Questions about self-organisation: Arduino
Answers by David Cuartielles, The Arduino Foundation
> What are the aims of the project you are involved in?
Create open tools (software and hardware) for prototyping, (self-) education, and electronic literacy in the electronic age.
> How is the project organised?
The project as from next week will be a foundation registered in the U.S. The foundation will count with a board, initially consisting in the so-called Arduino team. The main consultive organization is the Developers team. Anybody can enroll that group. Our three-layered structure is closed with the community of users. In general is the personal involvement what brings people to participate of the different activities of the Arduino community.
The foundational papers will establish how to become part of the board, which are the decision taking mechanisms, etc.
> How do you support the work financially and what impact does this have on your project?
Arduino, as many other software/hardware projects is supported by institutions and companies that benefit somehow of the community and the relationship to the users. The only property of the Arduino Foundation is the Arduino name.
People willing to use the Arduino name for their Arduino related products have to pay a royalty that will be used to maintain the community website, finance development of new tools, etc.
Until now, the whole economical investment needed to launch the project was made by members of the board, and they got their capital back. This means the project is running by itself. The accumulated revenues due to the use of the name until now are going to be the initial capital for the Foundation. Will help us to pay for accountants, lawyers, etc.
On the other hand, Arduino allows the generation of medium size business around it. Either in the form of sell-able IPR (people get hired to develop tools on top of Arduino), through education (workshops, academic courses...), or just by self-created projects.
> What do you feel you have achieved, and what are the problems you face?
We have achieved the creation of a standard in how to educate about the use of technology. Arduino courses don't require any prior knowledge and people participating will learn how to put electronic components together, but also how to program, how to make searches for information on the internet, how to participate from an online community, etc.
The problems we face today is to be completely overloaded. We expect the new structure will help us to make things easier for everybody.
> Are there any past projects/models which have inspired you?
Before I was member of a design collective called Aeswad, based in Malmo, Sweden. There we had a pretty anarchic way of dealing with projects, deciding how to be paid, etc. The financial model we had was really thought through and helped me to understand that distributed organizations need of a completely different degree of freedom that corporations do. On the other hand I could learn how to make (a lot of) money making the things I like the most and letting the others do the same.
Distributed strategies for world-wide organizations can actually provide a way of living to their members. It is just that nobody will explain you how to make it happen. There is no business school focusing on that. Corporate is a cancer we gotta eliminate from society if we are about to make this new way of thinking/living/working possible.
> What are your hopes for the future?
I hope that one day I will be able of leaving the Arduino Foundation letting a stable sustainable world-wide structure for others to continue creating things and contributing to the development of society.