Blipfoto is a photo community, where people can share one photo a day. The current situation is that the current owners are prepared to sell it to a new Community Interest Company who will run it for the good of the community – you can read much more on this at Blipfuture.
[DISCLAIMER: I worked for the old Blipfoto company on their official Android app. But at this stage I have not spoken to the new Blipfuture directors at all.]
Firstly, I think it’s a great community. What I saw when I worked there – and as someone who posted a few photographs a week myself – was so many people caring passionately about it, and that’s a great thing.
Also, this is about Start ups versus Community Interest Companies. Ultimately, a Start Up business model exists for one thing only – to make it’s shareholders rich. To be very clear, that isn’t to impune the motives of people who work at startups – many people work for startups with good intentions and certainly from everything I saw at my time at Blipfoto I would keenly defend Joe, Graham and the rest of the staff from this charge. But people should be under no illusions – if the shit ever hits the fan, the investors are the only people who’s interests count. And this, sadly, is exactly what happened to the old Blipfoto company.
A Community Interest Company is different; it is run for the community and there are various legal blocks in place to make sure that is the case. I think this could be a great model for Blipfuture – and indeed I think many other projects could be run on this model.
Others have raised issues about the lack of detail and uncertainty of the plan and of future revenue predictions. I know that in business you can never tell what’s going to happen. I accept at this stage there are many unknowns, and to be honest some of them will probably take years to sort out. But that’s fine. The community can work together on these, and at least we tried, right?
(There are some details about voting at General Meetings I would like cleared up tho. There are more details on this and other legal details here.)
So I’m in. And if you enjoyed the old Blipfoto, I’d encourage you to check it out to. Register at the site and you can download more details.
Good luck, BlipFuture!
PS. Some tech people would object to the concentrating of people’s memories in someone else’s hands, and say that people should self-host their own data. Nice theory …. in practice, self hosting is currently a real pain. I’m a developer and I think it’s a real pain, so imagine what non developers think. There are a lot of people working on this area, so maybe this will improve in the future. But for now, I also want to be exploring alternative models.