The Reef: Membership and Economic Model (Draft)

Ideas what we could add to the place that could generate income:

Tool depot / a shared space of tools, tents, games and whatever else with a subscription.

Bike fix station

3d printer lab

solar power - ideally if we could gradually switch towards sustainable energy generation and selling it to the neighbors/donating for free to entities such as nurseries or schools


I think

  • tool depot is a great idea, perhaps also include a small number of consumable materials that will likely “pay their rent”.

  • 3D printer is a nice little extra*, but perhaps even more often used would be a 3D scanning facility

  • while I am a fan of renewables, breaking even on selling the electricity will be hard. You could certainly offer e.g. an electric bike charger together with a (self) repair shop though

*shapeways is around the corner - but a quick experimental print or similar could certainly be done in reef

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We can apply to fund it from Velux foundation, which allows purchasing real estate

And get support from this call - The New shape, remodeling global cooperation. I mean, where do we fit better?

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Maybe a spreadsheet of funding opportunities with deadlines?

Like this it’s hard to know how to allocate time… maybe people can tweet us using a hashtag (or we can tweet when we come across something elevant)?

Off season, after hours

Hey I am wondering if one could lower the committment threshold if one paid for a couple of days stay in advance (or got them through services to ER community).

And then one maybe would not have the same rights as a recurring payer, but could for example stay a couple of days extra after an event. Perhaps there are seasons when there are few event or lots of people are on holidays. One could meet up with someone in Brussels to discuss things of mutual interest more easily. I don’t know how to best handle this - perhaps with a red, yellow, green status?

And depending on if ER is more in need of money or collaboration you could throw out more or less of such opportunities.


The in-kind payment

How is the advance 2-day payment different from Remote membership above?

Nice touch with the in-kinds, especially with so much precarity around us and edgeryders members big on moneyless economies. Fyi @Yannick and HUIS VDH (the Bxl space turned event venue) have just launched an improved protocol for venue rental which is interesting because: it’s based on learnings from a trial period in 2016, and acknowledges the bootstrapping mode the team seems to be in; while anybody can request a venue by completing forms, the procedure is flexible enough to allow hosts to examine a request and make decisions on a case by case basis; it opens up possibility to pay by contributing to the space renovation and maintenance, which I understand should not be underestimated especially when it comes to ran down or incomplete spaces.

Unfortunately, if the Reef Bxl needs to make hard cash even to pay rent, well that informs a large part of the membership model.


Only difference is lump vs recurring I think

If I give you say 100 EUR tomorrow I don’t have trouble with making this work with my cash flow over time (similar to ER Bxl crew, community members often want to keep recurring costs of the book I think). Also, our style is decidedly non-linear I’d say. We don’t visit for 5 days every year, for the next 20 years. We visit once for 2-3 nights and discuss things. Then if things start working out we come again for a week. Then the same next month. Then we see, fuckit, it is easier to straight up move to Bxl.

Or we bring an acquaintance for a 3-way discussion and a short holiday meet-up. And on the last day they decide that some ER project is what they really want to do, and never go back home. As crazy as it may sound, but those are the more plausible models from my perspective.

Also, if you have 100 EUR tomorrow - those can go to work for making the place a desirable destination straight away. If the users come before the cash it is the wrong way around. In-kind contributers are usually a different story - there it may be better if they first get to experience what you actually need and can thus contribute more efficiently and effectively.


Remote membership = advancing the fee

Ok, I think I got it, but that’s pretty much how I read it initially. Makes complete sense to me.

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Alot depends on the venue itself

E.g. does it have a shopfront or no? Is it on a busy street or a “dead zone”? So it maybe it makes sense to do things in this order for each city under consideration (starting with Brussels):

  1.  Find a number of venues that are available *now*
  2. Drive a community discussion about possible revenue streams for each one to develop credible proposals
  3. Design and drive a "pick one" campaign in which people commit resources to the combination ( space + model) in which they believe.

We run this cycle with/through an intense online/offline outreach and engagement campaign in the city for up to 3 months.

What do you guys think?

Longer term planning indeed.

The only problem I see with this idea is having someone on the ball around each of these spaces, also to see when the window of opportunity closes. For example the space at may not be there indefinitely, but it does make sense to do this thorough modeling as a case study.

We’re on the ball in Brussels

I think we can prototype the whole online-offline process from looking for spaces, to evaluating and finally choosing something in Brussels. Because we are already here and can quickly follow up on things. Plus we have accommodations and coworking space where we can easily host people who come in to do spurts of work on making this happen in the city.

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I have an architect friend

who is no stranger to activism and unconventional living. Currently he is based in Vienna but circumstances are good to have a talk with him. I already nudged him once, but I think it would be better if you fill him in on your vision directly.

He should have enough French to work on the ground in Bxl as well. I’ll pm you his skype - feel free to cold call him (although he’s in a bit of a hot-cold situation, so you may have to schedule eventually).

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I guess Nadia will follow up once we are back in Brussels. :relaxed:

How could I have missed this? Thanks!

That’s a great suggestion. Might be the first person we contact after our second community call today.

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Good discussion everyone, thanks.

There are two kinds of costs: one-off investments (renovation etc.) and running costs (rent etc.). I suggest to start by focusing on the viability of running costs, not because one-offs are not important but because it makes the problem more tractable.

With a commercial space that we pay rent for, in-kind makes a ton of sense for renovation, but not so much for running costs, as Noemi pointed out.



maybe it already occured in your discussion, but i’m sharing anyway looks a lot what @nadia explained to me some months ago about your plans. Looks interesting

Thanks, joined. Interesting and valid for the Irish situation. Irish government have launched a “Help to buy” scheme, which in reality doesn’t appear very helpful. Seems geared more towards helping to get into debt. Another initiative on the way here is rennovation grants for first time buyers in small rural towns.

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Thanks @Yannick , Nadia and I just had an animated discussion on this. It seems a leasing contract with some add-ons. Some are nice and even needed: for example, in our home we already deduct any money we spend for repairs from our share of the rent. We use a shared Google spreadsheets.

We both liked the transparent, data-based approach to housing. “Transparent” is why we use G-sheets instead of LibreOffice files saved on someone’s hard drive. Same thing for Edgeryders asa  company: accounting is in the cloud, and we all have full access. I don’t particularly see the benefit of using a blockchain-based system (must be computation-heavy, with significant overhead), but maybe I’m not looking hard enough.

Met great people from Communa a lot of synergies for Reef in BXL

@nadia @alberto @noemi

Today i met the people from Communa that are also rehabilitating vacant spaces through their knowledge of juristictions (two of them are actual jurist), they explained their businessmodel and the next big challenges and i think you all need to meet. They have a working system, experimenting with rent systems but want to tackle also if people buy something in group and such on. I’m sure you will find a lot in common to discuss and maybe they will help you find the Reef in BXL

Let me know if you need contacts,


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Ok, let’s see

Thanks for the tip. For further reference, I looked them up and they’re probably these guys:

I don’t think buying is in question, but anyway @Alberto and @Nadia are just returning to Bxl and will probably want to meet up! Yay, super thanks again.