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Some Goals and Preferences for Co-Op Formation To be taken as the mildly-organized brain-dump it is. 2021-04-10 page [coop personal political]

Fair warning, there's a range of thoughts and impulses in here, from real practical concerns, to personal/professional boundaries, to pie-in-the-sky ideation with a strong political/emotional component. Not everything listed is a dealbreaker but I'd rather err on the side of thorough and transparent.

First of all, before we get too far with this, I would have some real hesitation about founding a co-op of only white men. I've seen a number of groups say they wanted to eventually reach out more and build a more diverse base, but there's a shared wisdom in organizing that your group will take a long time to outgrow the demographic profile of the founding members, if it ever does, so the responsible/equitable approach is to build something that is multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, gender/sexuality diverse from day one, and that acknowledges that diversity is a starting point for equity & inclusion, not an endpoint.

My goals for the group are to build an organization that outlives any individual member's participation, gives stakeholders more safety and stability to make a positive impact in their local social and ecological systems, invests in the long future technologically, socially, and spiritually, and uplifts groups underrepresented and/or underserved by "tech" in general.

My goals for myself are to enjoy more regular collaboration, and thereby hopefully faster professional/personal growth, and to get to the point where it's easier and less stressful to take an occasional vacation of modest length. I hope these and other intangibles also materialize for everyone involved, in addition to their own goals. Some very specific areas I'm interested in improving are:

  • communication
  • project planning/management
  • sales
  • automated testing
  • modern JS stack (React/Vue/whatever) & deployment infrastructure (k8s, docker-compose, serverless, etc)
  • it'd be cool to have a chance to learn Go or Rust (but I will happily stay in bash, python, js, etc for as long as I live if not)

I'd like to draw some hard lines and some firm (but bendable with deliberation) lines in terms of clientele:

  • Hard lines:
    • no adtech
    • no Israel
    • no police/prison/military/intelligence
  • Firm-ish lines:
    • no bitcoin/ethereum but willing to look closely at other coins/blockchains with a critical but open mind.
    • "free speech" makes me skittish these days.
    • "we're just a platform and not responsible for individual content" is not OK with me in general but open to discussion.
  • Ideal targets:
    • Co-ops (principle #6)
    • non-profit/left-wing and left-ish/progressive orgs
    • Open-source/Free Software/open-core/etc (though my personal licensing preference these days is complicated and still under review)
    • Public benefit / B Corps
    • the good parts of government (social security, medical care, etc)
  • OK, Fine:
    • most anything else, I guess!

Speaking of principle #6, the 7 cooperative principles are definitely guidelines for what I envision, if that wasn't already clear.