"I went down to the crossroads
Fell down on my knees"
Dear members of the MOD community
Unfortunately, we have not reached the minimum funding needed to execute our reboot plan.
Without the funding, we could not proceed with the deal we were organizing alongside the preliminary insolvency administrator and carry on with the reboot in due time. In fact, we even moved backwards on the committed funding amount. More details on that are coming below.
This does not mean the game is over yet, but we have even less control over the next steps. We are now moving into a new phase of the insolvency process, with the insolvency admin opening up for other buyers to purchase the assets. Therefore also turning immaterial assets open source is legally not possible as they belong to the insolvency mass we don’t own anymore.
We also get evicted from our office and everyone is being fired by the admin. Any reboot entity needs to rehire staff, which we believe is still possible if we are moving fast with re-aligning on the mission and securing the resources.
Since we cannot actually work, most of what we do today is to reflect, digest, and think about how to proceed. After reading all the comments and inputs given here in the forum and also looking back at the history of MOD, I have arrived at an important conclusion that I want to share with you all and invite you to an important discussion.
I would like, if I may, to ask for extra attention here in the forum for the next few days. I know everyon´s time is limited and you all have our lives to take care of but this is very important and I need your input and knowledge.
The conclusion I have is that, since the early days, MOD has been torn apart between two antagonistic paths:
an open-source-based project, made by a collective and rooted in a community.
an innovative consumer product, made by a business and funded by financial investors
While the open source community gave us the initial momentum, the majority of the resources to grow were provided by investors.
Many of the issues raised and discussed in the forum for the last few days are rooted in this division. The problem with the knockoffs, the low community engagement, the confusing product line, the fear from investors, and many more.
Being torn between these two paths, MOD has not taken a firm stance on either of them and that leads to having negative impacts on both sides.
The community, because we are not “open source enough” (whatever this might mean), sees us with a lot of skepticism. The knockoffs get more help from the community than MOD because we are seen as a “paid product” in a traditional customer-seller relationship, in which we are demanded more and more.
The investors, on the other hand, see us as a non-business-oriented project and refrain from investing in us. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, the committed amount actually has been reduced. After my post disclosing details of the insolvency, I got a lot of heat and cold feet from investors, leading to them changing their minds and walking off.
While I write this post here, I feel that as soon as I press the “Create Topic” button, I am diminishing even more my chances of engagement with investors, as businesses do not like such levels of disclosure as communities do.
So, the thing I want to do right now, and that I consider the most important in MOD´s life, is to make a decision, take a firm stance, and proceed.
There are three options for me:
1 - We go full community
2 - We go full business. There are still routes for that.
3 - I give up and go do something else. I am tired and broke, and I have two beautiful sons that I deeply care for and all this is getting in the way of fully enjoying them.
Before we dwell on the discussions, I´d like to share my personal opinion and vision.
1 - I believe in the power of collectives and I am a huge enthusiast of open source.
Collective solutions are superior in the long run and open sources act both as powerful catalyzers and growth drivers of collectives, due to their democratizing nature.
My enthusiasm for open source is not rooted in a belief that things should be done for free and I think that financial interests are important for those “last mile” efforts inside a collective.
2 - I believe that an open-source-based solution for audio processing can be properly set up and polished to the point it results in a product that caters to mainstream musicians with no compromises.
My wish is not to make a product “from the community to the community”, but rather to make a product that is community-powered but serves as a bridge between the community of techies and the non-techie mainstream audience.
I have been saying this exact thing since I presented the MOD Duo project at the 2014 LAC: my mission is not to please the open source enthusiast, but rather to convince the non-enthusiast of the power of open source and the collective.
I say this because I have this belief in my DNA, and this is probably both the reason why I managed to gather so many like-minded people around MOD and the reason for this rather confusing business approach.
There are economical challenges related to putting a hardware product on the market and those challenges lead to the invalidation of certain dynamics that would normally work when applied to OS software only, without hardware involved. MOD´s insolvency is proof of that.
As I repeated many times, while software can be translated into development time, hardware requires moving material, which costs money that cannot be translated into development time. If we want to develop a product that involves hardware and that has a strong community involvement, we need to re-think many things like:
- direction of the development
- marketing and sales models
- licensing model
So, the big question here, to which I want to try to build answers together with the community is:
Is there a workable community-based approach to this?
and, in a positive case, what is the effective ownership level that members of the community wish and are willing to have on the aforementioned items?
I’d like to discuss this topic and try to find a working model, together with you, to serve as an alternative to options 2 and 3. If you are excited about what MOD does and want to have active participation, I’d say that this THE opportunity.
Although we are many in the forum, we are just a fraction of the total users. In this process, I´d like to work on some hypotheses here in this forum topic and then validate them with surveys, so that we can have some foundation for decisions and conclusions.
To finalize I´d like to share a motto that emerged circa 2017 when we were participating in a hackathon and we were toying with the idea of a music+development hackathon entitled “MOD-a-thon”:
Music always wins!
Shall we start?