Re-investing PIE Abacus income

With the creation of the PIE Abacus, and the (coming) release of the introductory videos series, which include one video on costs and re-investment of income, it may be time to spell out the business plan in more detail than we could usefully do briefly there.

As the FAQ on costs and sustainability page (HERE) shows, one of the principal aspirations behind the PIE Abacus - though by no means the only one - is that it may generate income that can make this website sustainable.

That is to say, the income from PIE Abacus sales can fund continuing to maintain and develop this site, and it's treasure trove of information and inspiration, after the retirement of the founder, Robin Johnson.

We cannot realistically expect any one - or even any organisation - to take this on without any form of income or payment, as Robin has/had done for ten years.



PIRAN  (the initials stand for the 'PIEs Income Re-investment and Networking' company) has now been created to hold and manage the income from sales of the Abacus - or at least, that part of the income (currently 20% - but see below) that is earmarked for re-investment in development, over an initial period. Over this period our partner, the software company Opeus, continues to manage the sales, invoicing etc, on our behalf.

Over this start up/transitional period, PIRAN is a limited company with Robin himself as the sole director, to manage this transition, and to continue what development he is able to do, maintaining the PIElink operating as a key resource.


It's just a phase we're going through......

At the end of that time (estimated 2 years max), with the income to do so, the plan is that PIRAN will take on all the administration, leaving Opeus to manage just the technical support and future product development, in conjunction with ourselves. The proportion of the sales income that goes to PIRAN for promotion and re-investment - and now the accounts admin - will then rise, to 40%.

But there are other changes too.   At some point hopefully within that two year period, we intend to switch to a social enterprise, not-for-profit company format, with a full assets lock, to invest that income.

With full accountability to a community of users, we should be in a position to consult and adjust the costs and sustainability balance, so that that 40% proportion may even rise at that point, providing more to invest. Alternatively it could fall, to lower the costs of the PIE Abacus licences, if that seems a better way to promote and develop PIEs.

These are not decisions that one man should be making on his own; not even Robin.  So as soon as feasible, the new social enterprise will be created, to take over the work, with community representation in some form as its central aim. (If anyone is familiar with the concept of community supported agriculture, you will recognise the model.)

Finally, this way of dividing the income between PIRAN and Opeus by a proportion - whether 80/20, 70/60, or 60/40, or 50/50 - is not set in stone. Opeus themselves would probably prefer to switch eventually to a simpler contract, in which we use their software, and pay a straight fee for its use. This is their preferred arrangement in other partnerships.


The other ten per cent of the income

NB: Over the transition period, the 80% allocated for production costs (reducing to 60% as and when the new company can take on the administration) includes a 10% allowance for an entirely new venture, called 'Fertile Imagination, Inc'.

This is a new limited company with explicitly philanthropic aims, created to promote creativity, but in ANY sphere of human activity, not restricted to complex needs work; and this company will remain entirely under the control of Robin, as the director.

In this way, Robin aims to retain some of the flexibility that he has had, until now.   What proportion of the PIE Abacus income he will retain remains to be agreed; but it will definitely not rise beyond the current 10%.

There is more information on the plans for 'Fertile Imagination' : HERE






Further background reading/listening/viewing

FAQs: Costs and sustainability: HERE

Getting started with an Abacus account : HERE


Fertile Imagination, Inc.: HERE

Yet more small print: HERE

And now a word for our sponsors: HERE

The homelessness sector as potential beneficiaries:  HERE

Is this the future of vocational training?: HERE

Is this the future of academic publishing?:  HERE

How audio-visuals add value to academic publishing: HERE