[solved] Future of IndieHosters?

[edit] I took the little break and now everything is on track. I have 2 new partners, I’ll tell you soon :slight_smile:

Hey!

Has you may have heard, Peter is joining a new project with a more sustained source of revenue. And a nice challenge for him.
So it means, I’m again alone in the IndieHosters boat.

After almost 2 years on this boat, it still doesn’t pay the rent. There are probably many reasons for that. The topic is not to discuss that.

I’m actually a bit tired of IndieHosters. It doesn’t mean I want to stop, it just means, I want to make a little break. I still believe it is the best I can do to help make the web a better place. But I need to take some holidays :smile: Then I’ll come back with fresh ideas and a greater motivation to make it happen.

I still would like to live from it. I want IndieHosters to be my main income source. But I know it will not happen before some years.

So right now, I have 3 options. I ask you advices to take this decision.

Join EcoBytes

I was working with them before IndieHosters, I’m still in contact with them. They are great people. I can hand over the project to ecobytes and be part of ecobytes on my free time.
My main motiviation would still be to make a living from that in some years, but I’m not sure if it is aligned with EcoBytes goal. or how we could make it happen though the association scheme.

https://co-munity.net/ecobytes
https://events.ccc.de/congress/2014/wiki/Projects:Ecobytes

For me the main advantage would be to align the IndieHosters “not for profit” part with their project.
They also have a strong focus around Docker and this would be really nice collaboration.

Join Netureza

Some weeks ago, I met Ruben, a really nice person. He was involved in the creation of Ansol (Portuguese free software association) and is running a IaaS since more than 15 years. He wants to transition to SaaS and a partership would be amazing together.

It would mean joining a company, and it is something I have trouble to understand. I have difficulties to imagine IndieHosted users under a company, I feel I’m sending the users the wrong signal (even though, a small company could be “social” in a way.) But a company should be driven by profit. I already experiment this a bit with Peter, that we have to be profit driven, but I find it complicated…

Partner with Nicky

I found a nice freelancing contract (yes, I’ll prostitute my brain to Capital), so it would mean I have enough resources for me, and enough resources to pay a freelancer. Nicky is following IndieHosters project since the beginning, and is really interested in becoming part of IndieHosters.

The best solution?

I guess the best solution would be that:

  • Ruben is joining ecobytes and share his experience over managing our own Hardware with us
  • IndieHosters becomes part of ecobytes
  • Nicky joins ecobytes

And we all work together with the objective of being sustainable and have enough resources for us. (Without the need of european money :wink: )

This is a really genuine question, and I’m not sending an email, following Jon principles!

So please comment, give your feedback, I’m open to anything! But I want to be part of something great!

Let’s make the web a better place!
Let’s make the Internets great again :wink:

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Yes, it’s annoying to see how few people are interested in managed personal server hosting in practice. We definitely overestimated that market when we started. I now even find it myself - I just switch back my own personal website to statics-only to save on my monthly internet-related costs. I’m already paying ISP, Spotify, Netflix and Mubi, and these are services I use daily; paying a fifth monthly bill for hosting a website where I rarely post, just doesn’t add up.

So I see two possible futures for IndieHosters:

  • serving people who do need a website, or a storage server, and are willing to pay for it. There is a market for this, and it shouldn’t be too hard to get a slice of the pie using Google Ads for customer aquisition. But it’s also a saturated market, where scale matters a lot for efficiency, and it’s very hard to compete with shared hosting providers on e.g. uptime and tech support. It’s probably easier to compete with shared hosting resellers, but that doesn’t scale so well. Not to mention, small shopkeepers nowadays usually just have a Facebook page instead of a website. Even newspapers are switching to publishing via Facebook instead of via their own website.

  • a more generic bitnami-like service, serving many niches. However, I’m not so sure now how much the world needs that - as for instance http://kinto.readthedocs.org/en/latest/get-started.html#deploying-on-cloud-providers already gives people a chance to get a Kinto server on Heroku, and I think the concept of ‘one server per internet citizen’ might be flawed by now. Hosting your own mailserver is just not the nicest way to use the internet nowadays. The centralized commercial services are just too good, and asking people to pay for a service that is “almost as good” in terms of uptime and features as the evil centralized one is a big hurdle which only a few people will be willing to take in practice. So maybe we need to switch strategies.

How is the contact with FramaSoft going? I really like how they offer free software as a free service.

I’m also interested in what Telegram are doing to create a Better Internet (but maybe that’s a side-track).

I’ll think about it some more and post more when I come up with more ideas! :slight_smile:

From Gualter:

This is also one of my main motivations. I am all for cooperative work,
and as I expressed, I think with a broad team, complementary skills,
making from hosting, to development and consulting with clients or as
part of funded projects, we can achieve some stable income that allows
us to build nice infrastructure in the way we think is right and to
support those people, organisations and processes we feel should be
supported.

We already do have some income in fact, we just need to stabilise it,
and automate a few things more, so that we can scale and not have so
much work with routine stuff.

I think we are on the same page. It makes sense to work together.
I really like the cooperative and community owned organization model.
I’m looking for an organization that can provide quality services and that can guarantee an SLA. I hope no one is against that. :smile: .

Maybe Ecobytes can be that organization. I browsed the website and could not find the bylaws (articles of association/incorporation). Do you know if they are available online in english?

I wouldn’t mind being hosted by a company if it’s a worker cooperative (SCOP) or something alike. My feeling for overestimated market is that people looking for the kind of service you propose may often have the skills to do it themselves. In my case, I’m already administrating an owncloud at work. The only difference is that people know it’s beta, and it is not used in real production. I’m just not confident enough on security matters and backup policies.

For me, it seems like ecobytes could fit my needs as well. About “making a living” vs “not for profit”, an association is typically the kind of structure where both can be mixed : an association can pay an income.

Dear @pierreozoux, IndieHosters was referred to me by a person in a local consumers group I belong here in Lisbon, Portugal. I stopped by this forum to know if I could host with IndieHosters and now I am not sure if I shall.

I have read your post from March and l wonder the status at the moment.
Are you based here in Portugal? Perhaps we could meet in person and have a talk?

As for your post…I’ve just read a book on business-models (Business model Generator), and am available to join you for a little session and think this along with you. Pairing this I’ve been into sociocracy and governance systems…so I can serve that too.

Some ideas to support IndieHosters may be:

  • you offer training for people, and in exchange they work with you within the day-to-day tasks
  • you start providing workshops about IT (can be by donations or at fair/transparent prices)
  • you gather a group of people to just think with you about it; can use design thinking methods and Sociocracy 3.0 (S3) patterns, to clarify the needs, contextualize the reality, build proposals and go and experiment some possible solutions. I can volunteer with facilitating S3 patterns/methods.

As for the options you mentioned, as I’m not currently hosted, I just give my opinion. I have the understanding that EcoBytes is served in Germany at the moment (I wonder where indieHoster servers are based) and are not thinking for now on going out. I am favoring, if available, glocal economy, local hosting - global vision…I wonder also where are your servers based?

As for Netureza, i particullary don’t have a problem with for-profit, as long as its a for-profit with well-established values and the people profiting live by some common-good values to (recognizing our own imperfect humanity and self-perseverance at the same time)

The freelancer option (I am one too) has some pitfalls, as this is a recurring service, and freelancers working alone might fall back at some time. If you go that way (The Nicky way), try to guarantee: what happens if Nicky is not available for some reason and: how can Nicky help you out both by supporting the tasks, but helping making the project sustainable.

Tell me if I may be of service somehow and please do answer the questions above.

Cheers

Hi @SoDi (I just saw your livechat).

First thanks for taking your time to try to help us!
I’m coming back the 8th of June, I’d love to meet with you.

To answer quickly:
I’m still alone, but the situation is a lot better, I have money, and the support of the current infrastructure is not eating too much time. I have a new customer once a week, so the situation is encouraging.
But still, I don’t want to operate this alone.
I abandonned the “nicky way”, as I’ll not have enough resources to pay anybody.
I’m still in discussion with EcoBytes, and the next step for me is to determine what is their relationship with “for profit”. I’d love to work with them, but I’m just afraid that we are not entirely aligned on providing hosting for little companies and making a living. They’ll actually come in July to PT, so we can have a discussion about it.
With netureza, I have an idea of collaboration.

But all these ideas take time, we have our projects, our views, and collaborating is difficult.

To answer more specifically:

We though about it. But it would take time to implement. And not many people requested it.

I though about WordPress workshop, this is still a good idea I think, but again, I need time to dig on that!

We wanted to run a hold-up with makesense, but your offer seems tempting.

The servers are based in germany, but it is mainly because of the cost.

But let’s meet and post the result of the meeting here.

The conclusion is: I’m still operating and really motivated about it. I just need to find the right people to take it to the next step!

But yeah, the current development plan is:

  • focus on recenter the offer around cloud+email hosting
  • higher the conversion rate of the “demo users” on the cloud
  • higher the conversion rate from our landing page
  • bring more people to our landing page

This is the plan and I stick to it. But the maintenance of the current infrastructure is taking almost all my free time.

:slight_smile: Hello,

Have you talked about your preocuppations with Framasoft ?

Good day.

Free-Era

Yes, I’m in good contact with frama :slight_smile:

Actually this thread is moving forward, we’ll meet with @ruben and @gualter in July \o/ Looking forward working a week together! We’ll post the outcome of this meeting here!

@SoDi, we’ll meet near Lisbon, if you are interested in showing up? Let me know!

:slight_smile: Great then, hopefully there will be a bright outcome.

Hey, just got back to Lisbon.

Do you have any date/time/place setup for that meeting already?
Is there any agenda already set for the meeting?

Can we schedule a conversation before the group meeting, to get to know each other a bit and in order to see what’s needed and if and how I may be of service? (I’m guessing you, ruben and gualter already know each other)

Cheers

Is there some info that might interest the community, in case @SoDi, @pierreozoux, @gualter and @ruben did end up meeting?

Cheers :slight_smile:

Yes, we did end up meeting last week, we have to make a resume about it.

But basically, we agreed to work on isp.coop which will be a base infrastructure we’ll work together to support our 3 initiatives netureza, IndieHosters and Ecobytes.

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