Co-ops and blockchain can change how startups do business

At a stately home in South Yorkshire, a newly-affiliated group of tech firms are meeting for the first time. They’re a 25-minute drive from Sheffield, skirting the borders of the Peak District, inside a grand house surrounded by a well-manicured estate. Bulbous topiary hedges guard the house’s entrance.

Gathered in one of its smart function rooms, the first topic of discussion is a hypothetical one. Divided into tables of ten, they entrepreneurs get a challenge: In the future, if this collaboration succeeds, should every one of our employees – cleaners and managers alike – be paid exactly the same? The general response, which comes as a pleasant surprise to many of those in the room, could be parsed as: “In principle, yes. There’s just a few kinks we’d need to iron out first.”

This was November 2016, at the inaugural meeting of Cooperative Technologists, the UK’s first network of cooperatively-owned tech firms. Harry Robbins, co-founder of one of the member companies, Outlandish, and one of the people who’d helped to broker this first meet, recalled his shock at the external facilitator’s opening salvo. “I thought, ‘People are gonna think this is some sort of radical communist revolution thing.’”

“Which it is,” he added, dryly. “But I didn't want them to think that in the warm-up phase”.

Read the rest at Wired


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