Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Paula Abdul says...

I think it was a few weeks ago, when Paula was giving advice to the American Idol contestants on T.V., and she said as her one and only piece of advice "don't google yourself". There are so many opportunities she had to say something smart, but that's all she said. So naturally, I googled "open source hardware bank" 5 minutes ago and found some stuff, and some commentary. The whole goal is to do this with lots of help, and to be open about everything, so naturally I figured I'd share what I found for anyone who cared to read (and save anyone else some time finding it too):

Michael has a nice summary of everything over here - sometimes it's nice when someone helps me take a few steps back and realize what everything sounds like to someone else - thanks! ps - I guess I am technically part of the "Arduino ecology," but I'd really like to expand :) pps he also has some really nice other articles about peer-to-peer issues of decentralized coordination, control, and ideas. I'd really like to see more about distributed, decentralized "labor" and "productivity" ideas...

Thanks, Make! (btw as soon as I finish moving to my new place, I'm buying a real print subscription instead of renewing PopSci... which is a big deal because I've gotten PopSci for over 12 years... oh well, like a guy rationalizing a Playboy subsription, I swear I'm switching just because of the articles...) Anyway, stunmonkey wrote in a comment that said:
"How about an incubator that cuts infrastructure (web, ability to accept credit cards, etc) and specialized knowledge/skills (legal, photographic, marketing, etc.) by simply supplying some of it? Sort of parts or all of an SBA/Credit union/makers gallery/Ebay/Trade assoc./Collective advertising/web host group rolled into one? Then simply take a percentage of sales through the websites - they'd be hosted by and payment funneled through the groups servers anyway."

Sure, why not? If you want me to list and sell your thingy on the liquidware store website, I'll do it for free provided that you made it yourself, and as long as you maybe help me learn what it does so Mike or I don't sound like an idiot when someone else asks for help ... oh yeah, and as long as you're willing to pay "child support" in the form of periodic emails - ha :)

Pramode wrote on his blog a nice little quip, which I completely, totally, agree with - p.s. I like that he used the term "hacker," that's a term of endearment to me, and I will really try to live up to that title, since it carries pretty heavy responsibilities (spiderman moment and dramatic music) I want to make cool stuff that is hard to build and pushes me to learn more electrical engineering, and I suppose that is also "hackerish"...
"We may be reasonably assured that banks like AJMIC won’t cause any recession; because they are being managed by people who may not dislike becoming millionaires but have many other more compelling passions/goals in life. The tragedy of our time is that we allowed money to be “managed” by charlatans whose only goal in life was to discover more and more ways to multiply money" had quite a few comments, actually, which tells me that Linux and OSHW apparently have a lot of overlap:
"It's not clear how the financials are going to work from the blog post, but one assumes that it'll simply be making a loan. If you can front the cash for X units, they'll loan you enough to increase that initial order to 2X units."
Yep, just please don't come knocking asking for too much money, because the bank isn't that big yet. The financials are going to go up as soon as I finish getting a feed from the sql db to Excel and into a chart.
"The idea seems sound (if tricky to administer) to me."

Thanks... Tricky, yes, which is why I'm getting a lot of help now from all kinds of guys who have offered to help (thanks)
"No, but he obviously knows how to build hardware, and probably has some sort of feel as to what is a viable idea and what isn't. In a way it would be like having your own investment advisor in the small-scale electronics market, and it's all open hardware to boot."

Thanks! that's also pretty generous, I suppose you could look at it that way. Although I am NOT an investment advisor, and never want to be one, and would probably really suck at it if I were one... but thanks :) p.s. one things for sure, if I were an investment advisor, I would not give myself millions of dollars of other peoples' hard earned money just because someone bailed me out. That makes me furious.
"Sorry, I don't get it. What's in it for such a bank?"
A cause? giving back to other DIY'ers like we got help from my professor, friends that helped me learn ee concepts, people that lent me money, and guys that make it happen (pun intended)
"And if people in such a bank do work, somebody is going to have to pay for it. Which means that an equilibrium is just not good enough."
Well, I'm volunteering my time, and I guess you could call that work, and I'm ok not to make money for my volunteering, and if it gets too hard, I'll just ask for help. I thought jurassic park was mandatory viewing, especially where that guy says about the asexual frogs that were all female, "life finds a way". I think that means I just called myself and everyone who invested in the Open Source Hardware Bank an asexual vegan dinosaur... hmmmm... not very good "communications" I suppose...
"'So Andrew, Justin, and I will see to it that the Open Source Hardware. Bank does not default, and each of us will guarantee every investment.' It sounded remotely plausible until they wrote this."
Well, the whole point is to engineer the bank so this isn't needed in the future. and in the meantime, as long as the numbers we're talking about aren't that big, it's manageable. also had a couple of comments, which I really liked:
"I don't get it? I visited the website they put up for this open source bank but there is not much informaiton yet. Who is Chris, David, Mark, Mike, Omar, and Justin? Why not just setup a non-profit organization and hold fund raising events like all other non-profit ogranizations. Store the money in a federally insured bank and create a Board of Directors. Then establish a low cost membership that would allow Members to also have a vote in how the money is used. The more popular projects would end up getting more money which is a good thing. At least then you could hold swap meets, social gatherings, and other types of fund raisers."
Oh come on :-) I have a day job too over here, and html and php doesn't grow off trees :) Ha. Anyway, that's me, and some guys I've met over time mostly in ct, ny, ma and nj. And, I think that idea sounds nice actually, except that a nonprofit costs like $18,000 / year just to have and to run, and report, and file in the U.S. That's like 3 or 4 projects worth of money right there, which is ironic, because the only one who makes money off of this being a nonprofit is the government (which is technically not the open source community) PS I grew up in Maryland, so cheers!

djiezes apparently made some clipmarks too over here - which is funny, because there's no better way to know what people actually care about or take away from something you say unless you peek into their notes... i suppose it's kind of like the peanuts/snoopy cartoons they show on t.v. late at night when the 'adults' speak: "blablablablablablablaopen source hardware bankblablablablablathrowaway costs and quantity monopolyblablablablablablablaopen source hardware costs moneyblablablablablablaneeds a bankblabla" well, that's clifnotes for you :-)

Then there's lots of stuff on twitter (I think I've seen it called "tweets" but I feel like ordering a skinny vanilla mochachino frappe latte triple duoventi whenever I hear that term), but i don't know how to use twitter. Maybe I'll make a gadget that sends twitter tweets one of these days so I can keep up with everyone....

1 comment:

Greg said...

Actually, becoming a 501(c)3 federally recognized non-profit is not that expensive (~$600 fee). However, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for the OSHB because orgs that accept federal non-profit status are limited in their actions in a way that would likely make running a bank impossible. For example, I don't think that 501c3s are allowed to either borrow or lend money (though it's arguable that the OSHB doesn't do either of these things at all...)

At some point, it might make sense to have a non-profit sister organization that stands next to the bank, but even that will be easier after a few years of operation. The 501c3 application process is much easier if you can provide some evidence of real operation.