Commune Inc.

I plan to write the Commune version of what I already wrote for a former employer:

This article explains my basic investor/builder thesis:

It’s the Open Product Recipe: – WordPress vs Movable Type – Discourse vs VBulletin – Mattermost vs Slack – Strapi vs Contentful – etc.

In the short term, the open approach is a Good Enough differentiator. Meaning, a niche of people (like myself) strongly prefer to pay for the open version of a product, provided it fulfills baseline UX requirements.

In the long term openness is an objectively better way to build, especially with regards to app-platforms like Linux and WordPress. It results in a superior, competitively viable product.

So this is what we’re doing for the cohort of Commune-apps as well. Starting with Weird and Commune Preview as the smallest atomic units upon which a much larger product and company can be built.

The Commune company ethos will be the same as its gamedev counterpart Spicy Lobster:

Co-ownership & equity

Everyone I work with is a potential co-owner of whichever project we’re doing together. I’ve no interest in being the majority owner of anything I build, since I’m not much of a solo-builder.

In fact, I don’t really think it’s good for a medium-sized company or product to have any owner with more than ~10% ownership, assuming it’s big enough to have 20+ people involved.

So even if let’s say me and one other founding dev built this company + product just the two of us together as 50/50 partners (which is already not the case, as we’ve presently got several collaborators involved 🙌 ), the long-term intent would be to bring our total ownership % down to 5-10% over the next several years.

I also don’t think someone who’s not actively working in a company should get to sit on their share for very long until it starts automatically being sold off. I’m no fan of rent-seeking dynamics.


I’ve looked around at a lot investors to find some that align with my values, and I’ve found one clear favorite:

In short, they focus on taking a revenue split rather than hoping for some big exit. Also, they actually require that a company is earning around $1000/month before they invest, meaning they intentionally have limited leverage.

There are other great options out there like (quite like YC specialized in open source & cloud) and, but Calm provides the best possible starting point with a very gentle on-ramp.

Calm is Plan A, I.e. spending the next year trying to simply make a small and steady profit. What’s really cool about them is that they also don’t do the all-or-nothing pitch. Instead they invite founders to simply get in touch with them and keep an open line going.

So as soon as we’re making $100/month, we're pitching to them.


There are other people and projects out there doing work that overlaps with our vision. We hope to explore all such possible alignments. I wanna help facilitate the proliferation of 'open companies'.

You wanna study companies that understand ecosystem-building? Talk to the companies that are making money in large part thanks to an open source product. The ones that do it well have a deep understanding of the circular value creation that strengthens an ecosystem and all actors within it.

Some examples from the tech ecosystem I inhabit include:

Lots more are listed here:

A new, better type of company needs to become the default, mainstream way for companies to be built. This company looks a lot like the companies listed above, combined with B-corp like standards, applied more strictly the bigger a company gets.

The Great Untangling: