Reading and writing are central cultural techniques of mankind. Written language, i.e. literature, enables us to form an image of the world, to form an opinion and to communicate with each other across the borders of time and space, to exchange experiences and to pass on our knowledge.
Reading and writing were once reserved for the church and the nobility. Then came Gutenberg, the Reformation and the Enlightenment. Later, the industrial revolution– through the automatic duplication of books, newspapers and magazines – enabled more and more people to gain access to education and thus participation in public life, which eventually led to massive upheavals in society and enabled modern, democratically shaped forms of society.
I. LITERATURE AS A PLATFORM
In Europe’s classical age, the much-vaunted poets and thinkers met on the public marketplace, that means the Greek Agora or the Roman Forum, in order to discuss and conduct public debates.
Literature is the continuation of the ancient agora by other means and plays an important social role in its capacity as bearer of public discourse. Even on the web, we communicate first and foremost through reading and writing.
THE AGORA AS A VIRTUAL SPACE
To create publicity, we nowadays make use of digital media instead of print. However, the socially relevant platforms – with the exception of Wikipedia – are operated by corporations such as Facebook, Google (or, nomen est omen, Alphabet) and not least by Amazon.
Public spaces are increasingly (and not only on the web) being transformed into private rooms in which the owner's home right alone applies. The marketplace gives way to the shopping mall. The agora is no longer a public space that seeks to seek knowledge and understanding (or even dispersion), but a commercial space solely controlled by financial ratios.
A MATTER OF ORIENTATION
Digitalization is very likely to change both literacy / our written culture and by that our society even more than the development of Gutenberg's printing press. The question is who operates the socially relevant platforms – and which overall goal these platforms serve.
The crucial question is: heads or tails? Do we figuratively want to serve the number, and thus a financial gain? Or do we want to serve the head / the mind, and thus a gain in understanding and knowledge? Everything else derives from the answer to this very question.
We decided on the head.
II. WHAT MOJOREADS IS ALL ABOUT
Ultimately, it's about how we communicate and function as a society. It is about information monopolies, attention control and sovereignty of interpretation. It is about systemic infrastructures in terms of services for the public.
It is about the defense of our liberal democratic basic values, which in return require an enlightened, critical public – which again requires an independent process of forming public opinion (and thus political realities), which must not be subjected to the dictates of mere quantification and economization.
Our goal is not the perfect consumer, but the mature, enlightened citizen as part of a liberal-democratic knowledge and information society.
This requires a central contact point on the web, which, although it bundlesall the interests and needs around literature, does not become a monopoly itself. What is required is an agora for the digital age, which at the same time serves asa universal digital library in order to collect the collective knowledge of humanity, as well as the access to it and thus our digital cultural heritage.
We do not want to foster any kind of monoculture or advertising management, but a vital, self-sustaining ecosystem that allows everyone to participate in the shared value creation – intellectually as well as economically.
An ecosystem in which profitability is only a means to an end, but never an end in itself.
To ensure that the interests of society always take precedence over the interests of our shareholders, we are governed by a non-profit organization that ensures that our platform can neither be sold nor undermined by the economic interests of its shareholders.
As an ideal board of directors, our governing body monitors that we stay true to our values and goals formulated in this shareholder’s agreement. Accordingly, both this agreement and our founding legal documents can be changed only with the consent of our governing body when it comes our basic orientation, values and goals, regardless of ratio of the shares.
III. CORPORATE PURPOSE
The purpose of our company is to realize the full potential of digitization in terms of reading and writing and to put them at the service of a liberal democratic knowledge and information society.
IV. OUR CORE VALUES
(1.) At the center of all our thoughts and actions is the human being which we try to inspire both emotionally and intellectually and help to reach its full potential.
(2.) We are committed to the values of a liberal-democratic knowledge and information society and do not use any business practices that undermine them.
(3.) We protect the individual against manipulation by third parties. Accordingly, we do not only abstain from advertising-based business models, but also from algorithms that manipulate the attention of our users. Reach / range of influence cannot be bought, but must organically be built up. In order to convince people on our platform one needs the better argument, not the bigger budget.
(4.) The interests of society always take precedence over the interests of our shareholders.
(5.) The wealth of knowledge and data that is accumulated by the collective use of content on our platform ("big data") does not belong to a single company, but to society, whereby the individual interests of our users (regarding their personal data) as well as the interests of the authors (regarding their intellectual property) always have the highest priority.
V. OPERATIONAL IMPLEMENTATION
The only way to achieve our goals is by gaining societal relevance – which means that the majority of the reading population needs to use our infrastructure.
Hence we need to build an organizational structure that allows us to operate in the information market as a successful business player with a competitive product while remaining committed to the common good. We also need to effectively prevent our platform from being sold, infiltrated, or otherwise taken over by entities which do not share our basic values and believes.
In order to keep the balance between market orientation and social responsibility we embed innovation-led, entrepreneurial action into a non-profit organizational structure:
VI. ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
The user-side platform isoperated under the product name mojoreadsby log.os GmbH & Co. KG ,whereby the shares in the general partner, log.os Management GmbH, are held 100% by log.os Förderverein e.V. (log.osassociation) in order to protect the independence of our company and toensure the ideal orientation of the overall construct.
In short: mojoreads is operated by the KG (limited partnership) with the GmbH (Limited liability company) as the general partner.
The association serves as the governing body as it alone controls the GmbH by a 100%. In the future, the role of the governing body shall be filled by a yet to be established foundation, which will take over the assets currently controlled by the association, as we believe this to be the best way to stay true to our mission, also for the generations to come.
Until the time when we are in a position to set up this foundation, log.os association will be acting as trustee, being responsible to fulfil this task. The association also provides the data protection officer in this capacity. Its task is to provide complete transparency and, in addition to compliance with our legal obligations, to monitor the compliance with our voluntary commitments imposed in this shareholder agreement.
In addition to the shares in log.os Management GmbH (and thus the governing body), the foundation will also take over the business shares of log.os association in log.os GmbH & Co. KG in order to secure its future funding.
All rights (industrial property rights, intellectual property rights, licenses, etc.) and assets such as the domains are to be bundled in the foundation, be it directly or indirectly via log.os Management GmbH, while log.os GmbH & Co. KG is solely entitled to exploit these rights and assets in an economic way.
VII. EMBODIMENT OF THE »KG« (limited partnership)
For the embodiment of the KG (limited partnership) we choose the form of the public limited partnership, since this by definition is geared towards bringing in further shareholders / partners and thus accumulating more capital.
This is crucial, as we will have a steadily growing need for financing, especially in the event of success. We're in global competition with companies like Amazon, Apple, or Google, which have different opportunities, not just in terms of market capitalization.
To make it clear: log.os GmbH & Co. KG is not an investment product, but a financing instrument for a very daring enterprise. All shareholders of log.os GmbH & Co. KG must be aware that their capital employed will yield little to no return and that the risk of losing the capital invested is extremely high.
VIII. CLASSIFICATION AS A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
log.os GmbH & Co. KG is a so-called social enterprise or "mission-driven business". This means that the purpose of our company is not aimed at a speculative gain of profits, but at solving a social problem.
Specifically, we are concerned with the future of reading and writing in the sense of promoting a liberal-democratic education and information society in the digital age.
Any profits will remain largely in the company and dividend payments will be limited in order to reinvest the capital in the expansion of our services and thus in the growth of the company.
If necessary, it is possible to change the legal structure of our company in the course of the growth of our business, but only on the premise that our values and goals will not be compromised thereby and the fundamental orientation as a mission driven business remains intact – meaning that we remain committed to the minds of our readers (and not the mere business numbers) and are ultimately controlled by a foundation (which, for example, holds the majority of the voting shares in a joint stock company).
IX. YOUR PROFILE AS A LIMITED PARTNER
As a shareholder of log.os GmbH & Co. KG you have the following profile:
- Your primary interest is not a speculative gain, but a social impact.
- You want to change something in the world, but instead of just donating your money you rather would like to invest in socially meaningful and sustainable projects.
- In particular, you would like to invest in the future of reading and writing and thus in a liberal-democratic knowledge and information society.
- You unconditionally agree with our company's goals and feel a strong commitment to them.
X. ENTREPRENEURIAL CONCEPT
Business model: Our business model is based on services related to the creation, communication, marketing and consumption of text-based content – in other words: we create publicity.
Revenue model: Our revenue model is based on the economic exploitation of intellectual property rights as we take a cut in every financial transaction that is executed via our platform.
Product: Our product is a so-called "multisided platform", which acts as a central entity in order to arbitrate between the supply and the demand for text-based content.