AB Biz Platform Meeting Notes July 7, 2010
In attendance: Peter Troxler, Klaas Hernamdt, John Boeck, Eddie Kirkby, Frosti Gislason, Sherry Lassiter (host)
We reviewed the websites/business platforms briefly: 100K garages (of which BCN and Fox Valley Tech are already members) and Ponoko, both of which have a consumer centric focus and are fabrication centric. Pull in different kinds of consumers. Putting buyer in contact with maker. Ecosystem is energized by this interaction/connection.
Also discussed Akvo.org, the water and sanitation resources website. Akvo matchmakes between clean water projects around the world and funders. The site also has wikis for each project, where best practices are shared by project and where they knowledge-build together. Really nice project. Platform for sharing and matchmaking is in development, but it is open source and so available to communities like our own.
Eddie brought up Innovation Exchange and Brainrack as great examples of crowdsourcing approaches to business platforms. These are sites whereby a company might post a 50K contract/job to the community to solve a problem and the community finds a design solution, or solves the problem/challenge. It’s a nice structure, pose the questions, community comes up with the answer. And there is a financial reward.
Crowdsourcing definition: problem needs solving, problem is posed to a large network/community, someone within the community comes up with the solution.
John brought up Amazon.com’s Mechanical Turk (you can also go directly to it if you have an Amazon.com account: https://www.mturk.com/mturk/welcome). People or organizations outsource microtasks that can be done online, and members of the community do the jobs and get paid a small sum to complete these jobs. Part of Amazon.com’s growing suite of web services. Another good crowdsourcing approach.
Eddie also brings up Freelancer.com – the biggest outsourcing site in the world. Outsources for small businesses.
Note: all of these sites combine very powerful capabilities, leveraging a large and distributed network, and are quite close to the heart of what we want to do.
Klaas met with the founder of Akvo.org. He is willing to send us or let us glimpse at his business plan so we can learn a little bit about how they do what they do. They have developed an opensource platform that can be used by others. He is sending the download links to Klaas. Akvo.org makes some money by consulting with communities regarding how to implement and install the platform. At FAB6 we should get Avko and the Univ of Illinois Supercomputing folks to sit down together with us and think about developing a funding proposal to build a platform that combines many of the best capabilities described above, and is open source and easy to use and build onto by the community. Through such a collaboration we can design it, build it, test it, and try it out.
We should leverage FAB6 for this idea, as the desire and momentum exist in the community now.
Eddie does remind us that we need a great big server to handle this project.
AS we think about this there are a few things we don’t want to forget:
- It’s important for the fab community to connect internally with its members. We are lacking strength in that regard.
- This is about sustainability of the labs. How to make us more sustainable. How to make MONEY.
- We are trying to bring local demand and global expertise together. Need a stragegy to advertise and market this idea…(Klaas) like this is a place for solutions rather than a database of expertise.
- Need a solution, have brain power in network that can help. Not necessarily a skills database, though it can also be used that way between labs.
- What is the message we want to send? Akvo is very clear, it’s about developing clean water and sanitation projects around the world. 100K Garages is also very clear.
We need a mission, a focused vision! Need to narrow down the field.
Our goals include:
- Network distribution problem solving
- Leverage expertise
- Sustainability (how revenue is generated, how funds are earned
Solutions à collaboration, something like that in a few words.
Three parts to our assignment for next session:
Each of us needs to come up with three things, and post them here on Iceland’s fabwiki for fab business by July 16 so that we can all review before our next meeting on Tuesday, July 20 (8:00AM EST)
- Come up with a mission statement for this site/tool
- Come up with an ideal set of capabilities that our tool should offer—the underlying requirement for the system
- Come up with a brief business/money generation scheme associate with the tool, that is, how do we make money? What is the Revenue aspect of the plan?
Try to briefly address how this is unique to the world, what problem(s) does it solve and how does it do so differently?
Frosti notes that the community has really three products/platform needs:
We need different platforms or entry points for each product./need as different fab labs have different goals and aren’t all interested in doing the same things. May not want all of the above.
Next Meeting: Tuesday, July 20 , 8:00AM EST.
Thank you! (Lass)