Hmmm … it looks like Doug (and maybe Geoffrey) could be all alone, and I do not feel completely comfortable with that picture. So …
Against my better judgment, and although I, too, need to get ready for our Axial-Age meet-up on Friday, I have a last-minute proposal for tomorrow that gleans what I believe to be the best of this thread thus far combined with a leap into the unknown, but a leap that could just be beneficial for this platform that everyone claims to love.
Doug proposed a long-term, future-oriented Café. I think this is noble, sincere, and well-intended. It lacks, IMONSHO, a specific focus. I would hone in on the “long-term” notion and say, “Let’s make it strategic”. That is, why not take all our future-oriented thinking, apply it to the Café – or, better, the IC platform – and do a bit of strategic brain-storming. If anything comes of it, we have something to offer Marco and Caroline and all of the rest of us who would like to see the platform succeed. What I’m proposing is we conduct a real-live strategic workshop instead of just “talking”; that is, let’s do something concrete, practical, and potentially helpful.
Instead of asking what we envision the Café (or the platform to be in 20 or 50 years), let’s ask ourselves what has to happen so that the platform survives, period. In other words, let’s ask ourselves what is a realistic strategic horizon for Infinite Conversations. And, in addition, let’s call into awareness that the platform should optimally be some kind of “co-op” (even if we don’t know specifically and assuredly just what that means). This means that the primary seed question for our little brain-storming session would be
What should the Cosmos co-op be when it grows up?
We, of course, can’t answer this question specifically, but we have enough input to make it meaningful. We know, for example, that it should be some kind of “business entity” that is, in some sensible meaning of the word, “sustainable” (i.e., it can survive on its own). We know that the “investors” (whoever they are and however they are conceived) “benefit” from their investment, and that the participants should be able to incorporate their own activities on that platform in a meaningful, and potentially “profitable” way: perhaps one earns units of some kind of crypto-currency, or authors can get published here and received something like royalties, or … you get the picture. The details of the vision can be fleshed out later, and it is obvious that the current “powers-that-be” are thinking along these lines. The details are, quite honestly spoken, irrelevant for the moment.
Stated succinctly, we have a quasi-business entity that would like to become self-sufficient. What is it going to take for it to become viable, and how do we get from where we are to where we need to be? And that’s where you CCafé participants come in. How about we start sketching that out? And how do we do that?
Reluctantly, I would propose the following:
First, we agree on a strategic horizon for Cosmos Co-op. I would propose, as a basis of discussion, no longer than five years (details can be discussed in the get-together). This shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.
Second, we “develop” a five-year “vision” for the Co-op. At the same time, we start thinking about developing a three-year documental (i.e., including financials) plan for achieving that vision. (That is, the remainder of the session will be about what we need to think about for a “plan”. Not developing a plan, mind you, but thinking about what we need to think about for a plan. Let that sink in.)
Third, we start thinking strategically, in a business-oriented sense of the word, and the best way to do that is to play. So, we’ll play with a couple of tried-and-true business-strategy tools to see how far we get. (I’m thinking of maximum two such tools (though I’m guessing we won’t finish playing with the first one) … I would like you all to get a feel for what it actually takes to develop a strategy … and you’ll have the added advantage of experiencing in real life what I “tortured” my strategy students with for almost 15 years.)
Nobody has to have read anything. Nobody has to have watched anything. All that is expected is that you bring yourself, your attitude toward the IC platform, your experience, your general knowledge of the world, and your willingness to contribute in a meaningful way to the session. I will provide the structure and do the coordinating … but someone may have to volunteer to do a bit of protocolling, should things get rolling.
What do you think? No obligation. It’s just an offer.