Think Bigger. Aim Higher. Go Further.

Tag: Influence

The Reality Platform

Today, we do not have a financial problem as much as we have a value problem.  The challenges that face our civilization are far too great to be solved on an “Advertising” platform.  Whatever happens next, it must start with a Reality Platform.

2012: A Space Odyssey

Back in the railroad days, a platform referred to the surface upon which passengers stepped in order to enter or exit the train.  Later, the platform became a computer operating system.

In 2012,  the “platform” refers to one of the big four space stations on the Internet; Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple.  On the backend, they each sort products and people into their appropriated categories.  On the front end, they deliver the consumer to the product and vice versa.  Everything is done electronically; wherever possible, even the product is electronic.

A Platform for Reality

Compared to the Big Four – which collect data behind secure walls, analyze with proprietary algorithms, then serve up  content that is most beneficial to the platform (not necessarily the user) –  The Value Game is revolutionary. In one application of the Value Game, a company called Social Flights collects four separate streams of data, converts the data to a single usable form, then shares the data back to the separate streams.

For example; an airplane operator submits data regarding the inventory of their aircraft.  The hospitality industry submits data relative to their inventory of support services,  Travelers submit data relative to their likely destinations, and event organizers submit data regarding their events.

Music is a combination of rhythm, sound frequency, and timbre

Social Flights captures all of these streams, organizes the data and feeds it back to the market in a more usable form.  Aircraft operators learn the optimum use of their aircraft resources.  Hospitality and tourism learn how to best allocate their inventory.  Event planners  learn to access their markets for attendees. Finally, Travelers learn the exact door-to-door cost AND TIME to achieve their objectives.  All the connections are made WITHOUT advertising.

Social Value is literally “manufactured” because it is in the best interest of each player that the other Players are successful.  Communities become vested in each other – not unlike an ensemble.

Advertising extorts passion

Today, nearly all social organization is now funded – and influenced – by advertising. People do not wake up in the morning aspiring to follow the Kardashians. If left alone, people aspire to follow their friends, to pursue their natural interests, and develop their natural talents.  The sole objective of the advertiser is to convince people to do something other than what they aspire to do naturally.

Manufacturing Social Value

The Value Game is a real and valid social value manufacturing engine. The same system deployed to aviation can also be used for any shared asset or experience; cars, roads, infrastructure, corporations, education, and even government, all with the New Value data platforms that are under development.

The problem can never be the solution – we need a new platform.

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*2001: A Space Odyssey is a story that deals with a series of encounters between humans and mysterious black monoliths that are apparently affecting human evolution,

The Gamification of Air Travel

Commercial airlines continue to astonish the traveling public with an ever-increasing array of new ways to charge extra fees.  The newest scheme is to charge 5 dollars to have a customer service agent print your boarding pass.  You can get around this by using your own printer, or using a free kiosk – which undoubtedly will not be free for long.

Your schedule or theirs?

Meanwhile, the different prices that people pay for the same trip continues to fluctuate wildly. There are very few products whose price defies supply and demand or actually increases as it approaches it’s expiration date.

People who book 4-6 weeks in advance have the highest probability of getting the lowest fair – as long as the don’t buy the ticket on a weekend.  Buying a ticket on a Tuesday morning 4 weeks in advance can yield a 50% discount of the person who bought their ticket 2 weeks in advance on a Saturday afternoon.

Obviously, there must be some net average cost for a seat, per mile traveled with all services restored, so why can’t we save the drama and loss of productivity and use the average price? An “average revenue per seat mile” price is good enough for Wall Street Annual Report – why not the rest of us?. Another nagging question: why can’t I use frequent flier miles to buy lunch on the plane or carry extra suitcase?  What, they don’t accept their own currency…?!?!

Are You Gamed by FlyVille?

The airline industry has been gamified and people are hard wired to play along – of course they complain, but they also learn to behave in a manner that they perceive to be in their own best interest, but actually is in the Airline’s best interest.  Tacit collusion among airlines can now play out using frequent flier miles, copycat fares, and lowered customer expectations.  How much time do people spend playing this game?

This is also the environment where a competitor can emerge with a  “counter-game”.

Social Flights was launched a few months ago with a very simple data landscape; a means and manner in which people can meet to ride share on private aircraft.  Currently, the amount of time required for a social flights customer to execute a flight plan – that is, organize people in their community with shared flight intentions – may still be greater than the time and harassment of just going through the flow of the commercial airline abyss.   Over time, however, this will change.

Frequent Influence Miles

Suppose that Social Flights deployed frequent flier miles?  Suppose these could be awarded for organizing a social flight plan to a social network?  Suppose miles could be redeemed for discounts on hotels, car rentals, and ground services (think AAA)? Restaurants, entertainment and events routinely pay commissions to concierge referrals, why wouldn’t they also redeem Social Flights Flier Miles in the same manner?

What if Social Flights frequent flier miles could be earned and redeemed without actually flying, but by simply organizing communities until your perfect trip comes along?  What if a person with high Social Flights Frequent Flier Miles represented a better social influence predictor than say, a Klout score or Twitter follower count?  Would vendors want to know who these magical people are?  Will vendors compensate them for their influence in a community?  Wouldn’t the community then define the ads that get pitched?

What’s the end game? Let’s transform the industry together.  Seeking game designers to build the next generation of air travel

How To Use Data Correctly

There is a raging debate about data usage, privacy violation, and even epic technology data hacks.  The reason is simple – data has value.  Ultimately, data are convertible to value – in some form or another, including money.  That means that data are a convertible currency.  This is not necessarily bad, however, there is a right way and a wrong way to convert data into value.

The wrong way is to steal it from it’s rightful owners

You and I, by our motions, movements, communications and the pursuit of freedom and happiness create a huge amount of data.  This belongs to each individual.  When two or more   people interact with each other – the data they create belongs to them, and nobody else.  This is a very powerful relationship that others seek to exploit.  Equally culpable are those who don’t protect their data and the data they share with people around them.

The right way to use data is to play a game

If you observe any game that people play – from children’s games to sports, and even gambling – they all have one thing in common.  Each player has the same information as all the other players.  The game is largely the ability to influence the information with data. Kids know the probability that a they will be tagged and influence their strategy accordingly – but they all play on the same field. In a basketball game, gravity behaves exactly the same for every player on the team. Poker players know the probability that their opponent will draw a flush – there are only 52 cards.   Stealing Data is like slanting the playing field, stealing cards from the deck, or changing the influence of gravity.

Fair Market Value is a Value Game

The underlying assumption of market capitalism is that everyone has the same information.  Two people holding the same Carfax report can have a rational and fair negotiation about the value of that used car.  As such, the used car market is efficient.  Package labeling, truth in advertising laws, and pharmaceutical disclaimers are an attempt to keep a market efficient so that the market can arrive at a “Fair Market Value”.

The Value Game

The Value Game being tested now at Social Flights is a real life game where real people fly to real places to do real things on real nice airplanes.  There are no badges, tokens, little pink cows, wiggly worms, mayorships, or leader boards.  The Value Game is a real economic game built on real data that real players create, own, and share only with other real players.

How to use data correctly

The Value Game will process a great deal of information to make Social Flights operate efficiently.  Data must be normalized to calculate the probability that a flight will fill so that everyone can make a rational decision about price.  Normalized data can be used to create a seat cancellation insurance policy to reduce price volatility.  Normalized data can help travelers buy an option on game 7 of the World Series, before game 5 has ended. Normalized data can be applied so the player knows exactly how much of a discount to require from a vendor for accepting a coupon. Etc.

The Value Game does not need to know your name, address, phone number, or credit score to compile useful information.  The Value Game does not even need to know such information about your friends, family, or professional relationships.  Nobody needs to know your private information –  unless they intend to use your data incorrectly.  After all, thieves need to know who to restrict your data from – you.

When Everyone has a Coupon, They Will Innovate

It is extremely important to recognize that, for better or for worse, Discount Coupons can have an extraordinary influence on people and their behavior.  This influence is what makes a discount coupon very powerful and extremely valuable. Coupled with social media, a coupon can be leveraged to influence the behavior of whole communities in extraordinary ways.   The ability to manipulate coupon values is tantamount to the ability to manipulate the value of money itself.

However, coupons, in the marketing world, function as a form of price discrimination that enables vendors to offer a lower price to people who would otherwise go elsewhere.  Since coupon customers are price sensitive and not necessarily loyal to a brand, coupons tend to reward ambivalence in a community rather than trust, commitment, or long term relationship. Normally, one would seek to create incentives for loyalty, quality, and trustworthiness. Instead, such transient market can act against both product quality and new value creation.

Another use of the term “coupon” arises from finance where coupons are used as proof of ownership for a bond, “bearer certificate”, or similar financial instrument. Possession of the coupon is considered conclusive proof of ownership of a tangible asset.  Money, in fact, is simply a coupon representing ownership of a unit of a productivity. Ownership is a cornerstone of all forms of Capitalism, including Social Capitalism.

As such, it is of little surprise that the Internet Coupon industry is exploding with huge valuations of Groupon by Google, The emergence of Google Offers, and Yelp Coupons, and many more.  What is very interesting is that this explosion is happening concurrent with similar innovations in Travel, Currency, and Gaming deemed the “Great Integration”.

The next obvious step is for coupon exchanges to form where holders of one type of coupon can trade value with holders of another coupon not unlike one can now trade Coca Cola stock for shares in The Boeing Company.   Coupons today have limitations on their usage, but over time, continued innovation in “Coupon Currency Games” will result in powerful mechanisms for the storage and exchange of value.

There is a classic business game that plays out in markets everywhere.  Suppose that a vendor offers to discount all prices by 20%.  A competitor simple has to say “We’ll match any price”.  After a day or two, the resulting stalemate is inefficient because it simply resolves to both vendors losing 20% with no net shift in market allegiance, only increased transcience.   This is a the divergent force that weakens ties and introduces susceptibility to disruptive innovation.

Meanwhile, The Value Game uses coupons to leverage relevant communities around physical assets such as airplanes, zip cars, alternative energy, and public infrastructure.  This will be the convergent force that strengthens community ties and introduces huge opportunities for social entrepreneurs to create new value.

As a result, the strategic use of Coupons will play an important role in both the acceleration of innovation disruption AND the subsequent creation of new value. In fact, if used strategically, coupons may help usher out the old economy and bring in the new.  The Domino Effect.

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(Editors note: The above post is #3 in a series [1][2][3][4][5] introducing The Value Game to a new class of business methods.  The first real world application is Social Flights; a collaborative production / consumption game being deployed to the market.  If this works, the new business method class will be generalized throughout the economy to catalyze the convertibility of social currency.  Please join us at The Future of Money and Technology Summit in San Francisco on february 28th 2011 where we will unveil the work to the technology community)

Creating An Intention Currency

In the last few articles, I’ve discussed the importance of Intentions as a superior means of storing and exchanging value because of the ability to predict economic outcomes.  Only from these conditions can we construct an alternate currency.

For all Intents and Purposes….

Suppose that we suggest that one’s knowledge inventory is a good representation of their intentions to do things.  You can test this by strolling through the aisles your neighborhood Barnes and Noble book store and observing your own reactions to the titles as they flash by.  Notice how your tendency to act  (stop to read the byline or even pick up the book to read the cover) correlates to your organic knowledge, passion, interest, or experience.  Notice which sections you tend to linger in and how your eyes float up and down through the shelves, etc.

So let’s say that you studied business in college.  We can then say that you have an intention to conduct business.  The same holds true if you studied math, engineering, art, music, creative sciences, and/or social sciences. So we can say that a knowledge inventory is an intention inventory – assuming that you are not distracted by ADVERTISING.

Let’s make some predictions:

If you have low knowledge and high interest, your intentions would correlate to those of a student. If you have high knowledge and high interest, your intentions would correlate to those of a teacher.  If your have low knowledge and low interest, you would register no intentions.  If you have high knowledge and low interest, your intentions are ambivalent.

One step deeper:

If we were to assemble a community’s knowledge and interests on a few bell curves, we could make predictions about what a community intends to produce. If a community has high knowledge and high interest to build airplanes then we can place a value on those intentions in a market.

Now here is where the fun starts:

If we can predict future value, we can create and “intention currency” and capitalize it.  That means that we can turn it into a debt instrument and make a promise to pay back the today’s intention currency with future intentions.  If we can capitalize an intention currency, we can securitize a combined pool of many intentions and sell “Intention Bonds” that finance today’s intentions with those of tomorrow. Meanwhile, as we build the airplane, we have the incentive to innovate and create new knowledge that we can use to pay off the intention debt in the future.

Preoccupied or unoccupied?

If is sounds crazy, be assured that it happens all the time by corporations, marketers, demographers, politicians and even among some prison inmate populations.  Of course they will never tell you this, but unfortunately communities of people, social networks, and all the knowledge inventory sequestered inside corporations or messing around on Facebook have not figured out how to monetize all these intentions for themselves.  This is because they are preoccupied by an influence currency called – ADVERTISING

Printing Social Currency; Influence vs. Intentions

What is more valuable, their Influence or their intentions?

The heat is on to discover a new currency

Obviously, money is supposed to represent productivity otherwise why would people work for it?  But, everyone is pretty much resigned to the fact that the dollar – and indeed most global currency – is irreversibly divorced from actual productivity.

No Alternative  Algorithm?

The reason why people must trade dollars is that there is no other alternative, and the computer algorithms that control the value of the currency have yet to tell us otherwise.  That’s it, really.  The questions remain, how, why, and when will people stop working for it and what will they work for which can replace it?

This will not be as simple as living in yurts, trading cheese cultures and tweeting about it. Complex infrastructure like a judicial system, transportation, medical care, clean water, energy and food production rely on a financial system that can capitalize and securitize whatever the replacement currency may be.

Influence vs. intention

The latest twist in the new currency movement is the idea that on-line influence can be used to support a currency.  There is no shortage of noble leaders aspiring to “define the standard” in their own image as a service to the lesser masses who seek their respective place in the great new economic void.  PeerIndex and Klout are the two main players that promote a social score based on influence, obstensibly to mimic the credit score upon which all currency depends.

Bad Influence is worse than no influence

Unfortunately, influence is a flawed measure.  Marketers are the target beneficiaries of such influence which is clearly defined as the ability to get other people to take action on a marketing message. My ability to influence others to buy Twinkies does not an economy make. In other words – influence is a consumption currency, not a production currency.

A far better marker is “intention”

For comparison; today, money is conjured into existance by banks based on the signature of a loan candidate who states in writing their intention to produce enough value by their future words and actions to exceed the value of the currency being borrowed (created from thin air) plus interest.  That’s how debt works.  That “intention” is then capitalized, combined with the intentions of others, and securitized into bonds that finance important social services and institutions that support those intensions.

Likewise, a social currency may be similarly conjured into existence – based on a person’s promise to increase human productivity in the future, not however, to increase human consumption in the future.  The social marker for the next currency must be an intension to produce something, not an intension to consume something.  The real danger, of course, is if we define the next currency as just another consumption currency or whether it can truly be married to productivity.

Obviously, it would be helpful to have an inventory of what value an individual is willing and able to produce in the future since this is the best marker of intensions.  It would be even more helpful if there were a public knowledge inventory of what value people in a community are able and willing to produce together.  I’ll stop here because a knowledge inventory for communities does not exist – and curiously, none of the great minds in Social Media are clamoring to define that standard.

Likewise, that is where the great opportunity for the future resides.

The Future of Social Currency

The Branded Debit card has long been a staple of the vanity financial services industry.  Having your favorite football team, alma mater, or non-profit proudly displayed upon your purchasing prowess is a clever offshoot of those printed checks of days gone by.  Now, in the age of social media, YOU are the brand. Your product is your information and the information that passes through your social graph.

Self-branding

The most valuable asset is not who you’ve known in the past – many of those relationships are played out.  Rather, it is whom you will know in the future.   Your future connections are where all new innovation will be valued – all the decisions that are yet to be made and all the intentions yet to be acted upon. The only metric that can accurately predict this is your knowledge inventory; what you know, what you are talented in, and what you enjoy doing.  You are the future maker.

The Invisible Hand of Social Capitalism

Living to work, or working to live?

Everyone knows what money is supposed to be – it is supposed to be a representation of human productivity, otherwise nobody would “work” for it, right?

It is also fairly obvious that money is not the only thing that represents human productivity. People work for family, community, reputation, love, recreation, art, music, etc.   These values are denominated in social currencies.

Working for Social Currency

Market Capitalism has deftly turned social currencies into consumption verticals.  People consume recreation products, family products, community products, reputation products, etc. The irony is that people are  foregoing all those things to drive off to work in order to earn the money so that they can buy back their family, recreation, and community. People are “working” for social currencies denominated in dollars.  The Mantra of Madison Avenue is to “Steal the thing that people love about themselves and sell it back for the price of the product”

Influence Peddling

Well known internet celebrities are getting sponsorships from some well known corporations – but not all.  The reason is clear – these people have the ability to influence the opinions and interactions of their community.  However, if the sponsor has a terrible product, that same influence can turn against the brand and the influencer in an amplified manner.  It is clearly in the brand’s best interest to match the product with the message of the influencer and vice versa.

Everyone is an influencer within their own knowledge inventory

A mechanical engineer can influence the professional community of engineers.  A math teacher can influence students.  A police officer can influence citizens.  A patriarch can influence an extended family. A big brother can influence a little sister.  Taken together and segmented across a hugely diverse knowledge inventory of human civilization, everyone is an influencer of everyone else.

Printing Social Currency

So instead of going to work to to earn money, people could just as easily go into their community to earn influence.  Brands can sponsor people based on their knowledge inventory to use, share, organize, and improve communities and products.   The most successful product will be those that help people to improve their communities. As such, brands and products will likewise benefit from stronger and unified communities.  Products that weaken, marginalize, oppress, or isolate people from their communities will fail.

The Invisible Hands of Social Capitalism

Nothing economic can happen until people get together to build something.  Strong linked communities will get together to build “economic” things. What they choose to build will become the value generation mechanisms of the future economy that will transform social value back into financial value.  Like Adam Smith’s invisible hand of Market Capitalism, the Invisible Hands of Social Capitalism will reward people for organizing themselves to make what they enjoy most and are naturally talented in producing.  We’ll call them “Recorporations“.

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.

War Is A Social Agreement

I often make the point that a currency is simply a social agreement. People need to agree that a monetary unit represents their productivity so that they will use it to trade their productivity with the productivity of another person. The test question for any so-called currency (coined by Jay Deragon) is: “Yeah, but can you buy groceries with it?”

I am now seeing a SHARP increase in the social interest for an alternate currency to the dollar. The dollar does represent productivity – albeit future productivity in the form of debt – that’s why it is still exchanged for the work that we do. My suspicion however is that the social agreement regarding the dollar is, in fact, increasingly becoming a social disagreement.

People have a deep seated unease with what the dollar is and what the dollar represents. To escape the dollar is to escape a tangle of influence that impacts everything we say, do, and think about ourselves and about each other. It almost seems that to escape the dollar is to escape ourselves.

That’s just the idea that came to me after watching this video about a soldier questioning the occupations. He is saying something very interesting:

War is simply the soldier’s willingness to fight it. It is a social agreement.

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 🙂

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)

Where is The Knowledge Inventory?

Knowledge marketsThere is no knowledge inventory of our communities. The is a STUNNING omission for a country whose only hope at climbing out of economic hardship is sequestered within the innovative minds of its people.

If done correctly, knowledge can behave as an asset of trade. This must first start with a comprehensive knowledge inventory. Like the human genome project, the knowledge inventory project must be a sustained effort.

Link to specification document

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

Social Isolation Funnel

You don’t stand a chance.

Social Influence Marketing (SIM) is becoming more sophisticated at finding you in your social space than you are in avoiding Social Influence Marketing (Advertising).   A new set of theories and systems have been deployed on how to engage you in conversation, grab your response data, funnel you into the pitch, induce credit card labor, and draw out your social broadcast.  Guess what, your social media sites are helping them….

Flirting with the enemy

The greatest problem that social media created for advertisers was to disperse the crowd from the once treasured “captive audience” of the radio/TV days to millions of individual affinity outlets.  Blasting the message home is no longer a function of Ad spend.    However, marketers are smart and social media sites are corporations too – now these forces are converging with unimaginable voracity.

They have you figured out.

In a quest for monetization, popular sites now provide “data services” to the brands. Such data empowers, once again, the advertiser over the viewer.  Why not provide “data service” to the users about what the brands pay for and what information they are mining about users?  If Brands are not comfortable with disclosing such information – should we be comfortable about teaching our “human nature” to them?

As social sites increasingly develop stickiness applications to retain the audience, new innovations are directed to that old business TV/Radio model rather than reinforcing the reason why social media emerged in the first place.    At some point, it becomes the best interest of the social site to meet the Wall Street expectation of “tangible output” over the user expectation of increased productivity. In other words, keep people glued to the LCD and don’t empower them to enter their communities to innovate social change.

Once users lose the ability to reject a brand message, we’re all right back where we started from.

People need to meet each other in real life to do real things. The best way to retain the original power of social media is to disperse once again.  Micro-social networks reflecting communities of interest need to form in proximity to each member.  Each community of interest must combine with other highly local social networks to share ideas, create local innovation, and enforce social priorities.

Hide your data in your own data:

Each time a different affinity group meets with another affinity group, the demographic data changes – it becomes renewed, refreshed and remains in the possession of the community.  This is where the value is, people can own it of they knew it’s theirs – and Brands can access far more value by supporting communities rather than by isolating communities.

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?

1,000,000 More Become Invisible, Powerless, and Marginalized

The September Job Numbers are out and the trends are disturbing.  Millions upon millions of Americans are now wondering how they are going to safeguard the health and welfare of their families and property.  As these people lose their “money” they become increasingly invisible, powerless, and marginalized – except for one single, solitary, beacon of earthly influence.  Social Media.

Now, more than ever, we need to implement an alternate economy with an alternate currency.  I am not pitching some “anti-dollar-therefore-anti-American” platform, I am talking about what the hell will millions of unemployed people and their families do if they don’t have a functional currency they can trade for basic needs and services.

These same people have tons of practical experience, diverse knowledge, and worthy intellect – but no money?  It makes absolutely no sense that “productivity” should become so divorced from the value of a solitary currency.

We must come to the immediate conclusion that social media can be a fabric that binds the American economy.  If done correctly, Social Media can become the basis of an economy that rewards social priorities over Wall Street Priorities.  But ONLY if done correctly.

While the institutions around us falter, social media will increasingly duplicate – for all practical purposes – the functions of these institutions in our society.  As this transition takes place, we must lead social media in specific and intentional directions.  This cannot be a “traditional” market driven process – the market is what we’re trying to correct.  This cannot be a random process or else it will become reactionary and feed on itself.  Instead, Social Media needs to be organized in a manner that allows information, knowledge, and innovation – the basis of human productivity – to trade like a financial instrument.

What if I told you that it would be a lot easier than it sounds?  What if I told you that almost all of the components needed to build this new economy already existed in the social media landscape?  What if  I told you that Government, Corporations, and Wall Street will not do this for us.  What if I told you that the risk from not doing anything far outweighs the risk of trying to develop and implement an economy built on a social media platform.

Everyone must have a productive role in the next economic paradigm – employed, unemployed, communities, traditional media, even existing corporations and their advertising departments.  All of the existing infrastructure is in place – it only needs to be rearranged a little bit.  That is what The Ingenesist Project hopes to initiate.  We may not be 100% correct and the process that actually arises may be substantially different, but we need to start somewhere.

Meanwhile, here are the Jobs stats for September;

Headlines: 263,000 “jobs lost” and unemployment rate up to 9.8%.

That’s not good – there goes the “second derivative” argument. Weekly earnings are also down by $1.54, which is bad news too. But the Household Data is VASTLY worse than reported. Here are the month-over-month changes, and they’re in the realm of frightening.

Civilian Labor Force: 154,879,000 to 153,617,000 this month.

Employed: 140,074,000 down to 139,079,000 this month.

That’s a loss of 995,000 jobs, not 263,000, and the labor force contracted by 1,262,000 people!

THE INVISIBLE PEOPLE: The people “not in the labor force” rose by a staggering 1,516,000 in the last month (”unemployed” who have given up and exited the labor force).

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

The New Reverse World Order

Bank-of-Wal-Mart-Note--40279The New Reverse Order

If someone can track your spending, they can predict your behavior.  It is also true that if someone can track your behavior, they predict your spending.   The next economic paradigm is simply a higher order of the same.

On the next higher order, if someone knows your “Knowledge Inventory” they can predict how you will manage changing conditions – that is, how you will innovate.  Likewise, tracking how people innovate exposes the development of new knowledge assets (the ‘gold-standard’ of conversational currency).

Everyday some new headline shows that we are getting closer and closer to that point – for better or worse – where humanity learns to manage an innovation economy.

Profound Issues Arise.

The following article about Wal-Mart adopting the debit card (Wal-Mart to Staff: Bye-Bye Paycheck, Hello Debit Card) as a means of issuing paychecks represents a quantum leap in the monetization of knowledge assets.  We expect many more will closely follow in one of the most important financial developments in financial history – virtual currency.  If food stamps can be delivered on a debit card, why not frequent flier miles, Disney Dollars, coupons, rebates, tulip bulbs, beanie babies, or a new global currency such as the Rallod?

A Vetting Zoo

The only questions that remain are related to Vetting.  By all accounts Social Media is developing into the mother of all vetting mechanisms.  Who controls the card? What system is it replacing? Who can pull money off?  Who charges fees to whom and why? Who gets the business intelligence?  What is the PR spin?  Can advertisers interact with the card to apply discounts and rewards?  What types incentives motivate what types of people and can it go on a debit card?

A Steep Departure

Each of these questions, and the companies they spawn, will live or die by Tweet and Blog – this is a steep departure from the past.  For example; 30 years ago, if every American were told that their social security number would be tied to a credits score that is tied to their driving record, employability, insurance premium, health care, mortgage rate, and, yup, their debit card – the cities would have burned in protest.

Nobody could have seen this future except those who designed it.  Today, the designers are you and I – see the future now, see the future here at Conversational Currency.

Trust as a Social Currency

The idea of trust as social currency is appearing in more articles, conferences, and books.  This is all highly consistent with the TIP thesis on Innovation Economics which describes the necessity of a vetting mechanism among the knowledge inventory as a means for the emergence of a currency in a market – that is, a conversational currency.  People need to trust the currency if they are to trade the currency.

Shefaly Yogendra provides some excellent insights below.  Keep in mind that American Culture does not have a monopoly on the definition of trust.  It should not be an American expectation to define the conversational currency in our own image.  Indeed, convertability of such currency will be, and must be, global.

I kept the analysis sparse on this article because it is a valuable exercise to form one’s own perspective on trust prior to diving into someone Else’s opinion.  After all, it’s your currency – you own it.  Good luck.

******************

by Shefaly (please see her Bio here)

Trust is a non-negotiable essential in business. The post linked here refers to web-based business-to-consumer interactions. But as social currency, Trust is the most significant in interactions amongst organisations, customers, employees and regulatory bodies.

Definitions

Wikipedia defines social currency as “information shared which encourages further social encounters“. Social currency is different from social capital which refers to “connections within and between social networks and individuals“.

Social currency – some characteristics

a) No distinction between ‘physical’ and ‘virtual’ worlds

b) No distinction between ‘individuals’ and ‘corporate entities’

c) No distinction between validity of negative or positive normative labels

Determining the value of Trust as social currency

a) Verifiable Identity and antecedents

b) Consistency

c) Reliability

d) Peer recognition

e) Value of the network

f) Individuality and collaborative consciousness

The original article can be found here and it elaborates on each of the points above.

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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)

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