Identity

I had been struggling with the identity of MOFFAS ever since I decided to take the project a little further than just leaving it as a plugin nobody used or heard of over a year ago. The struggle was not with the lack of exposure, marketing and or anything in that fast lane. Without a ridiculous financial backing, it would be close to impossible nowadays for anything new to break out — but that’s for another day. The thing I couldn’t think through was actually its identity, i.e., the very question of what is MOFFAS? To me, I see MOFFAS as the first domino of something much bigger (if I ever got the chance or capabilities to make it happen, of course), setting a number of foundational pieces in place and in action, such as a dynamic semi-conscious network of merchants, consumers and marketers. The corny marketing-friendly line I put out there — a platform to de-platform — was truly and truthfully my original intention. However, it does not answer the question. What does MOFFAS do (for me) is not the same question as what is MOFFAS eo ipso and THAT has been my struggle. It bothered me subconsciously for a while until fairly recently when I went back to read the about page and could not stand seeing the word “platform” in the description any longer.

MOFFAS is clearly not a platform (as platform in PaaS), not even in the sense that it exists to de-platform, by which it could also possibly mean many things but none would be ultimately meaningful:

If A exists to eliminate B, then A cannot be B in the first place because A will have to eliminate A itself, and then A does not exist, which contradicts the premise — “if A exists.”

Of course, that marketing line was just an attempt to put out a catchy message in the name of freedom of speech. MOFFAS is, of course, not going to make those platforms obsolete and defunct. It is not capable and, by all means, platforms are useful, but the more accurate way to describe such misdirection lies in the heart of the paradoxical identity of MOFFAS and my chaotic mind. I had long thought the term, platform, would be the closest thing in my limited English vocabulary to give others an idea what MOFFAS was without boring them with long explanations, while, in fact, it had always been me and my own self that could not get over the fact that I didn’t ever get a full clarity of this very subject and chose to compromise and settle for an overused and lazy definition as this. However, I guess the truth is even more complicated than merely my laziness or poor language skills. I was, admittedly, tempted a few times to go with the platform approach, which would make more sense from the product design and financial perspectives, among others. I could have access to many more insights, have much better control over all sorts of things and activities. It would make MOFFAS look considerably more “formal,” “market-ready,” “profitable” and, wait for it, powerful. I doubt that no part of my own ego had never entertained this alternative idea, especially considering how much easier it would then be to explain MOFFAS to others. Unfortunately, my low tolerance for impurity would not allow it. By gearing towards a platform-ish design, merchants would have to give up their individuality and be diminished into a seller account, a major problem I am building MOFFAS to actually solve. On the other front, MOFFAS itself will likely end up as an ill-fated SaaS/PaaS (not that it’s now going anywhere but that’s beside the point), another piece of not-so-handsome-looking codes tossed at the bottom of the colossal industry. Again, my pessimism might be personal but realistically speaking, in this current world, any SaaS/PaaS is inherently unsustainable without an aggressive capital scheme. It is (relatively) easy to duplicate an existing software or at least mimic what it does. Combined with the fact that business method is not patentable, we are left with a reality that is half satire and half dark humor — what makes a product stand out is not the product itself but its marketing budget, aka its investors; what drives a company forward (or not) is not its vision but the revenue projection table, aka its “valuation”; and, as poetic as Greek tragedies, what’s left in the end is not the change the product is made to bring but a debauched cigar party (or, more often than not, regretful sighs in a debauched cigar party). I might be a foolish broke and MOFFAS might be premature and headed for doom anyway, but I still prefer this uninspiring storyline to staring at the soulless table cloth at a cigar party that holds five rails of cocaine. If death is inevitable, then, at least, let me have the life that I’d promised myself.

Likely in this subtle way, I was repeatedly conflicted by my own conflicts and confused by my own confusion. To some extent, it restrained me. I would argue that I feared any further steps and actions with MOFFAS because of this insecurity with its identity. And that’s why I’ve decided to retire the lavish term “platform” for MOFFAS entirely and drop it from any discourse (introduction, PR releases, etc.) going further. MOFFAS is, instead, an agent/agency, working alongside other free-flowing agents in the field, to create an alternative eco-system/space*. By stripping the attribute completely, the underlying symbolic idea of platform is also released from the concept behind and beyond MOFFAS that it is never compatible with in the first place. All I can say is that I’m beyond relieved that I am finally comfortable with this clean identity. It could have happened much sooner but now is never too late as we are launching Cartpool Rally and mini Rallies officially. Rallies are the first from the product line that is going to actively and explicitly connect merchant sellers to consumers (to make sales). A Cartpool Rally, initiated by a merchant, features a conditional deal that is only unlocked if certain conditions are met, such as if fifty units are sold in a day then this item sells for half its price. It would make more sense for sellers that are themselves in control of some sort of manufacturing and production of their own merchandise, the ideal clientele I hope to obtain for MOFFAS. A mini Rally, on the other hand, is created by shoppers who spontaneously put together an order and bargain with the merchant as a group, like — “we are placing an order of over $300, can we get a 10% discount?” Just like I mentioned earlier, you probably could agree as well that putting consumers and brands on one platform was a tempting idea to manage exchanges like these. Well, not just tempting, it’s probably the standard practice. Indeed, the structure can be standardized to perfection; it will also be much easier and “efficient” to operate than the current setup we have now. I could even charge a commission and build a revenue stream for all the work I put my system through. I bet most, if not all, people in my shoes would have opted for that.

What can I say?

The madness in me must have crawled even deeper these days.

*Jan. 30th, 2022: edited to include the mission statement.

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