Shuttleworth Fellowship Application - 2013 - Marcin Jakubowski

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See final cut at Shuttleworth Fellowship 2013 Submission

Preliminary Application - 5 Minutes

Hi, my name is Marcin. This is my Shuttleworth Fellowship reapplication for 2013. In last year's application - I promised to finish the entire Global Village Construction Set (window with 50 GVCS tools) by the end of 2012 - based on my assumption of scaling an ad-hoc process which got us to the world stage in 2011 (TED Talk picture with TED prominent as the brand of that talk)). Trying to continue this pattern - I got stretched too thin - and failed. We simply didn't have the structure and processes in place as an organization - and on top of this, we outgrew our physical infrastructure at Factor e Farm when we reached a population of 15 people.

To address this, we're building our organization. We have now stabilized at 6 people on site, and our housing and workshop infrastructure allows us to support a team of 8 people year-round, inlcuding produciton runs without blackouts.

In spite of our growing pains, our progress is continuing. This year, we have built a total of 7 new machines (make these pop out of the 62 Graph (show 62 machines graph (62 Graph for short)) while expanding in size. Compared to 1 new prototype last year (pop this out of the graph in a similar way). This year, we have had 13 independent replications of GVCS machines in 4 countries (pop these out of graph, and also write out USA, China, Italy, Guatemala in big type in addition to this), compared to the single - first independent replication of the brick press last year (pop this out of graph with Picture of James Slade proud by his machine, from Replication wiki page). To date, we have completed 15 unique (use 62 Graph - hide or fade all others but 15 unique prototypes and write large text stating '15 unique prototypes') of the 50 different prototypes (transition to the 50 icon graph), and 62 machines built in total (transition back to the 62 Graph).

The highlight for this year is that we optimized production of our Compressed Earth Brick press to 2 days - showing high production efficiency. This is compared to a month build of our first machine. Our goal for December 18 is to get this down to a single day in December. We are optimizing our production methods radically, we are publishing our blueprints openly, and we are applying cutting edge techniques of digital fabrication - with open source tools (show CNC Torch Table Prototype I from last year) that we are developing. Our goal is to demonstrate by December that we can clear $5k from a single-day production run - putting us on solid footing to scale the project by production earnings.

Action Plan

The present challenge is transition from vision to scalable open product development organization. My goal is to build the team and process for 1 year – to prepare for rapid deployment of the entire GVCS in 2014-15. This means all 50 tools - achieved by producing 6 prototypes per month for 24 months (144 prototypes of 150 minimum required). This means 6 Machine Designers join the team. However, to get there, the process must start with clear definition of product ecologies - as it is not just 50 tools - but 50 tools that talk to each other - which are built from common modules like a lego set. , rapid deployment phase for the Global Village construciton. Rapid means we achieve 6-12 prototypes built per month, depending on availability of funding.

  1. Most importantly - build structure. This starts with our strategic plan - and we are now working on positioning, enterprise strategy, streamlined development process, organizational processeses, and media strategy. We applied for tax exempt status and we will develop the for-profit side as a hybrid of nonprofit/for profit.
  2. Second, develop production. Based on initial results of the the $5k/day net earnings approach - we intend to demonstrate that we can produce $20k per month from our 4000 sf production facility.
  3. Third - build a team. We have shifted away from hiring dedicated fabricators, as we found that 2 day production runs in house are sufficient for prototype builds if our documentation is robust. Thus - we are recruiting a Product Lead - who is the operations leader for prototyping + 4 more full time machine designers, in addition to one that we have recruited already. We have also recruited a Resource Development Director, Videographer, Executive Assistant, and Farm Manager.
  4. Fourth - we are clarifying our development process - reducing our complicated 120 step development procedure to 20 Mission Critical Development and Documentation Steps - using Wikis, google docs, Sketchup, and other low access-barrier tools.
  5. Fifth, we are Refocusing development strategically around Module-Based design – as opposed to Machine-Based design. It turns out that it takes about 13 modules to build any of the 30 mechanical GVCS machines. Thus, we need to develop only 13 adaptable modules with attention to interfaces between these modules - to build 30 tools. This extends our modularity concept radically - accelerating development - while making our tool set more robust and true to its product ecology nature.
  6. Sixth, We are continuing to develop the Flash Mob concept – recruiting experts in specific technical areas for our on-demand work sessions. We have 180 people in our database - and we will continue to recruit until we have several thousand people in our database by end of 2013 – for on-demand work sessions that any of our developers can call upon as a resource. We will create a basic platform where we can
  7. Last, We are developing technical review boards of industry-specific experts. These adivors will help us to get our machines developed up to industry standards at accelerated speed - where we leverage our social capital for the common good - in order to recruit advisors.

By developing the GVCS, we are at the same time - developing an open source product development methodology that is intended to become the backbone of the open source economy.The 5 year vision is to complete the fist full OSE Development and Training Facility - which would be our first OSE Incubator - intended to scale to 144 branches worldwide within 10 years - for a $100M/year budget to sustain open product development efforts.

Thank you.

4 Application Questions

Describe the world as it is.

(a description of the status quo and context in which you will be working)

It is clear that an open culture of collaboration has the potential to accelerate innovation and solve pressing world issues faster than they are created. Yet, most enterprises behave contrary to this basic possibility. Last year, spending by Apple and Google on patents exceeded spending on research and development of new products.

Why is the potential of collaboration so strong in my mind? I was born in Poland. My grandfather was in the Polish underground derailing German trains in WWII, and my grandmother was in a concentration camp. When I was 7 years old – tanks rolled down our streets - no - it wasn't a parade. These were times of Martial Law behind the iron curtain - a clear state of material scarcity - where I had to wait in line for butter and meat. I never stopped thinking about the terrible things that happen when resources are scarce and people fight over opportunity.

These memories fuel my belief in Freedom. I believe that true freedom - the most essential type of freedom - starts with our individual ability to use natural resources to free ourselves from material constraints. Wherever material scarcity exists in the world, you find geopolitical hotspots, resource conflicts, unstable debilitating economies – you see impoverished isolated beings powerless to take care of themselves and live the healthy productive lives they desire.

Isn’t it ironic that vast populations living in poverty are surrounded by the absolute abundance of natural resources - namely sunlight, rocks, plants, soil, water - from which all the wealth of the economy comes? What stands between a human being and what all of nature can produce is artificial and business made. Capital, production and distribution systems work only if they create and leverage artificial scarcity for profits and power the world over.

I believe the big challenge to producing true freedom is bypassing the artificial roadblocks of scarcity, to give as many people as possible access to know-how and the right tools so they can convert their environment’s abundant raw resources into personal good and freedom. And I believe the answer to this planetary pickle is the open source economy.

What change do you want to make?

(a description of what you want to change about the status quo, in the world, your personal vision for this area)

I want to create the open source economy.

To do this, I want to open-source material production as a prerequisite. Production is power. I want to democratize the ability to use, share, and understand production.

To create open source material production, we are developing the 50 GVCS technologies for creating infrastructures of small scale civilizations with modern comforts. I am committed to removing material scarcity as the underlying force driving human relations, personal and political – by making access to material security a universal human condition, as opposed to a privilege enjoyed by the few today. By developing enabling tools and packing open source information density on the smallest physical scale - I would like to demonstrate that advanced civilization can be build on the scale of any land parcel, using its local resources.

I am currently re-framing the project on threefold positioning: (1) absolutely efficient production (open source economy); (2) the most collaborative project in the world for getting there (transparency); (3) ethical approach for getting there.

This option has deep economic implications post-s carcity economics - where a repository of open design fuels distributed, flexible, digital fabrication on an equal playing field where everyone has access to the best design. I would like to create the Ubuntu of open hardware as the means. To clarify, the scope is much greater than the 50 GVCS tools. The open hardware development platform produced in the GVCS project is intended to provide a solid economic base for open-sourcing of the entire economy. This means making open source economic development an acceptable paradigm in society. I want to pursue open source economic development by means of Distributive Enterprise.

What do you want to explore?

(a description of the innovations or questions you would like to explore during the fellowship year)

I want to explore creation of the most collaborative project in the world - to democratize physical production - where simple tools lower barriers to particiation - and where social innovation creates radical transparency and inclusion. I want to explore if open hardware can lower barriers to access such that open development becomes a preferred norm - as opposed to proprietary research and development.

I want to explore how absolutely efficient production, transparency, and ethics create sound governance. This applies at the level of our budding organization, but can be extended to the larger scale of nations.

To this end, we're building the GVCS as the enabling tools – a high performance, open source toolkit sufficient to create complete economies. We are focusing on a crowd-based platform for rapid product development, as well as a platform for documentation. I want to explore the limits of the minimum infastructure necessary to bring about a world-class product development method - while maintaining a lean, radically transparent, radically inclusive organization. I want to explore the limits of simplifying design, and using simple, accessible tools for design - where we want to demonstate that wide access to participation and simple tools are more effective than advanced tools of limited access. I want to explore branding, open franchising, open business models, and distributive enterprise - as a route to mutually-assured abundance.

What are you going to do to get there?

(a description of what you actually plan to do during the year)

To get there, we are transitioning from vision to institution: building team, installing performance management, creating process, defining strategy, clarifying positioning, and defining brand (our identity + chapters). We are recruiting 4 more machine designers in addition to the 2 we have already, and we are recruiting a Product Lead as the operations manager for machine development. We are shifting from recruiting prototypers to organizing highly-focused and effective Collaboraive Production Runs in house. We are creating a tight strategic plan, strategy, positioning, media strategy. We are optimizing production to demonstrate one-day builds of heavy machinery for $5k/day net production earnings - so that 4 build per month net us $20k while allowing most of the time to be spent on further research and development. We are refocusing deployment around Module-Based Design as opposed to machine design. This is based on our discovery that 13 main modules make up 28 of the mechanical GVCS tools – streamlining design and making the product robust. Same design pattern language is being developed for the power electronics and controls – so we have precision fabrication, mechatronic devices of the GVCS covered.

We defined a Critial Path consistent with the Strategic Plan, and we are refocuing machine development strategically around refined sequencing.

We are streamlining complex development path to 20 mission critical Development and Documentation steps with publishing via Booktype or Connexions - while refining Development and Documentation Standards.

Continue to develop Flash Mobs, Technical Review Boards, Recruiting Advisory Board, and Stack Overflow or similar up-voting mechanism for rapid technical development.

At the same time, we are true to our crowd funding roots by continuing True Fans recruitment via a platform where True Fans can invite others. We are currently netting about $5k/month on this, and we want to double this as a revenue stream in the background.

For leveraging increased global collaboration, we are tapping remote collaboration handling by recruiting a Community Documentation Manager - $35k Kauffman remaining grant, 9 month term - while refining Remote Collaboration Process and Standards.

Last, we are publishing a white paper - on interface design standards and critical design integration considerations - to enable a larger development team to take on a meaningful development role. This is intended to to explain more fully the innovative ecology between the mechatronic, power electronic, and precision machining aspects of the GVCS. This will define the interconnections between various modules to arrive at a complete, self-replicating product set.

2012 Results Abstract: Rough Draft

Script - 13 Minutes

Hi, my name is Marcin – and I am a 2012 Shuttleworth Fellow – and this is my reapplication for next year. I must start with what I promised in my application last year and what happened in reality.

  • Recruit 42 staff in 2 months to complete 13 product releases by 1st quarter
  • Secure the $1/2M budget by January
  • $80k/month by mid year in bootstrap earnings

I did not accomplish the above, though we did secure $590k by January – if the Shuttleworth funding is included. Regarding the first point – I now understand that scaling from a few volunteers to a full staff is not possible without a well-organized recruiting and on-boarding process – with probably 3 full time recruiting staff – and 3 months of time. We were without a stable development process – which we are constantly evolving. Further, it took us much longer than expected to evolve our shop to 40kW of off-grid power due to unexpected power equipment failures. Because we did not produce the full product releases as said, we are nowhere close to the monthly earnings expected – though our recent results indicate that we are still in a position to demonstrate $5k/day earnings – translating to $20k/month earning capacity – by the end of this year.

So I'm back to the drawing board. Now we did not do nothing this year:

Since the Shuttleworth Fellowship application of 2012, 24 more GVCS prototypes have been built. Please see the Prototypes Built and Cost graph – stretching from 2008 to present – to see our ovearll growth. The first ever independent replication of the CEB Press took place towards the end of last year - followed by 13 were independent replications 4 countries this year since the publishing of our Civilization Starter Kit DVD -v0.01 – with the 4 beta releases – tractor, brick press, soil pulverizer, power unit. We have been scaling and reorganizing drastically by refining our development effort, installing structure, and process – addressing the badly missing component of going from vision to institution. I hired a full time videographer, executive assistant, and Director of Development. 4 OSE Chapters have started in Europe. A major collaboration with a TED Fellow in Guatemala resulted in a commitment to deploy prototypes of 5 Tractors, 5 Power Cubes, and 2 CEB Presses – within 1 year - with the first tractor already completed. On the organizational front - We have incorporated the OSE Nonprofit and our tax exempt application is in process. We have stabilized our population at 6 people at Factor e Farm - up from 2 last winter. Including the Shuttleworth Fellowship, we secured a $590k budget for 2012, which is a considerable jump from the $2k/month budget of 2010. We spent a total of $110k on infrastructure upgrades since last year: HabLab, the 10 person living unit is now finished - we complete our 4000 sq foot workshop, dug a well, installed power infrastructure for 40kW of off-grid workshop power - 1 and 3 phase - got a backup connection to rural water. We spent $73k on GVCS development this year so far. Our overall efficiency of development (eta_dev - defined as total cash spent/number of prototypes produced) decreased drastically from $3k per prototype in 2011 to $8k/prototype this year. Becuase we spent more on infrastructure than prototyping – and because we don't have a streamlined overall process - and because we began paying people instead of relying completely on volunteers - our development costs are rising. The overall process for development and prototyping is completely in development as we are building on our learnings. There were 2 significant milestones in this – development of the Fabrication Diagram Method of swarming on prototype builds via optimized task allocation – and the Collaborative Production Run method – which relies on the Fabrication Diagram for its efficiency. So far – we showed that we can produce a Brick Press in 4 days with largely unskilled labor – and we are on track to demonstrate that we can do this in one day – or a net of $5k generated in one day – as a basis for the $80k/month earning levels that we discussed previously. Based on our results – we are now extending this collaborative production process to participation by the user of the machine – by inviting our next buyer to the production run itself on Nov. 23. In the broader sense – I also published a a scaling plan including OSE Incubators – 144 world-wide - by 2023.

So considering a lack of infrastructure, we did reasonbly well. And we should keep in mind that we are doing technological, social, economic, and organizational innovation – an ecology of innovations - at the same time. For example, we have – as far as I know - the world's only off-grid digital fabrication facility. In terms of social enterprise – we are defining the next level of such enterprise – Distributive Enterprise – where we just introduced this concept in a forthcoming issue of the MIT Innovations Journal. We are not only doing the open product development, but constantly going back to the drawing board on refining the method. We are dog-fooding our inventions – for core operating infrastructure - to build this extra level of acccountability of the true function of our tools. So, for example – this added a bunch of time to construction because of brick quality issues. Our innovative nature adds complexity – and therefore time - but our slow successes of autonomous, bootstrapping, lean, open source organization are positioning us well for viral replicability – our core intent. In fact, I believe that our deep approach is the reason why we will prevail in creating fundamental solutions to any pressing world issues related to material resilience.

The critical missing piece this year was infrastructure – not only physical and organizational: process, structure, and management. It was difficult in the middle of the summer when our power and water infrastructure collapsed – but we have solved these issues by digging a second well, connecting to city water backup – though we can still be compromised if we have further failures of our high-power inverters – further underscoring the importance of open source substitution for power infrastructure – where we are now prioritizing the open source inverter ahead of schedule. This story is just like the one where I have started the whole game after the industrial tractors kept breaking so we just built our own.

So far we have spent $180k this year, of which the largest single cost was infrastructure – so that our living and working structures are sound at this point. Thus, the next question is organizational infrastructure.

My major learning was that we forgot one little detail. In our development budget - we completely neglected to consider that a complex technology development process needs an organizational, management, and process infrastructure if it intends to scale. This was not clear to me because prior to the Fellowship - i was on top of the entire process at the time. Now everything had to be delegated - and we really had no well-defined standards and procedures to make this happen. This was not entirely obvious to me - and quite the opposite in fact - it was counter-intuitive to me - because I have been living out loud, leaving a large paper trail behind me. However, it is clear to me now that an essentially ad-hoc, low-coordination process lacks the rigor to inform strategic delegation and quality control of the development process to a much larger community - because the ad-hoc process works only under the bottleneck of a strong leader - whose part I played before. I tried that again, got stetched too thin, and failed.

Part of this is because we do things quite differently, and in a highly integrated way - primarily - we design a product ecology, not individual products - and then dogfood them. Essentially - we are turning modern industry upside down on its head - while building a community from dirt and twigs up to advanced civilization.

While it was easy to do the one man show - can this open development community scale - in the middle of nowhere, Missouri? This is my next challenge, and here is the platform. My goal is to build capacity and organizational infrastructure until the end of 2013 – and then in the 2014-15 period

1. First, we are shifting our effort from recruiting prototypers to machine designers – as we verified from our Collaborative Production Run success that we will be able to build a machine in 1-2 days given a month of design proparation cultiminating in the Fabrication Diagram procedure. Thus, we can recruit designers, but do all builds rapidly in-house. 2. We are crystalling the Developmetn and Documentation Processes. I am refining the 120-step Flashy XM platform jumble of steps to about 20 Critical Design Steps and Documentation Steps that are non-negotiable – and defining clear ways to each step. 3. Refocus development around Module-Based design – not Machine-Based design. To give an example – it turns out that it takes about 13 modules to build any of the 30 mechanical GVCS machines. Imagine designing for these 13 modules, that are modified flexibly to build any of the 30 machines – instead of building the 30 machines with numerous components each. This fundamentally extends our modularity way beyong the mere fact that some of the tools are already modules – such as Power Cube or Interchangeability of motors. 4. We started our Flash Mob concept – recruiting experts in specific technical areas for our on-demand work sessions. We have 180 people in our database spanning design, engineering, electronics, and other areas. We will continue to recruit until we have several thousand people in our database by end of 2013 – so when we run into any technical development issue – we can solve it immediately. Imaging calling a development session, and having 20 of the world's leading experts at your fingertips who you can access reliably with little or no lead time. 5. We are developing further technical review boards – to get our machines to industry standards. 6. We are refining Positioning by working with a branding expert. 7. Most importantly – we are recruiting 4 machine designers and a Product Lead to run the prototyping operations. The difficulty was communicating our method. But with the refocus around the Fabriacation Diagram, Collaborative Production Runs, Module-Based Approch, and extensive review + Flash Mobs of Experts – we are positioning ourselves for true scaling of the development method – now understanding that it takes an organizational infrastructure and clear process to make this happen.

Explain Shortcomings

  • $125k production earnings - crowd, nonprofit, presales, angels. Lack of operations infrastructure sucked me in completely to managing development, and upon getting buried, I buried myself further as we exploded to 15 people with various infrastructure and people issues including exile, mutiny, firing, hiring, and quitting. Serious issues with inverter power delayed full development by 1-2 months of troubleshooting time.
  • 36 prototypes, 12 releases in 3 months - or 36 people hired at $4k (3 people per machine - designer - prototyper - documenter) - 36 people recruited in 2 months is not entirely realistic - unless the role description is stabilized and a $300k/year recruiting infrastructure is in place.
  • First Quarter - CNC Torch, Iron, Induction, CNC Multimachine + Modern Steam Engine, Inverter, Heat Exch, Solar Conc, + Rig, Dozer, Backhoe, Sawmill (+4). Main setback was Solar Concentrator Project going proprietary. Ironworker took 7 months instead of 2 because of lack of proper review and planning. CNC torch table has been completed after 5 months instead of 1 month because of lack of project management. CNC Machine is in progress, Modern Steam Engine parts are here, Inverter is in design phase, Heat Exchanger is successful, Sawmill has been tested successfully and is ready for Prototype II, Backhoe is successful, and Well Rig + Dozer will be deployed rapidly in the
  • Goal - Tractor at $500 (100x lower cost)
  • Bootstrapping, low-cost infrastructure - construction
  • 4 Fabbers - $20k/month - april - to $80k- July


  • 62 prototypes to date in 4 countries
  • 15 people on site in height of season
  • Stable population of 6 for winter (from 2 last year)
  • Secured total of $590k since applicaton in 2011 ($360k Shuttleworth + $100k Stiftung + $65k Kauffman + $63k Kickstarter)
  • 4 OSE Chapters Started in Europe
  • 13 independent machine replications
  • 24 prototypes built since Fellowship award. 15 unique to date
  • Critical infrastruture upgrades - water well + city, shop power
  • Farm Manager is on site
  • Fabrication Diagram Method for Collaborative Production Runs - social production innovation
  • Senior TED Fellow, Collaboratorium, Global Insights Network - distinctions.

Scaling Issues Abstract

  • Lack of management - no organizational infrastructure
  • Numbers Growing out of control - off-grid infrastructure failed
  • World's only off-grid industrial facility - scaling power - 1, 3 phase
  • Open Source CAD solution issues
  • Continued power issues

Final Reviews from Karien

Karien: It still has my character, but is much more clear. Then send 3 extra links. 2 main points - module based design - and more efficiently than ever. Also, cut out from What do You Want to Explore Section - Specifically, we are developing a process for remote video editing, remote CAD work, remote design and review sessions, and delegation of administrative tasks. - too detailed, while rest is more high level.

Fro, Q4. get rid of:

  • Succeed in Free Marcin Campaign - recruit a Product Lead (technical lead), as well as Project Manager (to run design/build operations), so I can transition to strategic partnership building and critical path refinement - making myself more available for high networking for supporting the project. I see myself as being key to inviting collaboration from high level talent - by recruiting from high level contacts as independent contractors, as opposed to hiring employees.
  • Refine Development Sequencing. Module-based design allows us to refine our sequencing strategy by sequences choices determined by the quantity of common modules. The sequencing is based on building machines with similar modules before building machines with other modules.
  • Create a social platform for our True Fans. We are true to our crowd funding roots by continuing True Fans recruitment via a platform where True Fans can invite others to join as True Fans. We are currently netting about $5k/month on this, and we want to double this as a revenue stream in the background.