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Talked about this at the May meeting, how do we buy the tools on the list and fund projects?

Hive13's ProcessEdit

[Add links to their process]

Depends on surplus dues after the fixed costs are covered.

Rational Street Performer ProtocolEdit

Rather than (or in addition to) waiting on surplus dues to accumulate, enable members to preferentially fund purchases and projects.


The Rational Street Performer Protocol is a threshold pledge system similar to 'matched pledges' that are commonly used on public radio funding drives. Participants agree to conditional pledges of the form:

I will donate one dollar in every <dollar_in_every> raised 
over <must_raise_over>, up to a total donation of <upper_bound>


Members could make conditional pledges on the wiki on tools they'd like to see purchased, and then if the conditional pledges reach the threshold (tool purchase price), pledges are collected at the next meeting (or more conveniently, through PayPal) and the tool is purchased.


For example (based on the example in the Python script linked below), suppose there is a tool that costs $150, three Dayton Diode members pledge towards this purchase as follows,

  • Peter will pay $1 in every $2 raised over $10 up to a maximum of $100
  • Robin will pay $1 in every $3 raised over $0 up to a maximum of $200
  • Garry will pay $1 in every $3 raised over $10 up to a maximum $15

The result of those pledges would be a total of $60 pledged, broken down as follows,

  • Peter pays $25.00
  • Robin pays $20.00
  • Garry pays $15.00

Since $60 is not enough to purchase the tool, Peter, Robin and Garry will have to wait for some additional funding. Suppose the voting process borrowed from Hive13 accumulates an additional $15 towards the tool,

  • Dayton Diode will pay $1 in every $1 raised over $0 up to a maximum of $15

With the new result of $150 total pledged, broken down as follows,

  • Peter pays $70.00
  • Robin pays $50.00
  • Garry pays $15.00
  • Dayton Diode pays $15.00

Now Peter, Robin, Garry and the rest of the Dayton Diode members can purchase the new tool and make some cool stuff. This illustrates the basic idea of the protocol: you decide on how much more you're willing to pay if other folks chip in too.

Python script implementing a numerical solution to an RSPP round:

http://www.logarithmic.net/pfh-files/rspp/rspp.py

Section changed to add Dayton Diode pledge to the example:

# Specify a set of pledges
    pledges = [
        # Peter will pay $1 in every $2 raised over $10 up to a maximum of $100
        Pledge("Peter", 10.0, 2.0, 100.0),
	
	Pledge("Robin",  0.0, 3.0, 200.0),
	Pledge("Garry",  10.0, 3.0, 15.0),
        Pledge("Dayton Diode",  0.0, 1.0, 15.0)
    ]

Run the example (if you've got python) and examine the results with

$ python -i rspp.py

RSPP was used to open source the codebase to Blender.


Paul Graham has a recent essay about funding startups that highlights the same need to break dead-locks in a funding round that RSPP is meant to deal with:

By making it easier for startups to give different prices to different investors, they help them break the sort of deadlock that happens when investors all wait to see who else is going to invest.

RSPP is about making it easy for different members to set their own price for a particular tool.

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