Think Bigger. Aim Higher. Go Further.

Tag: culture

How To Overhaul GDP

Self-imposed exile, or land of opportunity?

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) refers to the market value of all officially recognized final goods and services produced within a country in a given period.  Simon Kuznets first developed the concept of the GDP for a US Congress report in 1934.  He immediately said not to use it as a measure for welfare. He later elaborated:

“Distinctions must be kept in mind between quantity and quality of growth, between costs and returns, and between the short and long run. Goals for more growth should specify more growth of what and for what.”

Sheer Madness at best

Today, the concept of Gross Domestic Product is vastly flawed to the point where the tail now wags the dog.  GDP now determines what we produce, who produces it, where it is produced, when and how it is produced.  Further, GDP snuffs out vast amounts of intangible value simply because it cannot be measured as GDP.

Global Policy is not enough

Recently, The G-20 meetings resolved to a very interesting point; to redefine GDP by a new set of metrics.  This will be a long hard journey if done solely in the political domain.   However, if we can make a business case for it, the entrepreneurs will jump on board.  Then, and only then, can the landscape change as rapidly and drastically as will be required to turn civilization around equitably and peacefully.

Corporate Policy is not enough

The irony is that those who perpetrate GDP metrics may be those who would benefit the most from dumping it.  In the following article from FastCompany, How Intangible Corporate Culture Creates Tangible Profits, companies who learn to transform intangible assets to tangible value become more competitive over companies that do not.  The article cites Southwest Airlines as the first airline to strip down all “tangible” amenities, yet they succeed by replacing them with intangible value such as superior customer experience.

Policy, Corporations, Culture and Entrepreneurs need to act as one:

Interestingly, the FastCompany article talks a great deal about culture.  They also use the terms; “information, knowledge, innovation, and wisdom” liberally throughout the text.  This is very inspiring to us at The Ingenesist Project because we use similar language to design and deploy business methods in industries as diverse as Aviation, Construction, and Philanthropy that readily convert between tangible and intangible value.

For Example:

  • The objective of Zertify is to replace the competitive incentives among communities and replace them with a knowledge inventory that matches mentors to protégé.  Teachers and students do not compete, they collaborate in order to be successful.
  • The Value Game creates an environment where one acting in the best interest of their collaborator, acts in their own best interest of value creation.
  • Our Exoquant algorithm provides a direct relatedness between information, knowledge, innovation, and wisdom.

The New Value Movement

When we talk about the New Value Movement, we are trying to specify a new class of business methods that can literally “manufacture” the things that people actually need without any distinction between tangible and intangible.  People need a game that they can win playing by the same set of rules. People need food as much as the need love – there is no walled garden of human needs, except the planet we share.

Then we can measure what people actually produce with it

America’s Uncivil War

I am deeply concerned with the Liberal / Conservative flame wars. Countless Facebook discussions start with a casual reference to one position or the other, then quickly devolve into deeply divisive language. I see it in forums, Chats, Comments on blogs, news articles and YouTube Videos.

It’s getting worse – people can no longer agree to disagree.

I do not believe in big government. On the other hand, I do not believe that corporations should be the sole protectors for safeguarding the social charter. Call me an idealist, but I truly believe that given the right incentives, people can govern themselves to a very large degree.

Weapon of Mass Reconstruction

We have at our disposal the most powerful tool ever created for the potential benefit of humanity. Societies since the beginning of our time would have envied us beyond words – as their villages were pillaged, as the plague spread, or as the hurricane hit shore – if they had a system that could unify and organize people as we can do today with social media.

My fear, is that we will use this tool to divide instead of unify. Traditional media and the advertising industry are in deep trouble as people go online to self-select their news and content.

Trust me, I’m your friend

Unfortunately, traditional media (TV, print, and Radio) are under extraordinary pressure not just to maintain ratings, but to increase ratings to subsidize less successful areas of the enterprise. As a result, the content must become more and more sensational in order to keep people watching commercials. If I earned one dollar for every minute of YOUR time that I could waste, would you trust me? Yet people do.

The Terrorist Within

I am terrorized by the notion that Americans will turn against Americans. The problems facing this nation are so complex, so controversial, and so far reaching into the past and the future that it is unlikely that any intelligent person is more qualified than any other intelligent person to hold the highest office. Barrack, Hillary, Sarah, John, would all have the same pressures pushing back on every move leading them down 95% similar paths. None could be better and none could be worse – we’re officially in this together.

So until the super-star with extra-human discernment rides out of the clouds, People should really really be looking for a third way through this. Pure Communism is a Failure, Pure Socialism is a failure, and we are quickly learning that Pure Capitalism also runs out of track.

America’s Uncivil War

The Next Great American Civil War will be a battle against ourselves – all of the artifacts of past generations that pull at our subconsciousness; the reactionary fight or flight instinct of our ancestors. We are being called to something new. Let’s get on with business and find out where this road leads – together.

Social Capitalism and The Culture of Data

Data are the raw material of the next economic paradigm.  Data, information, knowledge, innovation, and wisdom are all related; but it all starts with data.

In order to produce anything valuable in the domain of social capitalism, the creation and formation of data is hypercritical.  The better the data, the better the information, knowledge, innovation, wisdom and culture that will follow.  Each stage of transformation along the chain reaction from “data” to “culture” is an opportunity for both great value creation AND astonishing corruption.

Data is King:

Yet data are often collected and processed with very little vetting.  We all know that information is most easily spun from the data collection process.  We know that bad knowledge comes from bad information, and we know that unsuccessful innovation comes from inappropriate knowledge.  Obviously, to be an unwise leader is to be unimaginative leader.  A failed culture creates failed data…and the circle completes itself.

Data is an asset:

On the other hand, the ability to collect data is often the most tangible intellectual property that an organization can hold.  It is easy to copy a patent but difficult to recreate the system that generates patents.  Excellent data results in excellent technology from the moon landings to the Internet. The trick is that all assets must contain two components; a quantity and a quality.  This means that some rigor is needed in the data collection process. When data are produced, the quantity is the “measurement” but the quality is the certainty or uncertainty that what is being measured is actually what is being observed.

Data Relationships

Phenomena such as art, politics, emotions, capital markets, and spirituality are difficult to measure because the item being observed exists as a function of the observer’s interaction with it.  Still, the quality of the data includes the certainty that all data were measured the same way AND some disclosure of the uncertainty that remains.  This is an area of great omission and where severe problems arise especially where the most people rely on the data to make decisions.  The term “comparing apples to oranges” is  a real problem and it is particularly elusive at very early and highly incremental stages of ideation.

Mouse goes squeak:

Often the people involved with the intensely small or incremental portion of the data design and collection process are the least powerful people in the supply chain.  Often they have the least say in how the data is analyzed and certainly have no visibility of what happens upstream.   It is tragically amusing that the dominant characteristic of most hierarchies is that each level of management “filters” the data from lower levels and delivers it to the next level where actions are authorized.

The Culture of Data

Social media is entering the human culture at an incredible rate.  Social media has also shown us what happens when the good data becomes the important information, which increases knowledge among the most people leading to increasingly effective innovation and changing the conventional wisdom about an increasing diversity of subjects.  Social Capitalism will replace Market Capitalism simply because the culture is superior.

Hint: Culture Produces The Data.

Non Quantifiable Exchanges

IMG_1468-600-creamy-tuna-sandwichI had a personal breakthrough recently at the Future of Money and Technology Summit. I sat on an excellent Panel discussing non-quantifiable exchanges for an audience of about 70-80 very intelligent people.

Non Quantifiable Exchanges
Moderator: Tara Hunt, The Whuffie Factor
Chris Heuer, Social Media Club
Dan Robles, The Ingenesist Project
Micki Krimmel, NeighborGoods

I will write a post for each of these incredible panelists in the near future because each are building out the infrastructure of the new economy just by doing what they like to do most.  Soon everyone will be doing the same.

My experience

For one hour, we engaged in a remarkable conversation together. For me, it was a watershed event – I grew personally, socially, and intellectually.

Throughout the 16-year history of The Ingenesist Project, my challenge has always been to explain and demonstrate how the simple act of a conversation among informed people does, in fact, create value in a process that extends back to an intensely complicated production system. The value contained, stored, and exchanged by people is a direct result of their accumulated past and the interaction with their own environment. Until this summit – those two ends would rarely meet.

For example:

Reaching into your wallet and pulling out a dollar bill to purchase a can of tuna fish may seem like a very simple transaction. It is, in fact, intensely complicated from the funding of the fishing vessel, compliance with international law, packaging and distribution, all the way to the creation of the dollar in your wallet amplified through the miracles of the fractional reserve system. It is deeply complicated.

When we bite into our tuna sandwich, we take this complexity for granted. We are in fact, consuming the strenuous articulation of a financial system disguised as the simplicity of the checkout stand, the application of mayonnaise, and aroma of toasted wheat bread.

Similarly, for any meaningful conversation, the events prior and the effects after the conversation, for bettor or worse, reinforce the system through which future conversations will be shared.

While it would have been inappropriate to deep dive on this panel – I was able to transact effectively in this conversational currency system. I was able to come closer to communicating this comparison between the financial transaction and the knowledge transaction in a public forum than likely ever before. For this, I am deeply grateful.

No matter how you slice it:

1. The vast majority of value of an exchange has a history far greater, and future effect far longer lasting, than the transaction itself.

2. When the production systems become more integrated with markets value is created, huge shifts in value can be transferred.

3. Conversation is currency

This, I believe is the future of money and technology

Future of Money and Technology Summit

I was invited to present at the Future of Money and Technology Summit in San Francisco on Monday April 26. Representing The Ingenesist Project, I’ll be seated on a panel with two very important futurists; Chris Heuer and Micki Krimmel discussing non-quantifiable exchanges. The ever esteemed and respectable Ms. Tara Hunt will be moderating the session.

From the FMTS website:

The Future of Money & Technology Summit will bring together the best and brightest thinkers around money, including visionaries, entrepreneurial business people, developers, press, investors, authors, solution providers, service providers, and organizations who work with them at the convergence of cash and commerce. We meet to discuss the evolving money ecosystem in a proactive, conducive to dealmaking environment.

What I find especially interesting is the incredible collection of technologies for the storage of value and the amazing group of entrepreneurs corresponding to the exchange of value in future markets. The definition of currency is something that is used as a medium for the storage and exchange of valuable. As such, it would be quite the understatement that the FMTS will be a valuable experience.

A great deal of thought, planning, and money has gone into these ventures and now they are together in one room. This can only be attributed to the increasing inability of the current financial system to function as an equitable means to store and exchange value that drives entrepreneurs to new conclusions.

When I witnessed the Mexican Devaluation, the social reaction was to empty out the local WalMart. Those “goods” such as clothing, appliances, and furnishings became an intermediate currency that stored the prior day’s peso value for exchange with tomorrow’s market. The same is true for most financial crises with significant devaluation events in recent history.

The clear and present difference is Social Media.

We now see people busy at work to replace the old currency with improved systems and tools for the storage and exchange of value before the actual calamity arrives. In effect, the new systems are hedging the old one.

It will take many years for the implications and importance of events such as the Future of Money and Technology Summit to make it into the case studies of the major B-school curricula. Ironically, that does not mean that real history is not being made – or shall I say, old history is not being re-made.

So please consider joining us at the conference (details). If you are attending, please, please, please, find me and let’s talk about everything. As always, thank you dear reader because ultimately you are the only reason that people want to talk to me 🙂

Culture: When Engagement Is Not Optional

pLASMA bALLToday we see Social Media duplicating many of the functions of earlier society by storing community wisdom, applying social vetting, and deploying social currencies.

It takes a Community

Here is an article is about a a person who learned through social media profiling that her fiance was active in hobbies that conflicted with her moral constitution – before the wedding instead of after.  In the old days, the community would also profile each individual based on the social record of their behavior.

Social Capitalism

Here is a video article that discusses how social media is  duplicating many functions of the corporation outside the construct of the corporation. Factors of production increasingly enter the org chart as a social media application.  We now question whether the corporation itself is the sole vehicle of wealth creation.

Social Currency

We see social media duplicating many of the functions of the financial system where currency, credit scores, banks, land, labor, and capital are being replaced by social currency, social vetting, social capital, creative capital, and social entrepreneurs.

Macro vs. Micro

We see divisions of scale from the long-winded one-sided content of the static web presence to the micro blogging applications that more closely resemble a conversation.  Time factors are accelerated to the point where real-time is not fast enough.

Local vs. Global

We see an emerging segmentation between Local Social and Global Social. At first global leverage was the awarded the small entrepreneur with something to offer to the world.  Now ‘Local Social’ enjoys substantial leverage over global corporations by reorganizing the way people prioritize and experience each other and their community.

Everyone is a node

Taking an analogy from the physics of electricity, the term “potential” means the difference in energy between two nodes.  The greater the difference, the bigger the spark and the greater the impact.   The local energy at each node influences the direction and size of sparks between nodes.  As people accumulate ‘Social Current’, their position relative to those around them changes. Likewise, their potential also changes relative to the ‘Social Current’ of others. Everyone has some potential relative to every other node.

Integration has arrived

Much like the knowledge economy integrated, but did not replace, the agrarian economy, Social Media will not replace the corporation, the financial system, dissertation, conversations, localization or globalization.  Rather, everyone becomes a corporation, everyone prints their own social currency, everyone publishes their intentions, everyone has local and global leverage.  That’s what Integration is all about.

A ‘culture of one’ is moot.

It is not surprising then that our culture itself is now being defined in terms of social media with effective aggregation of  social norms, storage of social wisdom, and medium of exchange for community ideals.  The true test of “culture status” is when engagement is no longer an optional.  Without engagement, there is no culture.


What is the Secret Sauce of Innovation?

Most studies on Innovation study the to 99th percentile human in the hope of discovering the “secret sauce” of wealth creation. One such study identifies 5 discovery skills and conclude that the top innovators are also in the top percentile for all these skills. What a surprise that the top university would conclude that they – and people like them – were the secret sauce of all wealth creation.

But what about the rest of the world? What about the individuals and teams of people who actually carry out the plans of those great people? Are they relegated to the footnotes or is there a way for two or more people to simulate the attributes of a 99th percentile person?

This video argues that a 6th discovery skill is the ability to recognize one’s weaknesses AND the strengths of another person. This takes humility and an knowledge inventory of one’s community. Given the ubiquitousness of the persistent economic crisis, ostensibly managed by those paragons of intellect, the masters of the 5 discovery skills – we may need a new way of building so-called “consensus” about what innovation is and who the innovators are.

(I did fail to point out in this discussion that the ability to network with similar people is a distinctly different than the ability to network with dissimilar people. As such, the 5th discovery skill and the 6th are distinct)

A Community of Knowledge Assets

A Community of Knowledge AssetsOur culture organizes itself around winners and losers. Corporations reflect this competitive nature to the core of their Capitalist doctrine. Sports analogies abound across the enterprise straight through to the HR department always on the lookout for the most amount of superstar for the least amount of money.

Social media has every industry trying to understand the concept of community. Among the most difficult ideas to grasp is that knowledge assets in a community live on a bell curve, not in winner and loser columns. Everyone is an expert at something and nobody is an expert at everything. Someone who is not performing adequately is simply a misallocated asset, not flotsam subject to jettison at the next layoff or outsource “opportunity”.

A Community of Knowledge Assets

Like most assets, there is a perfectly legitimate market for everyone in a community – nobody need be excluded, marginalized or laid off. Social Media is turning the tables on the hierarchy and old winners who don’t play by the new rules quickly become the new losers. Maybe we ought to run our economy like a community instead of losing so badly at trying to be a winner.

A Community of Knowledge Assets

Video: America; A Next Developed Country

Industrial Revolution cartoonAmerica is stuck in the Industrial Revolution. A loose paraphrase from Seth Godin points out “our entire education system is designed to prepare people to work in factories, consume stuff, and believe this makes us happy”

Now that the factories are gone and the rest of the World has copied all of our tricks (while not copying our mistakes) it is time to move on. What is that next watershed economic paradigm? Who is going to figure this one out? The one who does will define the new meaning of “A Most Developed Country”

Pssst … Wanna Get Wasted?

dont_worry_get-stoned

Many Social Media Gurus are espousing a new culture that their clients should forget about blogging (adding meaningful content) in favor of the ubiquitous widespread “updates”.

Using automated apps, you no longer need to waste time creating content that teaches or expresses, you can populate across social media space carefully wedged in between someone else’s creative content. I find this appalling.

The new marketing mantras go something like these:

  • “Go where your customers congregate”.
  • “Gain their trust by sharing your stuff”
  • “Soon, you can start to influence their behavior”
  • “Once hooked, they will do your deed for freeeee!!”

This is starting to sound more like the neighborhood drug dealer than any sustainable economic paradigm.

Slavery on Steroids

Slavery is a term characterized in part by the coercion of another person to perform or act without compensation. The effects of slavery are not only physical, but mental as well.  The effects of oppression manifest themselves in addictive behaviors.

Social acceptance is an extremely powerful psychotic that can be cleverly turned against any person. The techniques of social media are getting increasingly sophisticated in hijacking and consuming the social capital of others.

Green Marketing

It does not take long to see that the marketing professions are defining the social media space regardless of what anyone says about user-generated content.  The danger is that social media will become just as unsustainable as the economy that it replaces.  People will soon lose the ability to produce the currency that the media demands to support itself.

Ban advertising

t would be high temple sacrilege for any social media monetization strategist to suggest that advertising of any kind must be banned.  Well, not exactly, but the objective of advertising can be redefined if there were a means to do so.

The only sustainable monetization strategy (of which there are terribly few current examples) are the deployment of social media applications that empower people to discover their own individual talents, to pursue what they are naturally best at and enjoy doing most – while also eliminating the clutter and irrelevant messages that distracts them from their personal life goals.

This means that brands should communicate more and not less.  They should identify, educate, and promote the talents and abilities of a million customers instead of 1 superstar athlete or celebrity.

The proverbial sports analogy:

Advertisers should sit in the bleachers and cheer on their favorite customer, but they should not be in the game, blowing the whistle, or running the scoreboard.  Let them pay admission, see my logo, and buy my overpriced beer.  Let them sell to each other on their own dime – but under no circumstances should they be allowed on the field, in the schools, or in the home without explicit and expressed permission of the customer.

Open Letter to all Deep Web Researchers

iceberg80This Open Letter is directed to all Deep Web researchers, authors, developers, practitioners and people who have a great interest in what lies beyond the popularity contests playing out on the ‘surface web’.

I submit this letter in appreciation for the work that you do I also want to present an important application to your research for which you may not yet be fully aware.

As they say, beauty is only skin deep and the hard work of organizing the Deep Web offers an astonishing opportunity for the next economic paradigm. Very few people are aware of this.

Who are we?

I am the director of The Ingenesist Project, an obscure Think Tank in the Seattle area modestly funded by visionaries. Our job is to specify an alternate financial system that we loosely describe as an innovation economy built on a platform of social media.

Consequently, we also specify a new currency backed by innovation instead of debt. Innovation currency is very similar to debt currency since they both ‘represent’ future productivity. As such, these two currencies would be readily “convertible” in exchange – something that we all may need in the not-too-distant future.

Where do you fit in?

Essential to this concept is the relationship between data, information, knowledge, and innovation which we express as a differential equation. Here is a quick explanation – please bear with me:

We can predict the value of innovation by observing rates of change of knowledge. We can predict the value of knowledge by observing rates of change of information. But the most critical element is the ability to predict the value of information by observing rates of change of data. The most critical element in the next economic paradigm is the human interaction with data.

With that missing piece, a new financial system can then capitalize and securitize these “predicted future values” much like Wall Street does with social debt. Deep Web Researchers literally hold the key to ending the oppression of debt economics worldwide. No kidding.

What’s in it for you?

This is where your work gets us really excited: Google induced economic incentives that drove millions of entrepreneurs into the work of creating new information – and yet direct widespread monetization remains elusive. In contrast, human interaction with the Deep Web will unleash economic incentives that will drive millions of entrepreneurs to create databases. The difference is that new Data are the only thing that a market is willing to pay for – not the popularity contests. And wow, is there a market waiting for you.

I understand that you are all very busy given the magnitude and complexity of your work. If this letter speaks to you, then please speak with me. Let’s discuss how your work would be applied to this very important effort. I’m easy to find in the datasphere.

Thank you

The Power of Social Taxonomy

Revolutionary:

Ask the French about linguistic purity and you get the feeling that an attack on the language is an attack on the culture.  Likewise, corporations arising from the industrial revolution communicate internal structure and processes through the use of a well protected internal taxonomy.  This serves as both a means of storing knowledge across generations of workers, and as a means of encrypting the knowledge from those who would pillage the enterprise.

For example, some people who leave Boeing (a 94 year old company) have a very difficult time re-integrating into society because many of their professional skills and tools are articulated in a language that nobody outside Boeing understands.  Ex-employees of many large corporations often find themselves professionally invisible through an extended period of re-adjustment.

Melting Pot Economics

When Capitalists Are Really the Socialists

SocialistMickeyYikes…

Unemployment tops 10%.  Add in the under-employed, part timers, young adults trying to enter the job market, the ones who have given up or otherwise marginalized, and we’re well into the 15-20% range.

Mediated Reality:

When will people come to the realization that a new financial system is needed to represent the new social order?  When will people realize that they have in their possession the most important tool ever devised by humanity for the benefit of humanity?  When will they shut off the TV and reject the barrage of mediated reality that blinds them with propaganda at every turn?

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

Does Social Relevancy Matter?

The Ingenesist Project Community concerns itself with the value of social reach since this will most certainly impact he relevance of  those conversing as well as the relevance of the conversation to some business activity.  Obviously, innovation is about having the right team in the right place at the right time.

Furthermore, business activities such as marketing and advertising need to make their communications more relevant and less wasteful of their audience’s limited bandwidth – lest they risk being perceived as “anti-social”.

Stated somewhat more clinically; the most worthy knowledge surplus must be matched with the most worthy knowledge deficit in order to produce the most valuable outcome.

Brynn Evans offers the following observation:

The future of search  involves social networks, social graphs, or social filtering in some capacity.  Companies will live or die by whether they get the “social” part right: creating the right level of intimacy, trust, reliability, social connectedness, and accuracy in their results listings. Of course, this specifically means that their user experience must at least meet or, preferably, exceed that of Google’s.

To achieve this, we must first stop arguing over the different flavors of search.

Real-time search. Social search. Semantic search. These distinctions are essentially meaningless, especially when we can’t even agree on definitions and when each of their boundaries remain undefined. Instead, we should recognize that they’re all part and parcel of personalizing and contextualizing search for individual users. Let’s stop playing the “name game” and start thinking holistically about how each (and all!) affects and improves what we think of today as “search.”

Defies analysis, defies control:

Ms Evans’ excellent analysis continues to identify numerous problems with attempting to classify Social Relevance – each system is merely trumped by new issues related to semantics, context, and proximity.  It seems as if the more you try to “control” social media, the more it defies control.  The more you try to study it, the more it shows you a mirror of yourself.  Introspection is the irony of extroversion.

The great big Sucking Sound

While nobody, including Ms. Evans can tell you how to increase your social relevancy, we can probably all agree on what does not.   If your message sucks, your social relevancy will also suck.  If you are trying to sell a product that does not actually save people time and increase their net productivity, your product will fail and your social relevancy will suck.   If you are in any way trying to match unworthy knowledge surplus with unworthy knowledge deficit, your social relevancy will suck.

Give up Control in order to gain control:

Business intelligence is the science of knowing what sucks and what does not.  Let Social media carry your message wherever it wants to carry it. The sooner the market tells you what it wants, the sooner you can adapt your products and services to meet the needs.  Things happen fast in social media space and the corporation needs to be faster.  This may mean corporations need to give up control in order to gain control of both the threats and opportunities of the future.  After all, even by the playbook of Corporate America : survival of the fittest is the only relevant social rank.

(Ed: Brynn Evans is a PhD student in Cognitive Science at UC San Diego who uses digital anthropology to study and better understand social search)

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 Culture of Buying

My wife and I visited Istanbul a few years ago and met a very nice person who offered to take our photo in front of an ancient building.  Afterward, he gave us a history lesson about the area we were visiting.  He then invited us to his shop to look at some carpets.

Before we knew it, he was entertaining us with stories about the history of carpet making as a young boy pulled down stacks of carpets and displayed them one by one as we sat in comfortable chairs.  The shopkeeper identified attributes, color combination and traditional design patterns with an enchanting story for each one.

After a while, the shopkeeper from next door walks in with a tray of hot tea as we continued learning about the carpets.  A bit later, we all went across the street for a traditional Turkish snack and more tea. Then back to the shop for more carpet viewing.

Hey buddy, not so fast.

My wife and I decided to make a purchase but instead of taking our money, he took us back across the street to smoke the Hookah, sip real Turkish coffee and listen to live traditional musicians.

The whole process took many hours but it was like traveling in time.  Istanbul has been the crossroads of commerce between two continents for thousands of years.  We ended up paying too much money for the carpets – but to this day they are among our fondest memories and most prized possessions.  They represent an indescribable experience in an exotic and comfortable setting.  Now they look beautiful in our home.

Human Nature

It is human nature to trade.  People want to do it.  People want to meet other people.  People want to learn.  They want to share. People want to buy things and people want to sell things.  They want to congregate.  They want to travel.  People want new experiences.  They want to laugh, smile, sip tea, and listen to music. They want fond memories and beautiful carpets.

So why is monetizing social media so complicated?  What is the big secret?

The transaction of conversation, relationship, and knowledge:

With social media, people are invited by friends, family, or associates to walk through an electronic door and into their inventory of relationships.  Few people realize that this is a profound act of friendship, kindness, and trust.  Think about it, people trust you with their relationships. How do we manage that?

However, neither party is fully aware of the conditions upon which the relationships present their self.  The cultural infrastructure of introducing people, assisting in the exchange of conversation, and transaction of knowledge in social media is not established.  The idea that a transaction can and should take place is not fully recognized.  The introduction of the people to each other does not have a process, taxonomy, a location factor, or a time function.

Then again, social media has not been around for thousands of years

No buyer, no seller:

•    If social media develops a culture of sales – it will fail.

•    If social media develops a culture of buying – it will thrive for thousands of years.

The Winners of War Write the History

Every once in a while the debate on written history emerges through school textbook selection, a controversial act of legislation, or by a historic figure defending their legacy long into what should otherwise be a comfortable retirement.  Even in the age of Social Media, the tenet holds fast; the winners of the war write the history.

Enter Social Media.

Computer enabled society has a way of flipping ideas over on their head.  For example; if the winners of the war tell the history, then the inverse must be true. Those writing history are the ones that win wars.  As traditional news media gasps under the weight of a millions of bloggers, so goes one of the most prominent fortunes of war – the ability to define a culture.  The history still gets written.

“Extra Virtual” Education

Education, like traditional media before it, is encountering their nemesis in the Internet.  The content that kids get on the internet is superior in richness, diversity, and relevance than textbooks.  No longer can school administrators select the material that students must learn. If they don’t agree with the way history is written, they can easily find an alternate history.  They can live in “extra virtual” space – that is, outside the virtual world and inside a chosen reality.  People discover their own culture.  The history still gets written.

Historical Perspectives

Ultimately our new historians need to enter the workforce to decide what to innovate, what to produce, and what to be passionate about.   Where will they find perspective?

The study of history is essential to the three ultimate purposes of education in a free society: to prepare individuals for (1) active citizenship, to safeguard liberty and justice; (2) a career of work, to sustain life; and (3) the private pursuit of happiness, or personal fulfillment.

Expanding Conclusions

Many conclusions are based on a set of assumptions.  The more elaborate the assumptions the more risk there is at arriving at the wrong conclusion.  However, when two opinions are built on the same assumptions and yet their conclusions differ, that difference is a very valuable set of data because it now defines a range of possible outcomes.  As such, the inverse must also be true; there are many possible ways to achieve a solution within the range of desireable outcomes.  This is the domain of the innovation economy.

The True Value of Education

The next economic paradigm will be characterized by many history tellers multiplied by the number of ways to attain the goals of education in a free society; including, but not limited to active citizenship, safeguarding liberty and justice, sustaining life in a joyful career, and the pursuit of happiness and personal fulfillment.

There is only one way to travel a single known path.  However, from the ability to compare alternate histories, the purpose of education is greatly expanded and the value of education is multiplied many times over.  The teacher will become the ultimate entrepreneur.

Ignorance does not win wars, let that history be written.

The Next Great American “Hail Mary” Pass

The Game

The knowledge economy will be outsourced to low cost countries. There is little rational analysis that suggests otherwise.  Information, knowledge and innovation are profoundly connected – lose one and you lose the other two … and so goes our innovation potential. The very technology invented and developed by American knowledge workers is the exact same technology that now constrains them.  This is not the fault of corporation or of the financial system – they are behaving exactly as expected; a dog will hunt. This is the limitation of the knowledge economy itself – let me explain.

It is very easy and inexpensive for the rest of the world to just watch what the United States does, copy what works and reject what does not work, and then effectively compete.   The rest of the World now speaks English so they can now jump on the Internet and learn everything they need to know about us while we are largely unable to reciprocate.  In addition, money is global and does not need a visa to work in another country.  All of these things stack up against both the US knowledge and foreign knowledge workers.  If left alone, these conditions will not go away any time soon.

As a nation, America is either at the edge of something really good or something really bad.  We need to do something so radical, so audacious, and so creative, that the rest of the world will shake their heads in disbelief at how America always comes up with an unbelievable play just when the game looks like it is over.  It’s called The Great American Hail Mary Pass.

The Competition

First we must realize that America does not have anyone else to copy or compete with in order to climb to that next rung on the economic development ladder except ourselves.  Many Americans are in denial that we too must also develop just like we claim other countries must do.  In the past, we have relied on shocks to the global system in order to move forward; usually in the form of wars, but obviously, as a modern innovation strategy, warfare has severe limitations.  Maybe we just don’t know how to develop on our own.  Perhaps the current financial crisis may be the disruption that we need to see those next few critical steps that we need to take.

The Field

Here are some other historical facts to consider.  Like all previous development phases, the next economic paradigm will be derived from the earlier economy by integrating the tools of that earlier economy – in this case, the knowledge economy.  We have painfully learned that intellectual capital can be found and duplicated almost anywhere on Earth.  However, social capital and creative capital cannot be easily sourced elsewhere.  Both China and India have political or cultural constraints on social capital and creative capital – so they cannot compete with us here.   This is where the next Great American Hail Mary pass needs to go.

The Team

America has a distinct comparative advantage over most of the World in our cultural diversity, global language, and freedoms of assembly, expression, and association.  In addition, and likely as a result, America is inventing one of the most profound technological advancements in human history.  One which has the potential to secure American economic prosperity for many generations into the future.

The Play

Social Media has the potential – if we are clever – to allow human knowledge and interaction to become tangible outside the construct of a corporation.  The new economic paradigm will have factors of production of social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital, instead of the classical land, labor, and monetary capital model.  That means that a team, community, or a social network can be capitalized directly much like a corporation, or any financial instrument in itself, as a means toward increasing human productivity.  Admittedly, and as space allows, this is a very vague definition of an innovation economy, but the implications are sweeping and vast.  A more detailed structure and description is specified at http://www.ingenesist.com.

The Ball

It is imperative that knowledge workers recognize this opportunity.  We must have a national conversation about the next great leap and not just dwell on the current quagmire or roll over while the dark ages set in.  It is essential that we recognize our responsibility to ourselves, our communities, and the planet to build a sustainable economy that reflects long term social priorities rather than short term profit taking – this is ultimately in the best interest of even the short term profit takers!  Finally, it is our responsibilities to continue developing this great Internet technology that the generation before us created for peaceful, open, and productive means; and obviously never intended to enable a race to the bottom.

The Knowledge Inventory; Part 3

In American society there is a persistent ideology of winners and losers; there can only be one winner and the rest are losers. We rank things in a very linear way; 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. Sports analogies dominate many business expressions; low ball, hail mary pass, ball’s in your court, etc. Our culture is to protect one’s position at all cost, shield away all attackers and decimate our competition. This way of thinking was effective in the industrial economy but today with the emergence of social networks it keeps us from understanding how knowledge actually exists in a community – it lives on a bell curve.

The Bell Curve

The Bell Curve

If I examine a group of people on the streets of Seattle in the area of mathematics – I would get a bell curve. If I examined engineering school students in mathematics, I would still get a bell curve. If I examined engineering professors, I would still get a bell curve.

In the Innovation Economy, there are no winners or losers, only different markets. There is a perfectly legitimate market for a Ferrari and there is a perfectly legitimate market for a KIA – in fact the market for KIAs is bigger than the market for Ferrari, so the idea that we compete with each other may no longer be appropriate. In fact, according to game theory priciples, it may not actually be the best strategy to be number one in a single talent – rather, being slightly above average in many diverse talents, on average, pays more for the majority of people engaged in innovation economics.

This is important. All of the tools, methods, and equations in the world of banking, finance, and insurance use interpretations related to this type curve when they try to figure out the value of an asset in the particular market. This is very important for making knowledge look and behave like money. Again, there are no winners or losers, only different markets.

We will need to come up with a way to sample and normalize knowledge in a community. In some ways we already do: Ebay uses a rating system, we rate comments on blogs, best answers to questions, Google placement, number of contacts, college GPA, credit score, etc. So rating are everywhere – there is nothing new here.

Here is what we need to do to make knowledge tangible in a community: when a local community of practice meets, everyone needs define the knowledge that the community shares, then everyone needs to find their place on the right bell curve. Each specialty and proficiency level is a different market. For example, a photography community there may be some competition for who can operate a camera better – but there is competition anyway. The competition disappears when one photographer is also a musician and nature enthusiast while another is also a baseball player and likes political contests. They would each own a unique market; still life and action respectively – and they can now cooperate instead of compete.

In fact, rather than fighting for first place by beating up your competitors, the best strategy in a market may be to have an average level of expertise in as many subjects as possible rather than being the best at one or two obscure areas. It depends on the market – it always has and it always will.

An entrepreneur will not make a bet without odds. We are giving the entrepreneur the information that they need to create wealth. Again, There are no winners or losers, only different markets.

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