Hello from Budapest

Let me start by saying how glad I am that this place exists and to know that there are a great number of people thinking in similar directions :slight_smile:

The situation in Budapest is ripening for a tech cooperative movement to spring up. To give a rote economic overview, there’s a great deal of capital flowing in as a lot of companies outsource their service centers or development to the East. These sectors are almost entirely unionized, fluctuation is high as people keep on switching jobs, burnouts are treated as a fact of life. With the relative cheapness of the city, we have a large number of expats relocating here, so the diversity of talent is pretty enormous.

Now for the most part, this sort of people would aggregate into startups, however as we all know that sort of boom is coming to a bust. Local politics and the average investor attitude here certainly doesn’t help.

With that being said, a few of us started looking at cooperative based solutions and we came across coops.tech as sort of a model on what we could feasibly achieve. Right now we’re in the early networking stage to gather a wide enough roster of people and skills to make the operation feasible. So far it’s looking promising, but we’re still very early on the road.

Interestingly, we do have a successful cooperative in the city called Gólya - and it’s a leftist bar. In fact they host the local degrowth conference and have showcased a number of interesting projects from all over - including cooperation Jackson as well as Faircoin/Faircoop. So the idea of a solidarity economy is a well planted seed.

I’ve registered here to learn and network so we may overcome the upcoming obstacles more easily, and to provide your community with a sort of gateway towards the developments around these parts.

As for me, I’ve been working in tech for about 10 years, and can almost do anything that isn’t actually coding. I’ve worked shifts in customer support, did risk management in credit card processing and marketing, fought online advertising fraud, did product management, helped a customer service automation startup, raised funds, wasted funds, burned out, got back in, did market research with AI and comments, sold product, etc. On the

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:slight_smile: it only takes a small group of people to start a movement.

Thanks so much for getting in touch with us, it only adds to our knowledge that this isn’t a UK-based thing, people all over the world want to work in this way.

What do you think of potential clients - are they open to working with tech worker co-ops?

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Hi Gergo. Exciting times indeed. Welcome.

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I don’t think the issue here is the format of the company. Here, because of the size and purchasing power of the region, buying decisions are determined by the budget that is usually decided higher up in the regional HQ or the main HQ - in France, Germany, Austria or the UK.

In my experience this translates to the fact that business is primarily done through informal networks and is mainly based on trust in talent. For us this means that the key strategy lies in convincing the talent to form coops, and the main challenge will be in bridging the sales rolodex which is usually entrenched in corporate CRMs or within a select key people.

At the end of the day people want work done, cheap, fast, efficient and risk free. How you organize that is not their business I suppose, but the experience might be different here than it is in the UK.

… there’s the starting point for an approach; scale mitigates the sense of risk. Be happy to discuss it further if it would help.

That’s a heady mix that - in my experience - doesn’t actually stack up in the real world. Pursuing that goal is the sort of thing that buyers love and which creates high blood pressure in those seeking to supply it. Always better to under-promise and over-deliver. One cooperative model that I see working well in a tech environment is where the ‘talent’ pools a percentage of their revenue to fund what they might see as the uninteresting stuff (customer support, maintenance, admin) allowing them to pursue the shiny stuff.

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Tho ‘risk’ is, broadly, perceptual…

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Right, I know it’s an impossible goal, but that’s the perception.

In this sense, “risk” is reliability, so a new coop would be perceived as a new startup - will you be there next quarter, can you maintain quality, can you scale with my needs.

And a coop approaches that from a different angle than a 70% annual fluctuation startup company does, which could be a selling point as long as the service “sticks” in the market.

When you’re considering a service purchase, clearly, many factors that inform the risk assessment. The formal ones - can the provider do the tech, handle management, maintain housekeeping, comms…the essential tick boxes - are ‘relatively’ easy to deal with.

The difficult (and most critical) factors are almost always the intangible/perceptual ones. As to whether being a coop can address those in some way is inevitably going to differ from one business sector to another, one place to another, one market to another and so on …

If I were considering forming a coop purely as an outward-facing service solution, my first reality check would be to ask ‘how do my potential clients view coops?’

Can talk through Gildedsplinters’ experience of that. Also one of our members is in Croatia so he might be able to offer some more specific perspective

That would be amazing! I find that regional examples and experiences are easier to translate into practice here than just copy pasting what one finds. With that being said, I’m the coming-to-be orgs “sponge” so to speak on gathering as much intel as possible.

Here the entire business/tech sector is super tiny - even SSC’s collectively employ about 50k people from a workforce of 4.8 mil. So our plan is two fold: pool people together who have a track record of delivery to address the trust issues, and develop services around the solidarity economy that will facilitate cooperativism and get “soft buy-in” from all levels of existing organization. The service economy doesn’t have unions here, there are no tenant organizations, even wage data is private, so there’s plenty of rock to mine out - in terms of addressing needs that the free market in onitself doesn’t provide, but lends itself if viewed as horizontal organizations (with membership fees rather than purchases/subscriptions).

But this is partly thinking out loud, obviously the more we try it the more hard proof we will have whether or not this idea works - so I’m open to all the avenues that were tried and didn’t work for reasons X Y Z :slight_smile:

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Drop me a line (royatgildedsplintersdotcoop)& we can set something up