[Community] ... (Organisation)

wonderphone at posteo.de wonderphone at posteo.de
Tue Jun 3 23:25:02 CEST 2014

Hi all,

Please see my comments below.

Am 03.06.2014 18:56 schrieb Lukas Maerdian:
> On 03.06.2014 18:46 UTC+0200, Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller wrote:
>> Am 03.06.2014 um 18:42 schrieb Lukas Maerdian:
>>> On 03.06.2014 13:47 UTC+0200, Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller wrote:
>>>> Am 03.06.2014 um 10:46 schrieb Lukas Maerdian:
>>>>> Hi,
>>>>> 2014-06-03 10:27 GMT+02:00 Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller 
>>>>> <hns at goldelico.com>:
>>>>>> Hi,
>>>>>> Am 02.06.2014 um 23:37 schrieb wonderphone at posteo.de:
>>>>>>> Hi all,
>>>>>>> Am 01.06.2014 22:11 schrieb Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller:
>>>>>>>> Well, the key factor for speeding up all this is more demand 
>>>>>>>> for
>>>>>>>> specific devices
>>>>>>>> as we currently see. The statistics currently say differently.
>>>>>>>> Approx. 30 preorders
>>>>>>>> for GTA04A5 and ~370 for a Neo900 device. And this is the 
>>>>>>>> result of 6 months.
>>>>>>> The GTA04 platform has the potential to sell enough devices to 
>>>>>>> match the Fairphone success (50k devices) or even let their sales 
>>>>>>> look small. My greater fear than the one of never selling such a 
>>>>>>> number of phones is the one that "we" are not selling them, i. e. 
>>>>>>> Goldelico does not produce them and the rest of the community is 
>>>>>>> ignored completely.
>>>>>> It is the general startup problem: great idea, great potential, 
>>>>>> no money to produce devices for stock. This needs an investor or a 
>>>>>> group of micro-investors really devoted to build something really 
>>>>>> different from the mainstream. I guess Fairphone was able to 
>>>>>> attract some of the mobile network operator brands as investors 
>>>>>> because they apparently want to camouflage as being "fair".
>>>>>> But I don't think Kickstarter or Indiegogo are the right approach 
>>>>>> because they are not for building a strong community that 
>>>>>> persists. They are for tapping one that already exists.
>>>>>>> Once it becomes apparent that GTA04A5 or Neo900 are successful, 
>>>>>>> a soft-spoken but hard-nosed manufacturer can fork the hardware 
>>>>>>> development and offer the devices, say, 20% cheaper.
>>>>>> Usually they don't. Because they get enough blueprints and 
>>>>>> reference designs from the big chip manufacturers (Samsung, 
>>>>>> MediaTek, RokChip, Intel), so that they don't look for community 
>>>>>> designed devices to copy them. Even if they are completely open. 
>>>>>> Rather, that is a drawback for them because they have to care 
>>>>>> about open source licences and don't get a design around the 
>>>>>> latest and greatest, but closed chips...
>>>>>>> That will put extra pressure on the quantities and prices of the 
>>>>>>> community manufacturers. The community itself is replaced by a 
>>>>>>> bunch of kids that "like" the devices on Facebook. They have a 
>>>>>>> say in which color they want their devices in but nothing more. 
>>>>>>> The monolithic (and also opaque) manufacturer will add some 
>>>>>>> features to his software distribution that add convenience for 
>>>>>>> the users and also valuable user information to the manufacturers 
>>>>>>> databases.
>>>>>>> Yes, Goldelico has made the community and is the strongest 
>>>>>>> player in it. The openness that you, Nikolaus, have created is 
>>>>>>> amazing. But the openness can be a weakness when it is not 
>>>>>>> complemented by a well-organized community. That is why I am 
>>>>>>> asking all these nerdy questions. I believe we need mechanisms in 
>>>>>>> the community that make sure it grows because of its principles, 
>>>>>>> stays always close to its ideals, and rewards those who have 
>>>>>>> contributed in the past.
>>>>>> Exactly. The community is the success factor. The devices can be 
>>>>>> adapted to the needs, which also will change over the time. Like 
>>>>>> Linux is developing from release to release, but the community 
>>>>>> stays.

Let me sketch how a community could be organized to offer scope for 
collaboration and reward.

Let's think in product generations for this experiment. The community 
agrees, based on what has been achieved in the past, on a strategy and a 
main flag ship device. Currently, that would be the Neo900. I believe 
the Neo900 has cannibalized the GTA04A5 because they have similar 
purpose, but in general I could imagine that a good flag ship device 
pulls interest from the public and tablets and measuring hardware can 
benefit from this.

I assume, the Paid Developer Program exists and offers a meager pay for 
the programmer(s) who can just fund their Oktoberfest visits with it.

Then, we decide the website needs a makeover. Let's assume, I start 
with it because I have some strange ideas that I always wanted to be 
implemented in a prominent place. Okay, although my work is extremely 
lousy technically the community decides - maybe in a poll -- to keep a 
lot of the design aspects. If we manage to raise some extra funds, we 
can extend the Paid Developer Program (PDP) to, say, Sebastian 
Krzyszkowiak who fixes all the security holes that I have torn open and 
all the other bugs. Lucas will install the forum server. They will 
receive also a merely sufficient pay for the task because there is more 
to come. The community will decide that I had so much satisfaction from 
realising my ideas that I will not be paid.

Hopefully, the website attracts more prospective users and workforce so 
that fundraising will become stronger. We might be able to include other 
functions into the PDP like power management optimization, package 
design, marketing, software translations, shipping organisation, and all 
that is needed to make the device a sleak user-friendly turnkey 

Long story short: Sales will pick up, left-leaning journalist will 
learn to know the devices and write positive articles about it, further 
developers are attracted, they make themselves and the users even 
happier by the new features they include, the first corporate IT 
departments become interested in the devices that help them keep the 
conversations of their executives confidential, and one step after the 
other the community grows and remains vivid.

At the point in time when sales slow or shortly before we decide on a 
new flag ship (the next generation) we draw up a balance sheet of the 
generation just ended. Then, we will agree on - and these discussion 
will not be easy - how to distribute the profit among the people who 
have contributed. We have hopefully agreed some guidelines earlier 
because otherwise it will be fun. It should be a meritocratic approach. 
So, Nikolaus will receive the lion's share because he has done so much 
for the community and the design of the device. Let's assume that due to 
the healthy sales it was possible that Goldelico and Neo900 UG took a 
profit margin on each device produced by them. This and the following 
profit sharing is all based on assumptions that need not necessary be 
reality. It is only meant to illustrate the example. So, the margin on 
the device is the remuneration for the work related to managing the 
manufacturing process and also for the risk of investing time and effort 
in the beginning without being sure of the reaction of the community. 
For the determination of the profit shares, possible payments for 
consulting services by Goldelico for Neo900 UG can be taken into 

The guys in the PDP also did a good job, far better than their pay. 
Other people in the community will stand up and advocate an additional 
share for them. There are other achievements that will have turned out 
to have made the community successful which I assume had not been part 
of the PDP: previous work on FSO, PaulK's and GNUtoo's work for 
replicant, the then successful Maemo port, the extremely catchy slogan 
that is yet to be found, marketing photos for the website, Radek's work 
on QtMoko, maybe the students work on the fair electronics, the 
OpenPhoenux logo, paper work, etc ... . They should all receive a share 
of the profit based on our common agreement.

Realitically, these agreements will not be easy to reach and we will 
learn to know each other very well during the process ;-) But, we can 
only share what we have and I believe a fair repartition is feasible.

For the second generation device, past achievements will still play a 
role but their weighting will be decreased as new features and input 
will go into the project .

And, money is not all. Mutual recognition and the Hall of Fame 
hopefully make up for should the profits be smaller than expected.

Best regards


More information about the Community mailing list