Great stuff, do you have few target organizations in mind who could benefit most from it? Is WeWork one of them?
I do—at this point I’m mainly working with smaller orgs. WeWork would be a huge lift.
I don’t see how new structures of monetization can fix a stupid business model. 10 years ago when they started, my friend and I ran the numbers and it was never going to work.
Not sure how an exit to the community would work with securities laws and regulation, especially for a company of WeWork’s size. Any insight on that @ntnsndr?
I’ll soon be circulating a paper with some possible models with legal background. The approach I’m most excited about is a mechanism that uses a trust structure (briefly outlined here), but the main answer is that we need experiments and creativity to find out.
Thank you for sharing @ntnsndr. Big fan of your work and the support you have shown for the platform cooperative movement, and I will be taking a look at the paper at a later time. Agreed regarding needing more experiments to see if any of these models work. What initially moved you to consider a trust structure?
Thanks! What draws me to the trust structure is the legacy of the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), which has used trusts to carry out large-scale ownership conversions in the past. It seems a compelling model to draw on.
I read some of your previous articles on ESOPs and found it an interesting model since it comports with the cooperative model. I like the trust structure, but I have some reservations regarding trustee liability. Though, my opinion on the trust structure is starting to improve because of the rise of Data Trusts.
Thank you for replying!
I think you’re right about the questions surrounding trustee liability, as well as the enforcability of purpose-based provisions. Whether this develops into a usable tool remains to be seen. But the fact that both Google (via Sidewalk Labs) and Facebook (for its oversight board) are using trusts on large-scale governance problems suggests there will be some important developments around this form in the near future.
Oh definitely. I have seen from my own experience and research people trying to innovate the trust structure to meet new demands (e.g., Data Trusts). I will have to look into trusts more myself to see if there are innovations we can apply with the model.
This is an interesting topic for the project I am working on, it is an online marketplace whose core concepts are self governance using direct democracy concepts.
At the moment focused on development but the loose plan is self fund after release, avoid any type of investment that exerts ownership control, then once large enough create a legal structure where the users are the owners.
There are some big hurdles I have not delved to deep into yet that match your area of knowledge, where/how to incorporate at the different ownership stages and how to transitions between them, am interesting in staying in touch.
I’d love to learn more about your project! I’m also working on a project about governance strategies for various platforms: http://metagov.org/
@ntnsndr do you have a public forum suitable for discussing such topics?
Not sure what you mean. Say more?
@ntnsndr I was thinking you might have a separate forum for member/employee governed organizations but I guess this dgov forum is as good a place as any to discuss? Maybe I should move over to a new topic?
Well, sure, I also frequent (and co-moderate) platform co-op forums like the platformcoop-discuss list and Social.coop. See here: https://ioo.coop/connect/
But I’m happy to discuss here as it’s relevant.
@SvenTheBarbarian would love to create a subgroup for such question/working group if you need. Just let me know the title =)
There are a lot of interesting sites and projects in the links that stem from this, I will try to have a deeper read, most seem co-op orientated but some are similar to what I am working on, and maybe a better place to talk about practical tasks of the organisational structure.
If wanting to add a topic here, maybe a title like Ideas for Creating the Legal Entity of an International User Owned Online Service?