Business plan for

I’m wondering if anyone has done any modelling about the financials for

For example, I think it would be really interesting to look at some numbers for:

  • Number of concurrent users the existing servers can handle
  • Cost to rent / buy these servers
  • Sys Admin costs to keep these servers up and running
  • Any other costs
  • Possible price points for offering video services to individuals
  • Possible price points for offering video services to orgs (if we can / want to differentiate this way!?)
  • etc

Once we have a few of these numbers we could work out a business plan and P&L and design a draft marketing plan…

I imagine that, if it was designed and marketed effectively - could generate enough income to pay everyone who contributes to essential tasks quite well… AND generate a healthy surplus which could be invested in the development of further tools to expand’s growth and potential… whilst also empowering a community of collaborators with similar values. This is something I have wanted to help build for a LONG time - and I would be very interested in working on the business planning and marketing side of things in order to try and help make a success! :slight_smile:

If anyone can provide me with some numbers for any of the above, no matter how draft, it will enable us to start developing a possible business plan for discusion…



I think part of the equation might depend on robust redundancy and fallback design. If we can do that, I think we will be able to throw in various cheap nodes and even ask the users to throw in their own servers. (We will need to work out how pricing may work for such cases - it might be similar to household renewable power sale to the grid)

I am not sure whether BBB can do these or we need to develop our own software.

Anyway, I think the operational cost estimate might differ hugely depending on how we optimize our video conference system

I think the operational cost estimate might differ hugely depending on how we optimize our video conference system

That is of course very true!
What I was hoping for was a rough idea of the current costs for what we have set up now - which we know worked OK for OPEN - and could probably have handled more… at least if we have some basic costs we can work out possible pricing based on a cost + margin model.

I think the idea of people providing servers etc is great - but is for further down the line once we have some income and know how we want to evolve…

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Yes, I totally agree. I am no expert can only speculate :sweat_smile: but if I may:

  • $5.99 / mo kind of basic, oversold, best-effort-basis service for the multi-stakeholder members. The members also agree that they are taking part in this experiment and will take part in future updates of service fees and terms

  • Negotiable prices for events (like Open)

Sorry, not very much information but that’s what came to my mind :sweat_smile:

I would estimate that the current server could handle around 200 concurrent users, but the most we have had so far is around 55 and I’m not sure how many of those 55 concurrent users had their webcams on and this was only when one room was in use. I have been posting some graphs from the server on this thread:

We have has considerable support from Koumbit and @Sebas891, they have provided and provisioned the server and the VPS for a non-commercial cost, on a trial basis, as an experiment and we have been asked not to make the amount we are going to be charged by them public — they are a “producer member” of the co-op, perhaps this information could be shared on a private thread?

The has been provided at no cost to us by The Digital Life Collective, the server has been provided at no cost by FOSSHOST and the and development servers have been provided by Webarchitects, no money has been exchanged for any of these servers.

Only a few people have been tracking their time using our time tracker:

Of the time recorded there from when it was setup on 7th May 2020 to 21st June 2020 there is a total of 212 hours recorded, of these 112 are recorded as DevOps / sysadmin.

We have been trying to keep track of these on the contributions wiki page but I expect there are lots of things missing from there.

My feeling is that the the best and most relevant information to answer your question might actually be in the hands of ColloCall as they are several months ahead of us in the provision and selling of BigBlueButton based services, perhaps @hng might be able to share some information on this if we create a private thread for it?


Another idea, bulk sale to a large organization.

There are large worker coops in Japan - if we partner with them somehow, I think we can make a bulk sale so that they can extend “free online video conference” for their members as benefit.

At the moment, we are not there yet - we need them to know BBB and start to like it but I think the opportunities are there :slight_smile:

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@osb thanks for posting this. This will give us an idea of cost to break even taking into consideration various forms of contributions to date.

Hypha members (@Yurko @elon and myself) collectively tracked 55 hours to date on our Clockify.

Longer term, we can work on the livestreaming (imagine OBS integration and closed-captioning) & video post-processing pipeline (automated encoding into 720p and 1080p versions and semi-automated publish to desired platforms after a manual review step). It’s software development, but no one else currently offers a good end-to-end solution.

I’d say that’s interesting especially when they want to pay for the actual time it requires to set that up and not according to a predefined “service level” package. Currently we are making a rough estimate to approximate as good as we can to 1) user needs and 2) real costs. Both we can only now after some while. So if you manage to sell to large customers, it would need to be a custom deal with DevOps committing to that, right?

I feel that right now we’re not in that game yet, but I might be mistaken :slight_smile:

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Let me recall that we have a shared spreadsheet tracking currently committed Income & Expenses. The internal link for those who have an account on the NextCloud server:

Maybe of interest, with CommonsCloud we have done a rough estimate to reach break-even and be able to pay a our team a few days a week do for the key functions, it gets to a few hundred organisations and approx 2000 individuals, depending on where you set priorities. Right now we are 5 organisations and 25 individuals having a total of 500 accounts there. So still a long way to go to base sustainability in the member contributions.

Back to a rough initial approximation, like on the back of the metaphorical envelop:

  • Imagine a level where we get to 200 user organisations contributing approx 50€/month
  • Imagine that in parallel we reach a similar number of individual members contributing 10€/month
  • That would sum up an annual revenue of 144.000€
  • Imagine that we’d be able to handle that with 10-12 dedicated machines at 300€/month, ca. 40k€
  • With a remaining ca. 100k€ for labour compensation, what could be done to compensate the key workers a few days a week?

To reach such level of user members will require effort from all of us, without there being much revenue in the start.

In my view we’ll need public/private funding to kickstart key improvements or developments. I don’t think that we can invest voluntarily in serious development - or that would be a substantial donation by those persons. Key areas of improvement / development we have been mentioning so far:

  1. onboarding and user account management with Single Sign On
  2. improvements at the FrontEnd, c.q. Greenlight
  3. improvements at the backend, c.q. BBB+Scalelite

the service level discussion is mainly here atm.

YES! What do we need NOW?
For marketing you mentioned we’d need 1) sign-up form, 2) consent with TC & privacy policy 3) get some newsletter up and running to communicate with users.
Can we get the offering to host us at OpenCollective up and running?

And meanwhile we work on with the detailed business plan? Count me in.



Just a few hours ago, we had our weekly ICT discussion with my friends at large Japanese worker coops.

There was almost a consensus:

  • Japanese worker coops have had almost no exposure to free software and they need to be educated. Once they see the light, they could become a powerful ally

  • BBB has been a good example - they are getting more used to it and starting to like it.

  • Demo accounts will really help - the free accounts courtesy of Agaric have been well received.

  • They need marketing material! Feature comparison chart, etc

  • Video conference is probably just a beginning - huge opportunities lie ahead

I am now curious - what about other large coops, or worker coops in other countries - Mondragon, for example?

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Hi All,
I’m re-booting this thread having calculated a few numbers, based on our Revenue, Costs of Services and hours contributed in the last quarter.

Check out the spreadsheet and have a play with the numbers if you like (for example, try changing the target hourly rate).

What this tells us is, [in Scenario 1] if we want to pay our contributors our target hourly rate of £60 we would need ~ 604 Members - i.e. we need 11 x growth (which might just be doable if we were to focus ALL the hours we ALL put in on sales!?)

Or, [in Scenario 2] if the existing number of contributors (8) were to all work 2 days / week on (which is probably more realistically what we need to grow successfully?) we would need ~ 1766 Members - i.e. we need 32 x growth.

I’d be very interested in your thoughts on this - and a deeper conversation about the possibility of allocating “points” (or credits, or whatever you want to call them) to contributors for the difference between what we are able to pay them and our target hourly rate - until we are able to pay people properly - which could then be ‘paid back’ in fiat (actual £), once we are sustainable…

Screenshot 2021-01-31 at 17.42.51

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thanks for this, @osb, it is very useful to create useful scenarios that could help steer our strategies. And aiming for fair wages is clearly one of or the biggest challenge at hand in this phase.

  • the tariff used for hourly wages is really high in comparison to the averages in the social economy. It is a reasonable external tariff though, but that’s different from labour cost per hour. Of course it is hard to compare this between cities, countries and sectors. Maybe we could calculate with a few options, something near to half of that?
  • how much labour is needed to run the key functions? That’s also something to explore. Currently as most part is unpaid work, the number of hours invested is limited as our team needs to work on other paid work. But I guess it’s ok for now to think of 8 people 2 days a week for now, that should give us considerable capacity to fulfill the key functions.
  • I like the idea of exploring a credit or point system, which could provide the current team a way of building up credits that can be compensated for in a later stage. Maybe we should do a session about this, to discuss various models of mutual credit, time banks, CollectiveOne and so and see what could make sense. If the effort to run such as scheme is reasonable, so not too much overhead, then it might make much sense. And an interesting experiment?