[Freedombox-discuss] towards a business plan
Speaking of hackathons: I would like to
try to assemble a team to design and build
a particular software stack and freedombox
product. I'll start to describe the plan I have
in mind here. I'd be interested in hearing
on or off list from people who think they
can and want to contribute.
One goal is to build a "freedombox 1.0" which
doesn't have to do everything we are aiming at,
but which is serious progress in that direction.
The goal box is something I can give to my non-technical
relatives, with a very brief explanation, that they
then see a use for, plug in, use, and enjoy
using. They suggest to their friends that they
might want one (or more) too. (e.g., "Hey, mom,
The box and its basic nature is such that -- well --
let 1,000 small businesses bloom. I would like
to see 1,000 small businesses each sell a few
hundred boxes and support those customers. I worry
about what happens if, instead, 3 or 4 businesses
sell and support 100s of thousands of boxes. I hope
it is obvious why.
No one or a few companies sells freedom. Maybe
only 3 firms or so initially make
the hardware - that will change. At retail,
and for support ... I want 1,000 small businesses to
bloom. And this is a high priority
I want those 1,000 small businesses to be the ones
who - in a kind of federated way - maintain and extend
the software for this box.
If we get to that point -- abstract though it is -- I
think that already freedombox will be a success. It will
be an irresistible force. With 1,000 small businesses
fighting and cooperating over what freedombox means --
perhaps the effort can stay virtuous and keep improving
in socially just and responsible ways.
Which all sounds great on paper but I want to get more
concrete. So, here. Let me put "Plan 0" on the table.
I don't expect "Plan 0" to survive perfectly as it confronts
reality -- but it is a place to start.
Let's pick 5 apps. I suggest email mailbox hosting, chat,
instant messaging, blogging and FB-ish "walls".
When I tell the relatives "Here, plug this in and fire up
your browser" -- and when they then ask "Uh, what's it do?" --
this is the list of 5 answers: email mailbox, chat, messaging,
Got better ideas for the list? Hold on a bit. The list
ain't fixed in stone. Let's agree "roughly like that" and
we'll nail it down after a team is assembled.
Step 2(a) and 2(b) and 2(c): The effort here forks in three
directions that communicate and cooperate, but are distinct.
Let's say that 2(a) is deep concentration on the user
experience -- storyboarding, UX experiments, etc. And
let's say that 2(b) is integration and release management -
actually giving all of us a prototype platform and eventually
a release platform to run on as we hack. And 2(c) hacks
the stack for the five features in service of those two.
I have more steps to suggest [see footnote] but let's keep
this short and see where we are from there.
Of the freedombox *foundation*, at this juncture, I want
to express some hopes:
Dear freedombox foundation:
1) Please swiftly get us some group deals on suitable
2) Please engage with this "1,000 small businesses"
notion and help to perfect it.
Anyway, who is game?
[footnote] After picking 5 core apps that help
give a freedombox answer to "social" we can
boil that down to an analysis to find the right
core protocols, data formats, and programming environments
to focus on to make sure those 1,000 small businesses
are managing a tight, robust, human-scale software