Tue 8 Nov 2016 3:15PM

'Online Platform Purchasing Co-op'

ST Sam Toland Public Seen by 152

There has been a lot of discussion about what the best outcome of the #buytwitter campaign is, and what areas we should be investing our collective energy.

I feel that we have people settling into several overlapping areas of thought.

(i) let's establish a feasible and pragmatic approach to buying out Twitter today
(ii) use the idea of buying out Twitter as a thought-experiment to stimulate debate
(iii) use the #buytwitter momentum to build the capacity (that didn't exist for the #buytwitter campaign) to buy the next appropriate online platform that becomes available (or indeed invest in nascent platform co-ops).

I think all three areas merit investment - but I am personally most interested in the (iii) area of investment and debate.

I thus propose that we set up a sub-group on Loomio where people who wish to focus on this element of the campaign may do so, without diluting the work on area (i).

What does the community think about this? And does anyone else have another proposal for an alternative way to progress the organisation of the (iii) element of the campaign in tandem with the others.

Past Loomio Threads for context:

After the group successfully committing the capital to pay for our monthly Loomio use... we are a purchasing co-op! :)

What's next?

Quoting @samtoland

"I think the Solid Fund model could be the answer in the short-term.


It's an unincorporated group based on an operating manual, using Loomio for decision-making, multiple trustees decided by the group, and funds held by a sponsoring organisation.

I think this model (adapted to our specific needs/goals) could get us through the next few steps (and associated trust-building) - and parks the messy (and expensive) conversation around incorporation.

Horse before the cart, as we say in Ireland :)

Next step, work on an operating manual? (Anyone want to pre-empt my proposal, I'll make one once I have a bit of time, but happy for someone else to start it - and i can edit).

Solidfund example: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DSWOH520Gh-JL5bQL9e_X3BqSk9u7NtVI4W5JnoNfm8/edit#heading=h.7vo4c9u6ahtp "


greg brodsky Tue 8 Nov 2016 4:29PM

Here's the only way I think a Twitter buy could happen...

1: Research what price per share and total dollars Twitter likely needs for $ to make a deal happen (# of current shares and price per share will help you figure this out)

2: Develop the co-op as a multi-stake holder model, consisting of an employee member class, and a consumer member class. This will create better long term employee buy-in, and it will also reduce the amount.of money needed from consumers as well.

3: Get the legal docs ready for the mult-stake holder co-op. Ie set-up the incorporation docs, proposed by-laws, and shareholder agreements. I know a good co-op atty on multi-stakeholder co-ops if you need one.

4: Set-up a kickstarter or indiegogo or gofundme page to see if there is enough consumer interest to fund the consumer portion of the shares.

5: Connect with a few existing Twitter employees to make sure that the employee share model works for them and also to make sure that funding model creates enough cash in the bank for Twitter to meet its strategic goals.

Its a lot of work, but do-able under this approach. Let me know if you want to talk further re this strategy.


Suresh Fernando Tue 8 Nov 2016 4:55PM

@samtoland - thanks for articulating this. I think ii) and iii) are related and are what will be the real result of this process.

I'm happy to contribute if there is momentum.


Johnny Haeusler Tue 8 Nov 2016 7:08PM

I like the idea of having two parallel groups. Personally, I won't be able to put much energy into (iii), because I think that needs even more time and planning than (i).

My main interest is focused on (i) and (ii). But it's not much use to think about it further if we don't have more support from users, I think. It's good and important to think about how actually buying Twitter could work. But no-one will listen to the results, I'm afraid, if there's not at least 100k signatures under the petition. And we're very far from that.


Poll Created Tue 8 Nov 2016 7:22PM

Let's Make a Sub-Group to Dev. an Online Platform Purchasing Co-op Closed Fri 11 Nov 2016 7:02PM

Loomio enables subgroups that the parent-group has full access to and nearly equivalent notifications (with users able to opt in for equal or greater notifications), so let's go ahead and make @SamToland (or another) to set this up:
> I thus propose that we set up a sub-group on Loomio where people who wish to focus on this element of the campaign may do so, without diluting the work on area (i).


Results Option % of points Voters
Agree 90.0% 9 ED SF EC JG DU C ST P RP
Abstain 10.0% 1 TM
Disagree 0.0% 0  
Block 0.0% 0  

10 of 249 people have voted (4%)


Tom McDonough
Tue 8 Nov 2016 10:09PM

My only interest is TWTR


Eric Doriean
Wed 9 Nov 2016 12:49AM

Interested in looking a Platform Coop for next gen communications and community


Sam Toland
Wed 9 Nov 2016 11:53AM

Think that building the capacity to purchasing existing online platforms, and support the development of user-owned platforms should be a key goal of the group, and a great way of harnessing the energy of the #buytwitter campaign for the longer-term.


Wed 9 Nov 2016 3:08PM

I think the only thing that will spark movement is funds coming together.. Seems like it might best be done thru a new platform and I'd be happy to help.


ron patiro
Thu 10 Nov 2016 9:37PM

I agree and would like to be involved.


Chris Cook Tue 8 Nov 2016 7:57PM

Here's a Plan B, by way of a complementary approach which requires minimal if any upfront capital.

1/ Create a Twitter Development LLC

2/ Twitter Inc becomes the Capital Partner LLC member, while Twitter Staff/ Management become the Capital User member with an agreed allocation of Twitter Inc gross revenues.

3/ Twitter Development LLC creates and implements a suitable Twitter development strategy, with any necessary capital coming from new Capital Partners - investing financial and intellectual (ie us) capital as necessary.

4/ Upon completion Twitter Inc assets (IP etc) are bought by the Twitter Foundation from Twitter Inc, with the purchase funded by Twitter revenues prepaid at a discount.


Sam Toland Tue 8 Nov 2016 8:42PM

@chriscook1 and @gregbrodsky thank you for the contributions - but they aren't really relevant to this thread. This is a very practical thread about setting up a sub-group to prepare thoughts and plans on a online platform purchasing co-op.

See the relevant threads on Slack for discussions on #buytwitter.

@johnnyhaeusler I think you are right, and I think that for people like yourself, you best investment is on the more immediate promotion of the #buytwitter idea. The (iii) project really needs to run more in the background for the time-being (albeit open and public).


Danny Spitzberg Wed 9 Nov 2016 1:45AM

From what I've read, this seems like an essential step for #BuyTwitter and a useful entity for the long-haul.

However, 1 question– couldn't the AnyShare Society serve as the entity we need?


Sam Toland Wed 9 Nov 2016 11:51AM

@dannyspitzberg care to elaborate why? :)


PoliUndelivered Wed 9 Nov 2016 3:17PM

Now I'm rereading this post and I'm a little confused what's being discussed. Are you calling for a platform to help collect funds/ track shares of a holding company and that sort of thing? Or building a twitter clone?


john gieryn Wed 9 Nov 2016 4:00PM

Here discussing creating a 'sub-group' container, still available & transparent to all here in this Loomio, to better enable people who are interested in goals ii & iii that Sam Toland mentioned, especially iii: building an entity to act as an online-platform purchasing/acquisition co-op.

As mentioned in the "Parallel Build" thread, the whole group (who is/was participating at the time) agreed that "Parallel Build", i.e. building our own Twitter, efforts are a strategic priority—though it's relative priority level is undetermined. The decision made in that thread that we would support through consulting/ financing other groups that are already moving forward with this such as Diaspora, GNUsocial, pump.io, etc.


ron patiro Thu 10 Nov 2016 9:41PM

I generally favor building clones of platforms we should own instead of buying out the current ones.


Eric Doriean Tue 15 Nov 2016 2:24AM

Does this sub group exist yet? I'd like to be a part of it


john gieryn Tue 15 Nov 2016 3:40PM

not yet; @samtoland are you down to set this up? I can, but ~ Wed. or Thurs.


Mark Latham Fri 18 Nov 2016 10:07PM

I just posted this at votermedia.blogspot.ca/2016/11/a-global-software-users-co-op-could.html, and would also like to post it in the new Online Platform Purchasing Co-op sub-group when it's created. It (or parts of it) might be useful for the #BuyTwitter movement:

Below is an outline for building a global software users' co-op that can finance its own growth, to the point where it can either buy Twitter or fund a substitute and attract enough users. The strategy has 5 key components:

1. Ownership structure: Retail consumers' co-op.

2. Bundling of users: Use large group purchases to get better deals. All co-op members can use all software licenses purchased.

3. Bundling of software: Each member pays the same low fixed monthly user fee, e.g. $5. Co-op buys rights to use various software that members value: low-priced or freemium software/services like password manager, anti-virus; info like ConsumerReports.org; discounts etc.

4. Buy from market-share challengers, not leaders. Challengers will charge bundled users much less than market-share leaders would.

5. Members vote to allocate pooled funds among competing software channels. This system has been developed and tested for providing coverage of student union elections at the University of British Columbia.

Details are in the attached paper Global Software Users' Co-op. I'd appreciate any thoughts, questions, advice on this – thanks!


Matthew Cropp Sat 19 Nov 2016 1:41AM

Into this, yes.


Nathan Schneider Sun 20 Nov 2016 11:43PM

I like @marklatham's approach as well. I just wonder how we can on-board people when it means asking them to pay in order to replace services that they currently don't pay for.

BTW, I'm eager to start developing internetofownership.net into a purchasing co-op of some sort, and I'd love if this effort fed into that.


Mark Latham Mon 21 Nov 2016 12:30AM

Thanks @matthewcropp and @ntnsndr for your encouragement. Sorry if I wasn't clear on this key point: The global software users' co-op proposal is to use group buying to get lower prices on software and services that we currently pay for, or that we don't use because they cost more than we're willing to pay, or because we can't be bothered to set up yet another small payment flow (the penny gap).

The strategy is to give members a better deal than they are getting now, so that the co-op will grow without requiring altruism. The more members join, the more software we can buy licenses for, so the more benefit there is to joining.

I'd be happy to work with a group on creating this, e.g. on internetofownership.net.


Sam Toland Tue 22 Nov 2016 7:10PM

@ntnsndr and @coopchange would you consider going ahead and creating the relevant sub-group and let's move this conversation forward.

I think that we as a group should start to make some basic decisions around leadership (and ensure some diversity in that group) so that we can get started with the process of making this a reality.

@ntnsndr I am delighted to hear that you are open to using the internetofownership site / brand as a basis for such a purchasing co-op!


john gieryn Wed 23 Nov 2016 7:21PM

@samtoland I can set something up by Friday, though perhaps a video chat is the first step? What do you think @ntnsndr? Did you have a sense of what rhythm/ best moment to convene or facilitate the energy in that direction? thanks


Matthew Cropp Wed 23 Nov 2016 8:27PM

I'd be game to be on a video chat as well.


Nathan Schneider Thu 24 Nov 2016 6:19PM

I'm going to speak with a Bay Area lawyer interested in this effort on Tuesday. It would be good to have a call before this. When on Friday? @matthewcropp @coopchange @samtoland @marklatham @bonniefoleywong


Bonnie Foley-Wong Thu 24 Nov 2016 9:23PM

Hi, I have limited availability, but could make time for a short call. Maybe a conversation will help me get a sense of how to continue contributing. Between 3pm-4pm PST is ideal, but I could do after 1pm PST (and before 4pm).


john gieryn Fri 25 Nov 2016 2:35PM

I'm also free on Monday, same relative time (EST). Maybe best to coordinate by Slack to not clutter here?


john gieryn Thu 24 Nov 2016 6:24PM

I'm available 7am-6pm tomorrow @ntnsndr, great to hear, thanks.


Mark Latham Thu 24 Nov 2016 7:02PM

@ntnsndr I'm available tomorrow 7am-1pm Pacific Time. Then flying to Hawai'i for 10 days, so limited availability.


Mark Latham Thu 24 Nov 2016 8:36PM

PS: I think this goes without saying, but just to make sure: With my limited availability tomorrow through Dec 5, you should of course go ahead without me. :-)


john gieryn Fri 25 Nov 2016 4:40PM

I created the sub-group; if you see a needed change (or just would like to) let me know if you don't automatically have the ability to edit it.


Nathan Schneider Fri 25 Nov 2016 5:47PM

For @bonniefoleywong, can we do 4 pm PT today? @coopchange @matthewcropp

We can meet here: meet.mayfirst.org/wearetwitter

If that sounds good, we can announce on Slack, etc.


Mark Latham Fri 25 Nov 2016 6:28PM

I can probably join you at 4pm from Vancouver airport.


john gieryn Fri 25 Nov 2016 5:58PM

Sounds good and makes sense. I can't commit to making it at that time but I'll try. If I can't, I'm happy to catch up via whatever notes are produced.


Nathan Schneider Fri 25 Nov 2016 10:33PM

Since people may be joining without computers, let's meet at 4 pm PT on UberConference, which can be done through web or phone interface:

401-283-6268 PIN: 69224

@coopchange @marklantham @bonniefoleywong @samtoland


Mark Latham Fri 25 Nov 2016 11:13PM

Looks like I'll be able to join this call at 4pm.


Danny Spitzberg Fri 25 Nov 2016 11:42PM

PS for early Dec, possibly coinciding with whatever online chat, I'm planning a live, in-person barn-raiser in Oakland so people can turn talk into action and collaboratively sketch a real biz plan, focusing on finance and legal aspects.


john gieryn Sun 27 Nov 2016 7:26PM

I think that'd make a ton of sense to combine with our efforts; we're just waiting on a reply from David Hammer to confirm 12/9 at 12:30pm EST as the kick off time (per Rushkoff's availability)


Poll Created Thu 8 Dec 2016 2:24AM

Let's start by paying our own way with Loomio Closed Sun 11 Dec 2016 2:01AM

by Nathan Schneider Tue 25 Apr 2017 5:52AM

This proposal was treated as passed and the first month of the subscription has just been paid for through the Internet of Ownership Project Council.

Congratulations, all!

I have an idea! There's been a lot of talk about starting a purchasing co-op, and not a lot of clarity about what that would actually consist of, or how we would start. Meanwhile, we're chatting our heads off on Loomio, a platform created by an awesome worker co-op in New Zealand. They've given us free Slack integration and have provided a lot of free consultation. Wouldn't it be great to support them? And to start experimenting with what it might look like to have a co-op at the same time?

Here's my proposal. Internet of Ownership has an account with the awesome open company Gratipay, and several people have liked the idea of building our co-op under the IoO banner. We need $20/month to pay for the level of service we're getting through Loomio. So how about this: At least 20 of us commit to contributing $0.25 per week on Gratipay (bringing the total IoO weekly intake to at least $9.05). Then we will start paying for our Loomio.

I am also very open to alternative solutions for how to implement this, other than Gratipay/IoO. Suggest them in the comments. But please weigh in on the basic decision to start raising $20/month and pay for this great cooperative service we're getting.

What do you think?


Results Option % of points Voters
Abstain 23.8% 5 PG CW JG ARK JR
Disagree 0.0% 0  
Block 4.8% 1 C

21 of 251 people have voted (8%)


Wolfgang Maehr
Thu 8 Dec 2016 2:31AM

I think a pay-to-play approach for this coop might be good. It can be a small token sum of $3 a month to be part of this and finance some of the basics (that won't pay for Slack even)…


Kirsten Lambertsen
Thu 8 Dec 2016 2:55AM

Love this idea. I've been really consumed with other stuff the last several weeks and haven't been able to contribute here discussion-wise. I like this because it's action I can take :)


Priscilla Grim
Thu 8 Dec 2016 4:28AM

I think looking into any type of funding service with Twitter employees onboard with the idea and championing it, is acting too soon.


Priscilla Grim
Thu 8 Dec 2016 4:28AM

I think looking into any type of funding service without Twitter employees onboard with the idea and championing it, is acting too soon.


Sam Toland
Thu 8 Dec 2016 10:11AM

I support us as a group taking shared risks as a community - fostering a sense of shared ownership.

I also like the principle of supporting all the work and support Loomio have provided.

However shouldn't be perceived as mandatory to contribute.


Chad Whitacre
Thu 8 Dec 2016 11:54AM

Our goal is to organize an economic entity large enough to buy and run a major platform, and this seems like a small, concrete step in that direction.

I'm abstaining only because (disclosure) I started Gratipay. Happy to answer any questions! :-)


David Backer
Thu 8 Dec 2016 2:14PM

Big journeys start with small steps.


john gieryn
Thu 8 Dec 2016 3:53PM

I love this idea, but abstaining as I am personally incapable of contributing financially at this time (hopefully soon!)


Mark Latham
Thu 8 Dec 2016 5:41PM

Good idea to get our feet wet early!


Danny Spitzberg
Thu 8 Dec 2016 8:14PM

In addition to making this act of solidarity (for probably less than $1 per month), I'm also curious to experience a paid version of Loomio : ]


Amelia Rose Khan
Fri 9 Dec 2016 7:31PM

I agree with this but can't pay any money into this at the moment.


Matthew Cropp
Sat 10 Dec 2016 1:22AM

I'm in for $0.25 a week; let's make this happen!


William Cerf
Sat 10 Dec 2016 2:10AM

I can surely afford $1.00 a month to support this efforty


John Rhoads
Sat 10 Dec 2016 7:50AM

I would agree if I had money to agree with. :smiley:


Mai Sutton
Sun 11 Dec 2016 12:10AM

Love this idea. As someone else said too, it's a concrete step we can take to support a service that has already been created for the kind of cooperative organizing that we want to do here. Let's do this!


Sam Toland Thu 8 Dec 2016 10:14AM

@cruzio Is your block an error? If not, could you kindly explain the reason for your block.

If you disagree with the proposal, it is best to use the disagree button.

A block should only be made if the proposal is so antithetical to your views you would leave the group if it was followed.


john gieryn Thu 8 Dec 2016 3:54PM

Hi @cruzio - wondering as to your objection with the proposal?


Sam Toland Fri 9 Dec 2016 1:25AM

@dannyspitzberg we pretty much have it! :) at no cost so far.


Matthew Cropp Sat 10 Dec 2016 2:06AM

Just signed up for Gratipay :) https://gratipay.com/internet-of-ownership/


John Rhoads Sat 10 Dec 2016 7:43AM

I admire the idea of buying Twitter and think if it could be done would set an important precedent for the rest of capitalist businesses in general. However, the more I look at it the more it looks like trying to save Luke's father from the dark side. Twitter has been assimilated into the architecture of doom and will never be relinquished even if they think they are losing money. The owners would just as soon suck the life blood out of it before discarding its corps for reanimation. But it should still be attempted as a learning experience of what not to do or who to follow (Twitter that is). I think supporting Loomio is a great idea though and makes sense.


Sam Toland Sun 11 Dec 2016 12:02PM

Making a little contribution.

@ntnsndr make sure to tell us when we hit the target! :)


Nathan Schneider Mon 12 Dec 2016 4:44PM

We're not there yet at all. Only 15 people agreed to this here, and there was an (unexplained) block. And at Gratipay our current intake is only $5.85—up less than a dollar a week. So we haven't succeeded in building the momentum to move forward, unfortunately.

Pretty pathetic, really.


Sam Toland Mon 12 Dec 2016 4:56PM

Jeez - we'll that means only two of us have got around to signing up yet.

Let's presume good faith, and put the lack of a pick-up down to the distracting holiday period. :)

I'm going to bump this on the Slack.


Brendan Denovan Mon 12 Dec 2016 5:05PM

Actually, I didn't read the request properly. I will go sign up now.


Mark Latham Mon 12 Dec 2016 5:20PM

Sorry for the misunderstanding. I had created my account on Gratipay and set up a credit card. Now that voting on the proposal has closed, I was waiting for go-ahead instructions. So just now I've activated $1 a week. Maybe others were waiting like me? Here's the link again: gratipay.com/internet-of-ownership


Mark Latham Mon 12 Dec 2016 11:15PM

Oops, I meant to donate $0.25 a week (just over $1 a month); but I carelessly typed in $1 a week. I'll let it stand, to help us reach our goal of paying Loomio.


Mark Latham Mon 12 Dec 2016 11:20PM

Hmm, now I see I'm making another mistake: breaking Gratipay's anonymity policy: "Payments are anonymous, to avoid the problem where people feel overly entitled to special treatment because they've given your project a little money."


Hailey Cooperrider Mon 12 Dec 2016 10:04PM

I was fairly confused about who I was paying for what and why. I thought we were paying for Loomio but the money is going to Internet of Ownership via Gratipay, which I think I heard about at OuiShare.

Possibly it was all there in the post, but I had marked it with a star in my inbox to come back later and figure it all out when I had a moment of clear headspace at my computer.

A little bit of shaming and a little bit of helpful linking by other people helped me act. So it's done now. Pretty easy overall once you just do it.


Nathan Schneider Tue 13 Dec 2016 3:19AM

Thanks, yes. We're putting it into IoO for now just because it's already fiscally sponsored (by our friends at Sarapis) so can take in funds without screwing anyone's taxes up.


Nathan Schneider Tue 13 Dec 2016 3:19AM

We're very close to the goal! Just 20 cents/week left to go!


Danny Spitzberg Tue 13 Dec 2016 3:26AM



Nathan Schneider Tue 13 Dec 2016 4:14AM

haha! Okay, I'm going to write to @devin3 now and set this up.


Nathan Schneider Tue 13 Dec 2016 4:15AM

Okay, friends, what will our purchasing co-op purchase next?


Nathan Schneider Tue 13 Dec 2016 5:12AM

I've just applied to form our experimental co-op as part of the ioo.coop Project Council. This will enable us to use IoO/Sarapis fiscal sponsorship until we figure out what we're doing next.


Sam Toland Tue 13 Dec 2016 3:56PM

I think the Solid Fund model could be the answer in the short-term.


It's an unincorporated group based on an operating manual, using Loomio for decision-making, multiple trustees decided by the group, and funds held by a sponsoring organisation.

I think this model (adapted to our specific needs/goals) could get us through the next few steps (and associated trust-building) - and parks the messy (and expensive) conversation around incorporation.

Horse before the cart, as we say in Ireland :)

Next step, work on an operating manual? (Anyone want to pre-empt my proposal, I'll make one once I have a bit of time, but happy for someone else to start it - and i can edit).

Solidfund example: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DSWOH520Gh-JL5bQL9e_X3BqSk9u7NtVI4W5JnoNfm8/edit#heading=h.7vo4c9u6ahtp


john gieryn Wed 14 Dec 2016 1:48PM

good thoughts; you might- if you'd please- bring them into the thread where we're talking next steps, if you think it's still relevant based on the progression of discussion there :)


Amelia Rose Khan Thu 15 Dec 2016 9:54AM

Can I join the next steps thread?


Mark Latham Sun 18 Dec 2016 5:29PM

Hi @ameliarosekhan -- In case you didn't get an answer: to join the next steps thread, please go to https://www.loomio.org/g/DrYXhF9y/buy-twitter-platform-purchasing-co-op and click "Ask to join group"


Josef Davies-Coates Wed 14 Dec 2016 9:35PM

It would appear this group as implicitly decided that unexplained blocks are void. Interesting.

@cruzio did you mean to block? and if so, why? :)


john gieryn Thu 15 Dec 2016 12:33PM

Sam Toland asked them why they blocked a while ago; I appreciate you following up on it though!

It'd be good if there was an agreement about how that would work, but it is tough in cases such as this, where I can't see if @cruzio has ever participated in any discussions (especially as they aren't in the slack or use a different handle there)