The People's Disruption: the promise of platform cooperativism
So we know what all the commercial platforms there are in our lives - Amazon, YouTube, Airbnb, Uber, etc. So what's a platform cooperative? Wikipedia nails it: "A platform cooperative, or platform co-op, is a cooperatively-owned, democratically-governed business that uses a protocol, website or mobile app to facilitate the sale of goods and services.
"Platform cooperatives are an alternative to venture capital funded platforms insofar as they are owned and governed by those who depend on them most—workers, users, and other relevant stakeholders."
Seems like a worthwhile alternative to pursue - given how powerful commercial platforms are in our lives, they could bear a little competition.
One of the great meeting places for platform coops is in The New School, New York - where a sequel to the original Platform.Coop conference is coming on November 10-11th.
"The People's Disruption" (as opposed, we presume, to the tech-mogul's disruption) features an amazing cast list of platform coop leaders and forgers. Here's a list of some of their enterprises - and here's some of the blurb from the 2017 event:
Experiments with cooperatively owned online platforms are demonstrating that democratic business models can be a dynamic force in building a more equitable economy for people across various income, race and class strata, starting with the most vulnerable populations.
The platform co-op movement disrupts Silicon Valley’s disruptors by shifting the focus toward fundamentally fairer forms of ownership and governance. The retirement of Baby Boomer business owners presents an opportunity for mass conversions of those businesses into co-ops. Existing cooperatives are increasingly eager to join the digital economy. Over the past few years, the burgeoning of platform co-ops, community currencies, worker’s tech, the solidarity economy, B-corps, and credit unions have shown us that alternative economies are not only necessary but possible.