[Discuss] Open Source Ecology Revenue Model

Marcin Jakubowski marcin at opensourceecology.org
Sat Jun 13 06:55:36 UTC 2015


I'd like to provide a brief report on Open Source Ecology's (OSE) learnings
so far - on sustaining open hardware development.

We have been at it for some time, having coined the open source Global
Village Construction Set concept in 2008. We got foundation funding after
my TED Talk <http://www.ted.com/talks/marcin_jakubowski?language=en> in
2011, and then it ran out after 2013 - the standard unsustainable scenario
of foundation funding. Last year we started offering immersion training
courses in welding/fabrication/hands-on skills where we taught people to
build heavy machines such as our brick press - or other products - such as
modular homes.

We found that this is an enriching productive, learning, and social
experience. In general, we have found that most people find such an
experience transformative - in terms of people discovering their raw power
of productivity. We are spreading some open culture, such as one student
who shifted to open source architecture as a result of exposure to OSE.

We found that the workshop model - which we call Extreme Manufacturing -
provides self-sustaining funding. The revenue in this model can come from
dual sources - workshop tuition, and from the sale of a machine in a
machine build workshop. The key to its feasibility is radical build
efficiency, where we developed the capacity to build machines in a day and
small homes in a weekend.

We are extending our workshops this year. We found that it's a good way to
involve outside talent, - to create open source documentation - and to
teach - all at the same time. We are thus able to fund R&D effort this way.
Our next step is to train others to run workshops, so that this can scale.
The challenge is the diverse skill set required to run workshops - and the
availability of open source designs - which we develop at the same time.
It's a chicken and egg problem. However, my experience leads me to believe
that community based manufacturing will be much more common in the future
than we think, because of its positive social, economic, and environmental
impacts. There's a long way to go, though, as formidable economic power
arises only when there is a sufficiently large developer community and all
the bugs are worked out.

See some of our workshops for this year -
http://opensourceecology.org/workshops-and-programs/. My favorite is where
we build an open source, tracked utility/agriculture micro-tractor powered
by biochar. Sign up to learn skills, and please pass this on to your



*Non-confidentiality Disclaimer:* OSE works openly. All conversations in
this email are intended to be transparent and subject to sharing, with due
respect. OSE does not sign NDAs in order to promote collaboration. All of
our work is libre or open source. If you are discussing potential
development collaboration, your work must also be open source pursuant to
the Open Source Hardware Association definition

See Global Village Construction Set TED Talk
<http://www.ted.com/talks/marcin_jakubowski>. Sign up for our Design Sprints
<http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/OSE_Design_Sprint>. Subscribe as a True
Fan <http://opensourceecology.org/community/#truefans>. See Tsu
<https://www.tsu.co/OpenSourceEcology> or Facebook
<https://www.facebook.com/OpenSourceEcology> for updates. Subscribe to
monthly update OSEmail <http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/OSEmail>. Donate
to our 501(c)3 <http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/Other_donation_options>.

Marcin Jakubowski, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Open Source Ecology
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