New tech coop + hackathon

Hi all,

I’m Ben from We’re a new Leeds based digital cooperative and we want to join CoTech.

Our coop runs as a software consultancy and we are the creators of a soon to be launched cooperative friendly distributed ledger. We also have an privacy product that incorporates some really exciting wearable tech (that we are allowed to talk about very soon).

There are currently 4 of us founding members working regularly on our projects and we hope to start hiring some full time people during the summer.

As well as joining CoTech we want to reach out to the wider cooperatives community and invite people to join us in organising a hackathon event for Cooperatives Fortnight in the summer. We want to host an event(s) in Leeds, that will combine talks from people across cooperative and socially responsible tech with a 48 hackathon.

Are there cooperatives in our local area that would want to join us in organising this event, and, are there tech cooperatives in other parts of the UK (or world even) that want to make this a synced up multi-venue event?


@ben-dcdcio are you free today or tomorrow? Lots of us are in Sheffield today and tomorrow and you would be welcome to come and meet us all.

@chris sadly we’re all working full time in our respective grinds. I’ve asked a member that might be available tomorrow but we’ll see…

Alternatively - or in addition - I could Skype call for 30 minutes to a room full of interested parties if there is an option for that? Say at 15:00 or 16:00 today? Let me know!

Sorry no-one replied to this (yet); many people are at the Spring Gathering and face-to-face communication temporarily took over from online, I guess!

@jonathan that’s okay. It’s been a hectic day for me too. Meeting tomorrow is still unlikely, but I’ll let it be known if that changes…

Morning @ben-dcdcio

Can you confirm that your coop meets the eligibility criteria in the CoTech constitution, please?

If you confirm that it does then I’ll use Loomio to propose your membership. This will be open for 7 days and gives the existing members a chance to discuss/vote on your membership.

Cheers, Chris

Thank you @chrisroos,

Apologies if this is the wrong place to ask/raise this point but we are a tick all boxes multi-stakeholder consortium and we anticipate membership to include workers, users and representatives of third party companies/organisations (likewise those the membership approve of).

Can you explain the caveats of membership with respect to consortiums?

A hypothetical situation I imagine would complicate things is if a small business joined us (e.g. a local greengrocer) and that small business is not in itself a coop. Because it could be said that small business de facto exploits it’s workers, does that scupper our chances of membership outright?

Or to put it another way our own workers are owners, but some of our owners might not be workers…


@ben-dcdcio Webarchitects is also a multi-stakeholder co-op and I don’t think this should be a problem, see the section in brackets:

Each member of the network is a company that is owned and democratically run by its workers (and, in some cases, customers) where members have the opportunity to appoint people to roles or change the structure of their organisations.

Thanks for the additional info, @ben-dcdcio.

I’m afraid I don’t fully understand the rules around multi-stakeholder coops. Although Webarchitects are members, I recall that another multi-stakeholder coop (Brighton Digital Exchange?) weren’t elligible. Is this something you can help clarify, @Graham, @shaun, @harry?

Cheers, Chris

My take on this, for what it is worth, is that de facto the workers at Webarchitects run the shop. They do have other members, and some, like me, try to take an active interest as capacity allows, but in practice the paid staff are running things. Brighton Digital Exchange, last time I looked, and the same is true of, don’t have individuals in membership. They are essentially cooperatives of organisations. And as I understand the criteria for CoTech membership, it’s about worker control. Hope that helps. I’ve not looked’s governing document and I don’t know their business model yet so can’t comment on either technical or practical primacy of the workers.

Within our rules we allow all four types of member; worker, producer, user & consumer. Accordingly, the board is made up of directors that reflect the representation within the membership (all workers at this time). We surmised that this degree of wide openness was necessary to promote the cooperative ownership of infrastructure and IP that we are driving for in our work.

If any group of members are likely to overwhelm the membership we could guess it be consumers/users because we will be providing services and products to individual people; though we doubt the incentives really exist to drive many individuals to join and actively participate.

Our rules are here if it helps clarify the basics.

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Given the fact that the co-op is using the Co-operatives UK Multi-stakeholder Co-operative Model Rules and this:

I really don’t see that there is an issue here.

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Thanks @chris, @Graham and @ben-dcdcio.

I’ve started a proposal on Loomio for your membership application, @ben-dcdcio. The proposal is open for 7 days to give other members a chance to vote on the application.

Cheers, Chris

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For me it is about whether the organisation is “owned and controlled by its workers”.

If a co-op was or became primarily controlled or owned by a group other than its workers I don’t think it should be eligible for membership.

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We agree with this too. And it’s hard to know what the make up of the membership might be in the future. If it begins to look like non-worker applications for membership will outnumber worker members then the incumbent worker members might elect to change the membership rules such that consumers/users/producers be forced to amalgamate into satellite societies or organisations or otherwise subscribe to a lesser type of participation in order to protect the core worker led authority within DCDC. This is something we will consider should the time come it be worthy of the effort. At the moment our rules are open doors because the of the bureaucratic cost of a better model outweighs its current usefulness.

It is important for DCDC to hear all stakeholders because we’re an infrastructure sharing cooperative as well as an worker cooperative.

I hope that clarifies our position somewhat.

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Yes that sounds all good to me @ben-dcdcio.

In Webarchitects our rules on voting allow a little weighting towards, let’s call it “worker-power” (sorry just joking, but it’s fair to say the other categories of our members are a little more peripheral, as @Graham explained). And I think that’s only right, as @Harry said. But each one’s also an individual*, who can be as involved as they wish.

(*Or a co-op. But if a corner shop keeper applied to join (say) they’d probably be accepted in as an individual (not as the business name). In fact we’ve got at least one.

But this is all stuff you can come to in due course. I’ll be in favour of Webarchitects supporting your application; good luck and best wishes :slight_smile:

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We at Autonomic agree with this too.

Hi @ben-dcdcio.

The proposal for you to join CoTech was approved. Welcome to CoTech :slight_smile:

I’ll be in touch again soon to get you set-up on the various systems we’re using.

Cheers, Chris

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I set up a account for Ben last night with admin permissions so he can add accounts for others.

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