Think Bigger. Aim Higher. Go Further.

Tag: airplane

Are We Hard Wired?

Hardwired Control Matrix

It has been a challenging month at Social Flights.   Our soft launch story was broken by FAST COMPANY, then it was quickly picked up by  THE NEW YORK TIMESBLOOMBERG TV,  FORBESINC. TECH,  WASHINGTON POST, and MASHABLE, then picked up by various other magazines and bloggers across the web.

Huge Interest in The Business Model

Social flights picked up tens of thousands of hits and several thousand members within a very short period of time.  We also received almost a thousand RFQ’s for charter service and our web traffic rank according to Alexa.com is under 20,000 – better than any other private jet broker in the country, including NetJets.

I personally communicated with dozens of 3rd party entrepreneurs that want to plug into our value proposition and we are discussing multiple high value partnerships in North America and around the world.

Are We Hard Wired?

Introducing such a radical approach brings many challenges, especially in the area of customer expectation.  People are hard wired to schedules, and lines, and pat downs, and waiting, waiting waiting. Social Flights was never conceived to dictate on a market how they should fly and to where.  Social flights will certainly not take people someplace where they don’t want to go – like an airport hub for transfer.  Social Flights will never hold a passenger’s dignity hostage behind some hidden cost or irrelevant regulation.

Losing The Hard Wire

We estimate that Social Flights will optimize at about  2.5 Million members – or roughly 5000 people in each of 500 locations across North America.  At that point our service model will begin to “simulate” the selection and convenience of the commercial airlines.  Keep in mind – this system will “simulate” scheduled service except without hard wires.

5000 people X 500 places model

  • This is the point where there will be a high likelihood that 8-10 people will all want to go to the same place from the same place within reasonable intervals of departure times.
  • This is the point where fluctuations in price and schedule such as de-icing costs, landing fees, fuel cost, or seat cancellation policy can be absorbed across the whole system rather than an individual passenger load.
  • This is the point where ground support vendors will commit substantial discount incentives to controlled bundles of passengers.
  • This is a point where the data that is generated by The Value Game and held solely by the players becomes valuable enough to predict the outcomes of future Value Games.

Not An Easy Puzzle to Solve:

Social Flights is attempting to do something that has never been accomplished in social media with such high value shared assets.  We seek to answer the question: Can people organize themselves around the concept of “Value” much like we have organized ourselves around the concept of “Money”.  Based on our earliest readings, the answer is that people are not as Hard Wired to money as those who control money would like us to believe. Looks like they’d jump the first plane out of Dodge if given a chance.

Tricking The Debt Monster Antibody

The last post “How To Kill a Debt Monster” ended with the following line: How do you inject the debt monster in the head with New Value antibody without messing everything else up?  Hint: stop whacking it in the foot.

Of course, this is a silly analogy but still quite fun to riff on…

Many of the brilliant ideas in the New Value movement are too rich to ignore.  The problem that many face is that these efforts can only be articulated as grassroots start-ups or single entrepreneurs battling in the morass of relative anonymity against the titans of convention. The Debt Monster Process Manual states explicitly that those not pre-ordained must work their way up from the bottom of the food chain where resources are scarce and economic forces are harsh.

Then, when one becomes successful, the debt monster assimilates the innovation into it’s fortress of influence.  Get too radical and the debt monster will squash you, bury you, or slander you.  So, we can’t beat this thing by whacking it in the foot, we need to go for the head.

Collaborative Consumption At The Top of the Food Chain?

So why am I designing Social Flights?  Social Flights is a social media application that helps people fly on corporate jets.  A corporate jet burns more fossil fuel in a hour than I’ll burn all year in my car. Private jets are the most visible display of excess for the wealthy, powerful, and exclusive members of society who can afford to isolate themselves from the huddled masses. Private jets are extremely expensive relegating huge amounts of capital to sit in waiting for their master to beckon them to the tarmac. Why would I be doing this? (disclosure: I love airplanes and the majority of my professional career is in Aviation and Space Transportation)

Electric cars were not sexy until Tesla built one that smokes a Ferrari – albeit, 23 minutes at a time.

The answer is simple – applications of the New Value Movement need to be introduced at the top of the food chain not at the bottom.  Social Flights is a collaborative consumption game based on the The Value Game. It takes an inefficient industry and makes it less so – at a profit.  Travel Tribes essentially convert inefficiently allocated capital into more efficiently allocated capital – and take a profit for doing so.  If you look closely, this is a reversal of the direction of most culprit Capitalist flows, yet it remains entirely Capitalist – at a profit.

In fact, The Value Game is so similar to the de-Value Game that it will go unnoticed by the Debt Monster’s immune system and therefore not generate a defensive attack.  Millions of dyed-in-the-wool entrepreneurs will quickly identify new ways to create profits without fully realizing that they are, in fact, dismantling the old Capitalist system piece-by-piece (and in the proper reverse order) and replacing it with a corrected version.

Social Flights impacts the Airline Industry, The Advertising Industry, The Travel Industry, and Information Monopolies, and sends them back to school – all for profit.  The same can be done with any shared assets and their associated corporate captors.

The Value Game creates real and fungible profits that articulate social value, human capital, a shared biosphere, collaborative production, and ultimately a higher order of expression for the things that people create, store, and exchange together.

That’s why we start with Jets.

Note to Debt Monster: we’re coming after you.

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.

Building Better Problems

The solution to any problem is entirely dependent on how the problem is defined. Likewise, redefining the problem, exposes huge opportunities for new solutions.

In Fact, a great deal of innovation arises not from a clever solution, but from a clever new definition of a problem.

For example, “build a better mouse trap” has entirely different outcome when one simply changes the definition of the word “trap”.

Manufacturing Problems.

Commercial Air Transportation, for example, was once lauded as a “Time Machine” because airplanes could carry a person into “a future” that was otherwise impossible to emerge in, or to a “past” that would never have been witnessed by any other means.

However, solving this problem created many more problems such as runways, infrastructure, car parking, noise, oxygen, crashing, etc. Diligently, we went about solving those problems as well. Unfortunately, solving each of those problems created a host of new problems. Today we’re down to solving the 3.0 ounce of toothpaste rule and the flammable underwear problem.

At some point we need to ask if we are manufacturing problems with every new solution. At what point is innovation taking us backwards? How prevalent is this human trait and does it have anything to do with the financial deficit?

Redefine the Problem

One of the greatest opportunities of Social Media (which is rarely cited by the experts) is the opportunity to redefine problems in the context of social media. Using our airline example, we know that commercial aviation arose from WWII as a response for bringing troops to static battle fields with such dynamic machines as the DC3. This worked great after the war too!

Today we still treat people as static and airplanes as dynamic. Suppose we were to redefine the problem so that people are dynamic and the airplane is static?

Think about it, people go about their life with work, family, and friends. Then they hop into a long aluminum tube, tie themselves down and sit there doing nothing. After a few hours, they emerge from the tube to go about their life, work, family, and friends. The aluminum tube is static, not dynamic – it’s a time machine, remember?

The opportunity, therefore, is for people to self-aggregate using social media around locations, schedules, and events related to life, work, family, and friends. The market could then supply the correct size aluminum tube to meet the need of the community. After all, wouldn’t it be easier to move one airplane to meet the ‘market of many’ rather than trying to move the ‘market of many’ to meet one airplane?

This may sound trivial now, but don’t underestimate the creativity of social entrepreneurs to build a better problem to solve.

Video: The Last Mile of Social Media

Sure Bro…Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin are great for broadcasting across the Ocean, but how good are they for meeting your neighbors? As wonderful as all this global chatter appears, nothing tangible happens until the rubber meets the road.

Don’t Worry, Be Neighborly…

The following video describes how the components of the next economic paradigm must act locally, but share globally. For anyone wondering what to do next or where the great opportunities are, think about building out the Last mile of Social Media.

Thank You for Flying Citizen Airlines, LLC

I will be introducing a number of applications of Innovation Economics in Social Media as continue writing part 2 of my book. The objective is to identify new business opportunities by disrupting the old economic paradigm with new ways to organize people around social media. In this case, a troubled industry would team up with communities that are not their direct customers:

Corporate-jet-001I live in Edmonds Washington near Paine Field – home of the sprawling Boeing manufacturing site of the 747, 777, and 787 aircraft. For years, the county executives have been trying to lure major airline service into Paine Field Airport claiming the economic benefits would far outweigh the drawbacks. Paine Field is about 1 hour north of Seattle Tacoma Airport and about 3 hours South of Vancouver, BC.

Many efforts over the years to locate another airport in this gap have hit political and environmental land mines. Paine Field expansion is no different. For years, the county, state, and FAA have been funding “improvements” that look a lot like accommodations for scheduled airline service. The county executive has been courting carriers, lobbying ‘unaffected voters’ and corralling legislators to this grand economic development cause.

The citizens of neighboring communities have not stood still. They have commissioned studies of every environment and quality of life factor from home value impact to distracted learning at the local schools. They cite urban blight, social deviance, and under development at other similar expansion projects. Political careers are made and broken over support or opposition to the airport expansion.

So far, the market has not proven large enough to support a major B737 sized scheduled service. Ironically, there have been very few studies of the impact of private aviation service expansions. Little data is discussed related to the noise foot print of small jets versus large jets. Very little data is presented to the community about distributed vs. concentrated air and car traffic flows and the upscale effects of a private aviation presence.

To the community’s advantage, small private carriers can soak up and diffuse the market that would eventually support a major carrier. These battles are raging all over the country against the political mantra of Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Local communities are running out of money, lawyers, and stall tactics to fight them.

With the price of seat on a (full) private Jet about the same as a business class ticket on a major airline, local communities may want to go into the travel agency business. By using community media, website, a booking website, twitter alerts, and tourism agents to identify and match travelers to destinations combined with some proactive social media marketing, Citizen Airlines LLC can stave off an airport expansion by competing with it.

Meanwhile, unemployed citizens are available to manage an on-line Community Branded jet service (operated by a private carrier). Advertising and marketing can be transferred to the community in exchange for reduced rates and shared access to private aviation reports and data which would help them fight airline expansion.

This requires that the private aviation industry empower communities who are not necessarily their direct customers but are stakeholders none the less. Social Capitalism is the act of elevating oneself by elevating the entire community rather than opressing then for capitalist gains. By giving people a voice, the economy gets a bullhorn.

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