Sure. Here you go. This is culled form a series of emails between Pete and me so it may not be totally coherent, but lets see how it looks in one place.
I had a trip today to Gilmour's the supplies people. I managed to get through on a "one time only" basis but they only sell their stuff to businesses. trouble is they have stuff that us homesteaders want and need. For example, they have strong flour which you can't buy in any supermarket, uniodised salt which i need for sauerkraut, bulk white vinegar and baking soda for cleaning, etc etc.
I got on to them because I got fed up with buying white wine vinegar for $8/ 500ml and Delmaine said I should try Gilmours where they have 2 litres for $10. Strong flour at 25KG for 22.50 is also pretty tempting and even crystallised ginger at $10 a KG and stuffed olives 2KG for $16.50 is pretty tempting as well.
Seems to me that those of us growing more and more food are also going to be preserving more food and that means larger quantities of the products needed for preserving like sugar, vinegar, spices etc and having to buy them at retail, dilettante prices is not on.
I wonder if there is a case for an Ooooby business that enables members to order products and getting them in the right quantities at good prices? Its perfectly acceptable to buy from Gilmours to retail for example so individuals could buy via Ooooby when they need this stuff. It could also supply events such as the Waiheke plum processing event.
[Pete suggested that this looks like a "low fat" model]
The key with the low fat model is that it needs to be lean enough to be offering a real benefit and it also needs to be profitable enough to get your average punter into either investing in their own store or to invest in Ooooby Ltd.
A lot will depend on the definition of an average punter. If by that we are talking about Ooooby members, I suspect the return will be measured in a wider range of factors than simply cash. If we are talking about the wider investing public, I'm guessing they are currently resetting some of their expectations and it may take a while until they get to seeing the value in an Ooooby punt.
I'm keen on the idea that we should make the most efficient use of capital for example. So that people like Gilmours or Bunnings etc, (BTW, Fionna mentioned the other day that she has access to wholesale rates for tools and, I think, garden supplies)have already invested serious capital in stocking their shelves and bulk buying.
What I want to do is lubricate the supply chain with sweat equity as far as possible so that those without capital can play in the game. I'm also aware that accumulating or borrowing financial capital is pretty hard right now so the more use we can make of social capital, the more economically efficient it will be.
1 person connected to the web.
1 garage within cooee of wholesale supply.
1 car / van.
1 operations manual.
How does this guy get paid?
The payment comes at the end of the month based on all transactions for the month, direct credit.
And how much?
I quite like the idea that we take "profit" out of the model and pass the goods through without a margin so it doesn't matter whether you have bought $50 worth or $300 worth, what you are paying is a fee for the service of collecting, sorting and storing and perhaps really mess with people's expectations by adding a factor for weight.
$10 per order up to 10Kg and 10c a Kg over that. Or something of that order. In other words, pay the storeman for the work and Ooooby adds a flat transaction fee to cover the value of the service and earns a little on the cash flow between being paid by the customer and settling with the supplier.
This also connects with my idea on permablitzes, that people are rewarded for their time and effort contributed not for the type of work they do. ie, I don't collect a rent on the fact that I have a garage, I get paid for handling the goods and that handling involves more or less effort on my part depending on the weight of the materials)
So a 25Kg bag of flour would incur the wholesale price, the basic $10, plus $1.50 for the extra weight and whatever the transaction fee was. Delivery extra based on distance. I was thinking that I might make Saturday deliveries day and I could use Google maps to organise the trip then divide the cost per Km among the recipients.
The more densely packed the clients, the lower per person cost; an incentive for people to recruit neighbours to Ooooby.
I also like the idea of using ROooobys to track social currency and one way to do that would be to add an invitation tool that paid in ROooobys when someone joins up. It would give people a way to earn credit and participate in the community.
The idea would be to have multiple mini distribution centres around the city where Oooobyists could pick up, or have delivered, the materials they need to turn their garden produce into real food resources. Ideally they would be close (as I am, to at least one of the wholesalers so that we don't waste energy travelling to collect orders.
The idea would also be that the Ooooby transaction and ordering tools would keep a database of available products and prices, calculate totals, add fees as agreed, enable people to create shopping lists and, above all, to accept payments in advance and hold the money in escrow till the good were received.
That way people would have confidence in making the purchases, stallholders would be guaranteed payment, cashflow and debt collection issues would disappear.
OK, your turn.
Sibnce then I have tapped a mate who is happy for me to use his cash and carry account at gilmours so if we could hook up with Fionna's wholesale resources we mifght be off to a start.