Note — Sep 13, 2020

Exit To Community

Seen in → No.141

Source → noemamag.com/exit-to-community/

The author presents some of the possibilities for social networks to be platform coops or hybrids with shared ownership and more user involvement, as well as making it a new form of exit for the original investors. For most of the piece, it reads more like a thought experiment where all options don’t sound that much plausible. The last part though, considers these options as possible answers to the calls for anti-monopoly measures, which isn’t a bad idea at all, as well as some policy changes that could modify the funding landscape and make some future alternatives possible.

At a time when politicians in the U.S. and Europe are starting to get serious about antitrust enforcement, companies could use federations, user ownership or tokenization to preemptively spread out their market power while continuing to grow their networks. […]

As long as we rely on financing models that depend on maximum power and privilege, the participants will keep on looking like those with the most power and privilege. The Zebras say that they need different kinds of models because they are trying to build companies that are actually focused on their communities. […]

For instance, a public loan-guarantee fund could make it easier to finance community exits, since there won’t often be one rich person who can pony up collateral. There could be tax incentives too, based on the recognition that widely distributing capital ownership is a public good.