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The FarmBot Open Value Network

How might we build FarmBot into a business that is open, transparent, equitable, and scalable?
An Open Value Network is a framework in which a network of people can collectively create value under an agreement where each contributor has the opportunity to be compensated for the value that they add to the network. The Open Value Network is non-hierarchical, democratic, transparent, and open to all. Compensation may be cash, equity, recognition, and/or anything else the network decides and is capable of offering. A simple example: When cooking a pizza with friends, there may be an agreement where for each ingredient someone contributes that the group deems as desirable, that contributor has the option of being compensated with one slice of the completed pizza. Anyone may be involved in the pizza making process and help determine the type of pizza to be made, and therefore which ingredients are desirable. Those who do not like the the type of pizza being created may choose to keep their ingredients and not participate. An Open Value Network shares many attributes with open-source software projects on GitHub:
  • Transparency - All parts of the network/project are public so that anyone can see what has been contributed and by whom, what the vision is, and what is desired by the group to do next
  • Openness - There is no barrier to joining the network/project and a lack of obligation means anyone can cease to add additional value at any time
  • Democratic - Anyone can suggest what to do next, discuss the options, and vote on how important things are based on a single vote per person, weighted votes, proxy voting, or another system agreed upon by the group
  • Small Contributions Add Up - The network/project is worth more than the sum of the individual contributions
  • Quality and Importance Matter - If a contribution does not provide enough value because it is deemed by the group to be of low quality or unimportant, then it may not be accepted or compensated for

Accounting the Network's Value

The primary difference between an Open Value Network and GitHub is the accounting of value. In open-source software projects on GitHub, contributors are generally volunteering their time and not being directly compensated for their efforts other than with possible recognition. This works well for non-commercial projects because people are building them for reasons other than compensation. But what about the case for projects that will be commercialized such as the FarmBot Project and potentially OpenFarm? In such situations, is it equitable or virtuous to accept contributions without providing an option for the contributor to be compensated? It seems to depend on two things:
  1. The reasons why and way in which the value is commercialized
  2. The expectations of contributors

Practical Implementation of an Open Value Network

Using GitHub as the Backbone

There is no built-in way in GitHub to assign value to issues, compensate contributors, track the cumulative value of the network, or track the cumulative value compensated to each contributor. However, Creating Cash Bounties with BountySource Contributor Expectations    
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