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A Non-traditional Open and Cooperative Business Proposition

94 replies [Last post]
User offline. Last seen 11 years 32 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-08-23
I think that's what he means

I think that's what he means Smiling .

Only Durian wouldn't be a very good choice for $product, as it is a "do one thing and do it well" type of program. Not much to customize about it, and few sensible extra features. And please don't call it a super wiki - if people start thinking it's some kind of wiki they will be very disappointed. It can't and never will be able to do everything wikis can, but it can do things wikis can't. The patentable feature gets in the way of some things typical for wikis :/ . It simply isn't meant for wiki-type teamwork, it is for FAST teamwork with well defined roles for the team members.

monserrat's picture
User offline. Last seen 10 years 8 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-11-11
Looking for a $Service to sell

Dylunio wrote:

Quote:

Is this directed towards me?

Yes, and thank you for your answer. So, we still need to think of a good $Product to sell. Well, I still think it's better to sell a service (as a work that we would do) than a product. Using your way of speaking, I think we should try to find a $Service and then to offer to our possible clients in the market. What about?

Monserrat.

User offline. Last seen 11 years 32 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-08-23
But a $service needs to be

But a $service needs to be for a $product (to make $money Laughing out loud ). And as I said, the $product might actually be a $service. Customization service is best with software that you wrote yourself, because you know exactly how it works, and you're the obvious first to be asked for customizations.

I have thought a bit about Durian... if I would throw away the code I have now and start over to make a peer-to-peer application instead of a server-client one, then I could link it to another idea of mine, which I like to call "little sister", a projectmanagement/addressbook/instantmessage/email/livejournal/... application. The name "little sister" refers to "big brother": it tries to manage all information about your contacts and what they are doing.
"Little sister + Durian" would have many possibilities for customizations, and a decently sized market (anyone who wants to quickly organize a team on the web to write a document), and with some smart customizations (wrap it in a java applet, package it linux, apache and jabber server) we could get some nice deals with companies too.
But there are downsides too. The first is that the existence of this application would destroy the possibility for the business I was writing Durian for (a website that would bring in enough money for half a person at most :/ ). The second is that I'll need two or three part-time programmers who speak python and java, who don't mind getting told what to do by someone who doesn't have time to contribute any code himself, and who also don't mind not getting paid for quite a long time. The third is that I don't have any experience with using groupware and might be completely wrong in my ideas about what it should be like, so the thing might never "fly".

That p2p blows a big hole in my personal tiny business idea shows that I need to reconsider it.

{insert many minutes full of thoughtful faces here}

I'll start over with Durian and make it p2p. It doesn't mean "no business" for me, it just means "different business". I won't let you guys waste time on it because Durian itself is not enough for the lot of us, and Little sister + Durian is too big and risky. I definitely don't need three hungry and angry programmers at my door when my ideas turn out to be wrong! Too high starting costs!
(and if against expectations my ideas are exactly right, of course you will be the first I ask to join when I need a team bigger than one person).

Okay, so much for Durian and Little sister. Now what?

A note to Danijel: being chaotic and starting many things isn't necessarily bad. You start many things and keep your enthusiasm even though a lot of them fail. The more things you start, the better the chance one of them has real potential. All you need to learn is to recognize the absence of potential, and always kill the projects without potential as soon as you can. I think you have hit gold with nuxified.org.

Maybe the "try many website ideas" concept is exactly what we should do in our cooperative?

memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 11 weeks 19 hours ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-07-12
So I see the Durian project

So I see the Durian project has been on the table and off the table. I see no problem with secrecy. The code is private and unreleased so no harm is done. And if the project wouldn't fit our cooperative business here that's fine. Smiling

Now, let's see where we are... I think Monserrat is right about focusing on selling services (actual work rather than a "thing"). Even if we have something we could call a product (like those special presentational programs we were talking about) most of the work we can expect to get payed for would probably come down to some sort of services anyway. Even if we have such a product, it's probably going to serve only as a base on around which we sell a service, like support services are sold around a piece of software.

Anyway, Monserrat made a nice compilation of ideas proposed so far and here I'll try to weed out those which I think might have the most potential, be most viable given the resources and skills we have:

* A service of constructing and maintaining interactive sites, with free software (originally proposed by Monserrat) I think it'd be good to elaborate more on this and how would it work.

* to write/obtain practical articles about free software and find a smart way to attach the discussed software to the articles; and/or to make innovative combinations of text, software and images (Taco's idea) I tend to call this "presentational programs" and Taco pretty much already explained some ways it could work as a business. It's certainly interesting enough to consider and we might just make the cut skill/resources wise.

* Free Software consulting. Since all of us here seem to have good experiences with GNU/Linux and other Free Software together we might be able to form a good consulting firm. International as we are, we may focus on web based firms and organizations rather than offline. Our main channels of work and communication would be email, IM and some sort of onsite interaction if needed.

* Custom coding (making modifications in existing software for money). For anything more complex than CSS/HTML this pretty much excludes me, but I might play some other role or work on custom CSS styles or something like that.. Not sure..

* A mixed media game that Taco proposed. This might be an overkill for us though. It might work if we get much more people involved.

You'll probably guess the above is ordered from most viable to least viable. Ideas I didn't include are those for which I'm just not sure would work out. Selling CC-BY-SA music with advertising fits only me to an extent so we probably wouldn't combine too well on that. Also auditing Free Software for license compliance would require more lawyers than we have among us or could afford. Eye Advertising agency is something I know already exists and works well and I even have a relation with one. That said, creating one ourselves might not only be a bit futile, but could cause a conflict..

We can still keep searching for ideas or possibly combination of any of the above ideas.

tbuitenh wrote:

Maybe the "try many website ideas" concept is exactly what we should do in our cooperative?

Doing research and development on web services and then employing concepts that work best? You might be on to something there. If we can afford to buy domain names and basic hosting for these "prototype projects" and dump some of them leaving those who work well then that might be an interesting model with interesting results: making "trial and error" an official part of the business model, in a way. Smiling

Well, I am definitely fit for something like that as that is the ground I'm currently most familiar with. With coding skills and experience you guys poses we could probably make a great team on that. For example, while I can mostly only deploy existing content management systems with only slight modifications you guys can do alot more. Maybe we could make Drupal our base (because of flexibility and ability to go in any direction we want with it) and extend it to whatever service we'd like to build as a proto project.

That actually sounds quite exciting to me, because it has a dose of unknown in it. I mean, it doesn't limit us to what kinds of web projects we could do as long as they're in some way promoting Free Culture. Smiling

tbuitenh wrote:

A note to Danijel: being chaotic and starting many things isn't necessarily bad. You start many things and keep your enthusiasm even though a lot of them fail. The more things you start, the better the chance one of them has real potential. All you need to learn is to recognize the absence of potential, and always kill the projects without potential as soon as you can. I think you have hit gold with nuxified.org.

I really appreciate you saying that. I guess that's this "trial and error" principle I've been overlooking. I just have to make sure that some of these failures don't cost too much to bear though.

I'm still actually not very sure about Nuxified.org hitting gold. While we have good traffic there forums could still use more activity. But I'd say I am more satisfied with it then I've been with Libervis.com at that age.

Btw, I think it would be best to open another thread, at least for issues that don't concern business ideas, like the structure of our cooperation (multiple companies or one cooperative for example).

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dylunio's picture
User offline. Last seen 11 years 30 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2005-05-08
I'll put some input into the

I'll put some input into the term 'Services' - I don't expect use to be in a Tertiary Industry, which is commonly known as the Services Industry, since in this industry one usually takes things from the Manufacturing or Primary Industries and offer services selling them e.g. a Supermarket.

We need to think of being in the Quaternaty Industry, where one sell products and services without raw materials e.g. not having to buy in potatoes. This Industry has been defined by the emergance of IT, since one doesn't need any raw materials to e.g. code, all you need is tools (a computer) and a workforce (the coder).

Most likly this was obvious, but I've added it anyway so people might know the termanolagy.

dylunio

User offline. Last seen 11 years 32 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-08-23
libervisco: all Nuxified

libervisco: all Nuxified needs is to be mentioned by RMS Eye

We need a clear identity. "If you need X, you go to Y", where Y would be us, and X is "$services for $product". "If you need $services for $product, you go to Y" becomes most obvious if $product is something made by Y, otherwise the advantage of Y over some other company Z might not be clear.

A service of constructing and maintaining interactive sites could be combined with writing presentational software - it is one form of interactivity. And no doubt some of those interactive sites will need custom coding. Finally the mixed media game is something that type of company might do after getting bigger.

Consulting? Dream on! We might have quite some experience with GNU/Linux but... Anyone who has ever installed some big multiuser systems for a company please raise your hand...

So now we're down to one plan: a service of constructing and maintaining interactive sites. I'd like some more detail on what it actually IS.

memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 11 weeks 19 hours ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-07-12
web development...
tbuitenh wrote:

libervisco: all Nuxified needs is to be mentioned by RMS Eye

Good point. Smiling I wonder if he'd do that though. He might still find some issues with the site. Maybe if I try to get linked from GNU.org he might take notice.. Smiling

tbuitenh wrote:

We need a clear identity. "If you need X, you go to Y", where Y would be us, and X is "$services for $product". "If you need $services for $product, you go to Y" becomes most obvious if $product is something made by Y, otherwise the advantage of Y over some other company Z might not be clear.

Well considering ideas we have it seems likely that the $product will be something created by us, even if it was actually a kind of service. So company Z isn't an issue so much.

tbuitenh wrote:

So now we're down to one plan: a service of constructing and maintaining interactive sites. I'd like some more detail on what it actually IS.

Yeah, so far it seems to come down to that. It would be good for Monserrat to expand a bit on that idea. Is it supposed to be about creating web sites "on demand" (classic web development model employed by hundreds of existing firms) or about creating our own website projects through "R&D" process and earning to models specific to these websites, in addition to advertising (pretty much the way Libervis Network is going already).

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memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 11 weeks 19 hours ago. Offline
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I've got some thoughts to

I've got some thoughts to add...

First, whatever we do we should be thinking more about filling so called "niche" markets rather than go too big and wide. Filling specific needs is better than try to fill whole multitude of needs at once.

Second, if we are to implement one of the classic business models we could analyze them and try to add some sort of a twist that would still make our model unique. Actually, I think that's how alot of great and succesful ideas are made. People look at what is out there and then try to find that tiny little thing everybody is forgetting and could yet add an awesome deal of value. Looking for holes and opportunities of augmenting existing models could be a great way to found our own.

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User offline. Last seen 11 years 32 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-08-23
You're absolutely right.

You're absolutely right.

memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 11 weeks 19 hours ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-07-12
OK, let's continue.. About

OK, let's continue.. About the web development business model. There is one potential issue with that. It is about developing websites for others (just the logic and design, not necessarily content) and as it usually works, selling the rights to the developed website to the buyer which can then make it proprietary (the theme, the code we made etc.). Not only that, but the purpose for which the website may ultimately serve may be contradicting our ideals. We can, of course, restrict ourselves from doing those kinds of deals and we may as well put it in our business model that all code we produce as part of the deal must remain under GNU GPL, but it is doubtful wether that would work and wether we'd really be able to earn enough off of that to sustain ourselves and grow. Most of webmasters who hire web development firms expect to be given keys and full rights at the end.

Now if we'll only focus on building our own websites for ourselves that's another thing, that would simply be extending Libervis Network model.

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