Think Bigger. Aim Higher. Go Further.

Month: December 2010

Printing Social Currency; Influence vs. Intentions

What is more valuable, their Influence or their intentions?

The heat is on to discover a new currency

Obviously, money is supposed to represent productivity otherwise why would people work for it?  But, everyone is pretty much resigned to the fact that the dollar – and indeed most global currency – is irreversibly divorced from actual productivity.

No Alternative  Algorithm?

The reason why people must trade dollars is that there is no other alternative, and the computer algorithms that control the value of the currency have yet to tell us otherwise.  That’s it, really.  The questions remain, how, why, and when will people stop working for it and what will they work for which can replace it?

This will not be as simple as living in yurts, trading cheese cultures and tweeting about it. Complex infrastructure like a judicial system, transportation, medical care, clean water, energy and food production rely on a financial system that can capitalize and securitize whatever the replacement currency may be.

Influence vs. intention

The latest twist in the new currency movement is the idea that on-line influence can be used to support a currency.  There is no shortage of noble leaders aspiring to “define the standard” in their own image as a service to the lesser masses who seek their respective place in the great new economic void.  PeerIndex and Klout are the two main players that promote a social score based on influence, obstensibly to mimic the credit score upon which all currency depends.

Bad Influence is worse than no influence

Unfortunately, influence is a flawed measure.  Marketers are the target beneficiaries of such influence which is clearly defined as the ability to get other people to take action on a marketing message. My ability to influence others to buy Twinkies does not an economy make. In other words – influence is a consumption currency, not a production currency.

A far better marker is “intention”

For comparison; today, money is conjured into existance by banks based on the signature of a loan candidate who states in writing their intention to produce enough value by their future words and actions to exceed the value of the currency being borrowed (created from thin air) plus interest.  That’s how debt works.  That “intention” is then capitalized, combined with the intentions of others, and securitized into bonds that finance important social services and institutions that support those intensions.

Likewise, a social currency may be similarly conjured into existence – based on a person’s promise to increase human productivity in the future, not however, to increase human consumption in the future.  The social marker for the next currency must be an intension to produce something, not an intension to consume something.  The real danger, of course, is if we define the next currency as just another consumption currency or whether it can truly be married to productivity.

Obviously, it would be helpful to have an inventory of what value an individual is willing and able to produce in the future since this is the best marker of intensions.  It would be even more helpful if there were a public knowledge inventory of what value people in a community are able and willing to produce together.  I’ll stop here because a knowledge inventory for communities does not exist – and curiously, none of the great minds in Social Media are clamoring to define that standard.

Likewise, that is where the great opportunity for the future resides.

Who Needs Anti-Social Travel?

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.

My Christmas Gift

This year, I send my Christmas greetings from Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico.

Besides seeing all of my wonderful in-laws and cousins, I had the opportunity to meet with a couple of my students from many years ago.  They are now entrepreneurs, business owners, and influential leaders in the complex web of Mexican and International society.

I knew them when they were just kids struggling through engineering school – I saw them as gems in the rough, now I get to marvel at the diamonds.  Wow, what an incredible experience.   Of course, they can’t see how I view them nor can I see how they view me.  One thing is certain, these are very special relationships.  I managed to hold back tears of joy.

The trust is instantaneous and profound.  We hang on each other’s words as incalculable truths pour from our experiences.  We cite each other’s nuances and we recall quotes long ago lost.  I remember the extraordinary challenges of getting 250 of them through the US Engineering Board exams.  We spoke of the early days of NAFTA and the oppression of the Maquiladora Industry.  We spoke with the wisdom that we wished we had 17 long years ago.

I wonder what happened to the others.  I know a few that have also become quite successful.  The only thing I gave them was proof that they were equal in every way to any engineer on earth.  As such, they managed their careers with that single data point lodged in the back of their mind.  Now they are proving to me what I had only suspected then.

In return, they gave me everything that I am thankful for today as I celebrate Christmas with my wonderful family.  I met my wife while working with these kids.  I found my own ethnic identity working with these kids.  I learned Spanish working with these kids.  I earned the wisdom to represent a fortune 100 company around the World after working with my kids. In fact, my blog and all supporting research is a direct result of a flaw I observed in market capitalism while working with my kids and their interaction with NAFTA. The courage to leave corporate life and take a leadership role in an hugely disruptive start-up company is a direct result of working with these kids.

These kids (men and woman) are among the greatest gift I could have ever imagined receiving.  My advice to others is to always have students.  Always teach people what you know.  Always elevate others and you will find yourself elevated to astonishing heights. Be a student and provide this joy to those who wish share themselves deeply with you.  This is where true happiness is found.  This is the gift that Christmas celebrates – be a teacher

Merry Christmas.

Please Support The Symbionomics Project on Kickstarter

What Is An Ingenesist?

Eric Rosenblith 1920-2010

I have been putting off writing this blog post until I could find a simple answer to the question “What is an Ingenesist?”.  I invented the term “Ingenesist” to capture the creative, intellectual and social nature of human ingenuity without falling back on current definitions and the silos that perpetuate them. Something has gone wrong with the world and the solution could not be found in the current world view – I needed a new word for my work.

Ingenesist comes from the Latin (ingeniare), French (ingénieur), and Spanish (ingeniero) word for Engineer.  These words, of course, were created long before an engineer was defined by such alphabet soup as BSME. MSCE, IEEE, ABET, NCEES, EIT, PE, etc…  The term ‘Ingenesist’ was meant to represent people whose ideas and actions increase the productivity of other people.

A friend of mine lost his dad yesterday.  I read the obituary and could not help but realize that this person lived through what were likely the darkest and the brightest hours of modern human civilization.  He was an artist and a teacher.

Then I hit the quote in Mr. Rosenblith’s obituary:

“We truly need to be thinkers, poets, painters, engineers, and philosophers.’’ – Eric Rosenblith

And that is how I found my simple answer.  With humility and simplicity, he captured the creative, intellectual and social nature of human ingenuity. The least I could do was finally write this blog post.

My sincere condolences to Alan and his family.  Please support the Symbionomics Project on Kickstarter

Groupon: 93% Off Sugar Calories

Finding Groupon for LCD monitors

I’ve been collecting Groupon Spam in a special folder in my email box. I guess that it is technically not Spam since I did sign up for it.  Or is it?

Up to 83% Off Laser Hair Removal (depends on how much laser hair you have?)
Up to 52% Off Eco-Friendly Water Bottle (Is the bottle 52% full or 52% empty)
65% Off Canvas on Demand (I demand Canvas!)
Half Off Brazilian Blowout in Bellevue (not going there)
52% off Body Scrub and Facial in Georgetown

I am really trying to root for Groupon. I am desperately waiting for the value proposition to emerge. Someday soon, Groupon will come up with a proposition that truly delivers something that I really need to increase my personal productivity and elevate my community to true collective power status. I feel it coming.  If not, then surely Groupon will innovate with new ways to understand what the market really needs during times of financial hardship and leverage their near-6B dollar influence and pending public stock offering to champion the plight of the masses.

51% off Rowing Class (in the winter?)
60% Off Spider Vein Treatment (My Spider is very sick indeed)
$10 Off custom mixes from My Mixed Nuts (seriously?)
$10 dollars off Mexican Fast Fare at Taco Time (a Cultural Insult to all Hispanics)
53% Off Woman’s Clothing at Pitaya (what happens to the other 47%)

After all, Groupon is the next paradigm in influence advertising – fighting for the little guy to deliver true value. Everyone is looking for a bargain so what more social pursuit could any morally conscious social media enterprise endeavor to deliver to the vast population of consumers?

Up to half off Quest Field Tour (“Up to half off” statements always worry me)
$10 for wine at Vermillion Art Gallery (I’d pay $10 for Art at the Wine Gallery)
$10 for Custom Smoothies (I wonder what the original price was)
Half Off Executive Dry Cleaners (somebody’s got to take ’em to the cleaners)
67% off at Transformation Boot Camp (is there a money back guarantee on that?)

Instead of empowering people to pursue what they are most talented, passionate, and interested in, Groupon seeks to modify human behavior to adapt to the availability of surplus inventory dumped into the desperation market.  Companies are struggling to keep their doors open and people are not sure if their today dollars will buy anything in tomorrow’s dollars.  Instead of exploiting the throes of financial decline, surely our great social media innovators can do better than Groupon.

Ref: The Value Game

Intrinsic Banking

Paper money does not have intrinsic value

Paper money has no intrinsic value. The word “Intrinsic” means: something that belongs to the essential nature or constitution of something else. The ‘intrinsic brightness of a star’ is a common definitive statement.  Synonyms of the word include: built-in, constitutional, hardwired, immanent, indigenous, integral, inherent, natural, etc.

“Society” is intrinsic to economics

The Bank is an important institution for vetting social value. Despite the observation where it seems money is created out of thin air, traditionally a bank looks into a community of people and their talents to identify “social value”.  This is the likelihood that a person or group of persons can execute a specific economic outcome in the community.  Then the bank provides them with a tool called money to represent and facilitate future productivity in the present time.  So it is not really “thin-air” – it is simply invisible social value.

Little Bank on the Prairie

In the old days, the banker was a member of the community and could judge social value on any number of intrinsic social characteristics such as social status, leadership, family values, education, personal habits, and community participation. Later, the credit score became a proxy for social value through the analysis of public data (where “public” became the proxy for “social”). The credit score was then assumed to convert social value directly into financial value.

The terms “proxy” and “intrinsic” are not the same thing.

“Brightness” is not a proxy for stars any more than “stars” are a proxy for brightness.  Yet, the distinction between intrinsic banking and proxy banking remains indistinct. An Intrinsic bank would be characterized where social value is intrinsic to the creation of financial value.

It’s all about Value

We created The Value Game as a new class of business methods to transform financial value back into social value – The Value Game performs the mirror-image effect in an economy as the credit score.  The value game increases the social value of the community enterprise by converting monetary value into social value.  Only then can the Credit Score sustainably convert social value back into financial value.

Who wants to become a Trillionaire?

The point of this discussion is not to slam banking, rather, it is to demonstrate that intrinsic banking does not formally exist – yet is must exist as a direct balance to traditional banking.  As such, intrinsic banking is at least as “Valuable” as the banking industry itself. Today we are entering an age where society MUST come up with a NEW way to store and exchange VALUE. Whoever really get’s this and pioneers Intrinsic Banking today (what it means, what it creates, and why) will become as mega-wealthy as traditional bankers, in the future.

Social Currency Derivatives Trading

The New York Times published an article yesterday about derivative traders being controlled by 6 powerful banks whose influence serves to keep out competitors and decrease the transparency of transactions. What struck me was the graphics that the article used to demonstrate both the problem and the solution for derivative trading:

The Problem:  Murky Market – no transparency

The Solution: Introducing a clearinghouse for transparency and correct pricing

The second diagram demonstrates how the introduction of a vetting mechanism inserted directly at the spot of least transparency greatly increases socially valuable attributes such as transparency, true pricing, reduced risk, open sourcing, elimination of conflicts of interest, and increased sustainability, etc – many of the attributes demanded by the new generation of activists seeking their place in the discussion that they struggle to understand. Hedge funds are indeed important tools for reducing volatility if, and only if, they don’t themselves introduce new risks.

The Value Game:

The second diagram looks a great deal like The Value Game developed by The Ingenesist Project for the monetizing social currency. By introducing a leveraged asset in the middle of a series of transactions, true value of the whole transaction system can be established eliminating volatility and reducing systemic risks.  The Value Game works in a manner quite similar to a hedge instrument.

The Airplane Game:

The Airplane Game deployed by the new start-up called Social Flights, for example, introduces a jet airplane transaction as a clearinghouse for the balance of the transactions in the game of door-to-door travel.  When all the players put their money down on a jet flight, they convert the financial currency to social currency, the true value of the transaction can be established when compared to an alternate market such as commercial airline, driving, train, etc. – not necessarily to dollars in the bank.

Financial Currency is a derivative of social currency

It is not surprising that social currency will become a hedge instrument for financial currency in markets.  After all, nothing economic can happen until people get together to build something.  Nothing of any significance can be built unless people exchange social currency. Only after all of that, can it be converted into money.

Intrinsic Banking

As such, every broker in every market can be replaced by a Social Value Game providing intrinsic banking services.  Can you see it?


Social Currency Takes Flight

Private Aviation is the first of several industries planning to launch a new class of business methods built on a “Social Value Game” developed by  The Ingenesist Project .  Social Flights is a virtual airline which aggregates communities according to their interests, knowledge assets, and social graph.  Social Flights matches people with mid-distance transportation options that deliver them exactly where they want to go in a shortest period of time and the least amount of harassment.

By the time you factor in Social Value, the price of private air travel becomes highly competitive.

In this variation, The Airplane Game has 4 players; (1) A traveler, (2) accredited private jet operators throughout the US, (3) travel services vendors, and (4) a 3rd party entrepreneur.  The objective of the game is for each player to act in their best interest to ultimately produce a door-to-door cost of traveling between two geographic points on a private jet equal to or less than the cost of making the same trip on comparable modes of transportation. The true door-to-door cost will be denominated in social currency and then converted to financial currency to establish a par value.

The Airplane Game scheduled for departure in 2011

The game starts when a traveler states a anonymous intention to geolocate between their zip code and any distant zip code.  This intention will be sent to a private jet carrier who will establish a price for each seat based on a full plane.  Next, vendors for products and services matched to the traveler’s intensions – such as ground transportation, hotels, restaurants, interests, and tourist attractions at both zip codes – will assign a contingency coupon of known face value against the airfare of the private jet seat thereby lowering the cost of the seat.

Enter Social Entrepreneurs

Next, 3rd Party Entrepreneurs will use social media to locate seat inventory to put in play.  Then, they will locate product/service inventory to put that into play.  Finally, they will locate “Social Inventory” in each zip code to fill the jet and drive down the ticket price even further in what amounts to social arbitrage. The Social Flights Algorithm will compare the social value such as time savings, carbon footprint, airport congestion, and experience quality against the comparable modes of transportation, such as car/bus/train/commercial aviation, and provide a par value for each option.

Social Value Conversion Factor

Social profits can be maximized where people are empowered to travel point to point consistent with their social graph rather than car, train, or hub and spoke commercial aviation modes.  Decreasing social friction increases social profits.  This launch further demonstrates how any asset, from jets to zip cars to public infrastructure, can be leveraged to create abundant social value.

The aggregate effect of such businesses will  establish a conversion factor between social currency and financial currency from which any number of social productivity applications can be built and monetized.

Zertified Knowledge Assets

The wisest people in history have been saying the same thing over and over again, yet we fail to listen and act: People are an asset, People are the greatest asset.

So Then, Watch your assets

Meanwhile, our “risk based” capital structure accounts only for the observed randomness of individual human nature rather than trying to securitize the potentially infinite wisdom of crowds.  This is a problem, this is our very serious problem.

Everyone is Committed to The Public Domain

Anyone familiar with The Ingenesist Project knows that we commit a new class of business methods to the public domain for other people to use for building the next economic paradigm. For example, The Value Game developed by ourselves, is being used by at least 3 new start-ups as the value creation mechanism of their business plan.  We likewise consult to social entrepreneurs across the World to help them build a new form of capital structure where knowledge assets are the basis of fungible social currency.

Zertify.com

Zertify.com is a business plan that will convert social currency to financial currency and make money for you, dear reader. Zertify.com can employ well over 40,000 people directly (and tens of millions indirectly) in the US alone within months, not years. Zertify.com is a knowledge inventory system that accounts for knowledge assets as they reside in a community – not necessarily as they reside sequestered within a corporation.

Zertify business plan

Here is a downloadable PDF of Zertify.com Sample Business Method. The word “Zertify” comes from the combination of the words “Certify” and the statistical Z-test.  These two things correspond to “Social Vetting” and “Predictive Modeling Capability” – these are the two ESSENTIAL elements for the capitalization and securitization of any asset.  Of course, I have made certain assumptions regarding taxonomies and proficiency criteria – my intention is simply to re-deploy existing market infrastructure as best as possible in this Example.  But go ahead, change it, modify it, understand it, build it, and let us help. Become a billionaire – see if we care.

Why?  because we do care.

In case you were wondering who all those wise people are, flip through this presentation (great to see Tara Hunt among such luminaries !!)

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