Playing the long game

Our goal with OpenCollective is to build a global infrastructure on top of which anyone can start an association anywhere in the world as easily as creating a Facebook group. To achieve that, we are building a network of host organizations that will act as an abstraction layer between the complexity of the pre-digital world, and the new bottom up economy of the 21st century. One single interface to start your association, collect and disburse money transparently (read more: A New Form of Association for the Internet Generation).

This won’t happen overnight. It will take time. To reflect that, we, the founders, are committing to a 10 year vesting, instead of the usual 4 years.

There is something to be said about setting the right expectation from the beginning. When you start a 4-month journey, you start getting tired after 3 and a half months. Whereas if you’d have started a 12-month journey, you’d only feel tired at month 11. That’s a bit what happened with my previous company Storify. 4 years in (the regular vesting schedule), it felt like the end of the journey. I was tired. Selling felt like the right thing to do. But the reality is that every single big company had their very tough moments and with only a few exceptions it took them more than 4 years to really become big and significant.

That’s why we agreed to ditch the classic 4-year vesting and take instead a 10-year vesting for the 3 founders. It sets the right expectation for ourselves, our team, our investors and our users. We are in this for the long run. We aren’t going to make short-term decisions that trade off long-term benefits.

Our goal is to enable you to build meaningful associations that will have a lasting impact. We need to rethink the NGOs, unions, political parties and other institutions for our generation. If that’s your goal as well, #signupplease reach out. We will go out of our way to help you collect the funds to sustain your collective. This is why we do what we do. We can do great things together, and we will.

We can’t wait to share this journey with you.

Xavier Damman

About the author

I'm Xavier Damman. I'm an engineer in computer science and an entrepreneur. I'm passionate about the digital renaissance. I like to think about the future of media (I cofounded Storify), organizations and democracy (I'm now working on Open Collective). In my spare time, I like to hack and talk. You can follow me on Twitter @xdamman.