Think Bigger. Aim Higher. Go Further.

Month: October 2009 Page 1 of 3

Social Currency 101

Social CurHere is a very great video by Scott Stratten explaining social currency.

It is short, it is basic, and it states what should be obvious to everyone. It also states what many of us should repeat to ourselves every single day. It is one of those explanations that has a new and different meaning every time you watch it – if you let it.

I swiped this video because I’ll will be posting a series of articles and interpretations on the subject of social currency and it’s a great place to start. The reasons for organizing social currency are becoming more obvious everyday – as institutional and corporate currencies leave gaps in our communities, people will need to fill these voids with social currencies. Our job as Social Media Practitioners (because nobody else is going to do it) is to develop, construct, and deploy social institutions that support a real time, close proximity markets to exist trading social currency (ref: The Ingenesist Project).

Scott Stratten is the President of Un-Marketing and spends way too much time on Twitter.

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Can Twitter Fuel a Run On Banks?

The Ingenesist Project is retained by corporate clients because we look at the world through a different set of filters. We are looking for possible disruptions on the horizon as far in advance as possible so that our clients can be aware of potential perils and modify their business plans accordingly.

One of our signature assertions is that Money is merely a social agreement – not a federal mandate of a democratic government. People will trade whatever currency they agree to trade. Increasingly, people, empowered by social media can impact the financial system far more that a bunch of Quants peddling CDOs.

People simply do not know how powerful they are.

Suppose someone puts together a Twitter/Facebook campaign for everyone the withdraw their money from a single financial institution who just handed out big bonuses? At best, those bonuses will have to be recalled to keep the doors open. At worst, people will find an alternate currency to store the “value” that is destroyed by a bank run. Virtual Currency? Admittedly, it’s far-out, but we need to keep our eyes on these trends because once started, they move very very fast. That’s why they call it a “Run”

Is this scenario really possible? Read on…..

Banks In The Future


Bankers don’t care about money, they care about the rate of change of money. At The Ingenesist Project we are not entirely interested in change – we are entirely interested in the rate at which things change. As you can imagine, we get all giddy when we see the rate at which the rate of things change…that’s all that banking is and all that banking ever will be.

Each of the Facebook Applications posted below are to Facebook what The NYSE is to Commercial Banking. Note that Facebook is growing at an astonishing rate. Now, these applications – on top of Facebook – will increase the rate of change of the rate of change in how people communicate, transact, organize, and deliver conversation.

You are hearing it here; these innovations are the most significant disruption that Wall Street can’t possibly imagine. Money is a social agreement and these are the banks of the future. Although many come from the gaming industry, many games are modeled after the real world, therefore, transition back to the real world is not as difficult as one may think. If people are willing to trade it, it becomes money. This is serious business. While many of these new innovations are on the right track – not all of them will survive.

Banks In The Present

I see a lot of articles asking the question why people are not absolutely livid about what is happening to them. The degree at which their wealth is being transferred away from them and the debt being shod on their grandchildren is astonishing. I saw LA burn for a whole lot less after the Rodney King affair and this crisis does not even foment a decent March on Washington like the good old Reagan days.

It would clearly be in the best interest of stock market capitalists to keep the majority of people poor, weak, and disorganized. Below a certain economic threshold, people simply fail to organize – they are too busy trying to feed their families by working harder. This is where they want to keep us…but will it work?

Banking on the Past

I am writing a short series on the Banks of the past, present and future. Prediction what future of banking was the easiest piece. Identifying the current transition phase was a little tougher so I borrowed from another blogger’s post. Describing banking of the past was most difficult. Here is an example of what I’m talking about:

“The bifurcation of the credit loss piece is a key component of the revised rule,” says Larsen, “but the part that often gets missed when pundits talk [about the rule] on TV is that the trigger that starts the whole [measurement and recording exercise] is the realization that a loan is not going to be repaid. The rule addresses an impaired security, you still have to identify the fair value of that security, and all of the losses are disclosed on the balance sheet.”

Holy shit, did you understand any of that? Guess what – nobody else did either and bankers are wondering why nobody wants their “currency”. Currency is a conversation, a social agreement, a community organizer – if nobody know what it is, people are going to start trading something else.

Counting Eyeballs

The Advertising Industry has some serious problems. Ad agencies are having a difficult time understanding the modern advertising space with the limited, if not worthless, paradigm carried over from the days of radio; the CPM.

CPM stands for Cost Per Mille

CPM means: how much does it cost to penetrate 1000 heads?… or 2000 eyeballs, I suppose. They count the penetrated heads, like an act of war – the body count, the bullet shells, the napalm canisters…and that is the basis of their decisions. As Dr. Phil would say “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

The CPM is however, a great way to kill off creativity, highlighting the flashy crap while burying the good stuff. Maybe it works well in the counter insurgency of Afghanistan, but it does not work in social media space. What happens after the mommy blogger gets a look at that Spiderman drinking cup that melts in the dishwasher?  Imagine the blog post about that cool new GM retro rod that smells like formaldehyde to the undertaker enduring their midlife crisis.

What’s the CPM for the blogger?: zero.  Can advertisers compete?: no.  Should they stop?: yes.

People are not stupid and they do not work for free. Yet, the entire web advertising model tries to get them to walk through a rat maze of links and pages just to hit more banner ads (impressions).  Advertisers keep doing it, ad after ad, page after page, year after year.  They wonder why the rat don’t hunt.  The most important thing to a rat is food, family, and friends.  There must be a tangible economic incentive for people to do what you want them to do.  Even after that, not all impressions are equal, or favorable, or lead to sales – but every one is valuable to your product and your brand if you know who I am.

Foresight is 20/20

It is always very expensive to change people’s behavior and the best management policy is to accommodate what people are going to do anyway.  If  I want to drive a retro rod, help me do enjoy my friends with it – don’t pull the emergency brake.  If I want to spend time with my family, don’t interrupt me.  If I want to walk in the park, don’t whack me on the head with a billboard.  That’s not a great way to start a conversation.

Open letter to Pitchmeisters

Dear CPM mongers, I have learned to ignore you. Like the paint blots on a Monet, I have learned to see the image despite your distortions.  Your “fear” pitch is comical to me.  The buy-me-love pitch is goofy.  The lifestyle-threat angle sounds as ridiculous as an old like Archie Bunker re-run.  The most fun I can have is using my ability to walk away leaving you talking to yourself like a deranged chimpanzee at the zoo.

Measure what I measure

Help me do what I’m going to do anyway even if I still ignore you – all data is data.  If you want to understand me, measure what I measure; health, happiness, productivity, laughter, family, friends, hope, vision, safety, music art, quality of life.  Help me make friends, empower my community, and care for my family. Don’t try to take these away from me – you will lose.

You’ll Know It When You See It

Innovation_healthcareI’ve been publishing my research freely all over the net, in the creative commons, and several blogs.  I am passionate about this work and I want to tell everyone about it.  It’s my playground.

Not unlike a playground

Then one day another kid comes over and says, “Hey, that’s an interesting game you are playing, what are the rules”?

So I tell him; “Well, it’s part economics, part innovation, and part social media. Now sprinkle in some differential calculus with finance theory and garnish with a modern analogy or two”.

The other kid responds, “Wow, I know someone you should talk to…..”

Boomerang effect

Unrelated, this morning I received a phone call from a major brand that wants to “innovate” everywhere in their business but are not quite sure where to start.    They came across one of my blogs and essentially said “Hey, that’s an interesting game you are playing, what are the rules and where can I find a short course on innovation that meets my schedule?”

I offered my opinion: Innovation is defined essentially as “you know it when you see it”.  As such, Innovation courses can only teach you to “know it when you see it”.  By the way, the game I’m playing is part economics, part innovation, and part social media. Now sprinkle in some differential calculus with finance theory and garnish with a modern analogy or two”.

You know it when you see it

Then we had an idea. I can find a University in Seattle that will sponsor a seminar and we’ll invite a group of known Seattle innovators and some corporate folks and we’ll all brainstorm for a few days.  What better short course in innovation is there?

The Invisible People

InvisibleManThere is no knowledge inventory.  There is no knowledge inventory.  There is no knowledge inventory.

This is a stunning omission for a society that intends – no, a society whose future is irrevocably dependent on it’s ability to innovate it’s way out of inevitable monetary collapse.

America does not know what Americans knows.  Entrepreneurs do not know what knowledge is available to them.  Markets do not know the supply and demand of knowledge assets.  The self-correcting magic of market capitalism is utterly unavailable if people and their knowledge assets are invisible.

  • There is a story out of the past mayor (someone who performed their civic duty to run for elected office) of Bennett Colorado who is one eviction letter away from living in a Ford Explorer with her 4 dogs.
  • Thousands of older Engineers are unemployed when Congress is crying for more Engineers.  This is the reason why there are none – the career has been reduced to a lousy bet.
  • Experience is knowledge, yet older workers also have a tougher time finding new jobs once they become unemployed. The average duration of unemployment for those age 55 and older is almost 30 weeks.
  • About 38 percent of the older workers and 26 percent of the younger workers had been out of work for 27 or more weeks in June.

Our economy needs to be able to efficiently match knowledge surplus with knowledge deficit in order to produce things and educate each other.  Diverse knowledge assets need to be combined in new and strategic ways.  Knowledge assets need to be matched by proximity as well as innovation potential.  Investors need to know the probability that a collection of knowledge assets can execute a business objective in order to decrease innovation risk.

Nothing can be accomplished without a knowledge inventory.  We have empowered corporations to be the stewards of the US knowledge inventory and the associated innovation economy. Information, knowledge, and innovation act as a system.  Without one of the pieces, you cannot have the other two.  If we outsource the knowledge economy, we lose the innovation economy.

The great promise of Social Media is that the knowledge inventory becomes a public reference. People need to know what other people know so that they can build things.

Once you are outsourced – you become invisible.  Who will be the next invisible person in your neighborhood?

Taxonomy for Knowledge Inventory

The library district in Adams County Colorado became the first in the nation to ditch The Dewey Decimal System in favor of something called “WordThink” or commonly known as “The Bookstore Classification System”.
Given that a great deal of literacy is reflected in our conversations, it is not difficult to accept that much of what we say can be traced back to some book or classified publication.  True, knowledge comes from experience, but knowledge is derived from information and information is classified by the Dewey system, WordThink, The Universal Decimal Classification System or any number of proprietary taxonomies.

The difference is that The Bookstore Classification system is attached to a huge multi-billion dollar marketing and production infrastructure.  Think Barnes and Noble,, Borders, etc.  Some would call it an egregious example of corporatism in the public library system.  Others would call it an astonishing opportunity for corporate subsidization of knowledge asset development.  I tend toward the latter.

Knowledge needs to be formatted to behave like a financial instrument. If this can be accomplished then entrepreneurs will innovate in the trade of knowledge assets.  If you want to build an airplane, you need an inventory of parts.  If you went to build a social media as a social infrastructure, then you will need an knowledge asset inventory. If you want to promote innovation, then you want to promote social media.  First and foremost, knowledge assets must look like a buck, walk like a buck and quack like a buck – then they will trade like a buck.

Conversational Currency, The Relationship Economy, and The Ingenesist Project have published on this matter.  But for now, let me leave you with the original article from the Denver Post (below).

Some say that WordThink dumbs it all down, others say it’s easier to browse – see article below for additional analysis.  However, as you read the article suppose you are an entrepreneur not shopping for a book on SEO, but rather, shopping your neighborhood for a person that knows SEO.  Then ask; what’ll it be; Dewey or WordThink?


Adams County libraries shelving Dewey Decimal

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