Written by Chris Troutner on 1/15/17
2016 was a productive year for RPi OVN, the RPi-Tracker, and Crumb Share. These ideas were born and developed, but it's largely been a two-person operation. 2017 is the year that we will launch to the public, and hopefully bring in new members and generate sales. To this end, I spent some time planning out a road map for this year with milestones. I would love to hear your feedback in the comments section below.
At this point the vision of RPi OVN isn't clear to anyone but myself, so let me describe it for you:
RPi OVN stands for Raspberry Pi Open Value Network. It's intended to be a cooperative company for programmers. Specifically, programmers who want to create useful products and appliances based around open source software and standardized, inexpensive, and widely available hardware like the Raspberry Pi. This organization is intended to be a meritocracy, democratically governed. A for-profit cooperative that shares the profits fairly among its participants.
The first product RPi OVN is developing is the RPi-Tracker. It is complemented by the online service Crumb Share. Effort will be tracked and profit paid out as described here. In 2017 I hope to open RPi OVN up to many new members and many new projects.
One of the major milestones we plan to achieve for 2017 is to fully implement the following governance structure. For RPi OVN, governance and technology are inseparable. The company will be governed, and effort coordinated, using these tools:
- Loomio will be used for discussion and decision making.
- Trello is used for organizing work, using the Scrum methodology of software development.
- GitHub is used for documentation as well as development and sharing of code.
- The project dashboard is used for logging effort and divvying up profit.
Project managers are free to use whatever tools they decide are best for their project, but the above tools are the default. As of this writing, not everything is setup for use by RPi OVN yet, but as 2017 progresses, it will be.
The road map for 2017 can be broken down into four major milestones:
- Get the RPi-Tracker into the hands of five beta testers and start getting feedback.
- Officially open RPi OVN and Crumb Share
- Prepare for the Raspberry Pi community
- Go Beyond
1. RPi-Tracker Beta Testers
The first beta tester for the RPi-Tracker has already been identified and has accepted the offer. Efforts right now are focused on getting the device built and coded to meet their needs. Once that device is off and running, we will begin the search for another ideal beta tester.
Because the device is only valuable when moving, the ideal beta testers are travel bloggers who are deeply motivated to share their trip. They do not need have any technical expertise, in fact it's best if they don't, as part of the testing includes feedback from non-technical users. If you think you would be a good candidate for a tester, fill out the application to be a Crumb Share Hero.
2. Officially Open RPi OVN and Crumb Share
For RPi OVN, more controls and views need to be developed for the project dashboard. Project managers need finer grained controls to set who can and who can not contribute to a project. Protections need to be put in place to guard against malicious users and unsolicited 'help'. I hope that the code for these things will grow organically, as needed, and determined through participation in our Loomio group.
For Crumb Share, a subscription management view needs to be developed to allow users to pay for subscriptions and for admins to better manage users. Quality testing needs to be done, bugs squished, and documentation written. If you are interested in helping out, please let us know.
3. Prepare for the Raspberry Pi Community
While the RPi-Tracker is intended for sale to non-technical users, the early adopters and initial sales will most likely come from people who are already familiar with the Raspberry Pi minicomputer. These are tech-savvy users that will be able to take initial bugs and inconveniences in stride. I anticipate the best feedback coming from them. I anticipate that many of the first members of RPi OVN will come from this community.
And once we open the flood gates, we won't be able to close them. Like the saying goes, "you only get one chance to make a good first impression". I feel that it is critical to have a lot of the infrastructure in place, tested, and documented before any serious marketing efforts take place. I anticipate the Raspberry Pi community will be our greatest support as well as our greatest critic.
If we reach the first three milestones in this 2017 roadmap, RPi OVN will be ready for whatever comes next. More products, more users, and more profit. In 2016, RPi OVN was largely a one man band. In 2017 I hope to see its members grow. Together we will determine the direction that RPi OVN takes. Together we can grow the OVN business model, provide value for end users, and profit for its members.