Meet.coop started as a project in the early days of the pandemic to provide a commons-focused, cooperative video conferencing option running free-libre software. The project has now reached a point where the current organisational and financial structures are no longer sustainable. We (the Board of Stewards and Operational Members) have therefore made the decision to fold meet.coop and end the service within the next six months.
I was involved “some time after the beginning”, let’s say, bailed for $reasons, always promoted it and sent a couple a groups their way who did end up supporting financially. Autonomic was an operational member at some point or another. @3wordchant was getting stuck in. Perhaps others in the co-op, can’t quite remember.
It’s an inspiring project and really set the bar high. Congrats to everyone who brought it this far. I would say it has had a huge effect on expanding the imaginary of what people thought was possible.
I have a critique which I don’t think I ever distilled into a few points. I might try that on this thread.
Opening this thread for thoughts from others, I’d love to hear what people think about the project and what we can learn from this.
I came relatively late to the project. Had I been there at the outset I would have been waving a flag for the early development of a business plan, some clarity about where the money was going to come from, and identification of some sources of possible grant support, as a key early priority. Not saying those things didn’t happen, and other people that were there earlier were certainly pushing for that work to be done, but what I saw was a lot of energy going into tech without so much focus on the foundational business stuff around it until later on. Good work was done to address that perceived imbalance, but not before key people had exited (often a bit miffed because of unmet expectations), and momentum was lost. I’m hopeful that the service can be handed over as a functioning thing to a like-minded group, and work is underway on that front.
My only experience was as an non tech end user. The platform itself was fairly easy to use, the challenge was quality, it just didn’t work as well as alternatives and when offering a critical communications service it needs to work.
On the workers.coop point. Outside of tech coops most just want a solution that works “nearly as good as” that they don’t need to think about. If we can pull together a suite of tools to provide: shared files, decision and organising tools and a federated chat solutions, video and audio calls etc, all held together with a federation wide SSO and crucially an ecosystem of support and training. If we can do that…
We can charge it as an affordable “add-on” to membership which could bring a critical mass of coops that otherwise would just default to google.