Social Media Café as Platform

PolicyUnplugged 085At our first prototype meeting, I perceived a tension between the people who were interested in making a profitable business and those whose interest was solely in the community possibilities and opportunities for collaboration. I came away unsure of what legal structure would work best – a traditional shareholder-owned limited company or a non-profit company limited by guarantee. I’ve been thinking about it a lot since then.

On the same occasion I said something along the lines of: “What I want to create is a platform that enables people to create value for themselves.”

The inspiration for this comes from the tech world – CP/M & MS-DOS, the IBM PC, the Internet, the Web, Amazon Marketplace, Craigslist, Ebay, Facebook – what they all have in common is that no matter how they get paid for or how they’re organised, or whether or not they make money for their inventors, they have also given other people the opportunity to create new relationships, markets and businesses that weren’t possible before (btw, I use big examples so that people will recognise what I’m talking not because I think our little project will be on that scale.)

I want everything we do to in some way support people doing cool stuff on their own. I don’t think we have to own *every*thing and I certainly don’t want to create a walled garden. We’ll get a lot more done by creating the conditions for people to

So turning back to the legal structure, the choice seems to come down to a limited company (or a partnership) which exists to create value for it’s shareholders (or partners) or a company limited by guarantee which exists to… well do whatever we decide it should do – I think it should serve the needs of people interested in Social Media in London – if that’s not too wooly (or too specific) – but I’m open to suggestion. There was broad agreement that limited by guarantee was the right route for us but the aim and purpose does need to be boiled down to something that expresses what we want and allows us (as a group) to do as much good as possible.

So if that is sorted, my mind then turns to the structure of this business. I’ve always talked about the three bits – café, learning, working. But that might not be all we want to do together – other ideas for services have come up in meetings too. Can we make the Tuttle Club our base platform? With no direct services except to facilitate cool stuff happening. Then the first cool thing it does (quickly) is to set up a Social Media Café or perhaps the café space, a learning space and a workspace could each be individual, but co-located businesses. And then it can do other things too as they arise. Or am I making it too complicated?

Let’s talk about this at the next prototype – but there are many who aren’t able to join us there so let’s do it in the google group as well.

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5 thoughts on “Social Media Café as Platform”

  1. Hey Lloyd,
    your thoughts about platform in connection with virtual examples like ms-dos, facebook, etc… are very much the way discussion an thoughts are going on regarding betahaus in berlin. Something that occupies our thoughts in particular is the fact that the major thing that our platform should do is make things easier. It will only be a good if it reduces complexity and smoothes down the contradictions that are existing between the following antipodes: work/live, global/local, virtual/real. This will end up somehow in a plus of productivity and well being which leads to a monetary benefit earlier or later and wouldn’t it be best to make this part of the business model, somehow?
    Well, some weird thoughts from Berlin. ;)

    Cheers

    Christoph

  2. Interesting thoughts. I observed that same tension at the one meeting I attended, perhaps more btwn promoting yourself and sharing/brainstorming than making money (though promoting yourself can come down to that) and collaboration. But then that could come down to many people not knowing each other and the tension that brings about. In either case, your moderation skills impressed me. Wish I was in London more often:-)

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