We want to create a company that is as open and transparent as possible. In this blog we are reporting the journey starting from the idea, proceeding to the actual creation of the company and the consequences of this open philosophy.
The principle is generally that we publish everything in the net that doesn’t have a specific reason to be kept secret. Should we encounter something that can not be published, we will blog about the reasons for secrecy.
It all started as a play of thought, but we soon realized that there are actually not many reasons why a totally open company wouldn’t fit in our plans. We are building an open source product that enables people to share their resources with others, so why not show an example and share all that we have to share.
As we are rather young as entrepreneurs, we know how valuable a good example can be. By sharing our experiences openly, we give others an opportunity to view our journey from it’s humble beginning towards something bigger, and learn from our mistakes and successes. And sharing is also in the core of our product, so why not foster it also by our own example with the company culture.
The transparency also forces us to keep our back straight, keep up the work and put some effort in everything we do, because it will be all available to anyone considering working with us or buying something from us. On the other hand, it gives those parties trust that we deliver what we promise and are not hiding the darker side of the coin.
Doing something little unusual can often attract positive attention, so we believe that being unconventionally open will help us attract attention and the honest reports of our experiences will be valuable to people. And giving away something valuable is among the best forms of marketing, as cleverly stated in the Rework book by 37signals.
Last but not least, there is of course a bunch of idealism involved in our project. We believe that this kind of promotion of openness can help to push the world a little bit to the right direction. The feeling of being on a good mission is extremely motivating, and good motivation is the first essential step on the way to good results.
This blog is currently written in Finnish, for the convenience of us and the current readers, and because we feel there is currently too little stuff like this available in Finnish. However, the idea is to be open to the world, not just towards Finland, And with the current expansion of Sharetribe we will soon start to produce more content in English.
Part of the material is already in english. There are few links at the end of this article.
The founders are Juho Makkonen, Antti Virolainen and Niklas Begley. We have enthusiastic attitude towards entrepreneurship and strong background in web development and research in Aalto University focusing on sharing systems . You can check the pics, find our contact info and learn some Finnish at the Kuka (Who) page.
Our product, Sharetribe, is an online service for sharing goods and favors in local communities. The idea is that any group can start their own community in Sharetribe. The individual members can then list the stuff that they have at home and would be willing to lend to other members of the community. They can also offer their help in tasks that they enjoy doing, and offer ridesharing when they have empty space in their car. The platform also supports selling and buying old items and arranging accommodation.
When users of the Sharetribe community need something they can browse through the offers, ask for help or use the search, which will get results also from other Sharetribe communities and external services. This way Sharetribe will become the sharing hub of the community, and by sharing resources locally people can save time, money and environment at the same time, and also easily meet new members of the community.
The business model will be based on different options of hosted Sharetribe service. In future there will be a limited free version for small groups but the options will scale to large communities with demanding customization needs.
If you are interested to get hosted Sharetribe for your community, you can get started for free at www.sharetribe.com. The country and location of your community does not matter. Sharetribe is already available in 6 languages, and it is possible and relatively easy to translate Sharetribe to new languages.
To see what Sharetribe actually looks like, check out the biggest Sharetribe community at Aalto University.
There are very different types of local communities in the world. The first version of Sharetribe (with the earlier name Kassi) was designed with the needs of a university campus in mind, but now the development has been leading it to be more versatile platform for local sharing. And because Sharetribe is open source, it can be quite easily adapted to different needs in different types of communities. That’s why we invite all interested people to take a look at Sharetribe code and think if it would be suitable for local needs with small modifications, instead of building a new service from scratch.
The vision is to have an easy-to-use yet highly customizable open source platform for local sharing that would be a globally recognized household name for local resource sharing, a little bit like what WordPress is today for blogging.
The aim is high, but if we can gather a community of developers who are interested in working towards the best local sharing tool available, the goal should be reachable.
Current English material:
- Our shared folder at Google Drive (contains material in English and Finnish, and we are currently working on our way towards totally English materials)