Virtual meeting software has, of course, become entrenched in our lives over the past year. Zoom has become a generic trademark that gets prepended to basically every activity that simply used to be something we did — Zoom happy hours, Zoom birthday parties, Zoom dates.
Meet.coop wants to provide the infrastructure without the corporate influence, leaning heavily on the values, and rhetoric, of open source and collectivism. I’m decidedly intrigued by this trend — see also the payments group Comradery and the co-op that wants to improve gig work.
The challenges before these groups are obvious pretty quickly — how do I get started is an immediate question you’re confronted with on Meet.coop’s website; in Silicon Valley speak, you might define it as a roadblock to finding the all important “product-market fit”. Even if this new trend of cooperatives has goals beyond making capital, venture or otherwise, or profit, they still need people to use their products.
Still, it’s certainly interesting that these apps are all infrastructure, and I think that’s a compelling place to start. The question of what comes next, meaning what should replace the small number of platforms that have subsumed the internet, is likely going to be one of new protocols that allow for the kind of decentralized internet that was the hope from its incarnation. Co-ops seem like they could be a compelling stopgap.