So yes, PangurPad has been taking up most of my time and we’re working hard on getting it out of Beta in the coming months however that is not the only thing occupying my time; It occurred to me quite a while ago that while I was fairly sure of my career choice for the rest of my life I was less sure of what I wanted to achieve before I die of old age. I mean I’ve had a fairly well defined idea that I’d like to help people but just how do you help people?
This got me to thinking about how people help other people, and how I’ve needed help and been helped in the past. It all seems to come down to money in the end, that some people have money and others do not have any money at all, and thus no food, clothing, shelter, medical attention, education, life expectancy, community to depend on, freedom of expression.. How can I fix this problem of money distribution?
Robin Hood is a great example here, (or Robyn Hood as I like to imagine her) a person who literally decided to solve the social injustices of the time by taking form the rich and giving to the poor, what a fantastic idea! .. maybe not, ‘crime doesn’t pay Pom, thats bad mmkay’.
Then I had another thought: ‘Crime doesn’t pay.. like software startups!’. Its true you know, recently Apple passed Exon as the most lucrative company on the planet, and startup-economy is really what’s propping the US up right now. So I’ve got a new mission for myself, I’m going to ‘Take from the rich and give to the poor’, through the medium of awesome software.
What does that mean exactly? well I’m still working that out and its something I’m going to be relying on PangurPad being a raging success to bootstrap. One thing I’ve noticed while trying to get PangurPad off the ground is just how hard it is to get funding without taking on the evils of VC investment. No longer is a company developed to grow into a great organisation that will last for 20 years, they are built to be sold off after 4-5 years in the hope of turning a profit for their investors. Why would I want to give 50% of my company to people who are only interested in getting rich quick off my own innovation, simply to further fund their investment in other people’s ideas?
What I’d like to do is fund a not-for-profit incubator foundation. This foundation would assist startups with funding and mentoring, through the angel investment stage and through to market in exchange for just 15% of their company shares.
Now that 15% is broken down thus: 5% would go to the Foundation to help fund further startups, and 10% would go to a legitimate charity of the startup’s choosing. These shares would not come with voting rights, but would provide funding through dividends or later sale when the startup either floats or is bought out. This would see 10% of the value of the startup going directly to charities where the money can be used to benefit people in need, and 5% to growing the model.
Why would you give 50% of your company to a VC firm who want you to sell out in 4-5 years, when you can fund your startup for less than a third of that, and you know that the funds are going to people who could really use the help, rather than to the already rich?
Something for me to think about anyway..
I’ll also be looking at moving my blog over to a different platform (maybe a hosted wordpress site?) as this blog engine doesn’t handle spam comments very well and the amount of spam I’ve received (over 120k comments worth at last count) makes it basically impossible to moderate and approve comments so they are getting lost into a black hole of despair :(