Strategy Consideration: build platform co-op asset acquisition team/working group
I've been thinking about what is unique about this initiative. This is what I see...
There are a number of different Platform Co-Op initiatives that are in the works, technologies in development etc. What makes this initiative unique IMHO is the fact that we are talking about an ASSET ACQUISITION.
For reasons I've already advanced, I think it's unlikely we will actually be able to purchase Twitter.
What we can do, however, is to put together a team that is interested in looking at other existing platforms/technology based infrastructure assets and exploring acquisition strategies.
This strategy is to be contrasted with building platforms from the ground up. Note that, given the complexity of building a community that can execute a large acquisition, this team will have to have a very broad set of skills; finance, co-operative governance, technology, community infrastructure etc... So what might this look like?
First of all...the Platform Co-operative movement is about creating the real sharing economy. It's about ensuring that the benefits of a platform are shared with the owners of the platform (in contrast to Uber, AirBnB etc.). This team will have to embrace these principles in a formal way since we will be dealing with a constituency that operates formally; financiers, philanthropists etc.
Specifically we will have to operate within the confines of a co-operative structure (that will have to be incorporated somewhere). If we are going to engage investors, we need a representative legal structure.
The biggest challenge will be to put together a strategy that will enable the team to raise enough money to buy a sizeable asset. A portion of the funds can be raised via crowdfunding, but much of it will have to be raised via rich philanthropists, impact investors etc.
What this approach will result in is building a bridge to a number of institutions and individuals that have a lot of capacity. This will have spin off benefits for all of us whatever happens...
Like @bonniefoleywong, I also have a finance background, having spent 12 years in the industry. I spent 7 years as a stockbroker at a large Canadian investment bank and built a $30 million managed asset practice. This was followed by 5 years running my own investment banking group.
Given this, I have a pretty good sense of how these transactions work and their complexity. I would be happy to play a role in shaping this aspect of the overall strategy with whomever might be interested... if pursuing this approach is of interest to others.
I look forward to your thoughts!
Nathan Schneider started a proposal October 5th, 2016 23:40
Shall we create a platform asset-acquisition co-op? Closed 11:01am - Friday 7 Oct 2016
We seem to be in agreement about this proposal! Let's begin moving forward:
Designing a legal/financial structure for this investment cooperative
Continuing to call for #BuyTwitter as a way of attracting attention to the longer-term effort
Organizing and cultivating an inclusive and productive community of engaged participants
Inspired by the possibility of converting Twitter to a user cooperative, this group is agrees on the goal of forming a cooperative entity designed to pool investment and promote user ownership of online platforms, starting with the opportune moment of Twitter, but not limited to that.
Activities might include:
- Acquisition of social media platforms and conversion to cooperatives
- Part-purchase of platforms for shareholder activism
- Dividends to members, possibly based on patronage (i.e., members might be paid to use the platforms) and shares
- Development of cooperative business models for alternative networks like Diaspora, Demcra, Friendica, GNUSocial
- Mission-driven strategy based on increasing user control and input for online platforms
- Democratic governance
|Agree - 15|
|Abstain - 15|
|Disagree - 15|
|Block - 15|
October 5th, 2016 23:56
I'm interested in this. I also think that our having a legal structure will give us a 'container' to help us organize. Most importantly it can provide clarity of focus.
We can, of course, pursue other initiatives as well
October 6th, 2016 10:23
I think that the overall strategy here is the right one - though I would repeat a statement that I have made elsewhere, having a plan is different from rushing to establish a leadership/legal structure etc. We have a little time to think first.