Social economy

There’s some neat news in the Textpattern community in the past week. Textpattern author Dean Allen and techie Jason Hoffman unveiled TextDrive, a platform intended to provide hosting for Txp and other php-based software. But the real news is how they launched it, with financing from Textpattern users who paid $199 up front in return for lifetime hosting with Textdrive. The user community responded quickly, fronting Textdrive with 200 early adopters and nearly $40,000 in just about three days.

The serendipity of this kind of event isn’t lost on me; this kind of community financing is a close cousin of the local currencies that I’m studying in my dissertation; earlier examples include Deli Dollars and Farm Preserve Notes, which allowed small businesses unable to obtain conventional loans to generate their own financing through the goodwill of members of the community in which the businesses were embedded. Similarly, Textdrive’s “VC200” have an interest in seeing the venture succeed, and they’ve expressed their intent to be a part of that outcome. Over at Ruminate, Chris Lott has a few more comments, and Tucson’s own Pixelmonger, John Banks, signed himself up, too.

Me, I hesitated too long, already burdened with the problem of sharply-reduced summertime income (there’s something in there about water and stones) and a set of credit cards in precarious balance due to a summer full of travel and the need to continue eating. But I’m still kicking myself for not throwing in; I’ll certainly take a close look at Textdrive when it officially opens up for business and offers hosting to those of us who were too timid early on.