# [Snowdrift-discuss] Let's talk about the mechanism

This is the spiritual successor to Bryan's "Snowdrift.coop's immediate goals" (quoted below), but is a bit broader in scope, so I'm starting a new thread.
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The questions he outlines in that thread apply to more than us. They're the most important questions that *any* project that wishes to use the site will be asking. We should have answers.
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Here's some other, related questions. They're not MVP, but we're close to MVP and need to start thinking beyond it.
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What happens if we don't have the user base to support our project's income needs? What happens if we have too many patrons, and people can't afford to pledge? How do we assuage people's fear (realistic or not) that a project will explode and eat up their budget?
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The reality is, each project's constraints will be different. I informally propose the following approach to calculate things:
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1. Define an income goal.
2. Define an patron count goal.
3. Calculate \$pp (\$ needed per patron), income/patrons
4. Calculate match level, \$pp / patrons

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A. All patrons have their pledges capped at \$pp. Much like how we currently have a hard limit on the snowdrift project. If a project has enough patrons that the pledge would go over \$pp, it remains at \$pp instead (so the extra patrons act as a buffer, in case some patrons drop out). B. We "remove" (ie, never implement) the concept of a patron-set pledge limit, and also of deactivated pledges. They're no longer needed because when you pledge to the project, you're guaranteed that your pledge will not exceed a certain value. We should still show the total value on your dashboard (the sum of the limits of all the projects you pledge to).
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So for us, that looks like:

i. My vote is for \$3500, to cover current expenses.
ii. I'm going to arbitrarily pick 1871 patrons.
iii. So we need \$1.87 \$pp.
iv. Match level is \$0.001 -- our current level.

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A big advantage of this system is that it corresponds really well to an idea of, "I'll do my part, but only if everybody else does theirs", which I've found to be really effective way of explaining the mechanism. It's like Wikipedia's "If everyone reading this gave \$3..." message. And then you go to the site, and see the pledge level at (for example) 1/100 of a cent per patron, capped at \$3. So if 30k+ patrons each pledge, the level hits \$3 and Wikipedia gets its funding.
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Thoughts?

~Stephen

--
Email policy: http://smichel.me/email

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On Mon, Dec 5, 2016 at 1:41 PM, Bryan Richter <br...@snowdrift.coop> wrote:
```Now that the reboot of the site is operational, I think it's time to
start at the top and work our way down to our next immediate goals.

Well, I'll skip ahead a bit, because I think it's obvious:

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I propose we set a target for Snowdrift's monthly crowdmatch income, and
```hit it as soon as possible. This seems like the best way to guarantee
the successful project we all want to see.

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I think the other viable alternative is to set a goal of a certain crowd size. That's the more idealistic goal. But we need realistic goals, not
```idealistic ones. :) By making income the goal, it frees us to tweak
donation settings to be successful with possibly fewer patrons.

So what should the amount be?

\$1000, because it's a nice round number?

\$3500, to adequately cover current expenses?

\$6000, so Snowdrift can continue paying me to be lead developer? (I
can't keep going at my current rate.)
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```We should also set a timeframe for our goal, so we have some way of
measuring the passage of time and progress.

We need to feel out what sort of goal is truly realistic. I have no
idea. Aaron and Salt, how many people do you think will sign up to
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support us in the next — say — three months? Everyone, what sort of
```crowdmatch tweaks are the most likely to be successful?

Right now we're growing at about one patron a day (up to twelve
now!) What does success look like? A one-time step to 2000 patrons? A
smooth curve?

To me, these are the most important questions Snowdrift.coop is facing
right now.

-Bryan

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P.S. This says nothing about the priorities and projects of the separate teams within our organization. I had actually wanted to talk about that,
```but I'll leave it for another email.
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