Subject: Re: The Pledge model -- K5 generates 6 mos income in three days
From: Steve Mallett <>
Date: Sat, 29 Jun 2002 19:16:51 -0300

Karsten M. Self wrote:
> An interesting addendum to the list of FSB models.  The web site
> Kuro5hin (, facing a terminal (and typical)
> lack of income, appealed to its readers for support.  With modest staff
> and expenses (largely Rusty Foster, hosting and hardware are supplied),
> the annual target stated was US$70k.  
> What makes this an FSB story rather than just another "community website
> goes broke" item is that K5 is also the foundry of its underlying
> engine, the Scoop weblog engine (to which I've made design
> contributions).  Development is by a model typical to free software
> projects.  Primary itch scratcher is Rusty Foster, with a core group of
> a dozen or so developers, largely communicating via email (scoop-help)
> and IRC (#kuro5hin on Slashnet).  Other costs are minimized.  The
> teaming entreprenuerial hub is Silicon Island, aka Peaks Island, ME,
> where Rusty toils from his house.  Other primary team members are in the
> US, Canada, and UK.
> Rusty summarizes the situation in this post:
> The Register has coverage:
> ...and there are upcoming items for Wired and C|Net.
> Interesting addition to the modes of "how do I support my free software
> project".

I've just finished reading all the posts on this subject and am a bit 
surprised that no one has asked how K5 built this kind of support from 
users.  That is far more important than the model they raked in the 
support with.

Q1: What is it about K5 that would build such support?

The impression I get from the K5 folks is that they listen to their 
users (customers) and interact with them on an on-going basis openly, 
quickly, and honestly.  I could be mistaken.

Forget that the users love using the site.  I love going to FutureShop 
(Canadian techie store), but wouldn't give them a red cent if they asked 
for it.

As a second question:  How many FSB'ers would expect to get a donation 
from their users/customers if they had to ask?  *No, I don't need a 
Steve Mallett | | Stable, Open Source Apps | <personal>

I'll be attending the O'Reilly Open Source Convention 
(, starring as my dumbass self.