PortlandWiki:Telecafe

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Telecafe is the latest and greatest name for the entrepreneurial arm of the PortlandWiki contributor team.


Splash Screen


The essential idea is to launch a business enterprise that would seek commercial work and devote a portion of earnings and/or development resources to PortlandWiki.org. Telecafe's origination comes from the notion that the existing contributors of PortlandWiki are equipped with commercially valuable skills. These talents could be leveraged to provide a bridge to PortlandWiki to professional level resources, while fostering a more robust network of contributors.


Supporting Ideas

Telecafe is a way to work on PortlandWiki without having to work for 'the Man'.

In other words, Telecafe is a possible avenue of revenue that would allow primary contributors to focus full-time effort on creation of wiki-based content, project development and administration.

  • Sustainability - By creating a revenue source, we can compensate contributors. Telecafe can pay you for doing what you're doing already. This will create stability and consistency that can only be obtained from salary. Volunteering has a high burn-out rate, Telecafe could counter that trend. Just imagine, paying your rent with Wiki entries? If possible it would be the perfect job!
  • Resource Symbioses - The hardest part of being a new company is to prove itself. PortlandWiki can serve to legitimize Telecafe in front of prospective clients. In turn for the help, Telecafe can serve PortlandWiki in areas that is difficult for PortlandWiki. Such as funding events, providing financial rewards to editorial, pay for hosting and technology infrastructure.
  • Financial & Business assistance - Telecafe can serve as a patron to PortlandWiki, providing any financial, resource support so that PortlandWiki's structure remains simple and transparent.
  • Mutual Benefit - For lack of a better term, the idea is that as Telecafe increases in value, so does PortlandWiki. As PortlandWiki increases in value, so does Telecafe.
  • Advocacy - Believe it or not, commercial entities have more rights than non-profits. Small Claims courts will favor a professional vs a volunteer. In some ways, having a commercial ally can fast track needs that would other wise be sluggish.
  • Vouching - Often organizations struggle to get nonprofit status, because it is an effort to become exempt from government control. On the other hand if a commercial entity such as Telecafe can vouch for PortlandWiki it can go a long way.

Concerns

As the idea of Telecafe develops, there are concerns about the potential for confusion between PortlandWiki and Telecafe that might inadvertently taint PortlandWiki's grassroots, public domain charter.

Specific concerns and proposed solutions:

  • Need to avoid the perception that PortlandWiki is owned or controlled by Telecafe or Telecafe members, and not the greater community. New people won't help build PortlandWiki if they think it's built or controlled by a specific cadre of people. (added by kotra (talk))
    • Proposed solution by kotra (talk): Effectively communicate that anyone who chooses to help build PortlandWiki is an equal partner and has the same level of authority as any Telecafe member, and that Telecafe members are just a group of particularly active PortlandWiki contributors with a closely related side project. And that this side project, though it supports the PortlandWiki infrastructure and finances, has no implicit or explicit authority over PortlandWiki. Telecafe supports PortlandWiki because that's part of Telecafe's purpose. Perhaps formalize this in Telecafe's mission statement. Also, Telecafe members wouldn't "pull rank" in PortlandWiki disputes/debates, or cultivate the idea of "Telecafe authority" in PortlandWiki (I don't foresee this to be a problem, but it deserves a mention I think). -kotra (talk) 05:37, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Founding Charter

Per discussion at April 18, 2011 Monday Meetup. Interested parties are calling for a charter. A list of who would be interested in pursuing the planning and creation of Telecafe. Since the effort strives to be open and transparent, the hope is the list can be visible and available to add. Though the call for charter has informally closed, there is a standing invitation for all those interested in joining.

Telecafe founders

Proposed internal structure

  • For a smaller organization:
    1. Casual, fairly conventional working process where a delegator-type person assigns tasks and projects to specialists, who confer and ask opinions of others but ultimately make any decisions regarding that project.
    2. A 'client contact' for lack of a better word. Someone who has sold a statement of work to the client for a promise of money.
    3. A board and/or a steering committee from PortlandWiki to advise Telecafe of it's strategy.
  • For a larger organization:
    1. For general issues, use a consensus-based model with a deadlock-breaking process (for example, a chairperson or overseer that has the ability to make a decision if debate goes on too long).
    2. For project-specific issues, there could be taskforces and groups that are able to do work independently of the other members, without having to consult everyone for input.
    3. In the unlikely event that Telecafe became large enough, incorporating would allow the structure to be more democratic, since no one person would own it.
  • PortlandWiki as resource pool
    1. One big difficulty with new companies is obtaining the necessary talent to complete hired tasks. Telecafe would have a rich pool of writers and developers to request from.
    2. Telecafe could hire individual contributors and pay freelance writing rates. A PortlandWiki contributor would develop professional value and qualifications from simply writing what they already do for enjoyment.
    3. Telecafe would agree to seek PortlandWiki contributors first, and any outside freelancers would be required to become contributors in tandem.
  • Transparency
    1. One goal would to be as upfront as possible. Even regarding the payment and revenue, so that people can see that Telecafe has integrity. (Of coarse that might backfire if someone wanted to copy our business model, but who cares? Telecafe isn't in it for the money, but a lifestyle supported by contributing)

Skills available

  • Matthew
    • Business planning
    • Information architecture
    • Wireframes, flows, maps, various schematics
    • Market analysis
    • Manufacturer Product Design
    • Technical writing
    • Enterprise Software Design
    • Product Innovation
    • UI Design
    • Inventing
    • HTML,CSS, Jquery, CMS
  • Dave Myers
    • Apparently Dave is completely useless.
  • Kotra DeNies
    • Mediawiki configuration & maintenance
    • graphic design (print)
    • graphic design (web)
    • identity branding (particular training and experience in logo design)
    • HTML/CSS/Javascript/AJAX/XML/LotusScript
    • CMS configuration/customization: Lotus Notes/Domino/Administrator, MediaWiki (some WordPress, Joomla)
    • copy editing
    • press release writing
    • SEO
    • online & offline research
    • event organization
    • tech support
  • Michael (talk)
    • Writing
    • Wiki skills
    • Basic CSS
    • Basic graphics
    • Research analysis
    • Creativity

Service Proposals

  • Seed Writing - A wiki is only as good as it's contribution level, but freelance writers by themselves are incongruous. A client might lack skilled editorial staff to hire and manage them. Telecafe could serve as a wiki editorial agency to plan a unified editorial strategy complete with editing and writing services for a corporate wiki, that would be needed to flesh out their initiative. An example would be if a the Mayor's Office opened a wiki for next elections, they could hire Telecafe to front-load initial writing, so that it would gain enough credibility to attract volunteer writing. Payment would stem from an editorial statement of work. (Based on word count, pages, we would plan enough pages to warrant the effort, and/or include pages we already had base content)
  • Wiki Integration - Design a wiki platform integration, that would allow wiki's to be embedded easily into commercial portals. Much in the same way that forums are added to customer support areas. Wiki's in some ways can serve as forums, since the bulk of great content, tend to be research and analysis. By not being married to a particular technology, we could match the solution, whether it be wikia,Wet Paint or a hand-rolled version.
  • Wiki Design Boutique - Wikis have been around a long time, and while wiki's like Wikipedia continue to grow in visibility and interest, there has yet to be strong design work in the wiki market. Most wikis either look like Wikipedia (like we do), or they look like blogs (like Wikia sites do). Either way no one has really nailed it yet. If Telecafe could figure it out, we could offer the service to ad agencies who could incorporate it in their larger campaign.
  • Wiki Business Strategy & Consulting - Wikis are an underutilized communication channel, and often times, a company may want advice about the use of a wiki. We provide simple business strategy and analysis, and recommendations for creating a wiki and/or building an internal team for it.
  • Knowledge Management and Development - Similar to the wiki strategy services, there is also the possibility of helping clients with Knowledge Management which is a market that is largely untapped. Clients who own massive amounts of knowledge for public and proprietary purposes struggle to make it available to customers, with our experience in working with wiki and other web-based media we can provide valuable direction and development solutions.
  • Electronic Documentation - If a wiki could be made to be secure, easy to use, HIPPA compliant, and secured in a such a way that no data loss was guaranteed, then it could potentially be used as a method of electronic documentation that was FAR less cumbersome than many existing "solutions".

Probono Work

Though I'm loath to suggest this, there may be a point when we need to do work on prospect or free in order to prove that we can accomplish the things we say we can. Thankfully, for the most part we can indicate Piki as a sample of our work, though this only qualifies as wiki professionals, and if we try to enter into knowledge management market, we will need some type of proof. I would recommend local chapters of national organizations, that could benefit from knowledge management services. Here are possible candidates:

  • Salvation Army: Portland Metro Board
  • Portland Mayor's Office

Service Trade-Out

Yet another strategy is trade-out. I'm grumpy about suggesting, since it doesn't translate directly to getting paid. Nevertheless, in our journey in to outward proof of adequacy, there may be an opportunity to provide knowledge management as a way of trading services with another company. One that might have a product we could benefit from:

  • Hosting and/or bandwidth
  • Sales Leads
  • Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Office Space

Billing & Payroll

The Elephant in the room. Not to sound presumptuous, but in an effort to be transparent, it's important provide an outline of how money is planned to affect success. Until there is someone with formal financial experience, such as a CPA that can be hired. Here is a possible straw man. What we can call the Expedited phase

Expedited Billing Straw Man

  • Use a Statement Of Work to identify to client what will be offered.
  • Employee cost is based on a flat hourly fee based on estimated time needed to complete
  • Infrastructure is based on retail price + 10% service charge
  • Terms Surcharge +20% if client wants more than 60 days before payment is due
  • Until there's an official business alias submitted to the IRS, billing will be made from one person.
  • The billing person will act as a broker to pay the team members, and will keep 10% for hassle of distributing profit.

Expedited Payroll Straw Man

  • Flat hourly for billable hours on a project
  • Technology reimbursement, for any costs during project dates
  • Business reimbursement, for IRS, merchant costs from IRA, City, & Banking costs needed for that one project.
  • A portion will go to reimburse PortlandWiki costs
  • Remaining money will be saved for future costs.

PortlandWiki Financial Support Proposal

Again another difficult topic. It's important at least to address, the cost it takes to run PortlandWiki. At the very least to understand how to support it going forward. Also, it is important to note, that an entrepreneurial effort will spotlight PortlandWiki may add overhead/bandwidth to it. So it's important to track at least, how its costs increase.

Expedited IRS & Business Alias proposal

Just as a place holder for these topics, what the business looks like on paper, really only matters in how services are billed. For now, say, if we get a client tomorrow, we can simply charge a flat hourly through a single person who will serve as a broker for billing and personal reimbursement. That would require the client to make payment to a specific person. Once an official business alias is registered with IRS, we can bill by the business name. Even though there would still need to be a financial contact.

Niche #1

One view would establish a beach head, in a specific niche in the Portland market. Something where no one else seems to be or, where we our combination of talent is perfectly suited to kick butt. What is that niche? Here some possibilities

  • Wiki design
  • Intranet design
  • Wiki curating
  • Intranet curating

Time Line

First Quarter 2011

I think the first quarter should largely focus on getting past strategy and philosophy tasks. It's not meant to be just a hobby, but a real money making entity that tech community should take seriously, and not seem like another pipe dream. --Matthew (talk) 12:05, 7 May 2011 (PDT)

  • Finish Redesign PortlandWiki.org, using new design techniques and layout. The goal is to make PortlandWiki stand out from Wikipedia, and demonstrate that wikis can be valid sources of knowledge. My personal goal is to have a first version of wireframes and design options by end of May. June can be spent developing or revising visual design. Also second theme event, Photo Scavenger Hunt will be held. --Matthew (talk) 12:05, 7 May 2011 (PDT)
  • Name, Proto-branding, Business, compliance, Getting the name, dba, and IRS stuff registered, and completing the gov compliance paperwork in order to become a valid city/state vendor. I would like to be able to request candidacy from city trade sometime in June --Matthew (talk) 12:05, 7 May 2011 (PDT)
  • Service Pitch and sales strategy, Would like to have our services described in a form that can be pitched to clients. Decision point on first set of clients to speak with. --Matthew (talk) 12:05, 7 May 2011 (PDT)

Second Quarter 2011

  • Portlandwiki improvements will be largely social & activist. New functionality for a more robust profile and group profile. The third theme event will be planned and held. Possibilities include Video Scavenger Hunt, Portland Wiki hack-a-thon.
  • A real client - Nothing sets the score like a real paying client. That will be the ultimate goal.
  • Trade-out - Getting known will be a difficult task. we may need to have more clients in our portfolio before we appear legitimate. In such an event, I will suggest we provide services to other non-profits. Particularly ones that have a lot of visibility, but would be easy for use to do. Second can do for some start-ups who are still on their backs, we could become visible to the investor community if we select the right start-ups to help. Finally, we should target companies who could benefit from knowledge management, and who can pay us through in-kind trade out. In-kind trades can be things like hosting, office space, and business resources.

Third Quarter 2011

  • Portlandwiki Rich components is one idea.. The design and development of more complex components such as real-time photo gallery, chat, and search. That includes components that were designed that were initially proposed, but was awarded the required development. --Matthew (talk) 12:35, 7 May 2011 (PDT)
  • More real clients less trade clients.
  • We should begin pitching our companies to angel investors.


War of words!