectively says: “ we tried it one way and it’s not working as well as we thought, let’s experiment and change it. “ so let’s do it. Change budgeting for the next season?

It would beneficial if we moved to, and there is an opportunity to move to, a risk culture which would recognize the interdependencies of DAO processes in the proposal process.

The format of this proposal is not different than others where there is a claim of a problem in the absence of identified risks , and a proposed solution to the stated problem. The issue isn’t the topic or the proposal or the good work .

I’d prefer to see the risks associated with the proposed change identified and how the change will leverage the advantages of the DAO and mitigate the risks before I vote yes.

I also agree about project management . It’s a great observation. Why not action it? propose a project management team for all the projects that can provide guidance , education, and monitor progress. Let’s experiment . Other DAOs don’t have a dozen projects at once , they don’t have the same issue.

WRT to guilds. I view them as talent pools like call-out lists or rosters . When we pay them they become cost centres. I don’t think guilds should receive anything. Paid work in guilds gets paid twice : once from admin work and then again from coordinape as the most visible and active members in the DAO.

Why not modify this proposal to include several changes like:

Longer season, but now need product delivery milestones and visibility so create project management team with budget, (incidentally we would not have to hear from projects at calls)
stop paying guilds,
create circle/workstream to group similar projects under the same circle.

In short adopt circles that include teams, projects , and guilds to go along with the proposed extended season. Compensate teams and projects.

Brain dump. Thanks for listening .


I’m not a fan of increasing season length. From my perspective, we already have difficulty on the accountability side, and creating LONGER seasons would actually make accountability more difficult. It may feel like “working heads down” is a good thing, but in my experience it ends up reducing alignment and, in the worst case, building things that BanklessDAO doesn’t need.

Your main concerns seem to stem from the budgeting burden related with 3-month seasons, so why don’t we improve the budgeting process? Here are some ways:

  • Make guild funding x BANK/active member (as per your discussion on Guilds as Professional Associations)
  • Have projects include a finance person on their roster to do the actual budgeting, rather than having teams stacked with devs/writers/etc that don’t know how or enjoy budgeting
  • Create more support/tooling for creating budgets, including templates, treasury guild support, etc
  • Provide more clarity on the funding process, including some basic expectations around project validation.

These are just examples I made up off the top of my head, but the point is: the problem you’re describing doesn’t have anything to do with season length, it has to do with our project workflows. Whether you have 3 months of 6 months, there is ample time for focus and building and deep work. If you’re finding you’re unable to find time for these things, I suggest you start with FOCUS: you’re probably doing too much.


I’m personally a fan of this - budgeting and inter-season planning is a massive lift for the DAO that we need to minimize.

Moving towards a super-season is one avenue to help mitigate the issue.

In terms of accountability, I think we have a handful of systems in place now with the weekly community calls, the PLM working groups, the project updates newsletter, etc.

In addition, I’m more than happy to do a mid-season report halfway through the season to aggregate all of the information into a synthesized article for everyone.

Thanks Sam for taking point on this :+1:


That’s interesting, I actually think the new format for the CC reduces accountability. Before every project/guild had to give an update IN FRONT OF EVERYONE about the work they were doing. This social pressure is potent.

With the new format, a project or guild could fly below the radar for…a very long time. The project newsletter was pitched was meant to fill this accountability gap, but only a few projects are in there every week, and a project can simply refuse to participate.

Also - as a core member of the PLM (now PM) Working Group, I can tell you that we do NOT provide an accountability mechanism for the DAO. Currently we are only providing projects the tools to reflect so that they might improve for themselves.

From my perspective, the accountability of the DAO has lessened over the last few months. Reducing it even more wouldn’t be a great move IMHO.


We should stick with 3 months Seasons for the following reasons:

  1. Most guilds and projects in bDAO are not mature enough for a 6 months “free runway” - there’s a big benefit in revisiting budgets every 3 months to ensure accountability until more projects become more financially sustainable and start generating revenue

  2. We are already under-investing in rest and reflection. The space in-between seasons is essential to that. I’m concerned that a 6-month season will lead to a spike in contributor disengagement and burnout


I am very appreciative of the comments above that point out the flaws in the assumptions made about additional weeks translating to better productivity. I agree with these contributors that a 6 month season is too long and could potentially mask too many issues.
I also agree that 3 month / 13 week seasons are a pain to administer and not much gets done between planning, finishing planning because it wasn’t done by season start, and planning again.

Looking at the timing of Season 3 finish, I would like to suggest we complete the remainder of 2022 in 2 x 4 calendar month (18 week) seasons.
i.e. Season 4: April 18 to August 19 (18 weeks) and Season 5: August 22 to Dec 23 (18 weeks)
We would then implement a break over the Christmas / New Year period (I acknowledge that not all contributors celebrate these events).
I think the slight increase in length as an ongoing approach might be a better approach than implementing a super season and then returning to a shorter cycle. We could look at 3 seasons per year for 2023 (16 weeks each), with appropriate breaks built in.
Thanks for reading :slight_smile:


This is a great alternative @Trewkat, thank you for offering this up.

I did vote for the six month season, but would change my vote if there was an added option along the lines of @Trewkat 's thoughts.


I diffidently like this proposing. 3-month season is too short and u can’t make long-term plan because u don’t know what will be in after 3 months. So my vote is YES!