“In a sparsely populated country with a short summer and long, hard winter, the idea of people working together for a common interest comes naturally. As a result there are more member-owners of co-operative enterprises in Finland than there are people. The average adult is a member of two co-operatives; those in a rural setting, such as farmers, are likely to be a member of four.”

– This snippet from this blog isn’t just inspiring, it shows that the new ways of doing business together aren’t that brand new after all. We’ve forgotten that businesses are a result of ‘working together for a common interest’ and that the common goal is almost never ‘to make ridiculous amounts of cash, and more of it every year’. We are lucky that things seem to be changing though.

The old model was: one guy has an idea, finds cofounders, finds money, invests a ton of it, finds workers who follow orders, hopes for success over the next 50 years and maybe makes a profit.

The new model seems to be: a group of people gets together over a great idea someone has, a hard-core forms and starts to build the idea in small and with minimal costs and needs, in no time, making it scalable and ready for growth. The hard-core team is supported by a larger group of co-builders, who possibly move in and out of the core-team as the idea changes constantly.

We’re currently at an in-between fase, where a lot of companies start from a crowd-sourced or community-built idea, and then end up going for the traditional exit, selling their company for big bucks.

As soon as we get over ourselves and especially our greedy demand to make more money than we need, we can go back to co-ops and crowd-based initiatives because we actually believe in creating cooler values than just cash.

“What would you be doing if you didn’t have to make any money to pay for food, rent, taxes, etc?” It’s an easy question that always does the job, get’s people to think about their real impact on this world and their personal happiness. It’s circulating our hallways at Meetberlage at the moment, where we have just switched from flat pay-rolling to a variable revenue-share model with the core team of our company.

It’s weird to think that most companies start with a strong feeling of co-ownership between the shareholding founders, but with the first pay-rolled employees coming in they need to form management and human resources isn’t really trying to find the best place where people become happy but they’re busy inventing schemes to make sure unhappy people can’t call in sick too often and can’t screw over the company, or are brainwashed by training and corporate culture to simulate a feeling of happiness.

So what if you’d have a change to start fresh, and you could forget all the corporate structures, business models and fear-driven rules and norms that we’ve invented over the past decades. It’s a fun exercise, that could use some inspiration from the thought leaders and examples below.

I want to elaborate on Assembly, because the platform answers many questions i bumped into recently. For example:

If you’re going to build a customer or employee owned company with a 1000 people, how do you maintain 1 vision, how do you manage teams, how do you divide profits, who decides what, how do you break up fights… ??? Assembly has found an incredible model where it’s really easy to post your idea, find collaborators and grow that group of co-builders. You are still in control of vision and ownership, until you invite others into the core-team. Co-builders are awarded by a community-decided fee for a small task. Why they are going to be big is because Assembly actually joins the core team in most of the projects. This brings the question (how will the assembly team itself scale when they want to join 10.000 idea’s, but i’m sure they’ve set up themselves just as scalable as their platform itself is.

 

These examples leaves us with one big need: a brand new business bible. The business models, corporate structures, HR strategies and many more basic rules, norms, values and standards we use to day won’t suffice in that future. They illogical, slow and often counter-productive. Most of them are based on a fear for something that never ever happens, or that happens 1% of the time.

It’s time to write our bible of abundance. Where we learn from our leaders and visionaries that test new models, systems and build new types of organisations together. Are you ready to write with me? Please comment on this post, or send me a message at felix@meetberlage.com!