Some people with eagle eyes may have noticed the footer of this website reading: "© 2013-2014 The FarmBot Foundation." What exactly is the FarmBot Foundation you may be asking? Well, it is my envisioned non-profit legal entity that will function as follows:
The near term goal of the project is to launch a crowdfunding campaign to get hardware into the hands of a lot of people. In order for this to happen, a legal entity needs to be formed for liability protection for the campaign, manufacturing, shipping, and service of the first consumer FarmBots. In addition, it may require many people to make the campaign successful, and there may be large sums of money involved, in which case a formal entity is desired if not necessary. After the campaign, this entity will continue to produce and sell FarmBot hardware and software as a service. Being a non-profit entity, prices will remain as low as possible, and any profits will be ensured to go back to the project. This will go on until there are other businesses, potentially including my own spin-off, that are producing and selling FarmBot hardware and software as a service. Perhaps the Foundation's profits can help kickstart these other businesses by providing grants to FarmBot innovators and entrepreneurs.
This strategy goes hand in hand in with my personal goal
, in that once others are making financial gains from FarmBot, and each component of the ecosystem is readily available, then a transitional "stability point" will be reached. In the same way that I will have the option to personally leave the project, The FarmBot Foundation will have the option to stop producing and selling hardware and software without the project at large dying.
At this point, The FarmBot Foundation may continue sales or it may not. But what is certain, is it will transition into more of a guiding force for the project at large rather than being a "competitor" in the marketplace. It will help to define standards, continue serving as a central repository for the forum, wiki, code, and 3D files, make strategic partnerships within industry, and more.
Only time will tell what the project ecosystem will look like when this point is reached, but this is plan for now!