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Tag Archive for 'veit'

CS becoming a for-profit business: A message from Hospitality Club Founder Veit

After the shocking news of Couchsurfing accepting a $7.6 million investment and becoming a for-profit company, I just wrote a message to the hospitality exchange community. Most important: Hospitality Club will never be a for-profit business, we are currently developing an open-source site for HC and some behind-the-scenes info on CS. Please read the statement here:

Oh, and a special shoutout to my haters here :-D

Hospitality Club Dictatorship

Seriously, since the beginning this is one of my most important dogmas for the HC: no official structure for decision taking. I will always discuss issues openly with the people involved and with knowledge to come to good decisions that are the best for the network. But the final decision will always be with me.

This excerpt is from an e-mail by Veit Kühne (dated, 19 Jan 2005) as an answer to a Hospitality Club volunteer discussion. It has now been published on Wikileaks. According to Wikileaks’ “Latest Leaks and Censored Media”, Hospitality Club founder Veit Kühne planned organizational dictatorship for life and the e-mail “describes his plans for the power structure of the club: a benevolent dictatorship for life”.

Three and a half years after writing this e-mail, Veit also publicly gave away his strategy for taking over BeWelcome, the democratic hospitality exchange network that was started as a result of Veit’s ignorance towards members and volunteers of Hospitality Club.

Read the full e-mail “HC democracy and strategy” at Wikileaks.

Project “Reuniting the Community”

A lot of the stuff BW is based on (money, texts, layout – see above) was taken away from HC and HC volunteers who worked on it for a long time without their permission. We will try to bring this stuff home and reunite the community. Since BW advertises having a “democratic” setup we will happily work together with them using this framework for the best of the community in our reunification efforts. And you can help us! Here’s how Project “Reuniting the Community” works:

Texts and code are copied, not taken away.    And above all, they should be copied if people want to copy them.
Money can’t be taken away from a non-existing organization.
I love the idea of reuniting the Community.

Phase 1: Right now, we are encouraging active HC volunteers to join BeVolunteer as “members”. BV currently has 45 members (see the irony of calling a network run by 45 people “democratic”?), a few of them are absolutely dedicated to HC. You have to jump through a few loops to be accepted by their “Board of directors” as a member, but the fun should be worth it. Basically, you just have to be an “active volunteer”, so just edit around the wiki a bit, join some of the many many discussions in their Forums, or translate a few sentences. Once you are a member, just let us know. We will reimburse you for any “membership fees” you have to pay to BV once the project has succeeded.

There are no membership fees, not even to become a member of the BoD.
Democracy is not a black and white question, but to me it’s a network ran by a single person is the least ideal form (i.e. HC).

Phase 2: We will make sure that HC-friendly people are elected to BV’s “Board of Directors” – the 9 people running the show (kind of interesting model of democracy). They could start making sure that links back to HC are added, and BW as organization stops its aggressive attacks on HC.

People’s profiles (like mine) are deleted for links from HC to BW…

Phase 3: The final step will be to reintegrate BW into HC, a simple “General Assembly” decision will be enough for that. Since both will be based on open-source software then, it won’t be too big of a problem. We might even continue to use their officially registered French NGO as the HC-NGO in France. And all will be good :-)
Sounds like fun? Then help us, or get in touch if you need more info and encouragement!

Great, finally an official organization for Hospitality Club!

See for a 1 page overview of the issues with HC.

HC might soon be open source!?

I read the news today oh, boy! HC might soon be open source!

I’m really excited. I have been somewhat disappointed about certain policies in the past (?). But I appreciated the frankness of Veit and other HC people. I never felt to volunteer for HC before. However, opening up the source could also open up a lot of possibilities. To solidify the legal framework of HC, to create stronger links and share code between the different networks. Of course there are many more implications, but let’s see and wait how it turns out. I always wanted to help out many different initiatives, so in the meanwhile I already offered my help on the HC forum.