Business plan outline - Generic knowledgebase centric
community based coop. Getting started
Low cash, low risk, low initial capital, participation in
small increments desirable, self organizing, self governing,
growth potential desired, no exit strategy - community is
intended as long societal asset that new stakeholders rotate
through as old stakeholders move on, easily tailerable,
easily emulated by stakeholders in new/other ventures with
All of the above required to allow widespread utilization of
prototype in delivery of economic benefits localized and
weighted by participation and active contribution rather
than concentrated in absentee overlords unto the nth generation.
Required: Internet, mucho elso
Possible portion of solution space:
Coop ebay. Community based recycling of local scrap that
can be valuable resource elsewhere in the community.
Community sponsers and maintains automated transaction
advertising and negotiation until all conditions are met for
a successful physical transaction. Participants may be
donors, sellers, buyers, sponsors, sponsorees, brokers
(certified by community as virtal or even physical (although
runs up shipping costs, avoid if possible, miscreants take
trust hits and they add up fast, brokers primary function is
to avoid having honest mistakes destroy the community)).
Community takes profit off of resold donations and cut of
any peer to peer negotiation brokered and audited by the
community "volunteers" or staff.
1. Can start very small and work up as resources become
available to improve processes and directtly compensate
staff rather than relying on volunteers.
2. Each transactions builds community, trust, capabilities,
etc. beyond the obvious trickle of chump change into the
community co-op treasury.
1. Need sufficient trust, momentum and community
participation to get started.
2. Someone must either do all research to setup small
charity fund and all cashflow be audited through donation to
appropriate places ..... or someone must track the revenue
as personal income and pay taxes on it. Individual
participants are not a problem. The central coordination
authority is obvious target for IRS and must be organized
quickly with all appropriate regulations and reporting
3. Needs to be good agreement up front from community on
organizational methods, procedures, intent, etc. This
could be as simple as we will figure it out for the benefit
of the community if sufficiently dense sub net of the trust
web exists or as complicated as getting bogged down in IPO
negotiations to raise sufficient funds that professionals
can be paid to dictate to community how to implement
duplicate of current methods prevalently in use.
Obviously in the first case things must get sorted out
rather quickly and submitted back to community for
evaluation and consenus building. Also obviously the
weighting methods for consenus building and final decision
or at least deciding who will make the final must be in place.
Personally I favor an Board elected by the community on a
weighted basis of certification initially and then combined
with input from various other stakeholders as method can be
openly devised and put in place by agreement of both the
board and the community. Board members to automatically
step back into the community at large when weighted
assessment of the community is against them and drops them
back from board to mere Whatever. This implies a standing
pool of qualified volunteers or candidates from which a new
board member can quickly be selected.
Getting started: I have been sponsored by rirwin to study
the open/free paradigm with a view towards tailering it to
effective open business and engineering practices. This
means I have some time that can applied to this prototyping
effort. Undoubtedly more for the next 6 months than many
active contributors to other projects. There is only so
much partime volunteer effort to go around and there are
myriads of good causes and fun needed software projects out
I know basic accounting and I have a couple of QuickBooks
licenses I have experience with shipping books back and
forth between offices via a manual token system. If I am
doing the books then it might be effective to start with
Quickbooks and upgrade to the free/open package of our
choice when there is time and it is appropriate.
As initial accountant/bookkeeper it would be my job to
receive the email transactions, match them up and when all
processes completed (specified goods shipped, verification
by buyer recieved working goods, verfication from treasurer
received payment, verification from seller received payment
(shipping costs), authentication by auditors that are
parties are trusted and transaction negotiated .... that
goes first ... etc.) to level procedurally required, to
enter them in the books.
I have a cash drawer I can ship to the treasurer (who must
be a separate trusted agent for natural checks and balances
to avoid appearance of conflicting interests or ability to
cook the books) if they desire it. Probably will work
primarily with a checkbook and checks initially. Later if
process growth sufficient to justify and resources are
available can look into online funds transfers.
Basically the treasurer knows cash on hand and audits and
cerifies (along with accountanting team)the monthly
or quarterly balance sheets and profit and losses statements
are reconciled to this. Transactions eventually stored
online and accessible to trusted community members and
possibly even the pubilc. We have an open business plan and
nothing to hide. If someone else sets up a better open
collaborative business community then we can always improve
our methods to remain competitive or members can float to
community of their preference. Free as in informed and free.
Initally with no assets this is a nonissue. If the growth
I think is feasible materializes then we will have to get
formal procedures nailed down and in place to community
satisfaction or risk going in the direction OSI and SPI seem
to be headed.
I just verified with Ray (twin brother) that he has the
following he is willing to donate:
4 Synoptics LattisLink 2800A 10base-T (RJ-45, cat 5 10Mb) 16
port Ethernet hubs, half slot footprint, standard under 2" X
19" rack mountable. No mounting hardware included. Free
standing metal enclosure, fine for shelf or desktop.
Estimated new price 3 years ago $2,000
Condition known to be working but to be tested prior to
shipping, he will assist me if necessary. Estimated value on
the market, $50ea if proper buyer(s) located. Recommended
sales price to community member shipping & handling plus $5
or $10 bucks.
8 Synoptics LattisNet Model 2800, 10base-T (RJ-45, cat 5,
10Mb) 12 port Ethernet hubs, full slot footprint, standard
under 2" X 19 rack mountable, No mounting hardware included.
Free standing metal enclosure, fine for shelf or desktop.
Financials approximately same as above.
Issues, to be auctioned or markedup and resold? All
particulars to be prenotiated close loop before initiating
physical transfers of cash and materials.
Anticipated revenue to prototyping community $40 to $80
dollars on a typical auction day. With generous patrons
involved in auction, who knows?
Keep in mind this is a single transaction and is being done
manually more for the procedure prototyping than the cash to
the community. What are good procedures? Once they are
known how can they be automated to reduce community resource
consumption in delivering the transaction to the
public/community? How should the organization be set up to
protect all participants from potential liability, fraud,
waste (thought it was good, shipped, had to throw away as
bad.... shipping costs, and disposal costs, plus time and
hassle, potential trust damage, etc. for all involved ....
bad transactions are very damaging to a going concern and
must be managed to minimize damage while learning what went
wrong and improving processes to avoid future problems.
Notice large market in U.S. for recycled scrap. Green
environmental groups like this, will purchase, donate,
support, help publicise, etc. Also become friendly markets
for our knowledge based products.
Distribution - Got wrinkles regarding distribtion we can
talk about another time if any interest. For now to get
started let us focus on short term profit despite
potentially large shipping costs. Consider that simms,
dimms, and cpus are cheaper to ship than boxes. Of course
it is also currently dirt cheap, except obsolete components
soon be unavailable (out of production on in small lots,
expensive) to maintain or upgrade existing "obsolete"
systems. Basically distribution nets are subject to same
analysis methods as packets. Substitute email and server
for packet routers and add a large nationwide organization
such as kiwannas, red cross, etc. and we may be able to
lower transporation via volunteers. Have to split the
resulting revenue with the other organization for their
charitable purposes. Efforts such as this might be
sponsored by various Foundations or Companies via grants for
system/software development. This brings professional work
to community members who need it, to further augment our
knowledgebase in the commons.
As a further incentive to consider I will loan $100 cash
upfront for shipping which I will trust to be returned if
feasible. If prototype fails, solivy. Nothing ships until
we have enough interest and agreement to make this appear
feasible at this space time location.
Unless of course someone else refines the idea and
implements without any necessary buyin from me.
Notice propose generic prototyping with results published.
What do we need to get started, my shortlist:
1. An experienced open project manager that can operate
sourceforge systems and work effectively with other
volunteers to get site tools setup and information flowing
2. Some participants willing to help refine organizational
concepts and methods and document the same in sufficient
clarity to allow operations to get started.
3. Sufficient trust or daring to participate a bit and see
what happens. Everybody else is busy too so like any
free/open volunteer project whatever form assistance takes
is welcome or ignored as the other participants choose.
4. A location where specific transactions can be
negotiated. Public classifieds (sourceforge?) and mailing
list might be sufficient.
5. accountant/bookkeeper, treasurer, buyers, sellers or
donators, pm, mailing list manager?, ??
6. Agreement on what to do with funds on hand if
prototyping effort shutdowns. I propose that if we fail to
achieve a thriving prototype associated with some
established online communities then we send the funds on
hand to robots.net to help sponsor ambitious site project
there to build a humanoid robot to participate in a
walkathon for ... a debilitating disease research. Do not
recall which one.
7. Many others, we can discuss it if anyone interested. I
prefer public forum such as here in diaries, mailing list
via sourceforge or equivalent, etc. for later documentation
of what I think might become an excellent project people
wish to emulate and improve.
Anyone else have specific transactions that might be
profitable to such a project are welcome to analyze
transaction in diary here for our eddification. Please do
NOT commence any physical transactions intending to be place
in the prototype project without an effective skeleton
process in place. It will only complicate the bookkeeping
and accounting and look suspicious to external auditors.
Feel free to negotiate terms or simulated transtions just be
aware that until minimum infrastructure is in place we
should not be incurring liabilities and potential problems.
Thanks for your attention. Sorry for poor format. I do a
little better with a collaborative audience and accustomed
tools. Or else an effective community will have someone
else do it and ignore me and/or the idea. Eventually I will
clean it up enough for effective presentation to discerning
audience somewhere. For now thanks to the local community
for the workspace.
Ouch! Ray's microsoft proxy has the phone line. I shall
just pontification a bit more while waiting for dailup
access. Oh yeah, forgot to update email will do today. Mail
drop works at lazyquasar(at)yahoo.com, I guess, no external
contact or spam as of couple days ago. Better check it tonight.
Microloan proposal: I may have a extra RJ-45 crimp tool
...... never mind. Only have two, second is hot standby in
case break first outside normal business hours.
Microbusiness draft concept. Advise not invest
until do a survey and negotiate a cut with the Board in
exchange for the communities marketing efforts on your
behalf. Also a commoditity business so margins thin. May
be best restricted to voluntary participation in generating
revenue for fledging business prototype.
Need crimp tool: Aproximately $50 at any electronic supply
Cheap RJ-45 and RJ11 connectors. Buy in semi bulk as same
supply house as above at semi retail. Prices probably range
from a nickel a connectors to a quarter. Fancy stress
relief neato but not necessary, another quarter to $.50 per
Cable - Can be bought new and I advise this for 100Mhz
capability. Also need to study solid techniques with
100Mhz, if you mess up the twists in the cable the
capacitance changes sufficiently never get decent
reliability out of 100 Mhz connections, cards, and hubs.
For 10Mhz cables find supply of used cable being pulled from
commercial buildings and nets during refits. It is not
worth most businesses labor costs to do anything besides
stash a little for rainy day and throw most away.
Cable testing device nice (approximate $100 to $500
depending on style, brand, and various capabilities in
"buzzing" cables) but not strictly necessary. Plug the
cable into a hub and a test computer and transfer a file.
If it works for you it likely work for customer.
Ziploc bags work fine for keeping multiple coiled cables
separated nicely when you ship. If want after get
established you can print nice color paper labels and staple
up "professional" looking packages with name and phone
number. Personally the margin is thin enough I think wise
to start with low everhead and move up only if market
insists by buying overpriced competitors packaging and product.
What makes this a feasible partime business with little or
no risk? An existing community market of potentially
thousands that would just as soon buy yours or the from the
community web trinkets shop and wait a couple days for
mailorder delivery as get in car spend gas going downtown to
purchase and install today. Active participants in the
community are there because of perceived benefits and self
interest. It is to their advantage to help finance the
communities greater capabilites (online capacity and
bandwidth); knowledgebase expansion; depth, density and
reach of fractal intangible webs that help deliver benefits
back to the community as well as the general public at large.
If interest were shown in the above detailed documentation
and kit designs could be evolved that anyone could use for
their own purposes and even business external to the community.
An established web store might eventually get to ordering
and keeping a minimum stock. Watch trade credit flows!
Could start generating internal economic boom bust with poor
managenment similar to big guys on Wall Street.
Ah! Dialup is back, gotta go. Wish me luck. Trivial cgi
install of myAdvogato for some fun. No telling what I may
have to learn before this actually works. fxn makes it
sound easy twice but due to my ignorance it sounds difficult
both times and different. Clearly my understanding is
deficient to follow his explanations. I will understand
better next after this succeeds or fails! : )
P.S. Has just informed he will be upgrading existing in
house 8 port hubs sometime in next 6 months, this will make
8 port hubs available for donation for resale. Estimate new
price $50/hub local new. Might be nice $10 or $20 addition
to home office or college dorm. Might be good community
sponsorship for project people developing peer to peer
applications to support easier local testing.