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@mediaateam - professional support

Discussion in 'Community' started by bea, Jun 5, 2019.

  1. cheesegrits

    cheesegrits Support Gopher Staff Member

    Level: Community
    Just FYI, we had a PayPal "Donate" button displayed prominently on the site for about the first 4 or 5 years I was involved. In all that time, we made about $80 from it, and eventually just gave up. So I'm not entirely convinced it would help much. Although maybe the "donation culture" has changed since then, maybe people are more tuned in to needing to donate to keep things they like alive, and it might be worth trying again.

    -- hugh
    winchester likes this.
  2. winchester

    winchester Member

    Level: Community
    How much of a problem to place it back? We can encourage donation for help. I'm willing to even put a statement in my signature.

    Also, keep in mind that it is something we can do in the meantime until everything is sorted out properly. For now, it is something better than just "likes".

    Think about it. I'm will to be the first to donate.
  3. Sophist

    Sophist Well-Known Member

    Level: Community

    My offer to discuss with you my ideas for an entirely different approach to Fabrik support that might make it work financially is still open. If you want to hear my ideas, please let me know.
  4. pastvne

    pastvne Bruce Decker

    Level: Community
    First, Robbie, Hugh, Rob, Troester and the rest are just amazing as is Fabrik! We all owe these guys more that any subscription can pay. There is a difference between support (i.e., answering a question about a fabrik function or diagnosing a reporting bug), vs consulting support (helping someone figure out how to develop a solution in Fabrik. I for one have and will continue to pay for help and it needs to make sense economically for these guys to make that help available on a sustainable basis.

    I've personally engaged Media A-Team on projects for my clients and when I do I try to make sure that they are well paid for their efforts. I can't speak for Robbie but I think that one thing we can all do is to find and provide lucrative consulting projects for Media A-Team and just give them work. Also, consider giving them pieces of your projects and pay them well for their help. The more we make this lucrative and fun for Media A-Team and other core contributors, the better it will be for all of us. Viva La Fabrik!

    Love you Robbie and Hugh!
    mediaateam likes this.
  5. Sophist

    Sophist Well-Known Member

    Level: Community
    Media A-Team are in a very difficult position. As a commercial organisation they need to cover the costs of supporting Fabrik - which include all the effort required simply to keep pace with changes in Joomla which are huge.

    Obviously they have their own Fabrik projects which can contribute to paying for this support, and consultancy fees can also help a lot.

    However, as far as I can see, these still do not cover the costs of simply maintaining Fabrik's compatibility with the ever-mutating Joomla, much less cover the costs of providing free support. Media A-Team have withdrawn the previous subscription model - presumably because the costs of providing the subscription-based support were actually greater than the revenue they brought in.

    I fully agree with @pastvne that commercial projects should try to use Media A-Team's consultancy / development services as much as possible in order to help pay for the ongoing maintenance. If you have a commercial project, my advice would be to consider using their consultancy to:

    • Confirm the viability of Fabrik to provide the solution you are seeking - after all would you really want to invest in developing a solution with Fabrik only to find a show-stopper after a ot of development had been completed; and / or
    • Produce a high-level design / UI-design / database-design - in order that your own development is the right direction and avoids development by trial and error; and / or
    • Even developing your code for you.

    However, whilst bearing in mind the open-source nature of Fabrik which enables anyone to use it for free, I would go further than @pastvne and say that:

    • To encourage commercial projects to recognise the benefits they are getting from the free use of Fabrik, Media A-Team should think about providing a Commercial-Project donation capability, and ask that all commercial projects should voluntarily donate (say) 5% of their development staff costs (or in the case of development by individuals in their own time, (say) 5% of the expected first year revenue) to Media A-team as a reflection of the benefit they are getting from Fabrik and in order to contribute to the costs of maintenance.

      Note: My intention here is for commercial projects simply to recognise the benefits they are receiving from use of Fabrik - and to recognise that if they invest in a commercial development using Fabrik it is essential that Fabrik is maintained for the lifetime of this system. This is NOT intended to be a form of support subscription.

    • As an alternative to the above donation, and again to encourage commercial projects to recognise the benefits they are getting from the free use of Fabrik, commercial projects (or indeed all projects) could consider donating 5% of their development time to delivering contributions to the Fabrik infrastructure - support for other users, improving the Wiki, developing training materials (written or videos), development of automated unit test suite, development of a comprehensive test site, code improvements, providing support to (less skilled?) non-commercial users etc.

    • To provide on-going production support for mission critical commercial projects, Media A-Team should consider providing a Production Run-Time subscription service to provide rapid support for a system which has broken (as a result of a Fabrik or Joomla change).

    • To help focus the valuable Media A-Team resources (i.e. Hugh) onto critical maintenance and paid support, free support should not be provided by Media A-Team, but instead the community of Fabrik developers should be encouraged to provide support for other community users.

    • To enable the above Media A-Team should provide the support necessary - for example: a comprehensive wish list of stuff that the community can work on, a test instance of Fabrik that can be used to develop a comprehensive test site, the basic infrastructure to support automated unit testing, etc.

    • Media A-Team should provide a means to measure and recognise contributions made by users (e.g. providing community support to others, Wiki improvements, training materials, code improvements, project donations etc.).

      The purpose of this measurement would be four-fold:

      1. Public recognition - which is a pretty strong driver for many open-source communities.

      2. So that the community users can prioritise support they provide to other community users to reward those who contribute over those who leech.

      3. If resources are available after other priorities are met (i.e. maintenance, paid work, reviewing, commenting and merging community PRs) then perhaps the measured level of contributions made by users could be used as a means of allocating Media A-Team this time - i.e. the more you contribute, the more able you are to ask for support from Hugh when you do need it.

      Note: It seems to me to be likely that those who contribute will be more knowledgeable and will likely require less support - and that if regular contributors ask for and receive support (presumably for something not currently documented), they would then be likely to feedback what they learnt into e.g. Wiki improvements which might avoid the same question being asked again.

      4. Hopefully the above would provide a positive-feedback cycle which will accelerate the growth of this approach.

    If you look back through my previous forum posts, you will find that when I have asked community members if they would be willing to contribute, the response has generally been VERY positive. IMO this is a door waiting to be pushed open.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2019
    pastvne and startpoint like this.
  6. murugappan

    murugappan Lexman

    Level: Community
    Hi Sophist,

    Thank you so much for the reference. We are small start-up team and are also looking for projects from bigger technology clients. We are working under the philosophy that technology should be a tool to help us deliver quickly not incur more costs which could be detrimental to our existence. I understand the needs stated above. In short and also from other forum members, it is becoming clear to me that Fabrik may not be the right tool for people like us. We have delivered a total solution for a medical claims processing company with only 10% code and with lots of tools that make things easier for us and for the client. We cannot afford to code at each step of a problem - too long and depressing.

    So, thank you for the offer.
  7. skyrun

    skyrun Active Member

    Level: Community
    first, i would gladly pay $3k/yr for fabrik support. but i suspect i may be in the minority. a donate button isn't going to work...

    first suggestion: make the old 'professional' available again at $3K/yr and see, you may be surprised. if nothing else you'll have $3K from me ;-)

    and i would also would pay for enhancements by the hour above that support level.

    if i may be frank, i personally find that it's difficult to figure out how to engage and pay hugh. i have offered on many occasions to pay hugh for things, but (in a clash of personalities perhaps) i find it difficult to come to an agreement with hugh on a price and approach and when the work can start (ie the commercial arrangements) so any paid projects just die on the vine and take more time than they're worth. in the times we have worked out something, it feels very forced and time consuming to work it all out and pay.

    most importantly (imho) the current process is hard on hugh too. hugh is an extremely skilled developer and for him to spend time making business/commercial arrangements is a waste of his skills and not his strong(est) suit.

    so my option for what it's worth is that hugh needs a 'front end' of an online tool that handles project requests/proposals/payments and also a bus devl person to coordinate his 'heads down' time so he can do what he's best at.

    i'll also point out that a huge difference between hughs effective salaray of $7/hr and $200/hr. maybe if hugh can focus on what he's best at, we can come up with something more like $100/hr, but that hugh gets closer to 2,000 hrs/yr at that rate.

    perhaps this front end of automation and a project management person could be paid for by subsriptions and a 20% 'tax' on any hourly work they setup for hugh. so the charge maybe is $120/hr. $20 for every hour set up to be billed to the project coordinator (plus subscriptions) and the rest to the developer. subscription $'s go to the fabrik owners to fund projects like a joomla 4.0 upgrade and wiki improvements.

    another refinement: 'community' members can't post questions, only search. the minimum level for posting quesitons is standard and that's $99/mo or $1000/yr. anyone can still download and use and search. just can't ask questions.

    there is enough value in fabrik to be worth those 2 levels of an 'ante' .

    just my 2c worth as someone who has used fabrik for 10 years now and whose whole $30M/yr business is built on fabrik (THANKS to rob, robbie, hugh, troester and others).
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
    startpoint likes this.
  8. Sophist

    Sophist Well-Known Member

    Level: Community
    Unfortunately, Media A-Team do not seem to be interested in considering alternative approaches.

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