Think Bigger. Aim Higher. Go Further.

Month: October 2010 Page 1 of 2

America’s Uncivil War

I am deeply concerned with the Liberal / Conservative flame wars. Countless Facebook discussions start with a casual reference to one position or the other, then quickly devolve into deeply divisive language. I see it in forums, Chats, Comments on blogs, news articles and YouTube Videos.

It’s getting worse – people can no longer agree to disagree.

I do not believe in big government. On the other hand, I do not believe that corporations should be the sole protectors for safeguarding the social charter. Call me an idealist, but I truly believe that given the right incentives, people can govern themselves to a very large degree.

Weapon of Mass Reconstruction

We have at our disposal the most powerful tool ever created for the potential benefit of humanity. Societies since the beginning of our time would have envied us beyond words – as their villages were pillaged, as the plague spread, or as the hurricane hit shore – if they had a system that could unify and organize people as we can do today with social media.

My fear, is that we will use this tool to divide instead of unify. Traditional media and the advertising industry are in deep trouble as people go online to self-select their news and content.

Trust me, I’m your friend

Unfortunately, traditional media (TV, print, and Radio) are under extraordinary pressure not just to maintain ratings, but to increase ratings to subsidize less successful areas of the enterprise. As a result, the content must become more and more sensational in order to keep people watching commercials. If I earned one dollar for every minute of YOUR time that I could waste, would you trust me? Yet people do.

The Terrorist Within

I am terrorized by the notion that Americans will turn against Americans. The problems facing this nation are so complex, so controversial, and so far reaching into the past and the future that it is unlikely that any intelligent person is more qualified than any other intelligent person to hold the highest office. Barrack, Hillary, Sarah, John, would all have the same pressures pushing back on every move leading them down 95% similar paths. None could be better and none could be worse – we’re officially in this together.

So until the super-star with extra-human discernment rides out of the clouds, People should really really be looking for a third way through this. Pure Communism is a Failure, Pure Socialism is a failure, and we are quickly learning that Pure Capitalism also runs out of track.

America’s Uncivil War

The Next Great American Civil War will be a battle against ourselves – all of the artifacts of past generations that pull at our subconsciousness; the reactionary fight or flight instinct of our ancestors. We are being called to something new. Let’s get on with business and find out where this road leads – together.

Social Value Creation: How To Manufacture Wisdom

We call this wisdom

In the old days, the hiring manager was the person to know if you wanted to get a job. They would read your resume and compare it with the “bell curve” in their mind.  This bell curve contains a statistical sample of all similar situations that the manager has witnessed, the variables involved, and a range of outcomes observed across their long and illustrious career…Ohhhmmmmmm

We Call This Simulated Wisdom

Modern HR systems try to simulate this wisdom through a series of innovations such as key word search, structured interviews, personality tests, and employee incentives. Now we can use Google (an information company) to derive sort of a proxy for wisdom as we assess search results in our own image.  Facebook and Linkedin go a step further by providing us with another filter through which to pass judgement upon a future employee or partner.  The problem is that the more we look into these systems, the more they deliver back to us a reflection of ourselves…Ohhhmmmmm

Social Media vs. Normalized Intellectual, Social, and Creative Capital

The Data need to be Normalized

The world has become so strange, complex, technological, and interwoven, that no single person can possibly posses such a vast and broad set of experiences as to arrive at an optimized outcome every time.   Innovation favors strategic combination of diverse knowledge unlike the Industrial revolution which favored identical packets of similar knowledge.  The Innovation Economy will require a completely new approach to social value creation.

The Social Credit Score

Not unlike the FICO score, the knowledge inventory is a collection of potential knowledge events where the social network is a reporting agency that has a vested interest in meaningful knowledge events. Unlike FICO however, the variables for knowledge can be infinite (think of the Dewey Decimal System).  Also, a Social Credit Score would respond to positive events rather than a finite set of negative “hits”.

The Percentile Search Engine

Instead of just returning information, this new search engine must return probabilities from which an entrepreneur may test scenarios related to the likelihood of executing a particular business process at a known time, cost, proximity, ROI, etc.

Example

Innovation Economics

An entrepreneur may want to know if her team has enough knowledge to execute a business plan. Perhaps the team has too much knowledge and they should try something more valuable. Maybe the team does not have enough knowledge and they should attempt another opportunity or accumulate training.

Valuation of Knowledge  The search engine can look into a network and identify the supply and demand of a knowledge asset. If it is unavailable or too expensive, the search engine can adjust for price, risk, or options that may emerge at a later date.

Business Intelligence Organizations can scan each other’s knowledge inventory and decide to compete, cooperate, acquire, or evade.

Knowledge management If a key person retires, the entrepreneur would simulate the knowledge that is lost and reassign people strategically.

The Secret Sauce  Companies such as Disney and Boeing both use Engineers, each would have proprietary algorithm of knowledge that represents their “secret sauce” of success. These recipes can be adjusted and improved to reflect and preserve the wisdom of an organization. Over time, these algorithms will become far more valuable then the Patents and Trade Secrets created by them – this will allow technologies to be open sourced much more profitably and shared across more industries.

Eventually, we will learn to manufacture wisdom …OhhhhMmmmmGeeeee

The Social Credit Score

Money Matchmaker

The function of a Bank is to match most worthy money surplus with most worthy money deficit. In the old days, the banker was the person to know if you wanted to be successful in town because they did the matching. But with the emergence of the credit score, the “banker” became digitized.  The spread of the credit score is responsible for great wealth creation because many more entrepreneurs could borrow money in the present to increasing human productivity in the future.

The Credit Score

The credit score is statistical in nature; it isolates about 30 or so indicators of your financial activity and puts them on a bell curve. These include how much debt you have, how much your assets are worth, your income, etc. These ratings are run through the FICO Equation and out pops your credit score. Anyone can predict the likelihood that you may default on your financial obligation.

All of the data that feed FICO are collected from public records, your employer, and the people who you borrow money from because these same organizations have a vested interest in a system of correct credit scores.

We are competing with ourselves

It is interesting that people do not compete directly with each other for our credit score because it is not a ranking system, it is a “normal distribution”. However, with no credit, people are invisible and the system shuts them out. With bad credit, the system also shuts them out. People are also willing to give up some freedom and privacy, but they accept these terms because the credit score provides tremendous leverage to finance a business, automobile, or a home.

The Knowledge Matchmaker

The Value Game specifically transforms financial currency into social currencies where value increases by human interactions in communities. Then, the social currency is transformed back into a financial currency or stored in a yet to be determined social currency. The efficiency of the Social Value Creation Process can be vastly improved with a Social Credit Score.  The objective, like the financial credit score, would be to match most worthy knowledge surplus to most worthy knowledge deficit.

The Social Credit Score

There are two forces that need to be combined to produce a credit score; the reporting of social activity and the independent variables that constitute social activity. We already see some elements where search engines report your social activity and we have seen a few unsuccessful attempts to use Twitter as a proxy for social productivity. Neither are functional but the nascent social credit score system will eventually improve.  But why wait if we already know what needs to be done?

Something else needs to happen

Not unlike the FICO score, the Social Credit Score is a knowledge inventory for social, creative, and intellectual assets that a community of people collectively hold. The format of the knowledge inventory must be assembled to a bell curve.

Next, a new type of search engine must be developed that can process the knowledge inventory and statistically match most worthy surplus of knowledge asset with most worthy deficit of knowledge asset given a set of business objectives. Then and only then can holistic transactions take place which can redefine human economics in social currencies, i.e., where knowledge really is an asset.


80/20 Rule: The Value of Human Interaction

If an IPod is shuffling in the forest, and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

This is a standard philosophical riddle that raises questions regarding observation and knowledge of reality. Alexander T. Jackson, one of the great minds of the 20th century, may have said that, “View points of this riddle differ based on the perceived definition of the word ‘sound’, often confused with the definition of the word ‘hearing’.”

A $300 Ipod is shuffling in the forest and nobody is around to interact with it, does it have value?

This philosophical riddle also raises questions regarding observations and knowledge of reality.  Viewpoints in this riddle differ based on the perceived definition of the word ‘money’, often confused with the definition of the word ‘value’.

To this question, Wall Street would say “Yes”, but Main Street would say “No”. In fact this brings into question the order of how we assign value in our world.

Suppose we constructed the same riddle for any physical asset such as a bridge, house, airplane, computer, car, university education, insurance policy, Marketing Department, tennis shoe, police officer, trumpet, leaf blower, FaceBook, Twitter, Linked In, fungus cream, guacamole, anything at WalMart, etc…..

Value of human interaction

Before long, we notice that the value of nearly all products and services is wholly derived from the value of human interaction with the object.  So where exactly is the true value of our economy, in the object or in the human interaction?   Wall Street would say “object”, but Main Street would say “human interaction”.

Credit Score

In finance, the credit score was established to assess the human interaction with a financial instrument called debt.  Yet, in the above example it is relatively clear that the vast majority of value created is dependent on human interaction with products and services that may or may not be financed with debt, not the debt itself.  It would seem that a social credit score and a knowledge inventory would be more appropriate way to assess the true value of economic activity. But where do we start establishing such an index?

The Social Value Index

We’ll start with a baseline 80/20 rule first identified by an Italian Economist named Vilfredo Pareto.  In our rendition, 80% of the true economy is created in the form of social value and 20% is created in the form of financial value.  Keep in mind that Dr. Pareto also defined a concept called the “Pareto Efficiency” for social resource allocation. This refers to the end-state of an economic game where no player can become better off without also making at least one other player worse off.

The objective then, is to design Social Value Games that are 80/20 (social vs. financial leverage) compliant and Pareto Efficient then, test the hypothesis and improve it toward optimality.

Social Value: The Aerobics Game

The Social Value Game is a not a social currency exchange, it is a social value exchange. The objective of the game is to convert financial value into social value, then create new value, tax-free and frictionless in any number of social currencies, then convert it back to financial currency + social value. The strategy is to identify and leverage an existing high value social resource and organize a community of people and other vendors around that resource.

Consider the following example:

The Aerobics Instructor Game

Suppose that a popular aerobics instructor has 20 students and charges 40 dollars for an 8 week class. The local health food store will place 10% coupon on store purchases against the 40 dollar tuition for the duration of the class. If the student bought 400 dollars worth of food from the health food store in 8 weeks, their tuition for the aerobics course would be free.  If they spend more, then the aerobics instructor is paid more.  The health food store already spends 10% of sales on advertising so they are largely agnostic to the source of the impression.

It is in the instructor’s best interest to enroll people who are likely to spend the most at the store.  Given this arrangement, a sporting goods store may offer a similar coupon against tuition as would an Indian Restaurant, or even a health insurer.

The health food store gains loyal repeat customers without advertising

The aerobics instructor may maximize her profits by enrolling a health food chef or a caterer, a wedding planner, or people with large families.  She may negotiate a services with a hotel enrolling guests while extending food discounts to the restaurant. If she’s successful, event pictures pop-up on Facebook and deals appear on Twitter.  The aerobics instructor becomes knowledgeable about the products and the community and talks about them with her friends.

The Social Value Index

The Social Value Index compares the cost/benefit of the non-integrated advertising model with the cost/benefit of the socially integrated model of community benefit.  The Social Value Index rewards this store for enabling entrepreneurs in exchange for loyal repeat customers.  The Social Value Index favors this instructor for being knowledgeable and supportive of her community and available health resources. The Social Value Index rewards the network of secondary vendors who align with the aerobics instructor and who may likewise offer electronic coupons.

The coupon constitutes full disclosure therefore, it is clearly not in the best social interest of the aerobics instructor to accept coupons for, say, cigarettes. It is not in her best interest to cheat since her social value would be punished if her actions were found to be fraudulent.  The Social Value Index rewards Aerobics students for participating in socially redeeming activities. The alternative is for the Health Food store to drop a lot of money on TV commercials, Google Ad Sense, and Social Media Spam.

The Social Value Theory: 80% of the economy is social value, 20% is financial value

Social Value Creation; A Blank Canvas

The evolution of money

Money has evolved from coins to paper to electronic accounts. Now we see the emergence of mobile electronic accounts. Money may represent value but does it actually represent the value creation process? If not, then what does and which is more important?

PayPal wants to be like the electrical socket that all mobile payment innovations plug into.   In fact, they have a standing invitation for all technology partners in the mobile payment space to integrate with them. This is called an externalization strategy (much like Facebook, Twitter and Windows), where there are so many developers, users, and participants that NOT being on the platform becomes the competitive disadvantage.

The PayPal offer represents the separation of money from the value creation process.  This exposes a very interesting point to consider.

The Frictions of Monetization

The assumption is that PayPal et al will store and exchange dollars, and only dollars.  As such, they are contained within the financial system: credit score system, a person’s name, birth date, and the social security number as a personal identifier, the IRS reporting jurisdiction, and commercial code vetting mechanisms, etc.

Similarly, the drive to monetize in Social Media is pushing applications toward the same containment within the financial system.  Not surprisingly, the complaints of privacy and data security in Social Media stem precisely from association with credit scores, IRS, personal identifiers, Social Security Numbers, etc.  But “Big Social” presses on – they know not another way. Ironically, this is precisely the battleground; the source of all intermediary tactical and social friction that hinders monetization in the first place.  It has little to do with the creation of value – only containment of value.  To win is to lose.

A Better Proxy for Value

The reality of governance dictates that all business ventures begin and end in a standard currency of commerce such as the dollar.  However, there are NO restrictions on which currency must be traded in between to “create value”.   Nor is there any schedule that determines when a venture must begin, end, or be liquidated to dollars.

While The Social Value Game may start and end with dollars, the value creation process is carried out in a social currency using a “Social Credit Score”, an anonymous “Unique Identifier”, and a collection of “Social Vetting Institutions” independent of government or corporate jurisdiction.  The Value Game is a frictionless, tax-free and self-regulating environment without the guy wires of the financial industry.  The game simply leverages existing value socially to make new social value.

Social Value Specifications

The Social Value Creation Process is a blank canvas and we are writing the specifications today.  If a social currency becomes a better proxy for productivity – it may also become a stand-alone currency fully capable of capitalization and securitization. Theoretically, a social currency may never need to be converted to financial currency any more than a dollar ever needs to be convertible to silver or gold – it simply becomes another ledger entry on an accounting balance sheet.

Is Money Irrelevant?

The value creation process is the hard part.  Transformation of Social Currency into Financial Currency will become easy – anyone can do it.  In other words, if PayPal becomes irrelevant, the money evolution chain will be broken and money will become obsolete.  The market is wide open for a money competitor who can simply transcribe a social currency transaction into a ledger entry for financial currency. It’s a lot easier and closer to reality than many people think.

The Social Value Game

The Social Value Game

The value game is a social media business method developed by the folks at The Ingenesist Project in a dynamic application of social technology.

Most applications of game theory are controlled from in-house or deployed against a competitive landscape.  The Value Game is deployed external to the corporation and in a cooperative landscape where rewards are given to those who organize people around a “highly leveraged product” in valuable ways.

There are 5 elements to The Value Game

The first is what we call a highly leveraged product such as a conference, experience, convenience, ZipCars, or reunion – we’ll see that almost any product can be leveraged.

The next element is a secondary product vendor such as a hotel, restaurant, transportation, clothing, or equipment supplier – we’ll also see how almost any product can be deployed in the secondary role.

The third element is a consumer who seeks to minimize financial cost and maximize social value.

The fourth element is a 3rd party entrepreneur who is able to organized people in social networks and leverage primary and secondary assets in unique combinations.

The fifth Element is a true value calculator called the Social Value Index (SVI).   The SVI is the scorekeeper that calculates the actual value of the leveraged product after all of the discounts and social value factors are counted.

The game starts when everyone joins the same social network underwritten by a mobile electronic debit card platform and sets their filters for what information can enter (and to block out spam).  The highly leveraged product in the middle acts like a ball in play whose value is dependent on the interaction of the other elements.  Secondary vendors will deploy incentives into the field.  Third party entrepreneurs will organize people around the incentives and take social profits.  The Social Value Index will keep score.

Example 1: A ZipCar costs about 8 dollars per hour; this business model does not encourage social activity; it encourages fast shopping. Suppose that a person pays for the ZipCar on their debit card.  Local restaurants will be made aware of the purchase and then deploy coupons against the ZipCar to the buyer’s debit card. Next, a 3rd party entrepreneurs may improve the SVI by organizing a ZipCar swap so that the person does not have to leave in the same ZipCar that they arrived in and can spend more time shopping.  Another entrepreneur may organize events for families and friends that increase the passengers in each ZipCar, or by capturing any inventory from the community such as movie tickets or family experiences to deploy against the ZipCar.  After the event, the SVI updates the net cost of the ZipCar from 8 dollars per hour to, say, 1.42 per hour.  This is 80% savings on the ZipCar and 33% savings on a day out with the family over using their own car.

In effect, the leveraged product buys itself in a convertible social currency

Example 2: Suppose that a popular aerobics instructor has 40 students.  The local health food store may authorize her to give away 1000 coupons for 5% discount on store products.  In return, the aerobics instructor gets 5% of total purchased.  The health food store already spends 10% of revenue on advertising. It is in the instructor’s best interest to give the coupons to people who are likely to spend the most at the store.  After all, if 1000 people spend 100 dollars each, she stands to gain 5000 dollars.  The health food store stands to gain loyal customers without advertising. The aerobics instructor may maximize her profits by joining with a health food chef to teach classes in healthy cooking.  Or, she may join with a caterer, wedding planner, or hotel to supply an entire event for which she will receive social and financial value.  She may give them to colleagues who also become authorized to give away coupons – and she negotiates for a percentage of their output as well. She will become knowledgeable about the products at the store and talk about them with her friends.  She may even sell the face value of the coupons for cash since it is likely that a high bidder would also be a large customer for the health food store.  The Social Value Index favors this store, this aerobics instructor, and this social network – higher than competitors.  SVI registers with Search Engines and bargain hunters seek the Aerobics Instructor for deeper information and services.

Millions of applications will arise limited only by the imagination of communities not Wall Street

American Day Dreams

As we discuss many times in this blog; human knowledge assets include combinations of intellectual capital, social capital, and creative capital. Of course nobody can survive without all of these elements, however, I am continuously amazed at the power of the last and most important element; Creative Capital.

This video is from an extraordinary Seattle Musician named Aaron English. I have known Aaron for several years and follow all of his work. He is always up to something completely interesting. Aaron can say more in 4 minutes that I can say in 100 blog posts.

Artists and musicians have what I call “communication density”. They are the true innovators among us.  They can combine so many different concepts, media forms, and objects to produce something completely new and interesting. Artists create value. I rely heavily on the artists for my day dreams.

Please enjoy this video – American Day Dreams. Watch it several times. Don’t forget to daydream

The Capitalization of Silence

"Silence" by Horst Schmier

Coupon Madness

The business concept of rewards coupons is not new. S&H Green Stamps were among the original applications of the concepts. The fact that coupon cutting is now going on-line is not surprising to anyone. A second major trend is in the area of data collection. Supermarkets have learned that it is valuable for them to “pay” the customer in exchange for data that makes stocking and distribution more efficient. When combined, coupon + data is a tremendously valuable marketing and logistics tool.

The next development of coupon + data model is the notion that if a person likes a product, so too will their friends. This is the coupon + data + association model. Not surprisingly, the marketing value of the combination of these linked data increases almost exponentially.

To Pay Dearly

Brands are now willing to pay dearly for information about the transaction as well as the social networks associated with a transaction. With the ability to track several layers of transaction and association, vendors can paint an extraordinarily accurate predictive model that can be used in their favor – and in competition against market challengers.

The half-life of noise

The hype is brisk and often short lived as most companies eventually run up against the proverbial viral backlash. Someone somewhere can just as easily elevate their own influence by challenging a big influencer. Privacy issues, fair trade issues, corporate responsibility issues are all fair game. Social media forces transparency in an organization too as controlled data can quickly become uncontrollable data.

The battlefield is strewn with the corpses of marketing campaigns gone horribly wrong. Even Groupon, once touted as the champion of mom and pop shops across the land is now accused of dumping economic “sugar calories” into a zero sum game where size does matter – a lot. Groupon is now used by competitors against each other thereby wrecking havoc on Mom and Pop Shops across the land.

Help, I need a Guru

Social Media Gurus continuously pound home the message that they must find their customers grazing in their own pasture and engage them in order to be truly accepted into the herd.  Now the Gurus have all the vendors looking like wolves in sheep’s clothing – nothing could be more obvious or look more ridiculous.

The inherent flaw is that companies are designing and delivering products predicted to interact with people in their own setting. Instead, they must develop a set of products and services that are designed to facilitate human interaction with each other in their own setting – and as a consequence, filter out all the noise that wastes valuable social time.

Coupon + knowledge inventory + anonymity

Learning what people know does not mean that they need to give up their identity.   Joining people who have complimentary knowledge is a superior value creation mechanism than harvesting relationships already played out. The ability to protect and empower the customer in their home setting is the greatest branding opportunity on Earth. The ability to filter out the noise is the single greatest competitive advantage that any marketing campaign can ever enjoy. The ability to bring communities of people together to solve the problems of their own choosing is far more powerful than trying to convince people that they have a problem for which only you have the solution.

This is the capitalization of silence

Image by Horst Schmier

We Got It Backwards

The History of Financial Innovation

The invention of the wheel, wedge, and pulley came long before the invention of credit scores, CDO’s, and International Trade Agreements.

Technological Change must always precede economic growth – economic growth cannot sustainably precede technological change. If you throw money at a problem, you are not guaranteed technological change.  If you throw technological change at a problem, you are guaranteed money.

The Tiny Flaw of Market Capitalism

We are going about the process of globalization as if economic growth can precede technological change.  This is the tiny flaw of market capitalism and it is unsustainable.  In short, we’ve gotten it backwards and continuing on this course prevents us from seeing the future.

The flaw is easy to correct. The Ingenesist Project has specified two for-profit business methods, “The Value Game” and “Zertify.com” which if deployed today in Social Media could accomplish this.  These business methods are committed to the public domain.  The only thing standing in the way is a social agreement.

Let me know if you agree

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