I am deeply honored to be asked to deliver a keynote at SIBOS 2011 in Toronto next month.  Normally, I would consider myself quite lucky to have 5-7 minutes to speak to the World’s premier financial services conference. However, I’ll be speaking against the backdrop of economic turmoil, political gridlock, and unprecedented strains on natural resources – across the globe.

The topic of the presentation is The Power of Tribes.  While I’ll be representing a business application of this subject, – again, the backdrop for the Power of Tribes is Egypt, Syria, London, Wisconsin, Juarez, China, etc.

Why would they care about what I think?

I am aware that it’s unlikely that the financial industry will awaken some day and say:  “Wow, those kids who marched for equality and human rights in the 80”s were right all along!”.  “Yes, Yes, in order for the rich to live like we do, the poor need to live like they do and that’s not fair”. “Oh Gosh, let’s consult our engineers”.  Uh, not a chance.

They want a mountain of New Gold to appear on the Horizon.

The financial services industry is looking for new Value – something to prop up the Old Value that money is struggling to articulate.   As soon as I grab the mic, the audience will be saying to themselves “Ok, big guy, show me the money”.

Maybe I’ll suggest that Hosni Mubarack had no shortage of money or guns yet he was defeated by social (current) currency.  I could build a metaphore of a world where social currency directly challenges financial currency, political institutions, and even military strength.  Others have tried this path, so why would they believe me?

Perhaps I’ll speak through the reflection of a familiar mirror.

The financial industry is build on five pillars.  If any one of these five pillars is corrupted, the whole system fails

1. “Currency” exists for the purpose of storing and exchanging “Value”.

2. Value of currency is verified by vetting institutions.

3. An accounting system articulates inventory of Value

4. A business model such as “buy low and sell high”

5. Entrepreneurs do the fuzzy math and accept risk

It is not hard to track any failed economy with one or more of these pillars collapsed, nor is it difficult to see the cracks in the walls of the remaining economies.

The Power of Tribes

What many people do not yet realize is that as the old economy weakens a new one is emerging in lockstep.  The five pillars of a capitalist economy are being replicated in the social media movement:

Let me start in reverse:

5: Entrepreneurs do the fuzzy math – Search Engine Optimization

4: The business model is buy low, sell high – communities elevate social priorities

3: An Accounting system – trust, reputation, family, community, and influence

2: vetting institutions:  Twitter, Yelp, G+, Quora, and many many more

Only after these components have developed to a sufficient degree and become integrated with each other, a social currency will emerge.  It is wrong to say that a social currency comes first and all the rest will follow.

1. The new currency will come AFTER the integration of Social Media.

Convertible with money:

Keep in mind that dollars were once backed by Gold.  Eventually, the need for gold convertibility became obsolete.  Likewise, this social currency will be convertible with money, and eventually the need to convert to dollars will become obsolete. That’s the end game on the dollar

That’s also the Gold Mine on the Horizon…that’s The Power of Tribes