Bob Cannell on tech coops text_

Cheers for linking to that, I think it is worth reposting the key sections here:

Tech Coops; the New Wholefoods

I think the tech coops expansion is an example of a business idea whose time is now. In the 70s it was a popular campaign for real food that created a demand and allowed young people to make a living from wholefoods - minimally processed foods. Today software development is the equivalent.

And it’s the same junk food/real food choice. Software developers have a terrible reputation, do the project, take the money and run, even though it doesn’t work. The market is not only huge and expanding faster than supply can keep up, but the opportunity for more people friendly suppliers is also huge. Learning to code is easy for those who have an aptitude for it and software development is a team activity. Individual workers must cooperate with their colleagues to get the whole development job right. Outlandish, the leading UK tech coop, famously converted from a privately owned partnership into a worker coop to increase their team working potential.

The new Suma

Outlandish are undoubtedly the ‘Suma’ of this new network. But, significantly, they have cooperated with other coops from the start. They actively help other people form tech coops to take on some of the work that Outlandish lacks capacity for/no longer wants to do. They do the more complicated stuff now and pass on the simpler jobs to newer coops to gain experience. eg Outlandish are said to be opening a university coop where students will hone their skills before taking on better paid and more difficult work either in this coop or setting up their own.

CoTech; the Network of Tech Coops

A self supporting ecosystem of tech coops is developing. Just as once there was a self-supporting ecosystem of wholefood coops from importers and manufacturers to distributors to retailers and caterers. It isn’t a coincidence that one of the principal advisers to this new, 30 coop strong, CoTech network is Principle 6. sadly the sixth principle faded and was lost from the wholefood coops movement early on and was replaced by competition. Worker coops sank or swam by themselves, and most sank.