Think Bigger. Aim Higher. Go Further.

Month: September 2011

The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth

Engineers are notoriously bad at organizing themselves – or maybe not. 

Engineers tend to stay to themselves and are rarely mentioned in the domains of media, politics, Hollywood, banking, medicine, or law.  Traditional engineering societies are weak and sparse.  Nobody even thinks about paying them royalties for the satellites that carry our smart phone signals.

Some say that Engineers can’t see the forest through the trees.  Others say that Engineers have little tolerance for banter, conjecture, diatribe and all the triviality of mixing with the rest of the world.  Yet, few can argue that Engineers are the ones we all need to show up every day to keep the water clean, the airplanes safe, the code logical, and the law enforceable.

Money is backed by productivity, otherwise, nobody would work for it – think about that for a moment. 

Why would anyone work for something that does not represent what he or she creates?   However, few people notice that productivity is the domain of engineering.  The machines that they create, the bridges that they build, the code they write, and the infrastructure they lay exists for the sole purpose of supporting human productivity.

Whose money is it?

So why are most engineers strangely silent in the emerging discussion about new economies, alternate currencies, and the New Value Movement?  Who are these people and why should we care about them?  I attended a lecture with Charlie Munger, CFO of Berkshire Hathaway who stated in reference to the Enron collapse “it’s bad enough when we lose the accounting profession, but dear God help us if we lose the Engineers”. Charlie cares.

We call them Geeks – but what is really going through their minds?   What would happen if they did organize – or are they already?  Where will they hide all the Value that bankers can’t find anymore? Or has the game already changed? Remember who inherited the hamlet of Hamelin.

A Radical Twist on Crowd Computing

Social Flights is a Value Game. The objective is for communities to fill a private jet in both directions in order to achieve the best economics. This may be achieved through creative Game Mechanics where travelers, aircraft operators, tourism and hospitality vendors, and municipalities interact in their mutual best interest to perform a calculation in a radical twist on the concept of Crowd Computing.

But what if communities could organize themselves using their own data? This would introduce a great deal of innovation in order to solve a calculation that is otherwise performed by capital infrastructure such as structures, corporations, government, or in the case of Social Flights, a vast hub airport.

The Value Game is designed to be gamed by entrepreneurs where “True Value” is created through collaboration rather than competition.  

If Social Flights can create a game where people share an airplanes, imagine that the same game can be played with any shared asset from cars, education, health care, food production, and even public infrastructure.  Communities may perform the “calculations of economics” much like how traditional tribes allocate resources.  Enterprise lacking in “socially redeeming value”,  by definition, will fail.

So exactly how powerful are tribes?

As we all seen this year alone in the Internet Age, Social Currency can and does directly challenge dictators, militaries, financial systems, and governments across the globe.  People are performing Crowd Calculations – communities are Crowd Computing.  These ideas and many more will be highlighted by Innotribe at SIBOS 2011

Let me offer an analogy:      

The economy that is denominated by Money, is a system built on 5 pillars that are perform the calculations of finance and economics.  The pillars are integrated to support a financial system. These pillars are: a currency, an accounting system, vetting institutions, entrepreneurs, and consumers.

If any one of these pillars is broken, corrupted, oppressed or otherwise fails, the entire system falters. Enron presented a failure in the accounting profession. The mortgage crisis was the failure of the vetting mechanisms. Corrupt legal systems suppress entrepreneurs. Now the debt crisis is threatening the currency pillar.  The currency crisis will threaten the consumer.

Suppose that these five old economic pillars could be duplicated in a some different way and then integrated to form an alternate system for performing the same calculations.   It is no coincidence that many of the sessions at SIBOS2011/Innotribe correspond to the five pillars of such an economy.

Entrepreneurs: Social Data and Cooperation, Corporate Cultures 

Vetting mechanisms:  Banks for a better world

Accounting system; Big Data

Consumers: Digital Identity

Currency; Future of Money

Imagine this, if the organizations at Innotribe were to integrate to create a new economy that is only slightly more efficient the old system, they may become the mother of all hedge funds. Remember the dictator caught without social currency?  At least half the money in the world will convert, capitalize, and securitize in social currency.  We may not be that far off from that day.

The New Economies Track at SIBOS2011/Innotribe features the people and projects that are at the forefront of “The Big Integration” where the five pillars of a new economic system will integrate themselves to form a new economy to replace the old.  It all starts with entrepreneurs such as those featured at Innotribe 2011 trying to figure out new ways to integrate the five pillars of a new economy.

New Economies; May The Best Street Win

The great dream for new economies movement is that Wall Street has finally met its match from the vast interconnected social systems that now dominate communication, organization, and commerce.

The problem is that no matter what the New Economies Movement comes up with, Wall Street will capitalize it, commoditize it, securitize it, and sell it back to us for the price of our communities.  Then they’ll build derivatives and options around it and wrap it all up in a nice hedge fund that transfers all risk back to us.   The Street always wins.

So why can’t we do what Wall Street does?

At Social Flights we believe that we can provide 10,000 jobs across the United States by letting people sell options on aircraft seats.

How would this work?

The Hub and Spoke system consists of about 30 major airports in the US that act as hubs.  The rest are spokes and many smaller cities are barely served at all.  So unless you are flying between two hubs, you will always have to catch a connection, waste time, and incur social expenses.

For the price of a typical airport lounge bar tab, a traveler can buy an option to fly a private jet non-stop between their destinations.  An option is the right without the obligation to take a position in the future.  The option would be convertible, transferrable, and may even be exercised on a wide variety of schedules.

Calling all unemployed entrepreneurs 

Suppose that I saw a listing on Social Flights for a private jet flight from Boise Idaho to Colorado Springs taking place in three weeks and costing 300 dollars.  Since I know a lot of people in both cities, I can either use the ticket myself, or I have 3 weeks to sell it for, say, 500 dollars.

This is a bargain because there are no non-stop flights between these two cities and airline prices tend to increase as the departure date approaches.  The private jet can do the trip in two hours whereas the commercial airline would take 8 or more hours. I could buy an option on that flight for, say 30 dollars and resell the ticket for a $170.00 profit.   If I cannot sell the ticket, then I can use the ticket, convert it to another option, or lose my 30 dollars (just like the bar tab).

I am a Capitalist

In effect, I am rewarded for my size and quality of my social network.  I am rewarded for my ability to research in the Internet to find likely prospects who would seek to travel at a time savings.  I am rewarded for my knowledge, associations, professional skills, and ability to analyze data and organize people.   I am rewarded for finding arbitrage opportunities in an inefficient industry.  I buy low and sell high – I am a Capitalist

While this may not seem like a large impact, if 5000 – 10,000 people make their living trading Social Options, the market will shift.  If Social Options can be created for aviation inventory, they can be created for all inventory.  For the exact same effect as a Groupon, people can trade options on goods and services while hedging against Wall Street and restoring community Values.

Don’t just change the game, change the street that it is played on….

New Economies at SIBOS; The Metacurrency Project

The New Economies Panel at SIBOS Innotribe this year in Toronto represents the most important elements of a new economy which many people believe is emerging to replace the old one that continues to crumble around us.

The common message of New Economy movement is the vastly expanded definition for the term “Value’ – far beyond that which can be articulated with money.  Very few organizations hold this idea as explicit to their DNA as The Metacurrency Project.

Few can deny that the Sun delivers all value to our Earth.  The Mass of our Universe provides the rest; Gravity, Motion, and time.  In this context, money is a trivial device that simply articulates the relatively archaic things that humans can manage to conjure and horde from the vast natural resources that are delivered to us for free.

The idea that Energy can exist is many forms cannot be separated from the fact that Value can and must also exist in many forms.  The challenge that we face as a civilization is to build an economy that articulates all Value completely and truthfully.

The Metacurrency Project has become a Worldwide conversation expanding the definition of value and building systems to articulate such value in communities, companies, and society.

I had the opportunity to meet Art Brock at The Future of Money and Technology Summit in San Francisco earlier this year.  Art represents a very important voice in the discussion of new economies at SIBOS/Innotribe on September 19-23 in Toronto.

We look forward to seeing you in Toronto.  If not, then thank you for continued interest and participation in the important subject of New Economies.

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