An Update on Micro Enterprises

We finished our first four-week cycle in the new micro enterprise (ME) organizational structure. Since we are still getting used to planning and updating ME business plans, we decided to add one extra week at the end of this cycle for planning. This one off extension allowed us to better coordinate our ME's for the next cycle.

Going forward, however, our expectation is that we can plan during the cycle; especially once business plans for each of the ME's have stabilized enough that they only need minor updates in subsequent cycles. This also ensures that each cycle will still neatly fit two sprints of two weeks each.

Note that before switching to ME's we actually worked with a system of roles: each role has an owner that holds responsibility for the role being carried out. We have to ensure that each role is correctly assigned to one of the ME's and does not become lost in the transition. In the long term we want to extend this system to also include measurable accountability.

For more information on our experiment with micro enterprises, also be sure to check out the previous blog post!

Improving and Growing Our Organization

To start off with the company structure: we are exited about and close to finishing the set up of a stewarding foundation. The goal of this foundation is to ensure that our parent cooperation, and any other cooperation that joins in, does not fall foul of our core values. For example the foundation can prevent a hostile for profit takeover of a cooperation and its subsidiaries.

Also in this period, we welcomed two new team members, who will be working on the web client for Pods. We are happy to see them join in a more official capacity, since they were already successfully contributing to the project before. More people are in the pipeline for hiring, and we are still actively searching to further extend the team!

In light of hiring people and improving ourselves, we have also spent some time on ancillary tasks: to improve our on-boarding documentation, to gather organizational procedures and documents centrally, to coach us in cooperation and advise us on the new organizational structure. We have plans to create specific organizational ME's for such ancillary tasks in the future.

In addition to improving our processes, we have also looked at new platforms to use. We are experimenting with Notion to document our processes and share them among ourselves and the community. We are investigating Matrix with Element to host our community board and our internal communication. For team meetings we have been trying out Conceptboards, with good results, to allow for more interactive meetings.

Research & Development

And we end with a list of updates for each of the current ME's:

The consumer product ME worked on creating new integrators, in particular one for iCloud, and improved the shared integrator library. In addition, the ME took over ownership of the WhatsApp integrator previously being developed by a team member from another ME.

The platform ME focused on implementing a new dynamic database schema system. This system allows plug-ins to extend the base schema of the Pod so it matches their requirements. Besides development of the Pod web client, this ME is also prototyping a Kubernetes implementation able to spin up Pod plugins on demand.

The crypto ME investigated the possibility of integrating crypto wallets into the Pod eco-system. This would allow users to directly pay for goods and services using crypto currencies from their Pod. In particular it would allow the use of crypto for payment of Pod hosting.

The data scientist ME worked on support for data labeling tools, such that information imported into the Pod can be extended and used for machine learning. In addition to research on privacy preserving federated learning, some initial implementation work has been done to add this functionality to the Pod.

Looking forward to the next, but warmer, cycle!