Open source in proprietary corporate infrastructure

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  • Salesforce state of things and how we got here

2007 Discussion about creating an open source package for Salesforce, which lead to creating the non-profit success starter pack

Underneath all of this is a proprietary, corporate platform built on an Oracle database system

Salesforce as a platform is set up to make customization declarative, so that people can configure the software to track business processes and create reports without custom code.

While Salesforce started out mainly as a database, it's now an entire platform where not only store data, but also track business processes and workflows.

A benefit of this is that you have to manage less infrastructure yourself because Salesforce does that part for you.

Salesforce has started open sourcing some things—like the new Lightning interface is open source and you can see the css/html and related code.


  • Non-profit success pack (aka Non-profit starter)

Takes the for-profit default setup of Salesforce and configures that to be more non-profit centric. For example, tracking households and donations rather than businesses and profits.

Question: How does Salesforce compare to donation platforms. Compared to some other donation platforms, Salesforce is more configurable, but then also takes more work to set up.

Question: What about NGO connect? This was a flop… Salesforce spent a lot of money on a product that didn't really meet organizations' needs. Salesforce as refocused and now put their support behind the non-profit success pack.

Question: Constituent stuff for non-profits? There about 5 different apps that do that. What about canvasing? No, nothing for that.

Question: Are there apps or companies that make apps that cater to non-profit needs.

Be cautious about what other software means when they advertise that they "integrate" with Salesforce. This might just mean that they dump data into Salesforce, which by itself isn't necessarily that useful.

Question: How can I be a saavy consumer of Salesforce vendors? Look for a list of consultants on Salesforce.org that specialize in non-profits (".org", not ".com"). Also, Power of us hub is a place where consumers of Salesforce products leave reviews and make recommendations, but requires having a Salesforce license to access.


  • The Goat Farm

Underlying problem is that of this is still proprietary platform, with a proprietary app store, and Salesforce takes a cut of every transaction.

This reality has also stymied open source innovation on the platform.

Goat Farm is an organization working on building things that Salesforce.org isn't building.

Inspired by blockchain: prescribe a mechanism for organizing in a distributed, autonomous, decentralized way of building non-profit software.

Seed community is Salesforce, but the mission is broader than Salesforce.

Dash (in the cryptocurrency world) has a percentage of money that is redistributed to building the it's infrastructure and has strong governance around the project.

"The Goat Chain" is inspired by this model that allows people to put need/proposals out to the community where the community can upvote that proposal. Individuals who contribute to the project are rewarded with "goats" and then having larger say in what happens in the community.

Contributions can be code, but also documentation, videos, community events, etc.

Current ideas for process:

Community members put out projects, which have a goat value. Project proposers put up at least 10% of their goats against the project. Project implementers contact a project manager. Upon completion of the project, the project manager divides up the goats among the project implementers.

Goats are then used to vote on which projects will get done in the future.

There are current proposals created by the core team. It's being managed by a website, but not using blockchain, yet.

Working with colony.io to do this based on ethereum for a distributed server technology.