How to not sell out

Hi! I’m Rich. I’m one of the people working on Loomio. I come to the project from an arts/activist background, so I have some pretty strong feelings on culture, community, and business.

One of the inspiring things about the team we’ve got is that there is room for people with different ideas. There are people like me who have a knee-jerk reaction to business (eww yuck boo), but there are plenty of others with a more mature and experienced view that are really excited about the potential for the tool to help businesses work more efficiently and more democratically. 

In preparation for last week’s meeting about the Loomio business structure, Jon, Ben and I had an email conversation. Don’t take it too seriously, it’s just an off-the-cuff statement of my position regarding Loomio and the Tyranny of Money. It was intended to be read by an audience of two friends, but I figure it couldn’t really hurt for anyone else that wants to get a better idea of how I feel about the project. 

Continue reading How to not sell out

A Business Plan for Loomio

We had a really interesting discussion today about how to create a sustainable economic engine for the Loomio project to thrive, while still maintaining our collaborative, participatory culture, and not getting distracted from our mission by trying to make Loomio about revenue.

We discussed several of the models that other Enspiral companies work on, such as a zero-dividend shareholder model, where being a shareholder means you have a vote, not that you can take value out of the company, a social enterprise with an intentional company constitution specifying that a portion of all profits goes toward our social aims, but leaves dividends and investments as options. 

We have discussed several possibilities for how to sustain Loomio financially while still giving the tool itself away for free and keeping it open source (a must for us). Some ideas are hosting plans for private groups, custom installations, support contracts, training and facilitation around consensus processes, and custom version fo Loomio with special features. Wouldn’t it be cool to see a successful business running in Loomio and exemplifying the potential of participatory decision making?

A lot of interesting potential here, but nothing’s been decided yet. We’re committed to helping Loomio thrive without compromising the values that motivated us to do this work in the first place.