Mission Enterprise Model

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= The enterprise model represents that profitability is not against community autonomous empowerment. [1]

Introduction

Mayo Fuster Morell:

"Online Creation Communities can be classified in terms of how their provision spaces function.

Two main axes concerning the infrastructure provision strategies can be distinguished: open versus closed to community involvement in infrastructure provision, and freedom and autonomy versus dependency on the infrastructure (netenabler versus blackbox).

...

Five main models of online infrastructure provision can be distinguished:

   * Corporation services,
   * mission enterprises,
   * university networks,
   * representational foundations and
   * assemblearian collective self-provision 

Each option of these models has advantages and disadvantages, and importantly, these models differently shape the communities generated in terms of participation growth and type of collaboration established."


...

"The two models of infrastructure governance based on for-profit strategies: corporate service model and mission enterprise model:

The corporate model of infrastructure governance is characterized by a provider body closed to participant involvement and based on blackbox conditions.

Participants are “trapped” in the platform, as the copyright and proprietary software framework restricts the freedom and autonomy of the participants in the platform. The corporation model applies to cases of communities owned by communications companies with large pools of technological skills such as Google, the provider of YouTube." (http://wikis.fu-berlin.de/download/attachments/59080767/FusterMorell-Paper.pdf)

Description

The mission enterprise model is characterized by being closed to participant involvement. Importantly, the enterprise model is based on netenabler conditions, which favor the autonomy of collaboration. The enterprise model is the case of startups, which maintain independence from big communications companies. It is a strategy for developing new business models which are compatible with netenabler conditions. One example is Wikihow, a how-to collaborative manual, or Wikitravel, a collaborative travel guide, both provided by small startups.

...


The mission enterprise model is also closed and forprofit as with the corporation model of Flickr; however, it is based on a netenabler and commons-oriented policy.


The mission enterprise model, has all the combined qualities for OCCs to increase the size of participation and collaborativeness at the same time. Being closed and forprofit, the mission enterprise model favors big communities; being netenabler, the enterprise model favors more collaboration. Furthermore, these communities are based on selfgoverned communities, although their infrastructure providers are forprofit character." (http://wikis.fu-berlin.de/download/attachments/59080767/FusterMorell-Paper.pdf)


Characteristics

Mayo Fuster Morell:

The discourse of this type of profit provider is characterized by two main distinctive elements: mission oriented and netenabler settings.


Mission Before Profit

"Putting the “mission first” or the “mission before profit” refers to a profit entity whose primary mission is to accomplish a social good, while the business goal remains secondary. According to Jack Herrick, founder of Wikihow, this results in a “hybrid organization”, which is something in between a forprofit organization, a nonprofit organization and the state".

The tension between the social basis of the mission and the need for the provider to be profitable is also present in these types of profit provider as was presented with the corporate model of Flickr. However, in the case of mission enterprises, these tensions seem to be more obvious in the relationship of the enterprise with other enterprises, and the competition of the platform’s content with other “competitive” platforms, than between the participants and the enterprises. According to Evans Podromou, founder of Wikitravel and Identica: “As wiki service providers, we straddle two very different worlds: the competitive world of Web business, and the cooperative world of Free Culture.” (E. Podromou, Open letter to Wikia)."


The Netenabler Doctrince

"Secondly, this model is characterized by the principle of netenabling in regards to the level of freedom and autonomy of the participants. Autonomy refers to use of open standards (which facilitate the connection between platforms), open data (which facilitates the flow of information and the freedom to leave) and open source (which facilitates knowledge of how the program works and opens up the possibility of collaborative improvement or to adaptation it to other uses). In these settings, the individuals and the communities as a whole are also more empowered in terms of control over their production. This is illustrated by legally and technically being allowed to leave the platform individually and collectively, through open data and forkable content.


One of the strengths of this approach is that participants can have control over the platforms they use and the data they generate. Furthermore, as not only individuals, but more companies start to use more and more web based services, there is more pressure to ensure that data control is more favorable to participants (M. B. Hill, Interview, October 25, 2009)." (http://wikis.fu-berlin.de/download/attachments/59080767/FusterMorell-Paper.pdf)


Examples

"Examples of mission enterprises are Wikihow (a how to manual), About us (website review), Wikia (a wiki farm)28, Wikitravel (worldwide travel guide), Meetup (set up of meetings), Povo (city map guide), Identica (microblogging), Keiki (parenting guide), and Vinismo (wine guide). This is not a well known approach and only started to increase in 2005. No previous research was developed on this type of provision of the OCCs. This model will mainly be illustrated through the Wikihow case study, even though references to other cases will also be made. Wikihow was founded in 2005. It is provided by Wikihow, a startup based in Silicon Valley." (http://wikis.fu-berlin.de/download/attachments/59080767/FusterMorell-Paper.pdf)


See: Wikihow and Wikihow - Governance


Discussion

Mission Entreprises and their Netenabler Doctrine

Mayo Fuster Morell:

"Although most of the literature focuses on corporations, these are not the only commercial providers.

There is another set of commercial providers, enterprises, which are based on a missionoriented and netenabler doctrine. Mission enterprises are distinct from corporations in aiming to preserve the free net philosophy. In this regard, they are based on the netenabler policy instead of the blackbox policy of corporations. As Stallman had already noted in the 1980s, this different policy has a profound political meaning, as blackbox conditions limit the freedom of speech and of association (Stallman, 1996; R. Stallman, Interview, Juny 12, 2007). This new willingness to show that it is possible to create profit and sustainability under netenabler conditions can be observed in the discourse of the mission enterprises: frequently, successful start ups are bought by large media corporations. However, mission enterprises tend to remain independent from corporations and do not “sell” the platforms to them. Examples of this trend are cooperatives such as FLOSS and also Wikihow and Wikitravel.


Some of the channels of the commercial providers for making profits are personalized publicity, payment for sophisticated aspects of the service, publication of contents generated on the platforms or the selling of participants’ profiles as social profile data. The distinction between these two models importantly lies in their different approaches to the net and participant’s freedom and autonomy towards the infrastructure mission enterprises is a convinced enable net and flow continuity (portability) and blackbox corporations are closed points of flow.


Each platform does not act in isolation: the collaboration and flow of data between them creates a network effect. Both in the case of the corporate model as well as in the case of mission enterprises, networks are created between these two types of commercial form. In this regard, both in the corporation service and in the mission enterprises there are “clusters” or “net districts” (similar to an Industrial district) of platforms which cooperate to different degrees and share connections. While corporations create “close” agreements between corporate services, netenablers create open networks for data flow between them and beyond. For example, in relation to the corporate model, there is an integration of services among participants’ accounts, such as amongst Google, Facebook, Skype and Twitter. With regard to the mission enterprises, the provider’s part of a “net district” is inspiring and advising each other and building upon others’ learning experiences: they try not to damage each others’ interests with their decisions and find places in the market for each of them; they share licenses in order to facilitate the flow of content between the platforms and the sharing of information; they use shared protocol to simplify participant registration in the different sites; they collaborate in terms of sharing “human resources” to fill available positions with active contributions from other platforms; and they participate in the same networking events.6 This is the case for example with Wikihow, Wikitravel and Wikia. Furthermore, these “wiki net districts” work within the parameters of Wikipedia. For example, these cases are among the main donors to Wikipedia." (http://wikis.fu-berlin.de/download/attachments/59080767/FusterMorell-Paper.pdf)