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Is Curiosumé is a Bad Investment?

Burn MoneyOver the years we have identified several features of Curiosumé that every investor wants to change – but these are so fundamental to the operation of Curiosumé that to change them would make the application useless.

However, the follow-on applications could be so hugely profitable that we make the claim: “When hundreds of millions of entrepreneurs see the format of the data output from Curiosumé, they’ll know exactly what to do next”.  The hurdle is to build Curiosumé right while dodging the VC “gauntlet” of control.

Is Curiosumé a Bad Investment?

The following is a list of Curiosumé tenets that we hold critical to the development of the application and why each of these pass across the grain of traditional investment community to make the application difficult to fund:

A. The topmost ontology must belong to the Commons.  We specify Wikipedia, or other public databases for Curiosumé.  There will always be a strong tendency from investors to want to own the database or to define the ontology because there is a legacy ideal that this is where the value is. Private data, such as corporate wiki, can certainly be used to run Curiosumé, but MUST reconcile upward to the commons data base at higher order definitions. There will be a strong desire to own the ontology – we must resist this.

B. Non-competitive ranking system: This will be tough enough for the culture to accept – but we all must change ourselves at least as much as we expect others to change.  Our culture is steeped in tradition of competition; war, sports, even evolution (survival of the fittest), etc – all purport the necessity of competition. It was very difficult to find a suitable rating systems that did not invoke hierarchy and competition.  In reality, Nature exhibits many more examples of collaboration than competition, yet collaboration is not intuitive to the American psychology. We are not saying that competition is bad, it is just inefficient on a crowded planet because it manufactures more uncompensated losers than compensated winners.  There is always a strong tendency for investors to rank business components on a hierarchy – we must resist this.   There is a legitimate market for everyone.

C. Self-selecting: People must self-identify their participation in a community – a great deal of thinking, intention, and VALUE is created and deposited into the system through this extremely important process of self expression – this is where assurance is mined. The only way for it to work is to eliminate the incentive to cheat. The only way to eliminate the incentive to cheat is to eliminate the component of competition. If we eliminate the incentive to cheat then we can disaggregate hugely expensive vetting mechanisms that too often add crippling friction to a system.  There will be a strong desire by investors to rank other people in their own image and to sit on top of a hierarchy to control people – we must resist this.

D. “Learn-collaborate-teach” scale provides demand- production-supply metric. This is extremely important that the selection criteria provide these components that form factors of production for a proto-economy based on intangibles. Later we can design other non-competitive scales as they arise, likely as a smart contract application.  For now, there is so much baggage associated with competition in society that we should best stick with Learn-collaborate-teach scale for now.

E. Anonymity until the point of transaction: Big Data is valuable to the degree that it allows people to perform scenario testing with the community (commons) data. Anonymity allows for the benefits of big data to occur without any detriment of self-identifiable markers and associated moral hazards.  Like Craigslist – when two parties choose to interact with each other, they can then expose their identities in a P2P/block environment and communicate directly with each other equitably. There will always be a strong desire from investors to create a one-way communication channel (advertising, propaganda, control, etc) especially because Curiosumé data format will be near-perfect for targeted ads – we must resist this. However, advertisers can interact on a P2P basis with agents on a mutually agreed (economic) basis. This will be the interface to smart contracts.

F. Formation of the Asset: An asset can only be described as a [quantity] X {Quality} of /something/.  For example: . [100 gallons] X {potable} /water/ is an asset.  Likewise [2014] X {BMW} /SUV/ is an asset.  [2000 likes] X {Pepsi} /Facebook/ is an asset, etc.  Alone, “SUV”, “100 gallons”, “200 likes” are not assets and cannot be traded.  As such, from critical elements above, the ASSET must be defined as [A]X{B}/C/.

This is called a unit asset and represents a node in the network. A persona is then constructed from this node and its relatedness to the public database (wikipedia) Personas can be combined and all the nodes will remain attached and compared by degrees of separation. Degrees of separation will define relevance and VALUE. This formation must be indelible until the agent changes it – this makes it a good candidate for block articulation.

In summary, I have described at least 6 elements of Curiosumé that will always be rejected by traditional investors, yet are absolutely essential to the ability to set ourselves free from the oppression of market capitalism.  Is this a coincidence?

Is Curiosumé a Bad Investment?

Why This Bubble Is Completely Different

I had a discussion with one of my partners that we need 2.5 million users and Social Flights will manage itself.  The partner said, “You mean 2.5 million dollars”.

No, I said, “I need 2.5 million users”.

The partner said tersely, “No, I really think that you need dollars.”

Again, I replied, “I need users…. “

This went on for a while until we both got it: The value of Social Flights is contained within the users, not within the dollars. After that, the conversation could progress in a meaningful way, priorities found their place, and the teams found their roles – including the investors.

Nothing economic can happen until people get together to build something

Financial analysts are aghast at the magnificent valuations that social media applications are delivering; P/E ratios of 1000, valuations of 100 dollars per member, billions of dollars per billion time hours in game play – these are not the ratios that they teach in B-school.  Is this crazy or does it make perfect sense?

The Great Rapture

While highly unlikely, suppose the Almighty Father called upon all good and pious dollars to ascend unto heaven in a glorious rapture of currency – on a single day, all money disappears from the face of the Earth.  What would be left?  What happens next?

At least for a little while, I’ll still be sitting in this café typing a blog post.  The value of the education and social network of the person who I will be meeting for lunch will still be intact.  The value of the roads, bridges, schools, and highways would remain intact.  The value to teachers, firefighters, and doctors will remain.  The sun will shine and gravity will continue to act on matter.  The money may go, but a LOT of value remains.

No Such Thing As Free Lunch

Of course, things will quickly devolve when I tell the café owner that I can’t pay for lunch because my money has been raptured. Of course that would seem like a relatively minor problem given the fact that their money has been raptured too.  In fact, so has their supplier’s money, and their Bank’s money.  Obviously, there can’t be a bail out because the government has no money either.

Each of us would probably stare at each other for a few minutes until somebody asks the other, “well, then, what do you have that I can use?”  Once that conversation is exhausted, we’ll move on to  “Who do you know that has something that I can use?” Etc.

The mother of all hedge funds

If this were a game, the person that knows lots of people who do useful things would stand a greater chance of being served lunch than someone who is isolated and disliked – no matter how much money they once had before the rapture.  Likewise, if you have a lot of money, what “Bank” would you put it in?  What “Stock” would you buy?

This bubble is different.

It may be that the dollar is in a bubble and the true value of our economy is stored and exchanged in communities of people enabled by social media.  Those magnificent valuations in social media companies may actually reflect true value and act like a huge hedge fund on currency in the absence of any other plausible financial instrument.

As our noble politicians continue to play their game of chicken with the productivity of honest, educated, and productive Americans, they fail to see the polarity shifting away from money and into “true value”.

The value is in the people, not in the dollars. now we can have a different conversation about how to manage ourselves.

Is the Credit Score Obsolete?

The Ingenesist Project prides itself in making certain predictions that often seem to manifest in some small way every day.  One of our most enduring suggestions is that social media will begin to replace failing institutions of government and industry.

OK, that’s pretty far out, or is it?

The Wall street Journal reported recently that new bond issues – sort of like collateralized debt obligations – are being developed without consideration for the credit rating of the assets forming the bond.  The justification is that credit rating did not predict or help avoid the last crisis, so what good are they?

Now here is the twist – a surprisingly “Social Media” style solution is proposed – and accepted by the market.  The bankers put their personal and corporate reputations on the line.  If you trust the banker, you can trust their bond.

Is the Credit Score Obsolete?

This sets up an interesting new game now that many bad banks are gone and public sentiment is turned against them. The new game is playing out in interesting ways.

  • The bank does not want to put their reputation in the hands of a 3rd party credit rating agency.
  • Investor wants to put their money into the hands of the person who actually hangs if the deal goes bad.
  • “Inside Information” has become so systematized; the banker knows things long before the rating agency.
  • A system had been built to “game” the credit agencies…lose the game and lose the risk?
  • Avoid government vetting regulation in favor of “social network” vetting.
  • Tactical advantage over corrupt competitors
  • It’s easier for everyone to understand – including the banker, investor, and bond asset.

This is a profound shift in thinking from only a few years ago and almost seems like a return to a bygone era; remember the old days when the banker was actually a member of the community where the bank invested their money?

There are some lessons to take home.  If don’t need credit ratings for corporate bond issues, do they need credit ratings for people?  What if all of these institutions adopt a social network based credit score?  What would that look like?  Social media by and large rewards high integrity and punishes low integrity.  The value of social media includes a component of risk reduction.  You would think that Banks, Insurance, and even homeland security would be all over this game.

Innovating Disruption:

What happens if your credit rating is divorced from your finances?  What good is your social security number?  How does this effect all the downstream users of credit ratings like insurance, employers, credit card companies, social security payments – if any? Much of what we’ll associate with the innovation economy is the disruption, if not outright destruction, of an impossibly unstable system of finance.

Is the Credit Score Obsolete?

The Trojan Horse; A Classic Social Fraud

Periods of change in any market open the doors for abuse as control systems often lag behind the waves.  This is especially true for social capitalism where the social contract is changing rapidly and the enforcement mechanisms are largely non-existent.

All markets must have effective vetting mechanisms in order for the market to be viable.  If the game is not fair – real investors and real entrepreneurs don’t walk, they run…away.  While much fraud is obvious and predictable, the most damaging is the type that nobody sees coming but can destroy the standard of trust for everyone, forever, like the Trojan horse.

Hypothetical Case Study:

A self-proclaimed innovation consultant runs a blog out of anywhere USA.  They have a catchy domain name and their ranking is unusually high for a 5 month old blog with splashy but infrequent articles.

In the spirit of the X-prize, the blogger promotes an Innovation Contest offering $60,000 dollars worth of his company’s “Marketing Consultation” services as a prize to the next innovation that will change the world! … as judged by a “panel of experts”.  The blogger encourages all entrants to send their social network to vote up their innovation as this will weigh heavily into the judging.  Many people submit their work and diligently mine their Facebook and Linkedin networks for the vote.

The contest ends and the winning idea earned zero external votes but it is in an industry that is very popular in mainstream media and slated for government stimulus.  However, it is clearly not up to par with many of the other entrants.  Upon inquiry, the blog author does not specify the criteria for judging, he does not itemize the prize, he does not publish his “panel of experts” and he does not post any dissenting opinions or inquiries submitted to the moderated comments.

A few days later, a press release appears on Google news; “$60,000 dollar innovation contest prize awarded for breakthrough in targeted industry”.  Leading tech media pick up the story and the “consultant” is hailed for defending the struggle of the unsung heroes of the innovation economy.  It appears to the contestants that the consultant is promoting himself at their expense.

So, what’s wrong with that?

First; for all of the innovators who submit themselves to judgment and expend their social capital on votes, the integrity of the contest must be bullet-proof.  The definition of the objective, the judges, and judging criteria must be specified absolutely. Otherwise, good ideas will not be shared.

Second; if potential sponsors of a legitimate X-prize-type contest are challenged in their sincerity to promote world-changing innovation, and instead are accused of self-promotion and media bias, a tremendously valuable resource of the innovation economy will be squandered.

Finally; if a person’s social networks are mobilized to vote in any type of contest – they must know that the time they invest will be respected and valued or they will no longer participate in other contests.

To this day, the clever ruse of the Trojans remains the fraud of choice for new market technologies. It has also marked the standard of trust that we hold forth in our relationships and invitation to our inner circle. Sharing of one’s friends is a deeply intimate act of faith and trust many times greater than sharing one’s ideas. The caregivers, those who hold forth the willingness to nurture that trust, must be qualified as stewards of the public endowment of social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital.

Social Capitalism depends heavily on the function and performance of communities. A “paranoid bias” could be vastly damaging – possibly constraining the next great paradigm of economic development from achieving critical mass.   Social Capitalism is not a game, it’s serious business.

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