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Web3 Startup Playbook

Play the game with purpose using critical thinking to navigate the critical path that leads to critical mass at critical velocity.

Critical mass consists of people, process, platform from capital investment that is combined to engineer exceptional products that deliver valuable outcomes.

Web3 Products

Establish a profitable niche for your product by piping contracts together to create value flows that enable individuals and organisations to live better lives.

Software products exist to provide a platform that assists users to create real world value by:

  1. Optimising collaboration
  2. Enabling better decisions
  3. Running more efficient processes
  4. Using less resources and creating less waste
  5. Increasing antifragility

Focus on value, not outputs


Communication protocols are building blocks of collaborative teamwork and ability to listen to customers for valuable problems to solve.

Understand where in the value chain you can add value then dig deep into first principles. Iteratively:

  1. Invest in Teamwork
  2. Evolve Best Practices
  3. Curate Stories
  4. Place Your Bets
  5. Engineer Better Foundations

Team Checklist

Build a great team with a balance of archetypes so that members are interchangable and cause no dip in quality or momentum.

Engineer smart schedules the block time that balance time for the right mindset

  1. Value System Alignment
  2. Intention and Attention
  3. Biggest Challenges
  4. First Order vs Second Order Knowledge
  5. Identify Conflicting Perspectives
  6. Build Belief
  7. Test Riskiest Assumptions

Extract the meta of the matter


Processes that must be optimised to gain critical mass at critical rate.


Web3 is complex and loaded with terms and and references that mean very little to most people, even those that work in tech.

To attract the best people that can then attract the masses demands exceptional onboarding processes.



Startups don't starve, they drown because they try to scale before they reach critical mass.

Words are much easier to deliver than actions. Leaders that attempt to use Marketing and PR to scale expose a lack of belief in their ability to lead a team to deliver a product that lives up to their vision and mission.


Startups don't starve, they drown


Avoid the traps of focusing too much effort on Marketing and PR strategies and focus is on building a product that provides quantifable value to establish a product market fit.

Establish constant communication channels with a community of users to empathize with the their present struggle and desires for the future.


Don't waste time and energy on marketing until you know you have something worth selling

Use content to build trust and enable ability to scale operations.


Must have a clear strategy to create, broaden and strengthen network effects

Be authentic! Sell by not selling, listen to customers then educate them how to retell persuasive stories rewarding them for their loyalty in return.

  • Don't use an external agency
  • Constantly refine value messaging
  • Use your community to amplify your message
  • Invest high quality educational content
  • Use fundraising announcements to attract hires
  • Steward hires how to elevate personal branding on social media


Don't attempt to scale your team until you have Product, Platform and Process established.

Bigger teams mean more interpersonal connections meaning greater communication burden and challenge to ensure everyone is focused on the right direction.


Invest in efficient processes before investing in more people

  • clarify focus
  • prioritise
  • optimise

How to Recruit

How to find quality talent?

Create useful content and tools that attracts loyal followers.

  1. Personal network
  2. Community
  3. Investors
  4. Recruiters

Team size is a vanity metric


Experienced Web3 engineers are rare, expensive or busy building their own startup.

It is more effective to hire experienced Web2 engineers and teach them to Web3 engineering principles.


Create virtual cycle of engagement leading to valuable insights to improved products to bring more engagment and more insights and so on.

  • How do I engage a community?
  • How do I manage FUD?
  • When should I hire a community lead?

Conventional wisdom goes community is your moat or the best community wins

Does an engaged community really lead to a great product or just create noise? Or does a great product lead to an engaged community?

Reason from first principles why you would need Discord or Telegram and does this justify a dedicated resource?

Cultivate an ecosystem of relationships and transactional processes that make sustainable growth possible.


Regard your community as domain experts/users of your product

Use outcome driven develop to build a community built upon trusted value.

  1. Empathize with pain
  2. Update intentions
  3. Simplify UX
  4. Bridge educational gaps

Education is the greatest challenge as a person with a narrow vision sees a narrow horizon, the person with a wide vision sees a wide horizon.

Product Market Fit vs Customer Knowledge Gap.

Does your target market have the educational background to understand the complexity of your value proposition?


He rangi ta Matawhaiti, he rangi ta Matawhanui


Examples of widely regarded community leaders that would be available in forums to answer product related questions.

Community management is a role where the founder is not easily replaced. Because the real action is user research, and founder has highest authority to drive priorities.


Tokenomics as a go to market strategy are one of the key value propositions of building on Web3. It has never been easier for organsisations to leverage networks to bootstrap critical mass.

  • How should you incentivize users with tokens?
  • What should vesting schedule look like?
  • How should tokens be split between team, investors and community?
  • Is there a standard template for token warrents?

Supply is limited and mistakes are irreversible. Using tokens as a user acquistion strategy without a great product is a waste of marketing budget


Strong product market fit before launching a token


The teams behind Uniswap, Curve and Optimism found product market fit before they created a token.

  • Gain 100 true fans without using token incentives
  • Use web2 growth tactics first to kickstart network effects
  • Drop incentives sparingly and intermittently



What are the magic numbers for startups?


Frontiers for Web3 Product Innovation.


Web3 Starter Kit repository on Github