Crowdfunding the creation of the next version of LFGSS

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  • tl;dr We need more than 1,000 people to give us £30 so that we can build a better forum. Or some other split of that, will you be one of them?

    As most of you know, I've quit my job and set up in a small studio space working my butt off to build the software that will run the next version of LFGSS.

    For the curious, drafts and mockups can be seen over here: demo.microco.sm/

    Basically... it's discussion forum software: like tumblr, for forums.

    And within a subforum (what we're calling a microcosm) is everything: yeah there are threads/conversations but there are also events, classifieds, reviews, articles, galleries, Q&A, etc.

    It's pretty sweet... but... it's going to take a lot of work to build it. More than my one pair of hands can manage, especially when I'm being distracted by legal cases, fund raising, basic business stuff.

    In essence: I can do all of this, but I don't have the luxury of time. And in becoming a CEO to make all of this work and to co-ordinate everything, I have even less time.

    To make this possible in a reasonable amount of time I need to hire a developer full-time, and if we can get there I'd also love to be able to get a designer in too.

    So... crowdfunding.

    You lot, users of LFGSS know the value of LFGSS and good forums more than anyone else. And, you lot will benefit first and will have the most influence over everything we are doing.

    It's because of the love on here, because of the strength of the polo community, because of the phenomenal campaigning for road safety, because of the rides... that I see how much this software could change the world.

    So we're going to ask you to help fund us.

    And we were going to do this through a friend, but that wasn't ready in time. And then we tried KickStarter, but they don't allow web software (we were declined). So now we're here, Christmas is looming, we missed the late October payday, and there's only one payday before Christmas... so raising money is harder now than at any other time of year. The odds are against us.

    We need to raise at least £32,000 just to get the developer and to cover costs (rent, testing devices, stipend for living, etc). This is our bare minimum, essentials only way to get off the ground.

    Which to someone with it isn't a lot... but I live on a paltry stipend and I can tell you that figure is awesomely huge.

    So the question I have, the tl:dr of this post...

    1) If we can offer equity, are you prepared to invest in the company?
    2) If we can reserve for you your username on all sites running this software, will you consider making a donation?

    We need to try and get an idea of what is possible, of where the money might come from. And if we offer equity we need to determine how much we offer and for how much... we are aware that we may need a proper investment round in the future, and that equity is used to attract staff (that developer is prepared to live on below minimum wage because of the potential of equity)... so we have to balance one against the other.

    Externally, one large investor has started a clock on Microcosm. 2 weeks ago I was told, "Show me what you can do in 3 months, if you raise the money you need to make the hire, and can get some work laid down, come back and we'll have a serious conversation."... 2 weeks in, nothing to show.

    So with the clock against me, at a hard time of year... who here would like to invest in or be a patron of a London based tech startup that wants to make forums good?

    If this is you, please put your name down on the poll so that we can get a vague idea of how we should structure the crowdfunding.

    I never sign posts on forums... but this one, wow, talk about putting my life in your hands... so, yeah, love and bromance,

    David

    PS: What you get in return.

    If you become a patron: we can't give you equity, but we will reserve your username in the system. It will be hard-coded such that if someone sets up a forum using this software, only you can ever be your username.

    Secondly, if you wish to be in the credits, you will be. But we won't force that if you prefer privacy.

    If you become an investor: You get boring stuff, some equity in the company and a share of future profits should we get to such a point. You also get risk that we may fail. We will manage the investment part through an FSA regulated company.

    To LFGSS members and investors and patrons: You get office hours access. Literally, come down, see what we're doing. We'll make you a coffee, and show you our progress. We're going to be extremely transparent.

  • edit: poll has now come up. voted

  • list:

    Nah-uh, non-public.

    A lot of people do prefer to give and have their identity remain private... we should respect that and not have peer pressure deter them.

  • yep, understood - I was too quick off the mark and have now edited.

    you're doing well already I see!

  • Im not taking much freelance work outside of office hours just now so would be happy to donate some development time if you need it at any point. (PHP/C/Java/JS/jQuery proficient)

  • Voted.

    Cash or cheque?

  • This is the next step.

    Good luck Number 1.

  • Voted - How to pay?

  • Damn, I wouldn't want equity after reading your plea David. Not saying I will turn that down though. Yours, G.Gekko

  • Voted - How to pay?

    Oh, this will be sorted very very soon.

    Choice will be card, UK bank account (direct debit based transfer) or PayPal (urgh!).

    Details will come soon, but don't send money to the LFGSS PayPal.

    In fact, in all honestly I would prefer people who intend to donate wait and direct it at Microcosm. Raising the seed capital is hard enough, and literally every pound will help.

  • PS totally coming to visit, i've always wondered what's up those stairs....

  • Count me in, just need to have a think about how much I can afford to commit.

  • Oh, this will be sorted very very soon.

    Choice will be card, UK bank account (direct debit based transfer) or PayPal (urgh!).

    Details will come soon, but don't send money to the LFGSS PayPal.

    In fact, in all honestly I would prefer people who intend to donate wait and direct it at Microcosm. Raising the seed capital is hard enough, and literally every pound will help.

    Don't use PayPal then. Simples - it'll sort the wheat from the chaff.

  • approx £2k in 15 minutes is pretty good for a start.

  • Are there any projections for the people wanting equity?

  • Damn, I wouldn't want equity after reading your plea David. Not saying I will turn that down though. Yours, G.Gekko

    I'd rather people look at the mockups and realise how awesome LFGSS and other forums could be and focus on why it's awesome of you to support it... my story is just my story, if I had family I could tap up then I would... you guys are my family though and I would only want you to support something you felt was right.

    So take a look at the mockups: demo.microco.sm/

    I particularly love the events page and being able to compare classifieds.

    Though having galleries in Current Projects would be incredible.

  • would love to invest, but cashflow will probably mean patron level. will see when the time comes.

  • In

  • A Jimmy Wales style soft focus image at the top of every page could be the way to go.

  • I'm in the mock up!! WIN!

    *iamsadandlonely

  • Im not taking much freelance work outside of office hours just now so would be happy to donate some development time if you need it at any point. (PHP/C/Java/JS/jQuery proficient)

    Microco.sm Hackathon:

    1. Rogan
    2. Emyr
    3. ???
    4. Profit!
  • Are there any projections for the people wanting equity?

    Anyone considering the equity who wants to see the pitch deck with more insight, and the scale of ambition... PM me and I will share this with you.

    We haven't gone too deeply into predicted revenue due to the nature of not knowing the growth rate. But we have identified the market, we know the potential is huge, we know where the money is... and the only bit out of our control until v1 is out there is growth rate for years 1-3.

    In very broad terms we know that year 1 = broke and busted, year 2 = we hope to cover costs, year 3 = we hope to turn a good profit.

    I'm not a silicon valley startup guy, I've been through building a company before... it takes time and it's hard work. I won't make false promises about any pot of cash at the end of year 1.

  • In all honesty, anyone who expects a return in the first year needs their melon examined.

  • For those who are thinking of volunteering.

    The technology stack is:

    Database: Postgres
    File storage: Riak (probably)
    APIs: Go
    Web: Python+Django (very probably)

    It is extremely likely that the place we will want the most help will be in the web layer, creating the HTML and JS templates.

    We want to focus on a very responsive layout, with as few as possible HTTP calls, well-templated and sane, yet mind-blowingly nice for the end user. We want this to be as beautiful and elegant as our server code... easy to maintain, well-documented, easy to customise.

    The idea is that the APIs are the platform, but that anyone could take the web layer and if they don't like the way it looks, they could change it 100%. We've done the hard work of storing stuff and querying it, you can tweak a site to look however you want. So the web layer needs to be really well done.

    There will be some web sockets going on from the API layer... for the parts of a page that will magically change.

  • Also interested in projections, and what level of equity is on offer for both 1k & 2.5k options.

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Crowdfunding the creation of the next version of LFGSS

Posted by Avatar for Velocio @Velocio

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