There’s nothing as valuable for us at this point in our organizational evolution as completing the full CEB product cycle, to take the CEB press from prototype to market.
We spawned some publicity, and much is happening in the background. The viral marketing seems to be working, as new collaborators are contacting us now on a daily basis, as opposed to weekly or monthly. Our YouTube views
are growing exponentially since we went live over a year ago, and our publicity campaign is responsible for the recent growth. The early spike you see is when we got on the Wired magazine and BoingBoing blogs after we pressed the first open source compressed earth brick. Now our regular views are almost twice that. Plus, there are some excellent candidates for Dream Team 30 that we’ve spoken to. We started the OSE Development Group. On the other hand, our True Fans are still only 30 in number, so to raise this, we’re bringing our operation to the next level.
The first point is the CEB press – upgrading it to a 6-8 brick per minute machine, from the pitiful performance we’ve seen in our 5000-brick field testing ops. We’ve seen that the machine is useless with manual loading – as it would take 16 people to feed it with buckets to get it to the rate that it is capable of producing bricks. So we are adding a large hopper that can be loaded with a tractor. Problem statement: how do we redesign the machine to accommodate a large hopper? Here’s a short video about the issue, and you can see the CEB page on the wiki (outdated but comprehensive, with links to diagrams) for the entire development process until the present.
Please comment. I’ll record the results on our wiki.
The second point is about the elusive Open Source Product Development platform. How do we create a veritable open product development pipeline that can deliver to specifications and on schedule?
What I see happening in our organizational evolution at Factor e Farm – is a product development process generally defined as:
- 1. Define specifications
- 2. Recruit bids from 3 builders/prototypers who verify specifications
- 3. Write proposal
- 4. Submit proposal for funding by crowds and stakeholders
- 5. Put prototyper to work at Factor e Farm to build, after funding quota is reached
- 6. Every step is documented, product is released
Point 2 addresses major accountability gaps that we’re facing at Factor e Farm. We need an effective process where we deliver product, to specifications and on schedule. We have a recurring problem of not having sufficient review to verify our presumptions. We need to refine the review process, and one effective way is to involve professionals at a fee. I don’t see other ways to do this effectively in a streamlined development process. Sure, volunteers would get there over time – but with our limited resources at present, it would take many years to develop the Global Village Construction Set.
If the professionals can guarantee product, then funders are more willing to fund it. If professionals are involved, that serves the additional purpose of immediate and qualified third-party review.
I think some version of the above process is both realistic and fungible. There is no rocket science to this, it’s just a social process.
Jeremy is working in the background on a Drupal interface at factorefarm.org that can help streamline the above development process. The wiki is good as a repository, but it lacks the structure necessary to streamline the development process.