A Builder’s Internet Community – But What’s The Business Model?

Geoff Smith Portrait

BY Geoff Smith

POSTED ON NOVEMBER 8, 2011

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We have promised our clients, employees and anyone else who cares that we are going to open up EllisDon and offer everything we can to the construction community (making profits for the core business by building relationships and opportunities). We are getting going by rebuilding our entire IT infrastructure on an open source platform, and trying to create a Project Collaboration Environment rather than a traditional Project Management System.

But don’t stop reading: None of that is the point of this particular blog, it’s just some context.

We are also in the process of attempting to create a construction industry ‘community space’, where people can go to share (and perhaps sell) their knowledge and expertise. Nothing like this exists for our industry; we are prepared to build and support this forum, and ensure that it is entirely open, to everyone’s mutual benefit.

But we are still working through the optimum format for this site, and would be happy to have any advice or guidance that we can obtain. Right now we are thinking of a ‘challenge’ format, where problems and challenges can be posted, and people can either respond ‘freely’ with their suggestions, or offer to sell their expertise to the poser of the challenge. People should be free to share; they should also be free to sell their knowledge, imagination and brainpower.

So the only question is: What’s the business model? Not for the site, but for the sharers, buyers and sellers. How do we both encourage people to provide the challenges (opportunities), and then to respond in a way that protects and serves both sides of the exchange? What we would like is a little knowledge exchange around the effective creation of a knowledge exchange community. We’d be happy to hear from anyone, anywhere (the more exotic the better).