Missions – At-Hand Apps
(This contains information that may be incorporated and used in stories about At-Hand Apps, LLC and/or the iPhone apps New England At-Hand, Vermont At-Hand, Etc. Consider all text to be in the public domain and not needing any attribution credits.)
At-Hand Apps has its roots in ideas about “sentient systems” (self-aware) evolved in 2005 by founder Robert Gray, then a leading Industry Analyst and Research VP at IDC, in a vision for the “next computing wave” beyond what analysts were then calling Web 2.0.
In 2008, acting on the belief that the first iPhone apps were in fact, an early primitive instance of this next wave, Gray began organizing a plan. Two general product missions emerged: first, applications that changed and transformed domains of life, and, second, applications which enhanced existing community affiliations.
Gray also envisioned a “filtering” application layer that by explicitly knowing about a person and by mining the vast Internet in a mobile context, it was possible to deliver what At-Hand Apps is today calling “brilliant results.”In leaving his corporate role Gray also had become aware of the huge talent pool of older engineers, designers and other professionals, who wanted to stay engaged with their professions but, as a result of the Great-Recession and their age, were being structured out.
The name At-Hand Apps was chosen, as the URL www.athandapps.com was not being used and was available. At-Hand was both the physical location of the app presentation on smart devices and the notion of pervasive and consistent presence.
The team, post name choice, noticed that the acronym AHA was pronounced “aha”, and that the Arabian Horse Association’s lock on this as a trademark lead to creatively substituting the “@” for the first “a” and adding the “!”. It has become the organization’s creative rallying point.
At-Hand Apps is legally a Limited Liability Company. Its internal operating agreement creates a workers’ co-op with democratic worker-ownership. Member/partners set policy and elect managers to execute policy on their behalf.
Membership involves a period of getting-acquainted participation, then a membership vote.
There are eight members. Members are not employees. At-Hand Apps has no employees. All members have equity participation in the business.
During At-Hand’s formation and early revenue phases, members are making equity investments with their time and skills. Other sources of monthly income must be available to pay the bills.
At-Hand Apps is one of an emerging class of startups variously referred to as zero-capital, ultra-light, and self-funded.
The business of mobile application software is especially suitable for this business financial approach.
Open source tools, “lite” or free cloud-based server and storage leave development costs mostly as skills and labor hours.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and social networking works to create low cost awareness, interest and sales. Factory “app stores” also function to simplify the distribution channel.
At-Hand Apps has both economic and social goals. It is unique in several ways.
It is virtually the only IP-based (intellectual property) organization in the US organized as an employee/worker co-op. Co-ops are mostly thought of as a rural phenomenon where co-op advocacy and sponsor groups typically are not organized to support situations represented by At-Hand Apps. The co-op form also exists in housing, financial institutions and through ESOP legislation. Internet searches find no other active software workers’ co-op in the US. The one listing from the UK appears inactive.
At-Hand Apps intends to make profits and for members to be suitably rewarded for the value they create.
At-Hand Apps members’ average age is over 60. This age group is referred to as being retired, being pensioners, etc. The age demographic is one corporate America is conflicted about. They are too expensive, too old, too rigid, too intimidating for younger managers, yet having skills that are sometimes scarce and badly needed. While it is illegal to discriminate by age, individual anecdotal stories from the 6,000 workers leaving the corporate world every day suggest otherwise. We have coined, and prefer, the term “post-corporate.” We have found in our short history that age is not the only determinate for when an individual becomes motivated and ready to create a post-corporate existence and future.
The national political conversation is about the costs associated with post-corporate generation maintenance – social security, Medicare and the demographic bubble that will have one post-corporate for every two employees in the future. The At-Hand Apps business model calls for engaging increasing numbers of post-corporates in this or similar organizations to generate additional new products or services. The co-op, self-funded, flexible participation model translates well into many possible professions and markets. It is the other side of the demographic bubble – the opportunity to better utilize this wealth of human capital and generate offsetting revenues and profits.
Cultural Values and Norms
At-Hand Apps is a culture of learning, of responsible commitments, and of having fun. It is also one that is strongly supportive, collaborative, and creative. If we are not feeling good about it, and having fun, then our culture is to stop and question what and how we are doing.
As mature adults, we value self-management and cooperative consensus. We value the ability to respect and acknowledge each other’s achievements, contributions and differences.
We especially value experience, skills and knowledge acquired with age and freely share it all. We are teams that actually and genuinely like each other.
We have come to appreciate this life filled with @ha!
rev. 6, 11 months ago