Kill Social MediaSocial Media is dying and it needs to be put out of its misery ASAP.  I have been in the social media space for many years and while much has happened, much has been lost.

There was a dream we all had in the earlier days that ‘user-generated content’ would evolve to ‘user-generated productivity’ and social priorities would change. The funny thing about economics is that nothing economic can happen until two or more people physically get together in time and space and make something valuable for each other.

I have seen this over and over in my own businesses. The Ingenesist Project (TIP) has global reach, high the engagement of important people, and a fair amount of notoriety – but after nearly 10 years, 500 blog posts, 60 videos and dozens of conference appearances, TIP has not generated a single penny of revenue.  But I’ve met hundreds of wonderful people many who have become close friends.

On the other hand, Coengineers is only a few years on and gets twice as many website views, we’ve toppled shady contractors, and publish an extensive catalog of engineering means and methods, and saved many shared asset communities from financial peril. But it is not until I physically walk into society and ask people face to face and ask “How can we help you?” that Coengineers generates revenue…. and, then we do generate revenue.  And I’ve met hundreds of people many of whom have become close friends.

Linkedin is worthless. Facebook is criminal. Google is downright creepy.

Again, nothing economic happens until two or more people get together in physical space and time to make something useful for each other. Yes, I know that software can be produced oceans apart, but what is that software about? It is always about something that happens in the physical space. It MUST eventually touch the ground somewhere in order to have an economic outcome to convert back downstream.  Big Data wants those relationships, they want them badly, they think that they should own them.  That is where the value is and Big Data wants to scale it.

ROI Rage

Nobody has ever been able to produce a reliable ROI on social media. It’s easy to get people to talk about something, but it is difficult to get people to buy something. Enter Big Data. According to Josh Sinell, VP at Merkle, “It’s [now] about determining what data we need to make something measurable and valuable happen, and then using that data to craft a strong offer, and delivering that offer when and where that customer is most ready to receive and act on it”.

The implications of this statement are horrific (“Shock and Awe” comes to mind). But we can also look at it as a business opportunity – marketers are willing to pay dearly for clean data from anyone who can harness it. So what if we the people could harness our own data and place a big yellow tollbooth on the Big Data Superhighway?

Turning out the lights 

Curiosumé creates a public key inventory of all the things that people need. Then you create your decentralized private key representing your relationships, which you control. By looking at either key, some global data may be attainable; mostly the the stuff that serves society in general. However, your personal data is encrypted until you – and only you – combine your private key with the public key, then the secrets within are revealed.   This would effectively shut the lights out on Big Data. If they want to see your data, they will need to pay you directly for it.

The famous prophet Mitt Romney once proclaimed, “Corporations are people, my friend” But little do many of us realize that people are corporations too. So go ahead, kill Social Media.  Society may simply reorganize into something else, the sooner the better in my opinion.

 

 


(update; as of November 2012, The Monitor Group headed by Michael E. Porter, the subject of this article, declared bankruptcy ending an era of C-Suite omnipotence strategy thinking.  This article compares competitive strategy to collaborative strategy)

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The B-School staple “Porter’s 5 Forces” has been the mainstay of corporate competitive analysis since it’s creation in 1979 by World regarded Harvard Business School Professor, Michael E. Porter. Porter developed a model of industry analysis in his seminal book,  Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors

In short, a competitive company’s position in a market is threatened by five main forces acting on the corporate asset:

  • new competition,
  • substitute products or services,
  • bargaining power of customers,
  • bargaining power of suppliers,
  • intensity of competitive rivalries.

Any changes in these 5 forces would be cause for the company to re-evaluate their place in the market … thus leading to healthy consulting practices for strategists the world over.

The Rate of Change

In the 1990’s critics began to argue that Porter’s 5 Forces thesis assumes that the forces are static and non-related.  At the time, the world was becoming more dynamic and more interrelated. For example:

  • Buyers, competitors, and suppliers can interact, and even collude.
  • Value cannot be created in the long run by constantly introducing barriers to entry
  • Participants in a market have the ability to plan and respond to competitive behavior.

As a result, they added another Force called “complementors” while introducing rudimentary game theory to explain the role of strategic alliances to the analysis.

Constant Change

Now in the year 2012, we routinely assume that all players can instantaneously access the same real-time dynamic market information from the cloud.  We readily accept that all players will collaborate massively with whomever they want from anywhere in the World.  As a result, we must assume that all five forces will change constantly and rapidly in real time.

Now imagine how 1990’s game theory would manage conditions where the company AND their competitors must continuously re-evaluate their position in a market under the circumstances of continuous change.  In effect, nobody has the ability to compete with each other, they are competing with the game, therefore, they are cooperating to keep the game in play.

Is Collaboration Underrated?

If any player tries to introduce a barrier to entry, THEY risk get knocked out while the game continues without them. In fact, value is created by applications that remove barriers … and brokers are punished. All of these factors cause the game to self energize and improve as players preserve the asset rather than consume it.

The Value Game

It should not be surprising therefore that Porter’s 5 forces now resemble what we call the Value Game that we have described here (and here, and here).  In the ultimate manifestation, however, The Value Game will play automatically through multiagent algorithmic game applications where tangible and intangible assets would be accounted equally in a Value Game. Individual would own, manage, and deploy their secret sauce of knowledge assets through their personal API that interfaces with the game that is most relevant to their highest abilities.

Where competition has met it’s match

Remember that little regarded fact of Capitalism: Markets are efficient where there is perfect information.  This means that if everyone involved in a transaction has the exact same information as everyone else, the true supply can meet the true demand.  Nobody ever said that this must be accomplished through competition especially if collaboration can do it better.


‘Tis the season for “The Year In Pictures” – the annual new year pictorial accounting of the events of the outgoing year.  Any rational collection for 2011 would include three events; Arab Spring, The Earthquake / Tsunami in Japan, and Occupy Wall Street. These three events eclipsed the Royal Wedding, Steve Jobs, the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the space shuttle retirement and even the end of the war in Iraq.

These three events tell a very interesting story of who we are and where we are going as a civilization.  

Classical economists such as David Ricardo and Adam Smith brought us the idea that a merchant class allocates land, labor, and capital in various combinations as “the factors of production” that match supply and demand for all that societies need via the invisible hand of market capitalism.

Yet, in a single hour, land, labor, and billions of units of Capital were wiped off the surface of the Earth by in Japan.   While we see the images of total destruction, there are hundreds of square miles that were untouched and where all seems quite normal – except for that invisible hand of radioactive cesium.  Land, labor, and capital failed as a an economic cornerstone for all those who had once called this land home.

In the Middle East, with few jobs and even fewer opportunities for youth, the quaint notion of “land and labor allocations” crumbled under the forces of people with mobile access to dynamic data, free information, community knowledge, innovation, and wisdom. Governments, with no relative shortage of money, were unable to challenge the opposing factors.  Again, the idea of land, labor, and capital as the economic cornerstone had failed.

Quite appropriately, Occupy Wall Street was executed on borrowed land, with borrowed labor, and borrowed capital.   The operation was peaceful so nobody died. The stock market did not even crash.  Politicians went largely unscathed and the attorneys stayed in their collective offices. Nothing physical was actually created, and therefore, nothing physical was actually destroyed.  However, a great deal was produced.

All three of these events had something in common – they all produced something very tangible.  They all produced an idea in the minds of others.

As we review the year we review it is increasingly evident that land, labor, and capital are inadequate to articulate what people actually produce.  It will be through these shortcomings of classical economics that a new economy will form.  The degree to which society actually produces the things that society actually needs, this new economy should not look much different.  The degree to which society does not actually need the things that capitalism produces, great new ideas will emerge.

What was once the land of opportunity can now become a planet of opportunity.

Photo Credit: David Shankbone via Mashable 


Yesterday, I heard a report on NPR about the resource management department in North West Washington, in response to diminished funding – is certifying private boats for emergency duty in clean up, security, and rescue.  This is logical because nobody knows and understands the waters of Northern Puget Sound and The Strait of Juan De Fuca than the local tribes and others who ply those waters daily.

Today, I heard another report on NPR about how the City of Houston has gained far more from the demise of Enron than their existence.  Enron would recruit the top intellect in the country, move them to Houston and reward them for creativity and hard work.  The collapse of Enron released 4000 hugely talented people to the Houston Economy where many have started new businesses with remarkable success.

Vicious Circle or Virtuous circle:

I will not pass judgment beyond what these reports stated, except that there is something very valid about the “Knowledge Inventory” that exists in a community and their specific location.  The Jane Jacobs externality proposes that endowment of creative and educated people drives economic growth in a community by attracting investment and development, which attracts more smart people, etc.

Vicious Galaxies or Virtuous Galaxies

As the NPR reports suggest, the type of investment and development is dependent on the quality and quantity of knowledge assets that exist in a particular location.  Now, let’s extrapolate that to include all disciplines and talents of knowledge that exist in all communities and we encounter a stark reality that there is no knowledge inventory from which to build – except in the response to a failure such as the corrosion of government spending or in the wake of corruption and associated corporate collapse.

Yes, it is often said that adversity brings out the best in people, but is that really necessary?  Do we really need for the whole rig to collapse before we emerge from the ashes? 

We need to build the knowledge inventory today.  People need to know what people know – that is where the truth lives.   We need to know what can be built from the parts that we have in the bin.  We don’t want to try to build something from the wrong parts any more than we want to misallocate the right parts to build the wrong things.  In any industry in the world, none of these situations would pass the stink test, yet this is the state of our communities today.  We don’t even know that we don’t know what we know.  Seriously, is anyone else wondering about these things?


I saw a Fox News commentary on the Occupy Wall Street movement.  They interviewed a bunch of kids who were taking part in the parade and asked them a simple question: “So, what do you expect to replace Capitalism with?”

Then Fox, in their fair and balanced tradition, portrayed their subjects as the poster children of a failed education system (some children left behind after all) and further testimony to the failure of the Obama Administration. because obviously “These kids don’t know how the real world works”.

The Pundits can’t climb the tree any better.

Unfortunately, nobody else has an answer to that question either – none of the pundits or anchors produced anything except the tired argument that we tried Socialism and it failed so therefore more Capitalism is the only way to fix Capitalism.

It’s a Simple Problem

Market Capitalism only articulates value in the things that people make which can physically sit on a market shelf.  Market Capitalism does not articulate the value of individual people; those things that people make in society.

Of course, it is also a double edge sword since those that really don’t produce anything – like hedge fund managers, pundits, and politicians – will become impoverished. Meanwhile, those who really do produce things – like teachers, engineers, and firemen – will become wealthy.  So watch how the lines are redrawn in this debate.

How the world really works

The Internet and social media have shifted the factors of production away from land, labor, and capital to a higher order of human organization.  This is what we need to be talking about.  People today produce things with knowledge – social, creative, and intellectual knowledge.  These are the factors of production for that 99% of the value that exists on Earth.

A Simple Solution

After many a blue face, I’ll say it again; there is no way to build anything meaningful without an inventory of parts.  Car companies have inventories of parts, Banks have inventories of assets, even biology has an inventory of genomes – but there is no knowledge inventory for our communities.  We don’t know what we do or do not know.  We have absolutely no idea how valuable we are yet we complain that we’re impoverished.  Meanwhile corporation create technology to replace people when people could be just as easily be creating technology to replace corporations.

How on Earth can we determine supply and demand for knowledge assets without an inventory?  How can we expect to create any type of fair and rational economy from a bunch of invisible stuff milling around the parks?  There is no escape from Market Capitalism and no path to Social Capitalism without a Knowledge Inventory, period.

A Stunning Omission

This is a very easy problem to solve and we have all the cards waiting to be stacked in our favor using the tools that are right in front of our collective noses.  If we fail at something so simple, then we deserve to be enslaved.  After all, 100,000 years ago, such people would have been eaten by tigers.  It’s time to Evolve.


Wow what a week. I though that I heard it all until Mitt Romney said “Corporations Are people”. Actually, I admire Mr. Romney but I do struggle with this interpretation for his sake and those who he represents – and possibly an opportunity lost to rise above the noise.

In a way, Mitt provides us with a looking glass into the fundamental differences between the rich and the poor. The rich see themselves as the proxy for the prosperity of the poor. Meanwhile, the poor see themselves as the proxy for the prosperity of the rich. Neither side admits that they need each other, but I won’t pretend that I can solve this argument any time soon.  However, allow me to suggest that the winner of the debate will be the one that can evolve above the paradox.

The following video discusses how many components of a corporation – and government – are being duplicated in Social Media. The beauty of is that this great social innovation is available to anyone including the rich, the poor, the corporations, and the government. Oh, but wait – if the UK shuts down social media, they will effectively shut themselves out of the paradox, not evolve from it…Ooops. Be careful, Mitt.

So here is a video I made last year which, in a way, validates much of what we see playing out before us in politics, business, and social media.


There is a persistent myth that a “financial deficit” is looming to destroy all that fall in it’s wrath.  The only deficit is the inability for Money – as we know it – to articulate the value that is created in and by communities.

Social Flights is a new venture that combines cutting edge social technology with the universal truth that collaborative consumption of even the most complex system increases the efficiency of that system.

Social Value as a financial instrument

Social Flights attempts to demonstrate the inevitable – social value can and will be convertible to financial value. Social value can and will enter the balance sheet.  Social Value will not only impact the bottom line – it will become the bottom line.

The Invisible Hand of Social Capitalism

Social media is emerging as a dominant force behind economics, global politics, innovation, and community organization. Meanwhile; it is the art and science of finance that has failed to keep pace with technology.  Social Flights introduces a new class of business methods that can close this gap.

Social Flights sorts people and airplanes with data, not financial infrastructure.  The Value Game provides incentives for communities to organize themselves around travel and transportation assets.  So instead of forest-to-dump consumerism, a shared asset is preserved by a community for the greatest service life possible.  Social Flights demonstrates this with an airplane; however, a hotel, car, tour package, or a trade show/convention are quickly pulled into their own value game cycle given the airplane game playing out in proximity to them.  In fact all “assets” – social, intellectual, creative, or financial – can be pulled into their own value games in response to those acting around them.

Travel: An Ideal Benchmark Industry

We are starting with travel. Specifically, air transportation because of it’s complexity, high profile, and significance to most people and industries. Furthermore, corporate jets are beautiful, awe inspiring, controversial, and conjure the image of power and grace.  Most importantly, travel is pivotal enterprise and the best system for the diverse high-value transfer of new ideas to occur.

Nothing economic can happen until people get together to build something

The value of most commercial activity may ultimately become dependent on the quantity and quality of the data emerging from the millions of Value Games playing out in communities across the globe. Any and all shared assets – from public infrastructure to money itself – can be shared collaboratively in hugely profitable Value games.

New to the Public Domain

Nothing like this has ever been put together before so there is certainly much to learn.  Many people will fail to recognize where we are going with this. However, the rewards will be high and the implications will be vast if we are successful. There will be an extraordinary amount of knowledge to be share to the public domain.

Collaborative consumption is here to stay because it represents a higher value economy than forest-to-dump consumerism.  The financial deficit is simply the inadequacy of Money to articulate Social Value – not the inadequacy of people to be happy, creative, and productive in their communities.



The Value Game is becoming increasingly generalized as more entrepreneurs seek to learn how to apply it to new economic realities.  The first company to launch is Social Flights.  Quickly funded, in full operation, booking jets and signing contracts, the Social Flights success trajectory has been truly remarkable.

The Ingenesist Project is deploying several more applications of The Value Game.  Our next venture is to develop Reputation Management for High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI).  Here’s how it goes.

The Social Influence Game:

Player 1: At some point, the government is going to stop supporting many very important social programs such as schools, health care, child care, retirement benefits, and possibly even close the charitable tax deduction.  In order to survive, social causes will need to come up with new forms of support or fund themselves with a new form of currency.

Player 2: Many politically and financially influential people in communities are finding that their “Google Results” often tell a story that is less than flattering.  Some have old lawsuits, unpopular business associates, or just too much personal information that presents a skewed picture of how they actually feel toward their community.  It is risky, difficult, and expensive to change Search engine results and it is nearly impossible to “control” what other people say.

Player 3: Legions of Social Media Gurus have long learned to aggregate and influence markets using social media platforms.  They have learned to match knowledge surpluses to knowledge deficits as a means of building their own online reputation and influence.  Many Social Media Gurus have achieved a strong Social Media Presence, which supports book tours, lecture series, personal brand image, or corporate clients and sponsorships. They constantly seek new content.

Converting Political Currency to Social Currency

The Social Influence Game will match HNWI with Social Causes where the HNWI can exert their political and Corporate currency in exchange for Social Currency.  Many HNWI have a powerful lifelong network of other influential people from whom they can find advice, mentorship, assistance, or discover goods, services, or physical inventory that may become useful and available to a struggling social enterprise.

Social Media Gurus who make these connections will blog, comment, and promote their ability to match power surplus to power deficit.  Internet Search results will redraw the Social Graph.

Holiday Shopping For the New Millennium

In practice, HNWI can “Go Shopping” for social causes.  When they find one that suits their talents and passions, they will be able to see what that organization needs; beds, food, heating oil, legal advice, CEO mentor, someone to lean on the land lord or even exert a position with the local government, etc.  The HNWI then will pull out their lifelong Rolodex of powerful persons and exert their influence in favor of the social cause through the interpretation of the Social Media Guru.

Winning The Game:

After a short while, Google will start pushing the old search results of the HNWI farther and farther down the page as the tweets, comments, and blog posts accumulate.   The Social Media Guru will find gold in their own backyards instead of Corporate Astroturf.  Social Causes will achieve their mission while managing new resources and earning important new friends.

Perhaps most importantly, the HNWI community will collaborate in order to sustain their Social Currency in the community.  They will begin to bias their personal and professional actions in favor of social priorities over Wall Street priorities.

In Short, everyone acting in their own best interests benefits the interests of everyone.  This is Social Capitalism.  If it works well enough, maybe we can finally put those pesky social causes out of business.


I recently returned from a trip from Seattle to Nashville. I am involved in launching a new airline applying The Social Value Game to a legacy industry.  The objective of this venture is to match a fleet of 15,000 private jets to social media networks for efficient door-to-door travel. The start-up is largely founded on the premise that a dismal travel experience is a dismal social experience.

Here is how my trip from Seattle to Nashville went using Commercial Airlines:

11:00 I get in my car and leave home for a 1:00 Boarding
11:45 Drive 25 miles through heavy traffic and bad weather, arrive at self-park car lot near Airport.  I get into a cold shuttle bus.
12:00 Arrive at Airport Security and strip down to last layers of clothing
12:15 leave airport security after long line after harassment over 3 oz of toothpaste remaining in a 6 oz tube and a telephoto lens that obviously resembled a printer cartridge.
12:30 Arrive at gate. Airline took my baggage away because it did not fit in the “Impossible box” and charged $25.00 baggage fee. (95% of all carry on bags would never fit in the “Impossible Box” so why me?)
1:00 Flight was full.  Poked, bumped, cramped, body complies to shape of existing space
1:30 departure was late. Connection in Salt Lake City was tight
3:30 Lands in Salt Lake city, late. No attempt to release tight connections first
3:50 Exit aircraft with 10 minutes to use restroom, grab sandwich, and run 1/2 mile to the next gate
4:20 Board flight to Nashville. Crowded. Window seat. Poked, bumped, cramped, body complies to shape of existing space
4:30 Flight leaves. 30 minutes into flight, I drop my Ipod under seats. Absolutely impossible to recover until airplane lands. No music, sucks.
8:00 Airplane arrives at Nashville (10:00pm Local time). Baggage claim took forever
9:00 (11:00 local): Finally get into rental car
10:40 arrive at hotel near location
11:00 (1:00 local) set alarm for 7 am local (5:00 am Seattle time) head hits pillow
5:00 am wake up sore, tired, and feeling oppressed.

Total Travel Time 12 hours one way and 24 hours RT door to door.

One complete day of productivity wasted. One day of life squandered. Zero time spent with my family or friends. Zero personal time to enjoy or reflect. Zero moments feeling secure, healthy, or self-worthy. 24 hours of confrontation with my surroundings. Zero moments of inspiration. Zero opportunities to be exposed to new ideas. Zero interesting people to learn from. Zero trees, flowers, sunshine, or fresh air. Zero fresh food; no fruit, vegetables, or raw nuts. Zero memories – except bad. No laughter, no friendship, no community. No exercise except running in fear.

The opportunity of the next economic paradigm is the ability to articulate the social value on all of these things – the ability to predict into the future the True Value of all the things that are squandered by an anti-social experience.  That is the essence of The Ingenesist Project.

Who Needs Anti-Social Travel?

With a private airplane, I could leave my home at 11:00 for a 11:30 departure at a small local airfield 6 miles from my house. The flight would have been about 4 hours long and I would arrive at my destination for dinner reservations with my colleagues. The flight would cost less than 1400 dollars round trip and I could return a full day earlier (eliminating 2 nights) than the the commercial flight for the same set of meeting objectives.

If a person’s time is worth 50 dollars per hour, the difference between 10 hours of flight time is 500 dollars off of a 1000 dollar ticket. The commercial flight costs ($300), including parking ($100), airport taxes($50), extra airline fees (50 dollars), car rental ($300), 2 extra hotel night ($400) for a total of 1200 dollars (I have the receipts to prove it).

So if 10 hours of your life is less than 200 dollars, then fly commercial. If your time, family, community – your life – is worth more than 20 dollars per hour, then you should consider taking America’s newest airline.


There are two sets of values in an economy. Financial value and social value. The value that is required to make something is financial value. The value that a product provides to a community of people is called social value.

Financial Currency

In order to make something, money is used to purchase raw materials and labor. After these ingredients are integrated, the product is then marketed, transported and sold for more money that the input costs. This is called financial profit in a system called market capitalism. The degree to which financial profits are gained or lost is the degree to which a financial value system is functional or dysfunctional.

Social Currency

When the product enters a community, it helps people to occupy their limited time on Earth in a more peaceful and productive manner. The product unites families and communities around human attributes such as happiness, joy, comfort, security, and wellbeing. This is called social profit in a system of social capitalism. The degree to which social profits are gained or lost is the degree to which the social value system is functional or dysfunctional.

Domination

In market capitalism, no enterprise is allowed to make less money than they consume for very long without being punished. Yet, in social capitalism there is no common means to even account for social profits or losses. There are no formal inventory of raw social materials, social value added labor, social marketing, transport, storage or exchange of social capital – the social value system is largely irrational.  The profit accounting and structural mechanisms are what make market capitalism dominant over social capitalism.

Bankers should be studied

For better or worse, the financial system works exactly as it is supposed to. Bankers do exactly what they were designed to do. They will do the same thing tomorrow as they did yesterday. Bankers are extremely predictable.  The problem lies in our irresponsible design for social capitalism and our dependency on anything but ourselves for economic outcomes.  All of the means and methods that we call an “unfair advantage” are available to each and every one of us if we simply copy bankers.

Look beyond the symptoms and you’ll find the cure

By virtue of the range, complexity, and scope of problems that surround our species it should be somewhat obvious that social capitalism is poorly executed. It does not represent a system of human attributes and values. Social Capitalism is unorganized, unaccounted, and unworthy to act in the interest of the participants. That is where the problem lies and that is where the solutions need to be applied.

Must admit that WE have a problem

Anyone can point their finger at the bankers and blame them for all the bad things in the world.  It is a completely different matter to exert the mental discipline to fully understand what makes a banker rational and what makes a banking system accountable, then to generalize this genius for applicability to ALL forms of Value, including but not limited to social value.  If the bankers accept or reject any value system, they will do it rationally.

Be a Banker

Social media provides an extraordinary set of tools for social capitalists.  Specifications that mimic the banking system in social media are readily available.  Important awakening projects are arising that take responsibility for the future rather than lay blame on the past.  It’s time that we all become bankers.