This is the third “mass leaving event” I know of in OSE history (others were in 2009 and 2011). There has also been a steady stream of individual volunteers leaving because of the poor management. Money spent on OSE has been wasteful thus far because the management has been wasteful – constantly destroying and rebuilding the community. This might well have been the last blow on OSE and widespread bad press will follow for the first time and the money sources will dry up.
“No new prototypes being published of any GVCS.” … Friends of the OSE project are wondering if there is a crisis in the OSE project.
A sample of contributions from the OSE Forum:
All of the onsite developers/staff have left due to various challenges or personal reasons. Marcin attends TED conferences and gets lauded by the press, but has significant difficulty maintaining a team in the trenches. The organization is undergoing much needed backfill for legal compliance (audits/insurance/financial records), but has unfortunately burned many bridges with talented volunteers. Many of the passionate folk who have come onsite to develop the open source economy have left disillusioned with the organization’s management and culture.
It is worth noting that OSE is hierarchically structured and that direct democracy is completely absent from its values. Folks should push for a democratized OSE/FeF giving participants democratic control over the group.
The curse of kings. This is the number one killer of group projects that I’ve been involved in – a single charismatic leader-type who has trouble delegating, and isn’t into sharing power.
They always have a good reason for it – preserve the vision, keep the project focused, etc. But this is the result…a boom/bust cycle as interest dries up, then is regenerated, then dries up again along with funding.
Here is a testimony from a person that left:
“As for me, I left for a few reasons.
-Money. I was working out there for $10 per hour. Very small for the type of work I was doing- design and fabrication of the ironworker. I saw Marcin unwilling to pay even the most skilled labor more than $2k per month. If you aren’t even willing to pay that, how on earth can you expect any quality results? At best you will be getting college students, like me, wanting to contribute, who don’t have the skills to make a quality product. Or, you will be getting people doing it as a side thing, guaranteeing no results. I saw the bank accounts, and knew the organization had more than $400k in the bank. As a result, there was nobody there designing the machines. I didn’t feel qualified to be designing this stuff. I felt like there should have been experts out there designing it so I could built it. There was nobody. I felt like I was defrauding the investors.
-Lies about the quality of the products. The brick press produced shit for bricks. They didn’t have one flat surface on them. I personally built 4 of these, which were all shipped out without proper testing. One was shipped out a year after it was supposed to be. The power cube worked for a week AT THE LONGEST.
-Unsafe living conditions and insufficient infrastructure- when I was there, the well water was contaminated, and Marcin refused to fix it. There was literally algae the water tanks, and he was doing nothing to fix it. We had to either buy all water at the store, or drink from the RO system, which I had to personally install. The RO hardly produced 1/2 gallon per day to be spent among 15+ people because of the low pressure coming from the pump at the well. The well was also not producing enough to accomodate all the people there, so we could only use toilets to poop, and had to have VERY short showers.”