Budget Proposal: Probably Nothing newsletter

Authors: @Colin4ward
Supporting Budget Steward(s): @kempsterrrr @Narb


Probably Nothing is the DAO’s weekly newsletter. This proposal seeks to compensate the newsletter team for their contributions in order to ensure the continued success and growth of the newsletter.


PN is currently a Substack publication with ## issues at the time of posting. Issues average over 2000 readers and the subscriber base has grown consistently since Issue #0. The newsletter started as a way to keep members informed on happenings throughout and around the DAO; promoting projects and individual achievements of D_D members.

PN is now also an obligation to our sponsors. Banner ads and classifieds are included in Season 1 sponsorship packages. Sold individually, each issue accounts for $600-$1200 in sponsor funds. At an average of $800 and 50 issues a year that’s $40,000 in revenues.

PN is publicly available, and every issue is shared on Twitter by @Developer_DAO, making it an asset for promoting D_D to potential new members. The summary nature of PN also facilitates onboarding for recent DAO entrants looking to get up to speed.

Mission, values, and goals alignment

Our primary goal is keeping all members of D_D informed about developments across the DAO and empowering them to participate in DAO happenings (e.g. open votes; IRL events), contribute to ongoing projects, and make full utilization of the benefits available to D_D members (e.g. travel funds).

Secondarily, we are a public outlet and aim to help those considering membership in the DAO take the leap of joining our organization. A steady stream of new members will help D_D fulfill it’s mission of onboarding the next generation of Web3 talent, by bringing in those eager to learn, and also persons interested in contributing to DAO initiatives.

Additionally, the newsletter is an avenue for giving our partners access to the D_D audience, and helps raise funds for D_D.

Brand Usage

Probably Nothing is published by and for D_D under the Developer DAO substack.

Scope of Work

PN is published by a team of D_D members, with most regular contributors participating in every issue. The scope and format of each issue can be reviewed here: https://developerdao.substack.com/

Current Team and weekly commitments:

Colin4ward, Editor - 5 hours

Paulie, Guild News - 5 hours

Sylksie, Projects+DAO News / meme curator, 2 hours

bobby, ecosystem news and community highlights, 1 hour

Alex1237, Chinese translations and news contributor, 1 hour

Other occasional contributors and translators - 30 min each

Financial Implications

This proposal aims to recognize the contributions listed above with $CODE according to the hourly contributions of each teammate. This cost will be at least partially offset by the revenue generated by Newsletter sponsorships and paid job listings.

Total requested $CODE Budget = 3,600 $CODE


See above


(including this from earlier templates even though it’s not in the new template

  • The current newsletter team developed organically, with regular contributors settling into their roles over time. A seasonal budget may reduce opportunities for new contributors to work in to the publishing routine mid-season. This could possibly be mitigated with a small fund for irregular contributors, or by redirecting $CODE to alternates who fill in when regular contributors are not available.
  • This does not account for time spent securing sponsorship for the newsletter. That work is primarily conducted by Colin4ward and other members of the MBD Guild, outside the scope of this proposal.

Success Metrics and KPIs

Subscribers - Our publication has seen a steady increase in subscriber rates. We should expect that as we saturate our “TAM” (mainly D_D members) that increase would level off, but also that as the membership grows with the release of the $CODE that we see our subscriber base keep pace.

Historical performance:

Open Rates - Measure the ongoing relevance of the content in Probably Nothing to our subscribers.

Historical Performance:

Click-through rate - Probably Nothing issues average ~13% clickthrough rate. This measures the relevancy of our content but also the value of sponsorships per issue.

Next Steps

There will not be any radical changes to the publishing team’s process should this proposal get funded, however, we believe that this proposal is essential to ensuring the retention of the current team, and recruiting new writers and translators to keep pace with the growth of D_D.


  • Yes, I support this budget application
  • No, I do not support this budget application

0 voters


Love to see it!
Quick notes for things we’ll need to work on to get this in shape:
-Add ‘buffer’ for irregular and new contributors
-Who/where will hold/control the $CODE allocation , multisig signers
-Review period, 2 months, four months?

  • Good call on the buffer
  • I propose myself, Paulie, and Sylksie as signers
  • Can you elaborate? Is this to review that we’re meeting the obligations laid out in this proposal?

great stuff @Colin4ward - doing god’s work getting the first budget up and rolling.

pretty much just echo what @RyanCoordinator has said above as well as doing the budget calculation with the hourly to provide a clear budget figure.

one other thing that would be nice to see is a target against the metric/KPIs - “how might we hope to improve against those metrics” i.e:

  • improve open rate by X%
  • improve click-through rate by x%

i’m also not sure what is being suggested here:

-Review period, 2 months, four months?

[DRAFT 2] Rewarding Contributions in $CODE suggests the following which seem like it might be related depending on what @RyanCoordinator means here:

Budgets will be distributed on a monthly basis by the Operations Team.

To help DAO members maintain some visibility of project progress and also to ensure some level of accountability during Season 1, Guilds and Projects must submit a bi-weekly update to the forum to receive the next month’s allocation.

No updates, No $CODE.

If an update is submitted and the Operations Team have any reason to question whether or not the next month’s budget should be issued, they will refer this to the Budget Stewards to Vote on allocating/not-allocating the next month’s budget. This vote will be carried out in public via a sesh bot poll restricted to people who hold the Budget Stewards discord role.

This process will be improved during Season 1 as we figure out better ways of coordinating work and sharing updates across the DAO. Ideally the Budget Stewards is either and elected committee or it is tied to a threshold of $CODE holdings, then delegated power by the DAO to make these decisions on behalf of members.

then would need to submit a new budget for the next season. i’d like to see us evolve the budget stewards to an elected committee who can also handle mid-season requests (this is not fully scoped in the current proposal).

keen for input and ideas here for sure

Another thought re KPIs, would love to see if we could reflect revenue targets although I’m not sure how that would work given newsletter slots are currently being being scoped as part of seasonal sponsorship.

I’ve also finally unlocked posting to the job board and would love to include featured posts in the newsletter as part of the bundle if that possible but same questions regarding attributing that value to the newsletter re the above.

@Colin4ward what do you think?

It’s ok for me on the translation, but usually the translation work is done by 2-3 cn members. We don’t have regular contributors, it depends on members’ schedule. My thought: I could distribute the rewards to our cn members equally.

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I’d also add that it will probably make sense for all projects to have the DAO Treasury as a signer, and in the case of this project it may also make sense to have the Writers Guild Multisig as a signer.
With those two added, the Newsletter Multisig would stand as a 5 signer safe, and I feel pretty good about having projects use a 3/5 signer structure.


We can work on getting this written up more formally and putting numbers to $CODE next week.
I very much like the idea of getting this one right (It’s mostly there) and then holding it up as an example for the rest of our S1 budgets.

Another idea came up in today’s Writers Guild call, about scribes.
I’m not suggesting that everyone who attends every meeting should be given tokens,
but for the continuity of every project we need documentation and scribing.

I would suggest that we add a few hours of scribing to this budget.

I was thinking this same thing the other day. Do we add tokens to every budget application to reward the person that scribes the meetings. Or, this is something that is rolled into the job of the Champions or Guild roles?

I think there is an argument for both. Here’s how I see it:

Benefit of additional scribe budget:

  • helps activate new scribes
  • incentivises good note taking

The mains drawback I see is not giving responsibility to a specific person in a Guild or Project to take notes which might result in less notes being taken as they’re assuming a scribe will turn up and take the notes. Interested to get others thoughts here as well @joshcstein @wolovim @myz1237.eth

A requirement for Budgets to move to a vote is support from on of our @stewards that is not a member of the project. I’ve added this as a field to the top of Budget Application Template. I’d be happy to support this application as a Budget Steward when this is finalised (sure many others would too!)

How I see it, there should be explicit budgeted tokens for scribes, and it’s the responsibility of the champions (with the help of writers guild) to make sure a scribe is in place for each call.

Working now with writers guild on getting a scribing program spun up with a scribe coordinator to be the point of contact for champions to schedule scribes for each call.

@Colin4ward and co - updated deadline for finalising applications is Sunday @ midnight UTC

left some comments earlier in the thread on success metrics/KPIs. what do you think about potentially adding growth/open rate/click-through rate targets? like % improvements in those metrics?

please could you also add figures clarifying the $CODE ask using the 15/hour rate and a total figure so it is clear for everyone :slight_smile:

once confirmed will also need to “supporting budget stewards: name, name, name” under the author(s) please.

Been thinking about this KPI question a lot recently. I’ll be transparent about my bias here: I started college as a journalism major and switched to CS because I didn’t like how commercial interests had hijacked journalism. There’s no doubt this is a marketing channel for the DAO, but I still think it’s in everyone’s best interest if we focus on it being relevant and valuable to active members. To that end, I’m hesitant to use “commercial” KPIs as an incentive for PN. On the other hand, they are a pretty good bellwether for DAO activity.

For example…
Our click-through rate has gone done about 10% on average since February. I imagine if you looked at Discord activity you might see a similar trend. People are ready for the next season.

Happy to share these data with the rest of the DAO on a regular basis - and included the KPIs section for that reason - but I don’t think we should tie it to incentives. Open to other metrics if we really feel the need. Maybe “publishing every week?”

Also, we don’t need a scribe. Whole process is async at this point.

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As a former newspaper designer, I understand the point of view, less clickbait, more useful content.
Perhaps just measure the awareness of the community about the PN?
Addition of new features like contextual/opinion pieces?

hadn’t thought about it from this point of view. I’d be OK with the success metrics being about consistent delivery to ensure we’re not too focused on commercializing this project.

I have added myself as a supporting budget steward BTW

As a budget steward (until my replacement is found) i support this

jokes on you @Narb lol since you’re a Steward in the new cohort, too


Hahaha funny how things work out sometimes eh :wink:

Month #3 Update

Probably Nothing continues to publish on a weekly basis. Weekly email recipients are up to 2,405, with an open rate ranging from 42-26%. Our top referral sources for direct traffic are Developerdao.com, Google, and Twitter.

The cast of regular contributors is slightly smaller than before S1, with myself, Sylksie, and Alex1237 continuing in our roles, and jamiebones carrying out the responsibilities previously managed by Paulie.

Sponsored content has been less consistent. This is because while sponsorship was previously sold directly to partners, we’ve shifted to collecting sponsored content from Season Sponsors, for whom the Newsletter spot is not always a top priority.

Subscriber growth remains steady. See below for Substack analytics.