I can sound harsh, but I’ve seen myself involved on other open source projects which creators had to lower the blind, and their product became a paperweight. As a community, we should think what is better for Mycroft, and think how it can survive the own company/team who developed it…
To the Mycroft team, I would advise to focus into the IA rather than Mycroft itself. Mycroft can be the tool to improve your IA and create future commercial products. As someone said before, there are plenty of market niches where an AI can be used. The Mycroft community would improve the AI for free so after some time, you can design another product and make profit from it.
For the community, as I said, we must think how to survive all the possible misfortunes that can happen to the Mycroft team, so we should be creatives and think how to lower costs for everything. The perfect solution would be find the way to reduce the costs of all the project to zero: this site’s cost by finding a sponsor, decentralizing the cloud the most we can, etc
I also prefer to run my own services rather than pay for cloud services. There is no better privacy than run your own services yourself. And I suggested to run the STT engines locally. Said that, it would be great, to syncronize somehow the improvements of our Mycroft or the Mycroft team improvements with the others so, under my point of view, there are two approaches, P2P or a centralized server.
A centralized server can seems better, but it is very expensive so P2P would reduce dramatically the costs, we all would contribute with bandwidth and the Mycroft team should only take care of the “central brain” which would provide the new features and would be propagated through a P2P network.
Centralizing the services would also centralize the risks if something happens to Mycroft team. So I would recommend to avoid that model.
For the premium services. I think “core” Mycroft should have all the features. The 752 backers on kickstarter helped mycroft to see the light, but cannot maintain the project forever.
I would rather pay for selected apps. The Mycroft team could create a mycroft store where developers could sell their apps (if they would want), and Mycroft team take a percentage of the sale. If Mycroft team developes more AI products, that store could be “compatible” with their future products. In this way, community can help Mycroft team by enriching the product (and possible future products).
I say with all this, that community should be part of the mycroft product, we are pioneers and we should be somehow “special” for the mycroft team. We helped economically on the kickstarter campaing and will help by contributing in the future, and perhaps a few coins a year in interesting apps or hardware improvements, but surely we will not spend money as a basis.
The Mycroft team is the leader of the community, they are the valiants and the heroes, and I’m sure they will have some great ideas to take profit of the community improvements and develop more IA products in the future.