PIRAN - Re-investing PIE Abacus income

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 help to make this website sustainable.

We can anticipate that the income from PIE Abacus sales can fund continuing to maintain and develop this site, and its treasure trove of information and inspiration, after the departure of the founder, Robin Johnson.



PIRAN  (the initials stand for the 'PIEs Income Re-investment and Networking' company) was originally created to manage the IP, and prepare and sign a contract to hold and manage the income from sales of the Abacus*. For convenience and speed, PIRAN had been created as a private limited company (PLC) with Robin Johnson himself as the sole director. The stated purpose of the company, even as a PLC, was to fund the PIElink and its wider activities in promoting and developing PIEs.

However, the underlying purpose - apart from establishing the basis for the Abacus contracts - was to create a company that could in principle continue the work, and the contract, even after Robin's retirement, whilst he was still available and able to manage this transition, and to continue what development he was able to do, in maintaining the PIElink as a key resource.

Mindful of the prospects not simply of 'trading income' via the PIE Abacus, but also of grants and other philanthropic investment, the longer-term plan was always to switch to a social enterprise, not-for-profit company format, with a full assets lock to re-invest that income.  With Robin's need to retire sooner than planned, that time then came. in summer of 2023; and the new CIC, PIEPR (the 'Psychologically Informed Environments Promotio and Research CIC Ltd' : HERE), comes into existence to manage the PIElink, and to encourage the development of the PIEs project, with any new initiatives and activties.

NB: Because PIRAN now winds up as an intermediary, the IP passes back to Robin, but the original PIRAN vision, to re-invest its company profits in promoting PIEs, will still be written in to the partnership with PIEPR.


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

But there are other changes too.

PIRAN was to re-invest that part of the PIE Abacus income, currently 20%, that is earmarked specifically for re-investment in development, over an initial period. Over this period our original partner, the software company Opeus, continues to manage the sales, invoicing etc, on our behalf.

At the end of the transition period (estimated 2 years max), with sufficient income to employ accounts staffing, the plan was that PIRAN - and/or its successor - would 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 Abacus sales income that goes to PIRAN for promotion and re-investment - and now the accounts admin - will then rise, to 40%.

Finally, this way of dividing the income between PIRAN and Opeus by a proportion of sales income - 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.)

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.)


The other ten per cent of the PIE Abacus income

With 20% of PIE Abacus income committed to re-investment, the 80% remaining currently allocated for other production costs (reducing to 60% as and when the new company can take on the administration, as explained above) includes a 10% allowance for another 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. That is to say, the activities of Fertile Imagination are 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

Business plan modelling

And now a word for our sponsors: HERE

'PIEPR' - the Psychologically Informed Environments Promotion and Research CIC Ltd : 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

The homelessness sector as potential beneficiaries:  HERE


PIE Abacus income

FAQs: Costs and sustainability: HERE

IP protection : HERE

Resources for PIE leads (introductory videos series*) :  HERE

* includes one video on costs and re-investment of income


Legal structures

PIEPR CIC specification : HERE

SICS codes: HERE


Advisory group: HERE

Fertile Imagination, Inc.: HERE