Funding, Building, Using Memexas a Community
How Does it work?
We fund the ongoing development and operations of Memex' future features with our community.
Chip in and save up to 75% on premium features.
1. CHIP IN AT LEAST 10€
Support Memex development and ongoing operations.
2. GET BACK 4X THE VALUE
After 9 months you'll get rewarded with 400% of your initial contribution in the form of premium credits
3. SAVE 75% ON UPGRADES
Use your premium credits to instead of cash to pay for Memex upgrades.
What is the world you want to live in?
One where companies’ need to constantly grow exploits the environment, working people and users, and where all generated wealth benefits a few investors? Where products constantly miss out on “that one feature you really need”, and where you are forced to stay because of the many artificial network effects?
One where the growth of businesses is in synergy with the the human, economical and ecological ecosystem? Where a business’ main motivation is to serve its people and users. Where you as a user get the best software for your needs and where you can switch between providers anytime?
We want to live in the latter. We want Memex to be a tool built for and with the people who use it. In 10 years time we envision hundreds of Memex-like tools perfectly adapted to an individual’s needs which worldbrain.io didn’t build. Only through that we can reach the thought diversity needed in order to reach our vision.
To make that possible Memex is open-source so you can take our code, adapt it to your needs, easily switch between Memexes and still be able to exchange information with any other Memex in your network. This is called ‘interoperability’.
To fund all this, worldbrain.io doesn’t take venture capital (VC) investments. If we took VC money we couldn’t build highly interoperable software and enable our community to build other Memexes from which we make little to no profits. This is because VC only makes returns if the speculative value of an invested company constantly grows. There is literally no cap on how much that is. A company can be worth 1 , 100 and even 1000 billion. As a result, VC backed companies need to strive to capture as much of the profits, growth and market as possible and lock their users into their products. Only then they are able to justify a higher valuation in the next funding round. So they need to strive for monopolisation, and are disincentivised to collaborate. The ones who lose are almost always the users.
WHAT’S THE ALTERNATIVE?
First off: What we share with the traditional VC approach is the belief that growth, given thoughtful and sustainable moderation, is good and necessary for humanity to progress. Also that people who contribute money and/or time to the success of any endeavour should be properly compensated for their risk, sweat and tears. This also includes the user community.
So instead of VC money, we make use of 2 different funding sources: Continuous crowdfunding of features and an company structure called ‘Steward Ownership‘ (Intros: Beginner, Advanced, Full).
Steward Ownership works with redeemable shares that worldbrain.io sells to investors and gives to employees. Over the years they are bought back at a predefined multiplication factor with the profits we are making. Money has no voting rights and the control of the company is fully in the hands of those who run it.
Our goal with that combination is to get you the best Memex for your needs. Doing so by laying the economic incentive for relentless user centric product development and a mindset shift ‘from growing alone to growing together’ – from competition to collaboration between Memex providers.
HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?
The built-in interoperability puts a natural cap on how big any provider can grow because users can easily switch to a Memex that serves their needs better. It makes it necessary that providers have a relentless focus on building the best software for users – otherwise they will be replaced. Crowdfunding features serves as a tool to help building features users really want and are willing to pay for, even in advance. In return users who support the development are rewarded with big discounts otherwise financially not feasible.
In this scenario each provider can’t grow as much anymore to be able to promise usual VC returns based on potentially monopolistic growth. Thus a new model is needed that doesn’t make it necessary for a provider to grow indefinitely in order to generate shareholder value. One that gives proper and fair returns to investors and employees, and ties success directly to the ability to build the best products users are willing to pay for.
That is where Steward Ownership provides an alternative as employees and investors only can gain value on their stake if the company makes sustainable profits. Additionally, because of the capped returns there is less incentive to become greedy. The expectations are set – you get what you ought to get.
HOW DOES THAT LEAD TO MORE COLLABORATION?
If your returns are directly related to the profits you are making, naturally you try to decrease costs. This is especially important at a level where you cannot grow anymore. Because the company is owned by its people, it is less likely that this will be at the expense of the employees. But there is another way to cut costs, that may be more efficient: Collaborating with others on developing common infrastructure.
Many of the Memex services will share common features and infrastructure (e.g. almost all Memexes will use web-annotations) but are mostly not directly competing against each other because of their specific product focus. In this scenario each Memex provider has a much greater economic incentive to collaborate with others in order to save costs on R&D and product development. As R&D can be drastically lower and because of open-source software, it may even become financially feasible to build Memexes for niche audiences. Usually they won’t be served because the market is too small to take the risk of upfront development costs.
You will end up with a Memexes increasingly adapted to your ideal workflows and an ecosystem that enjoys a mindset and economy for growing together, not alone. One that is capable of discovering the worlds information and solving the most complex problems as a team, not as adversaries.
Our whole team at worldbrain.io invites you to be part of this exciting journey and help building the best Memex you can get. We are looking forward to welcome you as a user, funder, collaboration partner and/or community member.
Any comments or questions? Add them on the bottom of this page.
Terms and Conditions
- Reward is paid out 9 months after your contribution on the first day of the next month
- Backing worldbrain.io through your crowdfunding contribution is not a financial investment. Rewards cannot be withdrawn in native currency.
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