Financial Times Germany Interview

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Date: 14. April 2011

How many people are currently involved with the whole OSE project and what are they working on? How many are living on the FEF and what are their main responsibilities?

Hundreds worldwide, 2 on-site

I read that sometime last year, you operated with a monthly budget of around 1500 $. Has that improved this year?

$3000 in donations

Who are your major contributors?

True Fans - see True Fans and subscribe yourself:)

How many True Fans support you?


How far along are you on your way to collect the 2.4 Mio. $ for developing the whole GVCS?

Organized the nonprofit branch of OSE and are starting on resource development

What do you currently “need” most (in terms of personnel, funding, raw materials)?

PEOPLE - qualified subject matter experts who can deliver to OSE Specifications

Could you tell me a bit about an “average” day on FEF?

Wake up, meditate, network - mostly global conference calls with developers; do design and CAD work, develop projects in workshop, tend orchard and chickens; fix broken eqiupment (non-open source stuff that we aren't really in control of)

Do you spend more time on delevoping the GVCS or on more basic farm-work like planting?

Varies with the season from 0-100%; most of the time it's 95% GVCS, 5% farming

Or do you currently spend most of the time putting the word out about OSE?

50% GVCS Dev, 40% workshop, 10% publicity

How has the response to price/quality/durability of your equipment been with those you already purchased the CEB press, the tractor and the soil pulverizer?

Our production run is not complete, and nobody else is using the equipment. See last blog post.

Which tools for the GVCS are you working on right now?

CNC Torch Table

Which is the next one to be fully released?

Tractor, Pulverizer

What are its development and production costs?

Typical budget is $50k for a full product release.

What would you say are the major practical/emotional/intellectual prerequisites for anyone wishing to join either your project or wanting to set up his/her own along the OSE-ideas?

The major obstacle is to get off a dependence mindset to take on a high level of responsibility for one's existence in the world.

Do you perceive it as a truly open source project or do you view yourself as the trailblazer, developing ideas others can adopt?


Can you elaborate on the economic/social/political objectives of OSE?

Post-scarcity world where material security is a basic human right

Have they evolved since you started out in 2007?

Since 2007, we learned that to create new civilization, we need to start with open sourcing of modern tools of industrial productivity.

How has work on-the-ground changed your expectations?

It has only deepend my understanding that the proposition is completely feasible.

How would you describe your own political/social/economic views?

Apolitical post-scarcity viewpoint.

Are there any theorists/activists/politicians that you view as role models and how have they influenced you?

Gandhi, M. J. Piore (Second Industrial Divide), Buckminster Fuller, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X

You’ve described the GVCS as a “Lego set” for developing communities, but it is obviously far more advanced and much harder to assemble than Lego, from what I understand. How much time and money would it take your “average” citizen without a background in engineering, welding etc. to learn and apply all the necessary skill?

2 years immersion training with augmented reality assist

You’ve been described as a “real world Farmville” or “suburban kids playing farmers”, implying that what you are doing is basically a nice way to waste time for bored people living in industrialized countries and wanting to try something new. Do you think that what you’re doing is also applicable to truly needy rural African or Asian communities wanting to escape their economic constraints?

We are just opensourcing tools of significant economic value. The applications are everywhere soil, sunlight, water, and rocks can be found.

I find it hard to imagine a Chinese peasant profiting from what you are offering, given that he most likely neither has a computer nor the skills and materials required for the GVCS. Isn’t your approach too dependent on the achievements of a technologically very advanced civilization?


and therefore a way of changing society that most humans can neither afford nor even conceive of?

They can change only if they open up their mind and learn something new.

Do you feel that there is growing concern about the current production system in the US and worldwide and that your project can (or already does) contribute to changing that?

The current production system based on artificial scarcity is obsolete. The open source economy is the next multi-trillion dollar industry.

From what I read, OSE is a very, very ambitious project with a really big scope. Why did you decide to put forward a project this size and with this ambition?

The main reason is that you have to create a complete set, which frees one from dependence on the antiquated, mainstream industrial system. If this is not done, then dependence on factors beyond one's control is likely to derail the operation.

Wouldn’t it have been easier to start out with, let’s say, just two or three open-source-tools and a smaller independent community as your goal?

Working in a piecemeal fashion is neither practical, nor does it provide the inspiration for the world to support such an effort.

Don’t you fear that the greater the ambition, the greater the disappointment amongst your followers (and maybe your own?) when everything’s not going according to plan?

Everyone is responsible for their own mindset.

In general, do you think that the project is on track and that you can keep the deadlines you’ve set yourself?

Yes. It is also highly nonlinear.

What would have to happen for you to abandon the project altogether – or is that not an option?

Not an option.

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