Member newsletter 19 June 2017

Hello to all 65 co-founding members from our newly (self-)formed member relations team.

Now that we’re officially incorporated – Digital Life Collective Co-operative Limited – it’s a good time for our first fortnightly newsletter. It’s not short given the amount of stuff going on, but we’ve tried to keep it as punchy as possible. And we lead with one critical point …

The time is right.

Many people are increasingly aware that their faith in massively centralized services is misplaced. Many citizens are waking up to the creep of state surveillance. Many consumers simply don’t want their lives recorded in minute detail by opaque third parties. And many communities are increasingly upset and divided by digital exclusion.

The time is right to co-operate.

We start here with a quick look at where we’ve got to in describing our mission, then a bit on our self-organisation and the work underway, rounding off with our goals for the next ten weeks and the part you play.

Tech We Trust

We exist to research, develop, fund and support Tech We Trust. And our latest stab at defining that turn of phrase is:

… those technologies that put the individual’s autonomy, privacy and dignity first, or that support those technologies that do.

A conversation is now emerging about defining Tech We Trust more technically encompassing, as our more technical members will say, all the layers in ‘the stack’. It’s quite an undertaking and perhaps you know people who should be involved?

We know privacy, equality, and decentralization feature large in the realisation of Tech We Trust, and the sooner we can set out the criteria the sooner we’ll be able to determine whether something does or does not qualify.


Everyone should have received the welcome email that goes out to new members. A couple of paragraphs there are so critical, please allow us to repeat them here …

The Collective will only work when you’re not just a member but when you feel like a member too. When “we” doesn’t feel like something someone’s written at you, but rather a word you reach for intuitively. When “our” makes you consider both our shared purpose and essential differences. And when “us” hits you on two levels – the Collective and humanity.

This is hard! Co-operating with 50 or 500 people has its challenges. Many organizations struggle to gel 5,000 or 50,000 people without coming across like a traditional firm from the last century (and that’s not meant to be a flattering comparison). And yet here we are thinking even bigger than that.

With that said, we’re making good progress weaving carefully selected software together, open source wherever possible, to facilitate such autonomy, such self-starting organisation, with the intention to scale to many thousands of us.

For now, if you’re not yet hanging out with your fellow Collective members, please jump in at your earliest. You will have received a username and password upon joining the co-operative, but if you’d like these sent your way again, please email the tech team accordingly –

September goals

We’re planning to launch more formally and broadly this September, and as you may have seen we’ve just attempted to distill our collective intelligence to set out the goals we need to have achieved by then. Here’s an overview:

Goal 1 – co-founders

We’re still looking to attract more co-founding members – a doubling would be awesome – so do please tell friends and colleagues if you believe they’d embrace our mission and would love to be a co-founding member of something big :slight_smile: That’s doubly important should you know developers because our tech to-do list is longer than we’d like right now.

Goal 2 – website

We need to replace our interim website with our first ‘proper’ site and corresponding content workflow. This will explain our mission, expand on the core issues (trust, privacy, equality, decentralization), explain membership and how we work, and encourage thousands to join us.

Goal 3 – content and communications

We’ve just started to collaborate on the website content to address the typical reader, the techie, and the academic. We’re also intent on securing key media partners in different countries – the exposure they can offer helps us obviously, and Tech We Trust should have transformative influence over the journalistic business model.

Goal 4 – organizing

We need to crystallise how we self-organize. And make it slick. We’re taking the best from approaches such as sociocracy and ‘the co-operative way’ and assembling a bespoke framework designed to help us scale massively and, critically, so that the sum of the Collective far exceeds the sum of our individual selves.

Goal 5 – onboarding

We need an improved onboarding process. We’ll thrive not just by attracting members but by catalyzing participation and action. We’re all expert at the Digital Life Collective onboarding by definition, so please do put your oar in.

It’s great to be co-operating

So that’s the briefest snapshot. In conclusion and by way of a quick checklist:

  • Join the conversation at, and email if you need any help
  • Let all your techie friends and colleagues know what we’re up to here
  • Find one more co-founder :slight_smile:

And if you fancy dropping into one of our regular Zoom conversations, we meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 4pm UTC.

All the best, Steve and Philip on behalf of our member relations team.