On Thu, Dec 22, 2016 at 5:10 PM, Stephen Michel <stephen.mic...@tufts.edu> wrote:
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:

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.

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.)

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
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.


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.

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.

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.

Here's some other, related questions. They're not MVP, but we're close to MVP and need to start thinking beyond it.

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?

The reality is, each project's constraints will be different. I informally propose the following approach to calculate things:

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

Then we follow these rules:

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).

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.

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.



Although we need to think beyond MVP, we still need to limit our scope. I am including the following because it strengthens the argument for this system.

Please ONLY discuss it insofar as it relates to "should we adopt the system?". Do NOT discuss specific details of how exactly we'd implement such a system; they are OUT OF SCOPE right now.

This system also offers the most elegant solution I have seen so far to the question, "What if someone wants to support a project beyond standard patronage?"

Projects can offer different pledge levels. It's still wordy to explain in abstract, but it's easy with an example:

A regular patron pledges, "I will donate $0.001 per patron (including super-patrons), capped at $2/mo." A super-patron pledges, "I will donate the same as a regular patron, AND I will donate an additional $0.01 per super-patron, capped at $20/mo." An alternate phrasing for is, "I will match regular patrons at their level, and match super-patrons at a higher level."

This gives projects a way to customize their income needs (eg, you could make a super-duper-patron, meant for grants/foundations, where it's $100 per super-duper-patron, max $2k), while also keeping the number of different levels manageable (that was the main problem with the *original* concept of shares, imo -- there's so many different levels you have to think about).
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