I get asked all of the time: "What is your goal for the FarmBot Project?" The question usually comes in two contexts. The first, is the context of the project at large, in which case I repeat back our Mission and Vision statements. The other, is the context of my personal
goal, apart from the overall one. Is this just a fun side project for me? A long-term business opportunity? What is my exit strategy? Well, I've thought about it for a while, and this is where I stand today.
I do not want to produce FarmBot hardware and software for the rest of my life. It's awesome, exciting, challenging, and it could be lucrative, but there are many challenges in the world that I want to tackle. Agriculture is only one of them. This being said, I am without a doubt wanting and ready to work on FarmBot for a while. Though the Vision is pretty far off (as visions should be), I think the Mission is quite attainable in the near future (a year or three). To refresh you, our Mission is as follows:
Grow a community that produces free and open-source hardware plans, software, data, and documentation enabling everyone to build and operate a farming machine.
Grow a community
... That part is important. If there is a community, then we have system resiliency and a distributed work-load. If a few people (such as myself) decide to leave the project and work on other things, there will be others to fill their shoes. When is this critical mass and stability point achieved? I can't give you a date, but I have an idea as to the metric that may tell us.
Money. As soon as other people are making financial gains from the FarmBot ecosystem, the community will become stable. The opportunity for anyone to develop and sell hardware, software, service, and data is huge. I look to the RepRap Project
and all of the RepRap derivatives, accessories, and software as a case in point. Once people have their "skin in the game" and are making a livelihood off of FarmBot, then I will no longer be the only one producing and supplying the necessary components for the technology to exist. How many businesses need to exist? Probably only a few, but they must cover the entire technology, from the hardware to the software.
Now, once this community stability point is reached, I will have the option of leaving the project. Will I? Maybe. I'll see where I'm at in life when we get there. So what is my personal goal? Well, I guess it is reaching this point: where what I have created can leave the nest and fly on its own and I can move on to other things.