Several people have observed this: in the last few months there has been less visible action in the forum, and people are worried about that, they what’s going on in meet.coop?
Meet.coop is much alive, as you can see at the OpenCollective site, with new members joining almost every day now. And there’s much work going on behind the screens. So maybe it’s good to reflect a bit about the changes that are going on in meet.coop and see how we can do this best together. I’ll open with a summary and then reflect on some of the things I think we need to work on, as a community.
The first 3 months: May - July.
we started with the idea to share a BBB server and allow interested people and org’s to join as members. We worked in the open, through wiki + forum + open All hands meetings on Thursday’s. We set up the minimum viable service to host the Open 2020 with OpenCoop mid June and in July we adopted with consent the key foundational decisions: 1) about membership and 2) about service and contribution levels. We were aware then that it would cost a serious effort to operationalise all that, without funding, but with an excellent group of operational members and people in the 3 circles of work.
the last 4 months
we have been focusing on internal processes,org building and sales. There’s much work being done to define the marketing strategy and new website, to define and run the compensation framework, to operationalise payments, to improve our services and member support. It’s only less visible. Some of it can be seen on the forum, some on the website and linked documents. But the process is obviously less transparent for the community, for all but the operational members.
While we still meet every Thursday in the All hands meeting, we don’t announce it any longer, as for efficiency reasons we are fine if only the ops members - i.e. those actively involved in the day to day work in the circles - are participating and we discuss the key tasks and issues that are presented by the circles of work. Every now and then user members join us, like @garyalex joined us in the last few sessions, and that’s much appreciated! The circles have their biweekly meetings, while the tasks and documents are shared through the NextCloud server. Moving away from the wiki to the NextCloud has been both very practical and keeps information shared not with the whole world but only with the directly involved, i.e. the ops members. There’s much sensitive info on potential members willing to join, that cannot be shared until they make that decision to join. It does however affect our relationship and info shared with the community.
All this work on organisational building and sales is key. So far we have passed the 1000 GBP recurring monthly revenue, with 66 members now (see OpenCollective). That’s a great milestone. And while it doesn’t do much to pay fair wages yet, we hope to be there in a year from now. So we should become much better still!
We run however the risk that meetcoop turns into a SaaS selling (still imperfect) services to people called “customers”. Well, organised as a kind of worker coop. But that’s not what we wanted, right? We wanted a cooperative SaaS platform where the users are co-owning members, who can have a say in the community and in the governance. A combination between a cooperative and a commons, i.e. community is part and parcel of what meetcoop is.
I think it is time that we work more closely between ops members and user members. One way is to discuss more over the forum (and I’m the first to blame, as I haven’t said much here lately). Possibly we could do periodic meetups where interested people can join to know and discuss about meet.coop? Or people throwing parties, workshops or game sessions that the community can join? Or other more creative ideas? We have the opportunity to gather for a small Xmas party, if people want to engage here
I feel we do need to do an effort to keep building our userbase as a community of co-owning members, that feel part of the shared mission and want to engage more than a typical customer would do. Only then do we have a chance of realising the mission.
my two cents. Happy to know yours