Community investment manager

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"Investment" in a project is currently thought of in fairly narrow terms, i.e. large amounts of money. Such amounts tend to come from non-community sources, i.e. people who just want to make a profit and don't particularly care about how well the project serves its goals, much less what it does with the profits it may eventually earn once investment loans are paid off.

In other words: When money is the prime determinant of "stake" in a project, the project's social benefit is generally irrelevant to those with the greatest "stake".

Contrarily, individuals who contribute other value, such as labor, expertise, or equipment, typically work under an expectation that they will be materially compensated in the short term, rather than being considered "investors" with a "stake" in the project.

This is at least partly because existing business practices do not really have any reliable, systematic way of tracking non-monetary contributions. Value is measured entirely in terms of money -- and hence the value of any contributions must be converted to some equivalent amount of money before they can be tracked.

Since the conversion of non-monetary value into money is usually one involving negotiation (whether to buy this or that piece of equipment, from this or that vendor; how much to pay a worker per hour of work; etc.), this conversion imposes a substantial overhead on each such contribution -- making contributions of less than a certain size simply not cost-effective for the project to accept unless they are freely donated.

It would therefore be extremely useful to have a way of tracking non-monetary contributions and mutually arriving at compensation that would be considered reasonable by all involved.

Conceptual Design

The basic process works like this:

  • member enters their contribution (labor, equipment, supplies, etc.)
  • other members vote whether to accept the entry as accurate:
    • abstain -- either explicit abstention or missed the deadline to vote
    • accept -- the contributor's accounting is accurate
    • reject -- the contributor's accounting is wrong: item not received, labor not done or done incompetently, etc.
    • query -- contribution accounting is posted for further discussion
  • There will be site-configurable criteria by which to determine whether the entry is accepted or not, e.g. no 'reject' or 'query' votes.
  • Any member may propose compensation for part or all of their accumulated contributions at any time. This can be in terms of:
    • revenue shares
    • control (voting) shares
    • a single payment, or payment schedule (which could be triggered by specific events)
    • goods or services (e.g. items produced by the project)


Apparently Sensorica uses such an application, but I've been unable to find any way to obtain it.