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Month: February 2011

The Value Game Plays The Valley Game

(The following is a draft of the unveiling presentation for The Value Game at The Future of Money and Technology Summit in San Francisco on February 28th 2011)

Hello;

The Ingenesist Project is developing a new class of business methods that convert social value into financial value, and vice versa.  The premise is that when people cooperate to do useful things, they can also create an amazing amount of social value.

Historically, we have seen how each of the great eras of human civilization was derived from the prior era when the tools of that prior era became integrated.  Like when the wheel, wedge, and pulley integrated to become the printing press.  Great social transformation followed.

So it is that integration of tools that we are most interested in.

Today, we can see this drama playing out across the Globe as people integrate the tools that were created over the last 30 years. People are reorganizing and in doing so they are directly challenging the power of financial currency with equally powerful social currency.

So it is inevitable that a conversion factor between social currency and financial currency will arise.  And that, we believe, will mark the next economic era.

So we developed something called The Value Game that we believe will help build the social infrastructure for the creation, storage, and exchange of social value.

The Value Game is a new class of business methods designed to specifically create social value.  The rules of the Value Game are very simple.  The Game Starts and Ends with money but all of the new value created in the game is denominated in Social Currency.

A Value Game is created by assembling 3 or more communities around a single shared asset in such a way that their interaction with each other relative to the asset creates social value.  In this form, social value can then be more readily converted to a financial value.

To demonstrate this, we helped launch a new company called Social Flights.  The objectives of Social Flights are to aggregate a large fleet of Private Turbine powered Aircraft and deploy them to the Social Graph instead of the Hub and Spoke system used by the Commercial Airlines.

The Shared Asset is the jet.  Player 1 is the traveler community.  Player 2 is the community of private aircraft operators. ,  Player 3 is the community of entrepreneurs at the flight destination.  The True Value Calculation compares the true door-to-door cost of using Social Flights versus other alternatives such as commercial airlines.

For example, flying between two smaller cities like Bellingham Washington and Vail, Colorado.  A Commercial flight would take close to 14 hours traveling through two hubs.  A fully utilized private flight would cost about twice as much but can make the flight in 3 hours.  So right off the bat, the True Value Calculation issues a par value between alternatives.  So if your time is worth less than, say, 70 dollars per hour, you are better off taking commercial airlines.  But if your time is worth more than 70 dollars per hour – for whatever reason – then you should take the private flight.

Now, a hotel in Vail may say – wow, here is a group of 10 people staying 5 days. They can divert advertising budget and issue a 100 dollar “discount coupon” to everyone in the group. Now the par value of the private flight is reduced to 60 dollars per hour. Next, Ski slopes, restaurants, bars, and services will deploy Coupons against the airplane lowering the par value toward closer to middle class incomes and certainly well within the business class of a commercial airline.

Things will get really interesting as people start gaming the game. The more demographic information that the traveler provides, the greater the likelihood that more and more vendors will issue them a discount coupon – which they can even resell on Craigslist.

In effect, why would someone let Facebook sell their information when people can sell it their selves?  Why would vendors pay for advertising when they can find the perfect customers directly?  Why would a manufacturer pay a retailer when the community can sell it for them?   Here we see a great deal of financial value can also be articulated in a Value Game.

Theoretically, we could build a Value Game around any shared asset from zip cars, public infrastructure, energy production, education, natural resources, even the totality of human knowledge, etc.

But for now, let me introduce Allen Howell, Chairman of Social Flights who will discuss how this new business method is developing in practice.

Social Flights should be very interesting to many of the people here because it integrates several of the hottest properties in the Valley; Travel, Coupons, Gaming, and Social Media.  Each of these communities have seen astonishing valuations lately so it will be interesting to see what happens when they, in fact, become integrated.

So please welcome Allen and I can take questions while he sets up.

Watching The Birds Play The Value Game

To some entrepreneurs, the problems with the aviation industries signal many insurmountable obstacles.  At  Social Flights these challenges portend an extraordinary opportunity for a new business method to bring efficiency, order, social value while eliminating artificial barriers.

Social Flights value proposition is very strong for travel ranging from 200-1000 miles between smaller airports. Social Flights can deploy quickly in response to specialized market needs, environmental condition, opportunities, or events. Social flights adapts the mission of the aircraft to meet the opportunities presented to the market.

Conversely, commercial aviation struggles dearly in this segment because they try to get the market to meet the pre-ordained mission of the aircraft. The entire air transportation system would be best served if commercial aviation concentrated on the long haul/high volume “migration” service.  There is no reason why private aviation cannot perform the job that gridlocks commercial aviation.  This would make both industries more efficient.

Commercial Aviation’s Race to Nowhere

The Deregulation Act of 1978 in the Commercial Aviation system led to the development of the Hub and Spoke system whereas commercial carriers would fly people from small locations into a one or more large “Hub” cities where they would transfer on to the next destination – usually another hub, or on to the final destination.

Deregulation undermined point-to-point service regardless of market demand, ignoring social objectives of the passengers, having no regard for the final destination of the passengers, and blowing off the “time-value” of their passengers.  Recently, the ever expanding security layer has reached the point of personal privacy invasion.  With the age of the Internet, sites such as Travelocity and Expedia diluted the “service class” market segmentation of the airlines in favor of the “price class” segmentation of airlines.  These forces caused the commercial airline experience to become a deceptive, deeply invasive, and physically strenuous experience.

Private Aviation’s starvation diet

Meanwhile, the private aviation sector has fallen under the thumb of listing agents who tie up the industry behind the gilded walls of Charter Brokerage Houses.  FAA regulation hampers the ability to attract passengers on a per-seat basis, which gives private operators a hugely limited marketing position.  Brokers took over to mark-up the price of chartered flights far beyond the reaches of a mainstream market.

For these reasons, the private aviation sector has had difficulty organizing itself into a self-sustaining cooperative, until now.  In Fact, the smaller the airplane and the more widely distributed the airports, the simpler and more efficient the whole social system can become.

Social Flights changes the Game by Changing the Mission.

How To Play The Value Game

The Value Game is a new class of business methods that converts financial currency into social currency and vice versa.   The benefits of the Value Game are innumerable since social currency is the only true alternate means of storage and exchange for value that can hedge a weakening dollar.

The rules of the game are really quite simple

  1. The Value Game Starts and ends with Dollars (financial currency)
  2. All new value is created within the game is denominated as “Social Currency”
  3. Value is created from 3 or more communities interacting with a shared asset

How to build a Value Game

In order to build a Value Game, the social entrepreneur finds an asset that people are willing to share, and then identify three or more communities whose interaction with the asset creates social value.  The following are 3 Case studies currently under development at The Ingenesist Project:

Example 1: Social Flights is a new startup that aggregates private jets and deploys them to the social graph.

  • The shared asset is the Jet.
  • Player 1 is the traveler,
  • Player 2 is the charter operator
  • Player 3 are Local vendors who issue discount coupons against the airfare.

The traveler creates “time-value” by avoiding commercial aviation and developing their social graph.  Charter operators penetrate underserved markets.  Entrepreneurs supply relevant services to a known client instead of advertising.

Example 2:  High Net Worth Individual (HNWI) Reputation Management System. This business method helps influential persons improve their reputation in a community.

  • The shared asset is a shared reputation.
  • Player 1 is a HNWI.
  • Players 2 are the community organizers associated with a social cause.
  • Player 3 are social media gurus.

The HNWI adopts a social cause by exerting their political/financial influence in favor of the cause.  The Social media guru uses this content to demonstrate their ability to move search engine results, which enhances their on-line influence.    The community organizers receive social influence, managerial knowledge, and financial support for social cause.

Example 3: Collaborative Production. A Socially Important Film Project needs $250K to fund production and estimates 5 Millions views at distribution.

  • The shared asset is the final product film
  • Player 1 are the film producers
  • Player 2 are the Community that will benefit from the film’s production
  • Player 3 are product vendors selected by the community

The community provides detailed demographic information about themselves and their buying habits and the film producers processes these data for anonymity.  The film producers sell $1K options to 250 select corporate vendors for the right to issue a “Groupon-like” device to the 5M viewers of the film. Select vendors use the demographic data to target their message. The people who fill out the demographic surveys can purchase the Coupon for themselves or sell to other people for profit. Sales occur in lieu of advertising. The interaction between these communities produces social value in favor of the vendors, the film producers, and the benefit community.

Gaming The Game

As people learn to build The Value Game, they will innovate new and increasingly creative ways to leverage shared assets and interact with communities for profit.  Given the magnitude of the financial problems in the US, several hundred thousand Value Games will be needed to provide people with their daily needs for education, health care, municipal services, energy, transportation, food, etc.  After a while, the need to return to dollar currency will diminish as the value of the dollar itself diminishes under the weight of the impending debt burden.   As such, The Game will be Gamed by The Value Game.

The Value Game Cracks the Monetization Paradox

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.

Crowdsourcing The Brokerage House

The broker/trading model is a familiar class of business methods.  The broker advertises the availability of someone else’s inventory of assets but withholds information from the market as a means to control the transaction.  The broker does whatever is needed to pay the supplier as little as possible while also charging the customer as much as possible. The Broker  can then collect a fee for producing absolutely nothing of value except control over a transaction.

The Value Game introduces a new class of business methods that disaggregates the broker/advertising model by increasing information delivery to a community rather than withholding it.

The Value Game Revenue Model

For example; Private aircraft charters are held under the weight of a powerful Broker Industry that scrapes 30-40% of the value of created by thousands of hard working professionals who actually operate the airplanes. By deploying The Value Game,  Social Flights was created as a new air transportation company that organizes four types of communities and enables them to interact with each other around a shared asset (an airplane).  During this process of interaction, complete information is provided to each party, rather than being withheld, and everyone plays towards their convergent goals rather than divergent goals.   As a result, the Social Flights application creates Social Currency, which is then readily converted to money.

Social Flights Revenue is derived from the interaction of four communities:

The Travelers

The Operators

The Partners

The True Value Data

Traveler:

Social Flights brings travelers of similar intentions together in Travel Tribes to share flights at wholesale market value.  Air transportation is deployed to the social graph rather than the airline hub & spoke system. Communities that are underserved by commercial airlines are now empowered to interact in new ways.

Operator:

In the past, an aircraft operator would pay a listing service, a Broker, and a marketing department to sell charter services.  Instead, an operator would simply reallocate some of their marketing budget to Social Flights in return for a high volume, reliable, and risk free marketing venue.

Partners:

The cornerstones of the value game are 3rd Party entrepreneurs who scour the community for inventory of hotels, entertainment, recreation, business opportunities, and anything else to support travelers playing the game.  Not unlike Groupon, Social Flights facilitates the application of discount coupons that can be applied to the passenger’s itinerary corresponding to their normalized travel intentions.

True Value Data:

Social Flights creates a valuable and unique form of business intelligence defining how much value, in dollars, that people place on their time.  This results in a conversion factor between social currency and financial currency – something that has never been achieved before. Such data will induce a huge amount of innovation as time/money currencies fuel new Value Games around many other shared assets.

Winners and losers

  • The traveler wins with complete information, point-to-point time travel, and an empowered community.
  • The operator wins with less overhead, less risk, and steady cash flow.
  • Thousands of social entrepreneurs are empowered to deliver support inventory to a new community market.
  • All communities win as such information about the time-value of money helps people reallocates their intentions in the emerging new economy.
  • Social Flights earns their revenue by empowering communities in Social Currency.

OK, so what exactly does the Broker Produce?


May The Best Currency Win

If I was a very wealthy person and I wanted to put my money in a hedge fund that protects me from all possible future outcomes or perils in the financial industry – I would be looking for a fund denominated in social currency.  Should things go wrong, the only place you can go for support will be your immediate community.  After all, you can’t eat Gold.

The Cradle of Civilization, again?

Egypt has demonstrated with astonishing clarity in a remarkable twist in human social evolution how this game plays out.  The dictator may have all the money, but the military has all the social currency – domestic AND international.  What do you think every dictator wishes that they had more of right now: guns, money, or social currency?

What would happen in the U.S. if…

…government austerity measures stop funding education, health care, police protection, and the legal system?

Social media applications will move in to fill the void.

….if inefficient industries like the travel industry, publishing, advertising, politics, academia, and financial services hold their customers hostage by acting as the gatekeeper?

Social media applications will pull the gate down.

…if government, industry, and academia can no longer innovate ways to increase the productivity of people in their community?

They will become irrelevant as people will adapt to manage their own productivity on a platform of social media.

The Great Conversion Factor

Off on the horizon, a truly remarkable new financial system is taking shape.  This system will accomplish one very important task – it will provide a conversion factor between financial currency and social currency.

Every political gridlock, corporate controversy, wikileak, and dictator challenged by their own people is adding one more piece of infrastructure to this new financial system.  Each piece will soon join together to complete the chain required to define the social currency and the form of human productivity that will support it.   Hang on grandchildren, we are getting close.

The effectiveness of this currency will not be in it’s ability to replace the dollar, rather, it will be in the ability to convert between Dollars … and Yen, Euro, Pounds, Renminbi, Dinar, Rupee, etc., in the same Game within which world currencies exchange with each other today.

May the best currency win.

(Editors note: The above post is #5 in a series [1], [2], [3], [4], [5] introducing The Value Game to a new class of business methods.  The first real world application is Social Flights; a collaborative production / consumption game being deployed to the market.  If this works, the new business method class will be generalized throughout the economy to catalyze the convertibility of social currency.  Please join us at The Future of Money and Technology Summit in San Francisco on february 28th 2011 where we will unveil the work to the technology community)

Game Over

The first law of Gaming: If you can’t win a game playing by the rules, stop playing the game, or change the rules. It would seem that Egyptians would add a corollary “Change the Rulers”.

This is not trivial.

Billions of people are walking the planet Earth with the nagging feeling that they cannot win their game playing by the rules they are given.  If America was once the shining beacon of opportunity where hard work and perseverance were the main ingredients of success, and Americans are feeling that they can’t win playing by the rules, then you can expect two things to happen:  People will stop playing the game, AND the rules will change.

Interactive Entertainment

Looking on the sunny side, we see Gaming companies achieving astonishing valuations in Silicon Valley.  What is even more remarkable is that a similar thing is happening concurrently with Travel, Coupons, and Alternate Currencies.  Many people stand back aghast at the sheer size of some of these bets; $120M for Tripit, $5B worth Zynga, $6B for Groupon, $50B for Facebook.  The Market capitalization of Apple ($320B) is almost 2 times greater GDP of Egypt ($188B).

It would be foolish to underestimate the value the gaming component – now called “Interactive Entertainment” – as enabled by the Internet.  Gaming is an extremely mathematical science where designers predict the probabilities that a player will favor one strategy over another.  The better these prediction become, the more interactive and, ostensibly, the more entertaining a game becomes – at least to some people.

The Calculus of Gaming

It is no coincidence that the calculus of gaming and the knowledge assets deployed to the gaming industry are functionally identical to financial and marketing industries such as banking, insurance and demography.  Banks set the price of money based on the probability that you can pay it back (credit scores).  Insurance companies set the price on premiums based on the probability that you will experience a loss (actuarial data).  And Demographers predict what you will buy and who you will vote for. After all, a Bank is really just a game that bets that you will win and an insurance company bets that you will lose, and demographics keeps the game, well, unfair.  But together, they all hedge each other’s risk, not yours.

Watch The Integration, closely

From prior articles; The Travel industry is a proxy for how and where ideas are spread.  The Coupon Industry influences human behavior to accelerate the disruptive innovation and to create new value simultaneously. The Gaming Industry will define the rules by which the new game will be played and provide the ability to predict when, where, and how to value social capital. When the integrated is complete, the ability to capitalize and securitize a new social currency (next article) will emerge to hedge, and then replace, the dollar.

Game over.

***

(Editor’s note: The above post is #4 in a series [1][2][3][4][5] introducing The Value Game to a new class of business methods.  The first real world application is Social Flights; a collaborative production / consumption game being deployed to the market.  If this works, the new business method class will be generalized throughout the economy to catalyze the convertibility of social currency.  Please join us at The Future of Money and Technology Summit in San Francisco on february 28th 2011 where we will unveil the work to the technology community)

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