Subject: RE: Open Source Developer Exchange (Business Model)
From: "Julius Steyn" <>
Date: Thu, 8 May 2003 11:06:29 +0100

Hi Seth,

I appreciate your response and will try and address your comments as
thoroughly as I can.

However before I answer - all business models and plans go through evolution
and are not perfect when they launch.

1) The objective of this launch was to gain members with sufficient
knowledge and desire that will participate to perfect the business model.
Quality control is only one aspect of the business that needs refinement, as
will the project management aspects and the team management aspects - to
name only two additional points. I believe that a collective approach to
solving and improving the business model will only be to our advantage,
hence the reason for this targeted launch and also the main reason for the
collective ownership strategy.
2) I apologise - but yes you are correct in your assumption that a company
can hire you directly - however with large corporate transactions where
multiple programmers like you are required companies are not keen to go
through individual selection and hire processes, especially not when the
professionals are in multiple tax and legal jurisdictions and when those
individuals cannot warrant their work or be sued for damages - these are the
kind of benefits that Solutionstap offer its corporate customers.
3) The focus of Solutionstap is not to skim your or any other member's
profits - as for any large consulting firm or software development company
there is a mark-up on the resource cost - this mark-up is the company's
operating income and profit - which in Solutionstap would be owned by you
and the other members. We can debate whether or not Solutionstap will
position itself on price differentiation or service differentiation - I
believe it will be a combination of the two; there are many aspects of the
pricing strategy that we can discuss at a later stage.
4) The project fund has a large profit motive component - so yes it possible
that you could work on your favourite project if it conforms to the
qualifying criteria of the fund - the fund is owned by the company, which is
owned by the members. The objective is to build equity value therefore as
with any investment fund - investment in projects needs to be done according
to prudent guidelines set by responsible fund managers. In our case we are
the fund owners and we can decide how much of the fund will be exposed to
profit focused investments and how much will be for non-profit focused
investments that conform to criteria that could benefit the company and its
members as a whole and not just the interest of a single individual. The
profit objectives must link to the company's overall objectives for its
5) Solutionstap was incorporated less than a week ago - it already has
customers and I hope to obtain permission from them in the next week to use
their names on the website as a reference - however I sincerely hope that
within the near future we could have quotes on the website like those of
Wipro Technologies.

I hope the above addressed some of your concerns

Best regards,
Julius Steyn

-----Original Message-----
From: Seth Gordon []
Sent: 07 May 2003 04:23 PM
Subject: Re: Open Source Developer Exchange (Business Model)

One of the things you're touting as a reason to hire Solutionstap is
that your organization can provide quality control over the services
offered by its members.

Yet your Web site is offering memberships to the first 500 people who
walk through the door, so to speak, all because they are the first ones
to know about the site through the email lists you've posted on.  If I
fill out your forms and declare myself to be a J2EE wizard, how long
will it take (and how much will your customers spend on my services)
before you find out I'm actually not so good?  Of course, you can check
my resume or ask for some kind of certification, but employers can do
the same thing before they hire me directly with just as little effort.

One of the benefits of membership, according to your site, is that you
have a fund to support projects.  This is very nice, of course, if the
profits of *other* people's work is skimmed to allow *me* to work on
*my* favorite open-source project.  However, I would be a little bit
concerned that profits from *my* work are skimmed to allow *other
people* -- possibly people who are not as good at programming as myself,
see above -- to work on *their* favorite projects.

I can't find anything here on your site that addresses the many
critiques presented on this list by people with far more programming and
business experience than myself.  However, I could find hundreds of
words describing why it was a good idea for Solutionstap to incorporate
in Bermuda.

(By contrast, when I went to the home page of Wipro Technologies, an
Indian IT outsourcing firm, the first thing I saw was a testimonial
about how Thames Water reduced its IT support costs by 20% by using

"It always amazes me that people whose profession is computation never
bother to get a little tiny bit of data and actually _do_ some."
  --Stephen J. Turnbull
// seth gordon // // //