Think Bigger. Aim Higher. Go Further.

Tag: business disruption

The Old Economic Paradigm Breaks Down

childmillworkerAs the economic crisis unfolds before us and a paralyzed government, we must seek to understand the forces still acting upon all of us. When cause and effect have become a “complete mystery” to our most prominent thinkers and leaders, they need to look at history.

Does the Merchant Class allocate land Labor and Capital to the a great extent in an Innovation economy? The accepted statistic is that 70% of a company’s value comes from human capital and the creative solutions that they produce.

Land, labor, and capital are ineffective proxies for human creativity and intellect – end of story. The road to new monetization is not paved upon on the roadmap of the industrial revolution.  Something new needs to happen:

The simple truth is that humans have not evolved to the point where they will organize themselves as knowledge assets in a financial system – they still need to use a proxy for their productivity controlled by a master, a corporation, an idealism. It’s called money, politics, and fear.

The reality is that opportunities are endless if we can simply shift away from history and build a new future; a new economic paradigm.

Video: Tangible Knowledge; The Holy Grail of Social Media

Accounting Balance sheets have tangible assets and intangible assets. Unfortunately, intangible often means invisible and those on the dark side of the moon wind up in the unemployment line.

What if knowledge assets were tangible? What if you owned your knowledge like a company owns a structure or specialized machinery? What if it could be quantified and qualified so that it resembles all other tangible assets? Easy answer…entrepreneurs will trade it, like money.

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.

Video: Currency Must be Backed by Productivity

We must all be engaged in the process of Innovation. We must all be engaged in the process of increasing each other’s productivity – in whatever form that may be, that’s the objective. Anything that wastes time needs to go away. It’s that simple.

The following video discusses what the dynamic of an innovation economy will look like. Not glass walled towers and obscure think tanks, but real productivity – yours and mine. That’s the basis of the new global currency. It’s that simple.

Share Me

Video: Money vs. Productivity

The questions are:

1. What is money? 2. Why is it important? 3. Why is it all so confusing?

The answers are:

1. You are money. 2. You are important. 3. You’re not supposed to know this.

This video provide an easy way to find the truth among the high-fiber ambiguity that has become our political morass. Oh Yeah, they want you to be confused because they don’t want you to act any differently.

What is the Quality of Conversation?

conversation1As we build the Next Economic Paradigm we seek to define the quality of conversations.

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment, (CEFR), is a guideline used to describe achievements of learners of foreign languages across Europe.

Here is the twist.

We propose the use of a language proficiency standard as the conversational quality standard for any subject. Why?, Because every subject has it’s own language and related subjects have related languages. Try to bridge the philosophical chasm for yourself by reading the descriptions and drawing the analogy to the subject of your expertise, lack of expertise, or your interests and intension!

As such, for conversations about any subject matter in the world, past present or future, the following also holds true for subject matter proficiency:

Basic Proficiency

A1: Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

A2: Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance. Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.

Intermediate Proficiency

B1: Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

B2: Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

Advanced Proficiency

C1: Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

C2: Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.

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.

Is it Social Media or Corporate Media?

corporate news

Visionaries Ho!

There are no shortage of intelligent and visionary social media celebrities.  They write great books about markets, social media tools, strategies, and on-line reputation for the benefit of the millions of people stuck on any part of the slippery social media learning curve.  They are infinitely generous with their knowledge and share it freely at countless conferences, blog posts, and syndicated articles.

There is, however, one thing that most of these Guru’s have in common – they consult to and are paid by large corporations. I could be considered part of this crowd for whatever my influence is worth.  So the question about causation is due – will social media develop as a function of corporate interaction with it?

If so, then it is not social media – it is corporate media.

This is no surprise, nor should there be any apparent concern, after all, everyone has to make a living and it is better that the corporations pay people to create content that benefits me.   The practice is conducted quite ethically too -most readily disclose where their financial support comes from and we all benefit from free information that helps us keep the playing field as level as it can be.

But at the end of the day, it’s all about eye-balls and bullhorns.  In order to produce eyeballs and bullhorns, people must be sitting at a computer or, at least, staring at a handset.  The longer you can keep people interacting with the brand instead of interacting with each other, the better off everyone is, right?

Social Media Consumer Advocate

A consumer advocate is someone who helps look after the best interest of the consumer for product safety and false advertising.  Social media is pushing the envelope of the corporate interaction with consumers.  “Advertising” no longer lends itself to the objective review of a billboard, commercial, or public statement.  Social Media Marketing is increasingly sophisticated and manipulative.  The vulnerable people; children and elders are no less vulnerable on social media, and may be more.

Social anomalies?

Some of the emerging research related to social media is surprising with increased instances of what can be considered social anomalies:

Infantilism; adults doing childish things like playing silly games in ‘public’
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; constantly checking for updates and new photos,
Depression and loneliness; preference of social media over real live interaction
Narcissism; The excessive love or admiration of one’s image of their self.

Is it social because it is media or is it media because it is social?

We need to ask ourselves what is the difference between computer enabled reality and computer simulated reality.   If we lose “causation” the entire body of analysis can be called into the question: is social media or is it corporate media?

Predictions for 2010 and Beyond – Nothing is Sacred

transparentIt looks like everyone is buffing up their predictions for another year of astonishing growth by social media. The last several years have brought so many surprises that the next several are promising to yield a bumper crop of “I told you so” fodder from the “pithier than thou” crowd.

My prediction for 2010 is that nothing is sacred, including the onslaught 2010 predictions. Therefore, I’ll will go way out on a limb and make my 2011 predictions in 2009.

In General:

The interest coming due on our national debt will consume increasingly more of the money that institutions need to provide basic services. As these institutions weaken, they will increasingly be replaced by social media enterprise. These structurally weakened institutions will drive social media innovation more than any other factor.

Specifically:

  1. Social vetting will catch everyone by surprise. Google buying Yelp is the game changer that will shake markets to the core. A market can only be as efficient as its vetting mechanism. To control vetting is to control a market – ask any despot. Where the vetting institutions of the old paradigm break down, they will be replaces by social media vetting. Nothing is sacred – the SEC, AMA, Federal Reserve – everything is vulnerable. Google knows this and will usher in an era of social media applications that will completely disrupt the gatekeepers.
  2. Everyone says that social media will monetize. It will, but not like anyone expects. 2011 is the year of the Deep Web; the deep web is the vast universe of unprocessed data that exists like dark matter in the Google-verse. Social media will monetize around data because data is the only thing that corporation, governments, and other people are willing to pay for. Google created economic initiatives for legions of entrepreneurs to create information content. The new Deep Web Search engines will create economic incentives for legions of entrepreneurs to create databases.
  3. The convergence of data will create the “new monetized innovation economy” defined by the way people interact with data. Highly localized data that will reflect the knowledge inventory of a community and will be represented by a virtual currency.
  4. It will become increasingly apparent that many of the functions of a corporation can be duplicated outside a corporation by new vetted social media applications. Networks of people will become “corporations” and trade knowledge assets through the trade of virtual currency contracts.
  5. Corporations will become technology centric rather than industry centric with open source architecture liberated to armies of diverse entrepreneurs. For example, breakthoughs in one industry will shoot across all industries like iphone apps – especially effective in environmental and “community organization” innovations. Nothing is sacred.

So there it is and be assured that 2012 will not disappoint even the hardiest eschatologist!

Sorry for not repeating the “real-time is king” mantra or singing the “people will finally pay for content” tune, or reciting the “every department is the marketing department” manifesto. Something much bigger is about to happen. The evolution away from the current financial system will drive social media more than any other factor.

Is Wall Street Irrelevant to an Innovation Economy?

The most difficult challenge facing the modern creative entrepreneur is the funding of innovation. Likewise, the greatest constraint on an innovation economy is the funding of innovation. Having great new ideas is the easy part; actually building something around those ideas is hard work.

As such, the funding all of that hard work is the constraint on innovation economy. Traditionally, the “corporation” served as the legal entity within which all the hard work would be contained and the accounting system through which it would be financed. But even that arrangement does not work well enough to support a new economic paradigm for an innovation economy.

Is Wall Street Irrelevant to an Innovation Economy?

Our modern and supposedly efficient financial system in fact punishes innovation. If a company announces a new multi-year allocation of a substantial amount of money toward new innovation, stock price of the company is pushed downward since the funding would apparently be taken from today’s profits. The market would prefer to take their money elsewhere until the (now unfunded) innovation is market ready.

The prospect for the individual entrepreneur is worse. The modern and supposedly efficient banking system does not acknowledge an entrepreneur’s good idea and the work that they are willing to do to reach fruition.

So if most innovation (and the hard work of developing it) is self-funded, and all innovation (and the hard work of developing it) is the basis of all wealth creation, why do we need Wall Street? Ironically, the ‘revelation’ of the next economic paradigm is that Wall Street is ‘irrelevant’.

The opportunity for the future is to develop a financial system that does accommodate the fact of innovation and the willingness of entrepreneurs to do the hard work of developing it.

If taken in aggregate – the total wealth creation of all private innovation is obviously some positive number. If better data were accumulated regarding all the private innovation that is happening, then that positive number for overall wealth creation can be predicted within a range. The better the data are, the smaller the range for this estimate of net wealth creation.

If net wealth creation can accommodate the past and predicted into the future, then a cash flow can be assigned to all private innovation. If a cash flow can be predicted, then a bond can be issued backed by this estimated cash flow. This cash flow, while not actually realized can be expressed in terms of an IOU credit. These credits can be traded like money

Now it becomes in the best interest of a market to protect, nurture, and legitimize the innovators who are willing to do the hard work to develop the next innovation industries.

Is Wall Street Irrelevant to an Innovation Economy?

Should Education be Open Source?

open-courseWe continue to challenge the relevance of the college “degree” as being an insufficient measurement for what “educated” is, or is not, in an innovation economy. With the cost of a college degree spiraling upward and the value of the degree spiraling downward, the market will tip in favor of the alternative education measurements.

It is important to note that we do not challenge the existence of institutes of higher education, only the “degree” as a unit of measurement. The four year Bachelor degree and two year Masters degree are irrelevant as a title (there is no legal title since the age of the guilds) and arbitrary in duration to respond to the diversity, speed, and scope at which new technologies become available for deployment.

Ray Barton writes: The UK House of Commons in its’ report on Re-skilling in January 2009 stated the useful life of a degree is five years. In high tech professions, the useful lifetime of knowledge can be as short as 1.5 years.

This alone disrupts the current paradigm of higher education in several ways.

Building a Better Entrepreneur; Google 10^100

Google 10^100 award voting is Launched.  There are two sectors that we believe would have the greatest impact on the greatest amount of people; building a better banking system and funding social entrepreneurs.  You can’t have one without the other – if Google funds these two sectors in concert, the outcome would be incredible.

Build A Better Bank

In the old banking system we assume that we have the knowledge to execute a business plan and we go to the bank to borrow the money.  In the new banking system, we will assume we have the money and we go off in search of the knowledge.  Social Media is an excellent “public accounting system” for knowledge assets.

Our current banking system has gotten it backwards.

Technological change must always precede economic growth. The supranational currency may be backed by productivity and not debt.  Social media provides an excellent platform upon which to design such a banking system. People trade “social currency” at a tremendous rate.  This is evidenced by the amount of destructive innovation is occurring in many legacy sectors due to social media.

Better Banking Tools for everyone

“Partner with banks and technology companies to increase the reach of financial services across the world. Users submitted numerous ideas that seek to improve the quality of people’s lives by offering new, more convenient and more sophisticated banking services. Specific suggestions include inexpensive village-based banking kiosks for developing countries; an SMS solution geared toward mobile networks; and ideas for implementing banking services into school curriculums”.

Suggestions that inspired this idea

1.    Enable prepaid cell phone bank accounts for millions of people working in the informal economy
2.    Create a community-level electronic banking system for rural areas
3.    Build IT-enabled kiosks which provide access to financial services
4.    Create a single world bank or supra-national currency, uniform rules and transparent public accounting

Fund Social Entrepreneurs

Venture Capital is ridiculously expensive. Corporate innovation serves shareholders value over social priorities.  Some say that the financial risk of funding innovation is too high. The top ten reasons why start-ups fail are due to knowledge deficits, not money deficits.  A new banking system that trades knowledge as currency would solve this problem.

The key is to match most worthy knowledge surplus to most worthy knowledge deficit.  Google is perfectly able to build a search app for knowledge assets if there were an inventory of knowledge assets.  With the most worthy match, Risk can be reduced and new financial instruments can be developed such as the innovation bond, innovation insurance, tangential innovation markets, and destructive innovation transition contingency options, etc.

Help social entrepreneurs drive change

Create a fund to support social entrepreneurship. This idea was inspired by a number of user proposals focused on “social entrepreneurs” — individuals and organizations who use entrepreneurial techniques to build ventures focused on attacking social problems and fomenting change. Specific relevant ideas include establishing schools that teach entrepreneurial skills in rural areas; supporting entrepreneurs in underdeveloped communities; and creating an entity to provide capital and training to help entrepreneurs build viable businesses and catalyze sustained community change.

Suggestions that inspired this idea

1.    Provide targeted capital and business training to help young entrepreneurs build viable businesses and catalyze sustained community change
2.    Create a non-profit, venture capital-like revolving fund to invest in high-impact local entrepreneurs
3.    Send young American entrepreneurs to underdeveloped communities to help create small businesses that would economically benefit those communities
4.    Create schools in rural areas to teach local people how to become entrepreneurs
5.    Create a private equity fund to help immigrants in developed countries finance business development in their countries of origin

Will Facebook Currency Intermarry with the US Dollar?

Facebook is testing a virtual currency, because it’s cool and they can do it. They are not alone, the gaming industry has been at it for a long time for people who want to be more “productive” in the game space.

There is no mention, however, whether a Facebook currency could be used as a medium of exchange in the event of hyperinflation and the crash of the US dollar.  I can find nobody, writing anywhere today, that is willing to cross this proverbial line in the editorial sandbox.

I personally witnessed a devaluation in Mexico. Like a tsunami, the “adjustment” happens relatively fast as values ’snap’ fluctuate relative to other currencies.  Then very interesting things start to happen in the community. People will literally empty WalMart because most goods will be cheaper today than tomorrow.

As with other hyperinflation events, black markets form around various items such as gasoline, cigarettes, or Levis as people require some medium of exchange in order to buy necessities such as groceries and cooking fuel.

A Facebook currency may just be what communities will use to get through the event.  However, a Facebook Currency would likely be temporary because it could not be used in Banks to capitalize assets – or, by government who can’t figure out how to tax it.

Now the question becomes, what type of social currency could be intermarry with dollars?

Here is a hint; the dollar is backed by debt which is a promise to be more productive in the future. Conveniently, “innovation” is also a promise to be more productive in the future. Two such currencies are of the same species and can intermarry yielding new economic life.

The degree to which any ‘virtual’ currency is interchangable with the dollar is the degree to which it represents human innovation. Chew on that, Facebook.

If it Quacks like a Buck…..

If it looks like a buck, and talks like a buck, and quacks like a buck – it’s probably a buck.

So when your money gets “free will” and starts walking out the door door, that’s bad enough.  When flies out the window en mass enabled by the same social media that  brings money in the door – serious management issues arise.  Should organization choose fight, flight, or cooperation?

Battle lines are being drawn:

  • “Among large U.S. companies, 33% have employees on staff to monitor e-mail messages — up from 15% last year, one survey found. The Proofpoint study also found that 31% of companies had fired workers who breached confidentiality via e-mail, and 8% had fired someone over a social-networking leak. The survey found 41% of respondents are worried about potential leaks via Twitter. ZDNet (08/10)”
  • “Marines banned social networking sites from their computers Tuesday due to security concerns, and the Pentagon announced a policy review. But Pentagon’s top officer will still tweet (Christian Science Monitor 08/05)

There are literally thousands of articles on this subject but none of the few that I read came to any conclusion, so I will:

Money is becoming intangible (cannot be contained) and Social Media is becoming tangible (has become the container)

The very structure of organizations is changing.  Trying to control the temperature of the room when the windows have been blown out will only destroy existing controls faster.  A completely new economic structure is emerging complete with new factors of production, incentives, institutions, accounting, and currency.

Swap or swamp?

Easier said than done?  Not really; all we need to do is swap the same methods that we use to manage tangible assets with those same methods that we use to manage intangible assets.  There are in fact people and organizations trying to do this (specifically this author) but you won’t find then in corporations anymore.

Companies have no choice but to understand migration patterns, flock actualization needs, motivation, and environmental issues.  Going from an economy where the corporate charter is only “to deliver shareholder value” to one of safeguarding the health and welfare of people and their property” is a huge leap.

The discussion of Conversational Currency is required to understand the underlying economic forces that drive social media and the emerging institutional structure for corporations to create value in a computer enabled society.

The Balance Sheet for Knowledge Assets

Innovation economics has a way of forcing us to look at the mirror image of conventional wisdom.  This article will look at knowledge assets as they might appear on an accounting balance sheet.  You may be surprised at what happens at the bottom line.

Wall Street will often reward a company that has a large backlog of orders. This can appear in the eyes of most observers as an asset. After all, who would not want a backlog of orders?  However, in the world of social media, a huge backlog causes a serious problem – it represents commitments made that have not yet been delivered. An unfulfilled promise in a social network is a liability and not an asset.  By extension, a backlog in an innovation economy is a liability and not an asset (note: climate change).

Applying conventional wisdom to an innovation economy, we find that most companies have an excellent inventory of the “liability” but a poor inventory of the “asset” that will execute those promises. All of their plans, specifications, blueprints, job descriptions, policies and procedures, etc., are liabilities in an innovation economy because these define the promise that is unfulfilled, not the asset that will fulfill them.

Until recently, companies assumed that the right knowledge assets will always be available – an assumption that for a long time has limited the level of productivity that humans can achieve, specifically, the sustainability of natural resources. The absence of a knowledge inventory limits the complexity of problems that humans can solve much like industry was limited to custom machinery before Eli Whitney demonstrated the concept of interchangeable parts less than 200 years ago.

Further, if the product line is expected to have a life cycle of more than a few years, the knowledge inventory must extend beyond the doors of the company and into the surrounding community.  Therefore, the knowledge inventory must take on the taxonomy of the community, not the taxonomy of the corporation such as skill codes, levels, titles, etc. The requirement is now clearly in the domain of social networks.  Yet, I still hear grumblings in the blog sphere that social networks cannot be monetized – nothing should be further from the truth.

So, let’s talk about the bottom line.  For example, Boeing announced today that their greatest future challenge would be the availability of engineers. Boeing has a market capitalization of $34B and a $300B backlog.  Money has a 10:1 multiplier as it travels through and economy.  For a balanced accounting statement, what would be the real value of a social network that can capture the correct knowledge inventory to support Boeing; 34B, 300B, or 3T?

In general, valid estimates of the bottom line can vary by 2 orders of magnitude depending on the point of view of Wall Street, corporate management, or the social network community.  Who would be the better steward?

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