Towards 50 GVCS Tools by 2013

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These notes were taken from the July 19, 2011 blog post by Marcin Jakubowski [1]


This is the blog post refactored by Mark J Norton:

Marcin recently posted a blog entry that lays out a plan to design, develop, and prototype the GVCS-50 by 2013.  The original post is at  I have summarized it into outline form at

This is an important statement from Marcin as it clearly lays out his plans for OSE for the next year and a half.  Some questions come to mind that I post for general discussion:

  • What can we do to improve the chances of success for this plan?

  • What additional roles are there for remote volunteers?

  • How can we find the subject matter experts that will be needed to design the remaining GVCS tools?

  • How can we make the process more efficient?

I'm not interested in exploring whether or not this is feasible or if it can be done.  My personal belief is that aiming at lofty goals is a good thing.  You can never achieve difficult goals if you think it is impossible to attain them.  While it is reasonable to identify the challenges we face, lets try to put them in a positive light and work towards possible solutions.

Marcin is clear that most of the action will happen at Factor e Farm.  This is not a coincidence.  Part of the goal here is to model a small community that has the capability to move beyond the constraints that our current economic situation imposes on all of us.  As Marcin put it in his blog post, "One successful example of a post-scarcity economy can and will change the world."  That being the case, I am quite interested in how the rest of the world can contribute in a manner that we will all benefit from.  I see a great role for non-resident volunteers as information gatherers, documentation organizers, networkers, fund raisers, etc.

I am committed to the goals and visions of OSE and the GVCS describe by Marcin in his post.  Who is with me?

- Mark Norton

What is OSE and the GVCS?

  • OSE: A network of farmers, engineers, and supporters.
  • GVCS: 50 industrial machines to build a small-scale civilization with modern comforts.
  • Design, prototype, and test all 50 by end of year 2012.
  • Not inventing new machines - innovate existing technology and publish it.
  • Need to build them to determine if this 50 is the right set.
  • Technology set is recursive - machines can make better machines.
  • Goal: optimize quality of life such that material constraints simply cease to be the driving force in human relations.

Factor e Farm

  • An experimental facility to build and test GVCS machines.
  • Evaluate how they come together to make a community infrastructure.
  • Use the tools for day to day living and work.
  • Impose the constraints of accountability, interoperability and local adaptation to each machine.
  • Create a kernel of equipment, which can be replicated, modified, and optimized for different conditions.
  • FeF is the Global Headquarters of the Open Source Ecology project.
  • Core development happens at FeF (prototyping, strategy, rollout)
  • Emphasis on dedicated project visits.
  • Support via True Fans, etc.

Plan for 2011

  • Remote collaborators show a low level of success.
  • 3-5% show meaningful results in design/prototyping.
  • Increase the success rate by finding volunteers with direct stakeholdership in using the GVCS.
  • By year-end, we would like to build our permanent on-site team to 6-8 pioneers
    • Project manager
    • Construction manager
    • Fabrication manager
    • Farmer
    • Designer/CAD/CAM expert
    • Power electronics expert
    • Site manager/cook
    • Documentor.
  • Allows Marcin to free up time from fabrication and construction
  • Focus on higher-level project and strategic development tasks.
  • The most important need is to recruit a fabrication manager and construction manager.

Project Scaling: Preparation for 2012

  • 2011 goal:
    • gain a solid foundation for scaling Factor e Farm operations
    • as an open source product development center/experimental post-scarcity community.
  • Emphasize that all of us at Factor e Farm are full-time volunteers.
  • Only way to attract people who are truly committed to the depth of our mission
  • We are fully committed:
    • have no outside jobs
    • rely solely on crowd funding, resource development, production earnings, and our own resources.

Plan for 2012

  • Starting Jan. 2012, Marcin transitions to full-time project management
  • We need to develop a large pool of qualified, subject matter experts so we can have options to choose from.
  • There are some services that nobody will offer for free
  • We will need to cover about $5k materials per prototype
  • $750k to roll out the prototypes as soon as we design them.
  • The budget may be as high as $4M when everything else is considered.

Global Development Effort

  • All of our information comes from off-site
  • Our effort is in essence global
  • Implementation is local.
  • People across the globe interested in starting OSE branches to replicate the GVCS.
  • The more relevant question is to fund, build, prototype, and test the 50 GVCS tools by year-end 2012.
  • Our problem statement is development, not replication.
  • While we are experiencing exponential growth, the GVCS is far from complete.
  • The highest priority is prototype development

Status and Development Needs

  • 2011: 1 full product release at present, 8 prototypes, and 3 product releases.
  • This will push the limits of our resources and creativity.
  • Action points in terms of their highest impact:
    • Join us at Factor e Farm as a Dedicated Project Visitor
    • Work with our resource development team leader, Viveik Saigal, on generating support
    • If you are a User Interface Designer, help with Nikolay’s True Fans development proposal.
    • Subscribe as a True Fan
    • Submit proposals for Dedicated Remote Collaboration
    • Find subject matter experts who can bid/design/protope the 50 GVCS tools
    • Contribute design and documentation for the 50 GVCS tools on the wiki so we can finish them by year-end 2012.
    • Spread the word. Pass on our brochure and TED Talk.
  • We like it when people volunteer their time and resources.
  • We do not like speculative, high-risk offers
  • We need high success rates.
  • Spending core energy on publicity and outreach is not our priority
  • The chance for success is higher when people approach us.
  • If you want to form a branch, sumbit a charter that includes:
    • A strategic plan/business plan
    • Clear goals for building, prototyping, and testing of the 50 GVCS tools.
    • Charter’s deliverables should be evaluated on a yearly basis.
    • Come to Factor e Farm as the first step to such an effort

A Working Example

  • Need a working example of the OSE concepts
  • Make FeF that example
  • Others should visit FeF to learn from experience
  • One succcessful example of a post-scarcity economy can and will change the world.
  • There have been snags along the way:
    • Having debt,
    • Not having the skills or tools,
    • Misalignment of interests,
    • Scarcity mindset,
    • Shortages of resources and funding,
    • Land tenure,
    • Personal issues,
    • Peer pressure,
    • Programming,
    • Lack of supporting infrastructures
  • The main missing link for our own effort was qualified people.
  • there are too few nonconformists alive today
  • People pissed off enough and capable enough to rise above the global race to the bottom
  • People will take a better option if they are presented with one.


  • Full product release of tractor, power unit, soil pulverizer, and to add to the CEB press by year-end 2011.
  • Build the living and working infrastructure by year-end 2011 - showcasing and shaking down our machines.
  • Produce professional quality documentation for these four machines by the same time.
  • 2012 is rapid parallel development.
  • The 6 month plan is the foundation for the parallel development of 2012.
  • A solid core infrastructure for project management is the core of the next 6 months.
  • Help by:
    • Identifying a large team of qualified, remote developers.
    • Have 10 bids per project or close to 500 bids.
    • volunteer to help with above tasks
  • Best strategy is 2-3 full-time project managers at FeF, working with Marcin.
  • Fast-and-furious parallel technology rollout process that sets new standards for open source economic development.
  • FeF fabrication team can prototype these as soon as they are created.
  • Prototyping can be rapid when the designs are available
  • 3000 square foot workshop to be ready, and to be populated with about 3 times more fabrication equipment than we already have.
  • Get the fabrication manager and construction manager onsite.
  • Marcin will proceed to defining a strategic roll-out sequence and budget.
  • Proceed beyond a machine design to the open-sourcing of the individual components:
    • Stepper motor
    • oxyhydrogen generator production
  • We still focus on volunteers
  • Identification of bids/designers/fabricators can easily be sourced from the crowds.
  • The 2-3 on-site project managers are also volunteers
  • With our on-site fabrication team, we can build the prototypes at the cost of materials.
  • We will pay for whatever design we cannot get for free.