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Planting: The 'benefactor business model'

The 'benefactor business model' aims to make groupware software useful for small communities, such as families and close groups of friends, by bypassing the need for widespread adoption and network effects.

In most close-knit groups, there are usually a few tech enthusiasts who scout for new software, particularly tools that can be used collectively. They often serve as the community's tech guides, recommending groupware software for shared use.

The default suggestion usually falls on free, ad-supported groupware since it allows everyone to start using it without financial commitment. Proposing a paid service is challenging, as it requires unanimous agreement on payment before participation.

The benefactor business model aims to overcome the hurdle of transitioning a community to a paid, ad-free platform. In this model, the tech enthusiast(s), acting as benefactor(s), cover the subscription fee for the entire group. Once subscribed, they can then provide the community with free access to the service.

The benefactor can also have access to exclusive tools and features, tailored to assist in supporting their community more effectively, particularly with technology-related inquiries or needs.

The core idea is to enable communities to switch to a superior, ad-free service without the barrier of individual members needing to pay upfront.