I plan to write the Weird version of what I already wrote for a former employer: https://blog.meilisearch.com/meilisearch-open-business-plan-v0-1/ https://blog.meilisearch.com/meilisearch-values-v0-1-tech-is-political/
This article explains my basic investor/builder thesis: https://spicylobster.itch.io/jumpy/devlog/337996/everlasting-games
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.
So this is what we’re doing for Weird-app as well. Starting with a “linksapp” as the smallest atomic unit upon which a much larger product and company can be built.
Weird’s parent company ethos will be the same as its gamedev counterpart Spicy Lobster: https://spicylobster.itch.io/jumpy/devlog/356201/spicy-lobster-open-gamedev-company
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 company/product to have any owner with more than 5% 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% over the next few 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: https://calmfund.com
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 about $5000/month before they invest, meaning they intentionally have limited leverage.
There are other great options out there like https://oss.capital (quite like YC specialized in open source & cloud) and https://mozilla.vc, 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 $50/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.
For our first example, we reached out to CIP.org after reading their whitepaper.
Thanks so much Erlend for reaching out, your work is very aligned. We're still figuring out processes for how best to get folks involved in ways that they'd like. What kinds of things are you interested in working on / doing?
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 my favorite tech ecosystem include:
- Element (Matrix)
- MeiliSearch (disclaimer: former employee)
- Tauri (disclaimer: I'm a board member)
- System 76 (Linux / Redox OS)
Lots more are listed here: https://indieopensource.com/ https://www.coss.community/cossc/global-vc-funding-into-coss-24b-raised-from-jan-2020-to-august-2022-3pc6
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: