With most businesses recalibrating for these tightening times, spare a thought for not-for-profits. They’re typically supported by philanthropy from foundations and individual supporters. However, current economic woes mean these sources now have less money to donate.
In an effort to secure required development funds and a way forward, open source media software platform Miro today announced its revised business model: encouraging users to adopt a line of the software’s code. To quote the email announcement by Miro CEO Nicholas Reville:
Miro is facing a very serious budget challenge this year but we want to use this moment to permanently turn our funding model on its head.
I want to ask you to support a little piece of Miro by adopting a line of our open-source code. This has never been done before! The ‘source code’ is what makes Miro run, there are about 46,258 lines of it; if you can take on just one line of this code, together we can continue growing Miro and building a better, more open media world.
Unfortunately, you don’t receive photos or hand-written letters from your line of code. But you can follow its progress as it grows. Miro has created a Miro Adoption Centre, where you can adopt a line of code for US$4 per month. This gives you an official adoption page, a cute image of your line of code, badges for your blog or website and your name listed in the ‘about’ box in every copy of Miro (more than five million a year and growing).
Time will tell whether this initiative will bear fruit, but it’s an interesting strategic tack. In a world where so many people expect software to be free, how do you make it viable? Sometimes, it rests on a plea to the better angels of our nature (provided they can be heard over the din of banal tweets). The rest is up to the market.
Good luck, Miro.