​How to Build Platform Coops

Fri, November 11
03:50 PM - 05:45 PM
Eugene Lang The New School for Liberal Arts Wollman Hall 65 West 11th St 5th floor

Platform cooperativism has generated intense interest over the last year, and there is a growing number of platform coop start-ups. Most start-ups in any sector fail, and that’s fine but unfortunately, a lot of the resources for platform development are being wasted on proprietary code and outdated product design approaches that are very, very likely to fail for completely avoidable reasons! In this session we’ll gather a group of world class software developers, designers, and cooperativists to talk about both normative and pragmatic reasons for the platform co-op movement to embrace free software, lean product development, and community-led design. We’ll address common fears and misconceptions about free software (‘won’t someone take my code and start a competitor?’ ‘It’s too much work to make our code useable by others!’), lean product development (‘Isn’t that just meaningless business jargon?’ ‘I already know exactly what features we need!’ ‘How will I know what my org is gonna get for the money if we hire someone to do lean product development?’), and community-led design (‘that sounds nice, but what does it really look like in practice? What do I need to do to make community-led design successful?) You’ll walk away convinced that free software, lean development, and community-led design are the future (or at least, you’ll have a clearer idea about which of your concerns are real and which are ungrounded fears).