Corey Kohn, co-owner of dojo4, and I spoke at length today about the new direction of dojo4. Here is what I learned:
dojo4 is reorganizing as a purpose-driven technology development and design shop, but why?
It has done successful business in service to entrepreneurial efforts over the course of the last 4-5 years. It has refined its lightweight management techniques and developed methods for skillfully peeling back the layers of complexity inherent in any technology problem/solution effort. Its engineers, led by CTO, Ara Howard, make efficient use of financial and human resources by discovering the core interest behind any entrepreneurial goal and executing lightweight solutions quickly and elegantly.
Recently a series of events prompted a welcome opportunity for dojo4's primary stakeholders to take a step back from the day-to-day grind and reflect on some deeper questions. They've considered the role dojo4 is playing in the world and:
- the contributions it's making toward alleviating human suffering.
- how is it contributing toward solving the humanity's biggest challenges such as hunger, war, planetary health etc.?
- how are the members of the dojo4 community growing as humans through the work they do day in and day out?
- how can we more deeply align with the visions and missions of the entrepreneurs and investors dojo4 works with?
Reflecting on these questions, the dojo4 stakeholders realized that they needed something more from the daily work of cranking out one awesome technology solution after another.
So, we've have decided to tear down many of the architectural features of the traditional business and rebuild from the foundation up. Here is what we've decided to build into the next version dojo4...
3 prominent features in the new version
- dojo4 is restructuring relationships internal to teams and with clients
- internally, dojo4 is working to further cultivate rich human relationships within the dojo4 community and within project teams. One expression and practice of this is that Org Dev has moved into the dojo4 office and is readily available to assist dojo4's organizational development as well as others.
- externally, dojo4 is keen to build partnerships with entrepreneurs and investors rather than have clients, for a number of reasons. Primary among these is a frustration with the incentives in place in typical client/vendor relationships. dojo4 has found that typical project business structures aren't conducive to deep and meaningful human relationships. dojo4 believes it can perform better in healthy and rewarding human relationships. Values alignment and mutual investment, either in financial or human capital, are some of the building blocks of these partnerships.
- dojo4 is available to work on impact projects with the right partner on the right project.
- dojo4 sees an opportunity value to society by contributing toward a functional integration between:
My Take on all This
The primary question I left the interview with was how dojo4 proposes a partnership model with what used-to-be-referred to as "clients." Partnership implies mutual investment and sense of shared risk and reward in a venture. I would like to see a clear way in dojo4 plans to enter into a shared risk relationship with purpose-driven entrepreneurs. Within the new direction of dojo4 there are a lot questions related to the nuts and bolt of how this will all play out. I'm wondering what a typical or even an ideal "partnership" with an entrepreneur would look like for dojo4. What is the investment opportunity for socially-driven venture capital? What does dojo4 have to invest in a purpose-driven project?
I believe in what dojo4 is doing and want to help see it succeed like some many others that have shown interest in this new direction recently. I even want to contribute/invest my time in helping to bring it to fruition, but how the nuts and bolts come together into an innovative and evolved tech shop are as yet a work in progress. Stay tuned to the blog as this story develops. We'll be sure to keep folks posted as new structures start gain traction.