Edgeryders: thoughts on possible business models

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#21

Sales and such

Hi, Today marked a shift for me in terms of how we go about working on Edgeryders, the social enterprise.

I don’t think that the discussion about business models is all that relevant to be honest. What it comes down to is sales. And that is a different beast. There are several parts to this. In part it’s a numbers game where you need to reach very very many different people, and make it easy for them to understand what you have to offer and give them a choice of things they can buy.

When it comes to working with consultancy in part it’s a matter of going at it, being in the game long enough so that by the time they hear about you, you have had time to leave enough traces about you e.g. online, in relationships etc so when they ask around about you, people confirm you’re legit and not some scammer.

So far my strategy has been to do outreach through keynotes that are recorded, one to one interaction, videos etc. Now it’s time to look at the product (what we’re selling) and how to speed up the sales cycle.

For the product i’ve put together this table as a first rough sketch to have something to discuss pricing, packaging, communication etc:

  Basic Extensive Customised Tailor made

Pricing: One off / Subscription

       
Training & upskilling
       
Communication and collaboration skills        
Writing for online engagement        
Reading and making sense of online data        
Building thriving policy-oriented communities online        
Social media training        
workshops and master classes        
Services
       
Customised Action Research Tracks at events
       
Networking assistance        
Research, articles, reports and books        
Consulting hours        
Proactive alerts        
Tools & technologies
       
in situ network analysis software        
in situ ethnographic analysis software        
social software        

Now for speeding up the sales cycle.

  1. How do we find the right prospects? How do we get better and more efficient at this over time? We need to start with a list of names of people and organisations, find out what their problems and needs are and identify the ones with a high likelihood of matching what we have to offer. But I can’t do this alone, I’ve composed a list but could use help going through it! Also not sure how to import a list here onto the wiki?

  2. We need to reach out to the prospective clients before they’re in buying mode. Find our how they prefer to communicate, get in touch and try to get into a meeting or call. Find out what their problems and needs are: listen 80% and talk 20%. telling them about Edgeryders. Find out more about them. Ask hard questions to eliminate non-prospects as early as possible. If you get a no, gently find out why. If not, follow up with an email or handwritten note reminding them of what was said, and what you both agreed would be the next step (for you & for the prospective client).

  3. If they ask for a formal proposal, don’t email it over…ask them to set a time for a meeting during which you review it together. Here I think we can use the LOTE tracks and session proposals much more effectively.

  4. Give them time to make a decision. Contact them creatively.

How do we package what we have to offer, in was that people recognise it’s value and are willing to move money out of their wallets to have? In the Long run we kind of sort of know, it’s the short term I am more interested in. Well because the long run is a lot of short runs in sequence. Here I think the crowdfunding model makes sense, as in we build a campaign, put together the material etc as we would a crowdfunding campaign, but run it off the Edgeryders site and not one of the crowdfunding platforms.

Im up for looking at this now I have had time to think a bit.

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#22

This is getting exciting :slight_smile:

Nadia, thanks for sharing this: it feels good to read it black on white :slight_smile:

Again, about the “how” I guess there is only one way to know, and that’s keep on doing it! “How do we get better and more efficient over time?” Try - get feedback - share thoughts - correct - try again, and so on! I’m probably very idealist, but I do believe that - especially in the beginning - it’s based a lot on relationships, first contacts, meetings, approaches… so it’s a lot about energy, gazes, how the content is expressed, intuition and all that stuff. I’ve seen you in action while speaking to Luca de Biase in Matera: the content made a lot of it, but there is something about the interaction which is fundamental, and you do it greatly… but as you say: not alone. And I guess this brings me back to the question you asked a couple of times on this platform on burnouts and keeping things going, ecc: I think being totally alone in doing stuff is, on the long run, a promise for burnout.

Enough with the digressions. Back to point 1 and 2. How I understand this it’s about mapping, then selecting a small kernel and start making contact. I’m really up for sharing the mapping work and eventually fitting in personal network, if needed. My mind is probably biased by ethnography, but could the point 1 be something like: mapping / seeing what challenges are uncovered-overepresented - selecting a small kernel / doing some interviews and coming back to think on the content? Or is this too long of a process?

Could the LOTE be a good opportunity to start conveying attention and illustrate the process while in action? What we’re talking about here is a much longer process, but there’s a lot to the making-of the LOTE which illustrates how ERs work, what they have to offer, and what they produce. Convey to the LOTE, if interested, and then - in any case - connect with after the LOTE to do what you wrote at point 1 and 2.


#23

Had managed to miss this. I think it’s a solid idea

low2no (cost or money) guides to fullfilling basic needs is a great idea. Set up a wiki here. Would be good if reporting from all sessions at #lote3 went into this wiki (some formatting and template for good entry needed).


#24

The jury is still out

Hello [urbanohumano], nice to meet you. We’ll see how this goes. My personal preference is for client work rather than “investment” or “funding”. But yes, the jury is definitely still out whether we can get any. Corporates speak a lot of “youth led organizations” and “empowerment”, but when it is time to buy expert advice they buy it from McKinsey. We’ll see.


#25

2cents

It would seem that the phenomenon of ‘bullshit jobs’ may have reached a saturation point. Advising on processes, trying to ride the coat-tails of top-down theatrics (‘so-called’ governance) by selling services that advise on ‘how to’ rather than to actually do, while claiming to ‘get shit done’, will draw interest only in so far as seeing through the fascade, and this is all it is when nothing is actually being done.

With UnMon there is a chance to change that reality, from the ‘process-pushing’ to actual output, real social value. Its very easy for a project like Edgeryders to be seen from above (i.e from those to whom you seek to sell services, or in the least by those upper houses whom Edgeryders seek to mediate between)  as a kind of ‘Ship of Fools’ for the cap-in-hand precariat. In the absence of evidence to the contrary this will remain the case.

Edgeryders, and the 15m/Occupy/Las Indignados crew (and in general those whose efforts are based at the meta-level, without active substance on the ground, in the field, in the forge, growing or creating actual things) are in dire need of actualization into real organic processes. I don’t want to go into the abstractus of organic practical philsophical reasoning as to why this is as it is, but it is definitely the case. Without roots things don’t grow. Use material to approach the material, value is representative of exchange of the actual.

Things have a definite way. If you approach via meta-interface then things will so remain, no doubt about it. If you can do work at the community level that is productive, starting simply, then the rest can follow from there.

I would hope that the plan, Matthias, for your book, would involve the doing of the thing and writing about the doing of the thing rather than beginning with the ‘how’ of the thing.

My intention here isn’t to annoy. You each do great work, (yes ‘DO’!) in specific areas, and that counts- for those areas. The rest comes in the doing. UnMon is the place for ER to come to flower, and from there to bare fruit. It will not be by abstract information, meta-level services, or consultancy, but by the organic setting, ‘in situ’, that people can bare witness to how these things develop from Practice.


#26

2cents

It would seem that the phenomenon of ‘bullshit jobs’ may have reached a saturation point. Advising on processes, trying to ride the coat-tails of top-down theatrics (‘so-called’ governance) by selling services that advise on ‘how to’ rather than to actually do, while claiming to ‘get shit done’, will draw interest only in so far as seeing through the fascade, and this is all it is when nothing is actually being done.

With UnMon there is a chance to change that reality, from the ‘process-pushing’ to actual output, real social value. Its very easy for a project like Edgeryders to be seen from above (i.e from those to whom you seek to sell services, or in the least by those upper houses whom Edgeryders seek to mediate between)  as a kind of ‘Ship of Fools’ for the cap-in-hand precariat. In the absence of evidence to the contrary this will remain the case.

Edgeryders, and the 15m/Occupy/Las Indignados crew (and in general those whose efforts are based at the meta-level, without active substance on the ground, in the field, in the forge, growing or creating actual things) are in dire need of actualization into real organic processes. I don’t want to go into the abstractus of organic practical philsophical reasoning as to why this is as it is, but it is definitely the case. Without roots things don’t grow. Use material to approach the material, value is representative of exchange of the actual.

Things have a definite way. If you approach via meta-interface then things will so remain, no doubt about it. If you can do work at the community level that is productive, starting simply, then the rest can follow from there.

I would hope that the plan, Matthias, for your book, would involve the doing of the thing and writing about the doing of the thing rather than beginning with the ‘how’ of the thing.

My intention here isn’t to annoy. You each do great work, (yes ‘DO’!) in specific areas, and that counts- for those areas. The rest comes in the doing. UnMon is the place for ER to come to flower, and from there to bare fruit. It will not be by abstract information, meta-level services, or consultancy, but by the organic setting, ‘in situ’, that people can bare witness to how these things develop from Practice.


#27

Could this be helpful?

I’ve been thinking on the point of having external points of view to convey food for thought in order not to be self-referential: could it be usefull if we create a slot on the sales - business-model dilemma and we present the different options and questions to people we invited for the encounter and that are willing to give their contribution out of interest and curiosity?

I’m thinking of people like Stefano Supino, Gisella Geraci, Massimo Pesci or Marco Crescenzi… people that (maybe) would be willing to be present, listen, and give their personal advice on what the ER social enterprise has to say on the subject.

Could that be of any interest?


#28

Complementarity between formal and informal models

Nadia’s approach sounds professional and may appeal to some professional bureaucrats

( though does not appeal as much to me personally - perhaps a bias of mine, sensing it may be too structured to feel authentic and organic ? )

If funding from regional bureaucracies is one of the explored pathways, some recent news of extra money for potentially funding trainings :

http://euobserver.com/social/120751

http://www.euronews.com/2013/06/27/eu-leaders-focus-on-youth-unemployment/

From my personal point of view, I like to head towards the direction of distributed small collectives.  It may be complementary with the other business models proposed, including the more organized and monetized ones such as Nadia’s proposed structure.

To enable small collectives ( which can be closer to where people have their own social networks , yet also enabling some others to do “base hopping” ), I imagine organizing ourselves as to find places to live in for a certain amounts of time , creating temporary contracts with the owners such as

http://www.precare.org/Website/Outils/Juridique.php?lang=En

The business model for these are to mutualize costs, and use this as an incubation space that can develop solutions to further reduce dependency on a monetised economy ( reducing monetary costs ).   A current example may be http://emergingleaderlabs.org/ , but also http://nomadbase.org , and to some extent, Matera in itself, though from what I read about it, the Matera space may have conditions related to the public relation needs of local institutions.


#29

is precare something like taskrabbit?


#30

about precare

Precare is an organization that ceased to exist, and was a not for profit serving as intermediary between artists and owners of vacant buildings, as to facilitate temporary ( and cheap  ) rental contracts.


#31

In relation to Eihmin’s point about ‘bullshit jobs’: everyone seems to drown in this kind of ‘consultancy’. Thinking&brainstorming in innovation challenge camps and thinktanks - a bit like if a plumber tells you that the toilet is clogged, draws a plan of how exactly it is clogged on a flipchart and leaves. It is helpful, but the consulted ones often have trouble to implement the plan.

Edgeryders might do all the stages in one package: from research to infrastructuring and prototyping. By prototyping I don’t mean glueing toilet-rolls together, but making real life stuff (or a pilot mini-version of it). I’msure this excists somewhere in one form or another, likely done by designers, I just can’t come up with the example straight away.

Agree about secondary importance of business models as such. It might be a hybrid, and not of a permanent kind.

The importance is to get right clients, there are a lot of puzzled institutions around spending money on rather inefficient consultancy, but they’re used to it. The question is how do we make them ask ERs instead?


#32

Micro / Macro “Economics” ?

As to combine the element of “bullshit jobs” and “package”,

when I look at some other intentional communities, for example certain ecovillages,

I notice there is a specific macroeconomy, where they sell something to the mainstream economy which brings money in for the community ( that operates as a not for profit ), and then there is an internal economy of chores, which is not necessarily monetized ( sometimes tasks are distributed along their own protocols, using in some cases points systems based on tasks ).

Some examples of what is sold to the external economy can be food, or even seminars, or dried flowers, etc …

In the case of Edgeryders, from what I read, I notice there is a specific focus on selling services.

Yet what I feel is lacking, is understanding of how the internal economy of the Edgeryder networks function…


#33

Modular Company

I am aware that if there is a business model, it is first and foremost to support a shared commons.

It may be of interest to develop a chart that enables to explicitly create a social contract around such aim, and define it more specifically.

In other words, create a license, very much like a GPL license in the field of FLOSS software.  There may be some compatible licenses - one can consider :

It may also be of interest to understand the similarities and differences between models.

I personally wish to support commercial approaches only if they are ultimately in of support to a commons

http://p2pfoundation.net/Modular_Company


#34

In Support of the Commons

As noted in the last post,

I believe it is important to focus and strictly define all activities around support for the commons, and this needs to be set as a condition for any Edgeryders partnership, or any usage of the Edgeryders brand.

Why ? Because ultimately this may be a strategy that can enable scalability,

reducing dependency on monopolistic protocols ( and artificial scarcity ).

It is important that this be defined as an important condition in a chart,

as to assure that a social entreprise approach is maintained by Edgeryders and its partners,

making sure that it not be corrupted by the pursuit of money in itself ( and its political implications ).

Making sure that Edgeryders can be a catalyser, an incubation space, a mutual support and cocreation environment in support of humans, societies, the environment - for the entities which are not been taken care of by systems of power,

and that enabling our contributions to remain accessible via a commons , while having our activities and partnerships support such commons, may be a strategy that can become scalable by reducing dependency on money and monopolies.

Excerpt from a recent post found via M. Bauwens

http://www.p-ced.com/1/node/49

in relation to Social Entreprise, which may be what Edgeryders may also define itself like ?

The term “social enterprise” in the various but similar forms in which it is being used today — 2008 — refers to enterprises created specifically to help those people that traditional capitalism and for profit enterprise don’t address for the simple reason that poor or insufficiently affluent people haven’t enough money to be of concern or interest. Put another way, social enterprise aims specifically to help and assist people who fall through the cracks. Allowing that some people do not matter, as things are turning out, allows that other people do not matter and those cracks are widening to swallow up more and more people. Social enterprise is the first concerted effort in the Information Age to at least attempt to rectify that problem, if only because letting it get worse and worse threatens more and more of us. Growing numbers of people are coming to understand that “them” might equal “me.” Call it compassion, or call it enlightened and increasingly impassioned self-interest. Either way, we are all in this together, and we will each have to decide for ourselves what it means to ignore someone to death, or not.


#35

Creating our Markets : Business Model between Each Other - OVN’s

I notice lots of focus seems to be on external institutional support, and on corporations.

I want to make a parallel :

I remember somehow that some migrants communities would be able to create internal economic networks between themselves.   Various professions would get clients from within their own community.

I can see the same for Edgeryders, and also for various other networks which may share common values and approaches, such as The Hub and other Coworking spaces, but also small software companies, etc

In other words, I believe we can focus on delivering services to each other.

At a macro-economical level, certain consultancies part of such shared cultures ( and potential economic networks ) may have it easier, at the current time, to “sell” their services for euros or mainstream currencies.

This can bring money into the networked economy, which can then circulate within it,

or more exactly serve as a guarantee for local exchanges, and be used for expenses outside of the networked economy ( while incentivizing spending within it )

To facilitate this, tools exist. For example we can encourage internal transactions by using Freigeld type of monetary architectures. 

And as to reduce spending to elements outside of the Edgeryder economic network, we can encourage mutualized costs and mutualized investments in infrastructures that can progressively reduce dependency on mainstream currencies.

We can also use barter types of monetary architectures, such as mutual credit systems.

But ultimately, what I believe we may be able to use, is “a market”.  We need to understand, internally, what people’s needs and offers are.

We can create our Open Value Networks, and invite other existing communities to interact and expand such economic networks.

Matthias app may be evolving in such direction, yet at the present moment is still at a stage of what , if I remember properly, is called Vaporware.

Other projects have a lot of similarities with Matthias economy app, and I do hope that we can make them build on each other.  To my knowledge, Matthias economy app is furthest in terms of institutional recognition, metamaps is furthest in terms of intuitive user interface design, and netention.org is furthest in terms of semantic technology backend development.   I believe this may be a first point of focus to further bootstrap our internal markets, and shared decision making / collective intelligence / open value network approach.

//

There may be an interest in understanding which SME’s , and in which sectors, may have an interest in Edgeryders.

I personally believe that what Edgeryders can be attractive for, is the social environment it creates. I imagine a starting focus midst others may be on sme’s that crosses national boundaries and languages, that share such culture, and even if only for their own morale and sense of belonging ( if they are independents for example ), connecting and supporting Edgeryders may be in their interest.

Secondly, I believe that for such independents or SME’s, Edgeryders can serve as a platform not only for collective and strategic intelligence, but also help mutualize costs, and hence enable them to become more “competitive” ( or reduce their financial burdens ) by reducing their costs through , for example, a sharing economy.  This kind of approach can also interface with other movements, such as OuiShare.

///

In other words, I personally wish to support the “selling” of Edgeryders as conviviality.

Hence also focus on small “nomad bases” spread in various places, where independents and sme’s can come and live and work, mutualize their costs, while enabling their income ( in euros ) to transit through the internal networked economies of Edgeryders, using various systems designs such as what some call “monetary systems”.

As this ecology grows, it can also attract professional accountants, that can help the community make sure it is perfectly in order what concerns tax requirements, even if and when it uses internal currencies.

Open Value Networks, as stated earlier on, can be interesting to inspire ourselves from.


#36

Distributed “Religion” as Business Model ?

I sometimes joke with friends,

saying that setting up a church , at least for the United States,

may be one of the more interesting statutes to take.

Though perhaps it is not so far fetched ,

especially when looking into certain concepts ( and trends ? ),

such as the ones I copy/paste below, and may have as more notable example events such as Boom Festival or Burning Man.

Personally, if such direction as “business model” is taken,

I would hope it can take issues seriously while never taking itself too seriously.

Possibly such as this church and religion ? :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult_of_the_Dead_Cow

///

 

http://syntheism.org/ 

was mentioned at the end of the Netocrats presentation
Note : similarities with Egregore ? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egregore  
 
" Syntheism arises from the 21st century atheist’s search for spiritual empowerment and his desire to connect more deeply and meaningfully with his fellow human beings, and the term Syntheos is an expression of the need to belong: the Greek “syn-” means “with”, “together”. Syntheism is sometimes called the religion of spiritual atheism. Spirituality is commonly associated with the search for the sacred, whereas atheism is in fact the disbelief in certain specific gods. Syntheists understand religion as a social and communal practice and as the process-oriented alternative to the goal-oriented social discourse which maneuvers people into frustration-inducing, Sisyphean activities that only limit their creative potential. "
 
//
 

at 55 minutes, about netocrats 

( found via Dorota )
 
 
 

The concept was later picked up by the Swedish philosophers Alexander Bard and Jan Söderqvist for their book Netocracy — The New Power Elite and Life After Capitalism (originally published in Swedish in 2000 asNätokraterna - boken om det elektroniska klassamhället, published in English by Reuters/Pearsall UK in 2002).

The netocracy concept has been compared with Richard Florida’s concept of the creative class. Bard and Söderqvist have also defined an under-class in opposition to the netocracy, which they refer to as the consumtariat.


#37

Empty building bonsultancy from DK

Just came across the org called givrum providing consultancy to owners of empty buildings - I like the idea. They’re supported by Realdania, that’s all I know. I’m going to their conf tomorrow - Think Space


#38

Tagdel: challenges posted by orgs solved by Danes

Quote: “Behind the TAG DEL.dk 's purpose is very clear vision: To make the Danes to the most socially committed and active citizens of the world.”

Here is tagdel googletranslated site. A platform where orgs are posting challenges, and then people solve them. Not sure exactly how it works businessmodelwise, may be a small-scale monetizing of crowdwisdoms, similar to offline challenge camps.


#39

Space Makers

also see SpaceMakers :

http://dougald.co.uk/sma.htm

http://spacemakers.info/

http://spacemakers.ning.com/

http://blip.tv/dougald-hine/make-it-happen-the-space-makers-approach-5382568