Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A crucial meeting - converging on a legal form and a business plan

During a recent Skype meeting, Shereef, co-founder of BetterMeans, suggested to chose my partners based on their level of acceptance of the open model. He's got a very good point, but unfortunately we don't always have this choice. Capital intensive innovation often takes place within a pre-established social context. In our case, our optical fiber sensor took shape around our physiology lab at McGill University. Moreover, when the means that lead to discovery and finally to a product are expensive, a strong interpersonal bound is needed. In this situation the choice of my partners is very limited, at least at the beginning of the venture. I cannot form a group according to my likings, I need to educate and to convince.  

I preparation for the meeting, I had a long face-to-face conversation with my new friend Sebastien Paquet. In a spark of genius, he made me realize that my proposition to my partners (to form an open enterprise) was a big piece to swallow. He used the metaphor of an emergent city to illustrate the idea of an organic, progressive growth. We concluded that I need to put forward a very simple business plan, one that promises immediate revenue and that bears the seed of an open enterprise. It will be my job to connect with other resourceful partners that will increase the value of our product, and to demonstrate the need to lower the barrier of entry, to open up, to be transparent. Gradually growing our value and our production capacity through open practices will convince my partners of the economical viability of this new business paradigm.

Thanks to Sebastien, I now have a very clear proposition to put forward at the meeting today, which will take place 2 hours from now. Stay tuned for the results...

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