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🌴 Retreat Notepad Day 1 🌴

πŸ““ Retreat Playbook: πŸ—’ Day 1 pad: πŸ—’ Day 2 pad:


Day 1 - Vision


✍️ How we will work together

  • All participants consent to recording this call, which will not be publicly shared and deleted after some period (3 months)
  • Scribe will take light notes, but anyone feel free to join the note taking
  • Decisions based on full consensus of those present
  • A long long time ago... and then last 3 months more seriously working to put this Retreat together to kick start the cooperative, with 4 goals in mind:
    • Consensus on our vision and mission
    • Alignment on shared values
    • A list of considerations on governance
    • A road map of milestones
  • Consensed on the following group agreements:
    • Shared responsibility for conversation (step up listening, step up speaking)
    • One person speaking at a time
    • Honest respect with each other
    • Focused, on topic discussion
    • Keep each other on time
    • Distraction-free

5-minute sharebacks

✍️ Ensure vision/values comments are captured


  • Podcast is exciting, with Montdragon story and challenges
  • Your job becomes close to your set of values
  • Core value of a coop is an "accountability tool"
  • Serve us as members, of our place Toronto
  • ICT projects
  • Respect, Consent...
  • A form of support for our projects + cross collab with members
  • Education training and community building inline with ICA
  • Values:
    • Intersectionality
    • Mutual Aid and Solidarity
    • Sustainability
    • Justice (Environmental)
    • [Anti-facism, anti-racism, anti-oppression]
    • Inclusivity
    • Practicing what you preach
    • Care for others
    • Forgiveness and having paths back in


  • Self-serving way to work on things important to me, not feeling forced to build something not comfy with consequences
  • Could work alone, challenges, like working with other people
  • Build resiliency, solidarity, sustainable organization
  • Participating in new ecosystems and modes (?)
  • Serve: Members
  • What: Aggregate of people, institution to build opportunities, mutual opportunity
  • Legal entity to interface with others
  • Quote: "Capital being in service of people/labour..." not the other way around
  • Experiment with commons-based peer production
  • Actively engaged (committed) members in democracy, seeking to build consensus
  • "Sustainable societies of the future"
  • In ecosystem: Seek to fulfill dependencies in-line with mutual aid
  • Values:
    • [self-agency, self-determination, interdependent abundance]
    • solidarity
    • multi-faceted knowledge
    • capacity to share
    • justice
    • "structured chaos"
  • Coupled to larger social movements, aspirations to build new economies!


  • Read "Enspiral thing" that patcon shared :D
  • Disengagement in workplaces
  • Highest rate of depression and loneliness
  • Udit sharing about our daily dystopia :(
  • We have been sold this technocapitalist future
  • Widespread sense that capitalism is the only possibility
  • Demonstrate there is a better way to do things
  • Processes are just as important as the products we build
  • Serve as substrate thru which we can build these visions
  • Take the long view
  • This size of a coop is the right size for experimentation
  • Serve under-represented and marginalized
  • Values:
    • Curiousity, Diverse perspectives
    • Resilience
    • Integrity
    • Community
    • Courage
  • Question:
    • What was that Fredic Laloux book?
      • Re-inventing Organizations


  • Going between working for people + forming own company, relating to Upstream podcast
  • Ratio 600:1 CEO:average worker pay, what does that even meeeeeean?!
  • This is a mechanism to serve its members, more so than the larger society
  • Build transparent products, not hide it like what a lot of companies are doing these days
  • Work you put into this org is your own
  • Values:
    • Community
    • Integrity: not just checking off boxes on a contract
    • Transparency
    • Financial security: so we can focus on the work and not worry about the financials


  • "Enspiral thing" :D
  • Things...
  • Embodied ways to instantiate our values
  • Alternative ways to run projects
  • Members as primary stakeholders, but also consider people in perhiperal, our "URL or IRL" neighbours
  • CRITICAL, speculative, RADICAL
  • Making our shared values real
  • Ability to work on RADICAL projects, ones that we want to build!
  • ben: garry's new font is all-caps
  • "forest floor" where "small pieces can find life elsewhere?"
  • Values:
    • Curiosity
    • Radical reflection
    • Grace
    • Honesty
    • Solidarity
  • Question:
  • Question:
    • Radical Reflection, pls tell me moar...


  • Paste in the pad after

Shared reflection:

  • Already broad alignment in our values but distinct approaches
  • Recurring themes: Solidarity
  • Surprise around some!

10-minute break, prompt to think on (no shareback)

What impact do we want this co-operatives to have on its members, on society, and on larger ecosystems (bioregions) over the next 10 years?

Co-drafting vision & mission

✍️ Co-draft Positioning Template:

For "our members and neighbours" (who we serve) who "are looking for meaningful livelihoods while building and learning about technologies together" (the needs we serve) our co-operative is a "resilient respite, radical garden, and safe harbour" (classification or category) where we "support each other, work in solidarity, cultivate collective growth" (compelling reason for us to work together) unlike "people serving capital" (current state of affairs) our organization "provides autonomy and democratic control" (primary point of difference)


THEMES / Allegorical descriptors

  • The forest
  • Permaculture related
  • Fungi!
  • "Pod" in Enspiral is a sub-collective within Enspiral?
  • Networked projects:
    • Nodes
    • Edges
    • Networked Systems


  • Members
  • Peers
  • Neighbours, address locality?
  • Community
  • Where do we (as members that this coop primarily serves) fit into the larger social movement
  • Nodal


  • Financial security
  • Stability + resiliency
  • Opportunities to work on what we want to work on
  • Opportunities to teach/work on education projects
  • Opportunities to work on ICT projects
  • Meaningful livelihood
  • Personal and collective growth
    • Self-actualization
    • Skills
    • Thinking
  • Shared or self-learning
  • Creative exploration
  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Gathering and disseminating knowledge
    • Responsibility
    • Reflective
  • Commons-based peer production
  • Participatory knowledge making
  • Allow knowledge development thru tinkering
  • How do we package what we have developed and benefit the larger social movement?


  • Soundboarding
  • Accomplice
  • Ally
  • Co-conspirator

Supporting others

  • Attractor and energy booster (amplify)
  • Catalyst
  • Launchpad
  • Incubator
  • Spinning up other nodes

Fitting in to the broader social movement

  • Do we want to be part of systems change at large?
    • At the minimum we are acknowledging it exists
    • Dawn: Not interested in the meta level, but how do we amplify the meta-level
    • SLIDER:
    • Ben also wants to not be the meta coop, and work on more specialized projects while supporting other people who want to form local coops, but perhaps through our skillsets?
  • And in what way?
    • Knowledge
    • Technical Infrastructure
    • Transparency - default open source?


  • "technology workers co-op"
  • Other descriptors:
    • Radical
    • anti-capitalist? resistance? Commons-based? Solidarity economies?
    • Respite (a.k.a, space for grace, forgiveness, care), refuge, haven, harbour, asylum, fortress?
    • Resilient
    • "Shift" "Transition"
    • Alternative
  • "Through"
    • stewarding our collective through a capitalist reality
    • De vs Anti (i.e., anti-capitalist v. de-capitalist)
    • post vs proto
    • "Place to experiment, sandbox?"
  • Permaculture:
    • "Edge"
    • "Guild"


  • Solidarity +1 / Allyship (Accomplice)
    • Take on larger projects
    • Bigger risks
  • Community
  • Cultivating ideas
  • Soundboarding
  • Weathering market forces and systemic pressures together
  • Don't have to waste effort on debating fundamental value alignment and focus on meaningful work (Ben: I think this relates to Yurko's points, and earlier talk with Udit about encoding more information into protocol and transmitting less data packets)
  • Aspirations and needs
  • Consensual collective hallucination
    • We are a collective halluncination believing in better futures?
  • Peer-to-peer skill building
  • Legal entity to take money from grants
  • Support each other:
    • Don't have to work alone
    • Financial resilience
    • Creative and intellectual support


  • Affected by systemic pressures/market forces
  • Disatisfaction
  • Fitting our skillset into existing openings
  • Lack of imagination about what the future is
    • For tech at least, Silicon valley has silicon values
  • Ben is uncomfortable building the dystopic future Udit as describing, specifically a technocapitalist one
  • Ben wants to do work that spreads across multiple professions (e.g. software, hardware, politics, processes, community building, teaching, and being a student at the same time)
  • Ben is uncomfortable with our society's failure to recognize talents that are not in high demand according to capital, and people's failure to imagine alternatives
  • Dawn: "I don't see a way out of the current mess of inequality, climate change, late stage capitalism, that we find ourselves in and frequently disempowered from changing"
  • Padding shareholder pockets
  • Don't want to be put in a position by broader system where we have to compromise on values/enforce extractive practices on others


  • Democractic control
  • Being in a position to effect change
  • Supporting ecosystems - IRL/URL
  • Imagining alternatives
    • Speculative futures (???)
  • Needs of people > needs of market
  • Resilience, common goals, uncompromising on our values, "being our own boss", as opposed to being an unmoored ship
  • Commons-based peer production > Privitized hierarchical market production
  • Inclusivity + diversity as naturally emergent phenomenon > as a reaction to market forces
  • Grow people > grow capital
  • Social motive > profit motive
  • "Open" membership > Market driven filters
  • Donna Haraway:
    • Forcing ourselves to not look away?
    • Courage, confidence
  • Courage to feel part of the solution/not part of the problem

Consensed on adding this in LOOMIO:

For our members and neighbours who are looking for meaningful livelihoods while building and learning about technologies together. Our cooperative is a resilient respite--a radical garden and safe harbour--where we support each other, work in solidarity, and cultivate collective growth unlike people serving capital. Our organization provides autonomy, democratic control, and a space to imagine radical and alternative futures.

  • LOOMIO "technologies" scope
  • our co-operative is a radical garden that cultivates commons-based economies
  • unlike this technocapitalist future we are sold our organization prioritizes people over capital

Finding value alignment

✍️ Co-draft list of values:

  • Intersectionality: recognize differences and work across those differences
  • Inclusivity
  • Mutual Aid
  • Justice (Environmental)
  • Anti-facism
  • [anti-racism, anti-oppression]
  • Practicing what you preach
  • Care for others
  • Forgiveness and having paths back in
  • [self-agency, self-determination]
  • capacity to share
  • Courage
  • Solidarity
  • multi-faceted knowledge
  • Curiosity, Diverse perspectives
  • Sustainability
  • Resilience
  • "structured chaos": recognizing changing ecosystem, less predictability, learn to embrace/find ways to progress through that
  • Interdependent Abundance (Collective self-agency)
  • Community
  • Integrity
  • Transparency
  • Financial security: so we can focus on the work and not worry about the financials
  • Radical reflection
  • Grace
  • Honesty

Consensed on everyone being comfortable this as a broad alignment!

Loomio will be prepared by mid-day tomorrow!

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