With outstanding performance results on the CEB press, we are getting ever closer to the planned product release date of April 1, 2009. We are employing a Product Release Fund as part of our open source product release strategy, with the primary aim of addressing the freeloader dilemma in funding this open source project.
While progress on crowd support funding has been quite satisfactory, it is nowhere near the level where we can afford rapid project acceleration towards the full Global Village Construction Set (GVCS). The point is – we believe that deploying the GVCS will benefit the world immensely – many times over what people are contributing. Thus, fundraising the miniscule quantities (about $2 million for the entire GVCS) that we believe will change the world profoundly – should be no problem. This is not so in practice.
The Product Release Fund encourages people to donate. This Fund is aimed primarily at those who are interested in building the CEB machine themselves or who are interested in fabrication as a small enterprise.
The fund works as follows.
- Anyone who donates $20 or more to the project or provides an equivalent in-kind donation receives technical and fabrication drawings as soon as these are complete. We will be completing these drawings after we build our second and third prototypes – at which time the designs have been refined and tested thoroughly. We will be releasing these component-by-component. For example, as soon as the frame or hopper designs are perfected, drawings for these components are made available. These will be explicit milestones achieved in the project.
- People have until the product release date of April 1, 2009, to donate. Anyone who misses this deadline will have to wait until the Product Release Fund (PRF) is satisfied.
- The PRF quota is set at $15k for the The Liberator High Performance CEB Press. Full technical drawings are released into the public domain as soon as the quota is reached. We are allowing 1 year for this quota to be reached, at which time we release the complete plans even if the quota is not reached.
The above encourages anyone who is really interested in a low-cost Liberator to contribute prior to product release – which is the time when support is needed the most. $20 is peanuts for someone to pay when materials cost $2k, and the next cheapest competition costs $25k. Our quota is less than the price of one CEB machine from any of the cometitors.
The freeloader dilemma is only partially solved with this concept, though. Most people will not be producers of the machine – most will buy it from someone else. Production will happen whether they contribute or not – though it may take longer for us to get there.
We are looking for comments and suggestions on this concept. We are on the untested frontiers of open product development – so your suggestions are welcome. If we can demonstrate that the rewards are worthy – how do we motivate people to contribute? Is it simply about a larger marketing effort?