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Tag: IPO

Decentralized Integration of Complex Systems

ApolloThe recent Panel at The Future of Money and Technology Summit on Fueling the Decentralization Movement ended on a very interesting point: The Integration of Complex Systems.

The last comments from Chris Peel suggested that the iPhone program was more complex than Apollo and that we are a far way off from the ability to decentralize production to the degree that a space program or revolutionary consumer product would require. From my years in aviation, I am keenly aware that the complexities associated with an aircraft program would be extremely difficult and risky to manage with a series of autonomous agents and smart contracts – as we know them today.

Wisdom of Crowds

However, the proposition made by Joel Dietz at Swarm is significant. Swarm proposes to crowd-select, crowd-vet, and crowd-fund start-ups. Several efficiencies are cited:

1. The crowd knows best what is needed in a specific time and domain,

2. The same crowd is also the first user/customer/advocates of the product, and

3. The same crowd is the first to iterate the project.

Such diverse and comprehensive “single source” domain expertise is unlikely to be available from any Venture Capital Firm.  Instead, far too many start-ups are designed specifically for the Venture Capital process effectively inbred with the centralized DNA.  The VC formula is fairly simple, well documented, and contains suitably developed infrastructure. The VC process efficiently removes promising innovations from a decentralized ecosystem, repackages them, and injects them into the 20th century finance model of banks, brokers, and IPOs.

Today, the decentralization movement is portrayed in the media by silos like AirBnB and Uber, who may eventually expand into other markets (such as Amazon did from books), but from a relative monopoly position of acquisitions, scale, and market dominance – which is the antithesis of decentralization.

Fueling The Decentralization Movement

This Panel at Future of Money was selected in a very different manner.  The idea that I was trying to get at is that an ecosystem is like scaffolding being populated with individual applications. At first they are sparse, but soon they expand to depend upon each other. At first, each of the panelists seemed very different and related only by ideology. As the session progressed, we could see the each of the panelists were filling in the gaps between themselves soon appearing like a full stack.

Paige Peterson suggested that Maidsafe’s ideas and technology would solve specific problems in the crypto-space that the blockchain could not. Christian Peel suggested that Swarm and Maidsafe may reduce scale risk with what Ethereum has to offer. Sam Yilmaz at DApps Fund is betting on cryptoequity and a broad spectrum of “work proofs” as a means of holding these DApps together rather than letting them become disassembled by a single minded Venture Capital process. Of course, our interest at The Ingenesist Project is precisely on decentralizing both supply AND demand as a means of articulating intangible assets to society (ref: Coengineers.com and Curiosumé).

What is Cryptoequity?

“Cryptoequity,” as defined by Swarm (from this Source) is an umbrella term that covers various applications of cryptographic ledger offerings.

These can include:

(1) Product presales in which the token serves as a coupon redeemable for a real world good (i.e. the Comic Book sale done via Swarm)

(2) Product sales in which the token is redeemable for some service in a decentralized network (i.e. Storj or Ethereum)

(3) Product sales which serve as a “subscription” or membership to some decentralized network (i.e. Swarm)

(4) Token which serves as a license to use some type of intellectual property, potentially with an attached legal contract (i.e. sales being conducted in the Swarm 5th of November launch)

(5) “Shares” serving as stock equivalent for organizations that have no legal entity (i.e. BitShares)

(6) Shares serving as stock for legal entities (i.e. Overstock/Medici)

Efficiency in Zero Marginal Cost

The relative benefit of many of these is that it solves an interesting problem related to the near zero marginal cost of software distribution; the fixed scarcity of a good or service allows the market to determine the appropriate price point for a product rather than centralized forced scarcity or management selection.

Decentralized Integration of Complex Systems

If we are to ever reach a point where complex systems (such as space travel or consumer products – or even equitable governance, environmental stewardship, and fair wealth distribution)  can ever be achieved in a decentralized manner, we must start with the integration of decentralized applications among themselves in a decentralized way.  We should not exclusively extract and seal critical components off from an ecosystem and run them through the VC gamut – the disruption goes both ways.

 

The Facebook Basket of Goods

Facebook does not produce anything.  Facebook sells personal information to advertisers. This is not to say that Facebook is not worth a lot of money, but it certainly deserves a little perspective.  In order for Facebook to be worth anything, people must be doing things, making things, and organizing things – otherwise, there would be no need for the utility that Facebook provides.

Consumer Value Index

In order for people to do things and make things, there needs to be basic infrastructure like energy, clean water, telecommunications, food,  roads, bridges, and airports.  There needs to be housing, education, and health care.  There needs to be an effective and fair legal system, equitable political representation, and civil decency.

Debt or Human Potential

Facebook adds value to the human productivity potential that already exists.  It is precisely that invisible human potential that seems to be worth most of the money that Facebook commands.  When we estimate a value of 100 Billion dollars for Facebook –  an astonishing 99 times their advertising revenue – we estimate that the market believes that intangible value exceeds tangible value by a factor of 100:1; versus, say, Apple at 16:1 or Google at 20:1

Nothing economic happens until people get together to make something

Charles Munger, CFO of Berkshire Hathaway uttered these deeply foreboding words at a conference at Seattle University in reference to the Enron debacle;

“it’s bad enough when we lose the accounting profession, but dear God help us if we lose the Engineers”.

Suppose a team of 10 engineers designs a bridge that spans a body of water cutting 1 hour off the alternate route for 14,000 people per day (connecting 2 small towns).  Over the 75-year life of that bridge, those 10 engineers are responsible for 380 Million hours of increased productivity. At 25 dollars per hour per person whose time is saved, 10 engineers create nearly 10 billion dollars of NEW VALUE.  As such, only 100 engineers could create the same amount of New Value as Facebook is worth in an IPO.

You are worth what is measured

We need to ask ourselves what is more efficient; making things that act as a proxy for the things that we are trying to sell, or measuring the real value of things that we make.  Perhaps Facebook would be worth 10 Trillion dollars on such a balance sheet.  Maybe Facebook would be worth nothing if true value were in fact measurable. Who knows?

Well, that’s exactly the problem – nobody knows.

Facebook acts as a proxy for human productivity, just like money is a proxy for productivity, but with no intrinsic value itself.  Perhaps this explains their Wall Street convertibility.  However, if we backed Facebook with New Value of human potential, rather than a basket of debt-able goods, perhaps we would not have a financial crisis to deal with, just a value crisis.

I wonder what Charlie Munger would say

The Game and The Counter-Game

The term “Gamification” is pretty cool, except that it is meaningless.  Anyone who has ever worked a day in his or her life knows that the World is already gamed.  Anyone who follows politics and world events sees the game playing out constantly.  Everyone, including the winners, know that the game is stacked.  The last thing anyone needs is another game layer.

If you are like the majority of people on Earth, you are given a game that you can’t win playing by the rules.  If you are like the majority of people on Earth, you would do anything for a chance to play a game that you CAN win.  Imagine the value of an IPO for a gaming company with that prospectus.

What is a Counter Game?

Wikileaks – love them or hate them – is a Counter Game because they turned the lights on a game that was being played in the dark.  Bloggers play a Counter Game because media was editorialized by powerful interests.  Twitter is a Counter Game because it drives the narrative instead of being driven by it. In fact, any place where there is a broker – someone or something that benefits from you NOT having complete information – is an opportunity to introduce a Counter Game.

An astonishing array of Counter Games is forming in social media and the brokers are falling out of the sky like hailstones.  Power brokers, mortgage brokers, energy brokers, media brokers, even Google is gamed by Counter Gamers.  The better they get at hiding information; the better the Counter Gamers gets at rooting it out.  The harder they try to control a message, the better the Counter Gamers gets at disclosing the truth behind the message.

The game creates the Counter Game.

Likewise, to kill the game is to kill the Counter Game. As such, the only way to kill the counter-game is to kill the game. Think about that for a bit…Do we really want to do that?

The Holy Grail of the Counter Game is the global monetary system. Money is supposed to represent human productivity; otherwise people would not go to work to make things that everyone else needs.  The Game has caused Money to become increasingly divorced from actual productivity.  People who produce the most value are exploited while those who produce the least are most grandly rewarded.  The Game is stacked with money.

The Holy Grail of The Counter Game is to replace monetary currency with a True Value Currency.

The financial system stands on 5 pillars: currency, inventory, vetting institutions, entrepreneurs, and value arbitrage. All of these are slowly being replicated, mimicked, or duplicated in Social Media.  When the 5 pillars integrate in social media systems, a new currency will emerge.  People will use it to store and exchange the value that they create through their work. It will be a no-brainer

The Value Game

The Value Game is outlined in this short video using the now proverbial “Corporate Jet” as the turning point in the global economic paradigm.  The Value Game does not kill the Financial Game, rather, it challenges, corrects, and improves it.  The Value game has reached a critical milestone – it has been funded in dollars by investors.

This is not insignificant.

An IPO For Humanity

The term IPO conjures images of empire-making where a hot young company with a great product offers pieces of its future-self for sale to the public as a means of raising money without incurring debt.  The money is then used to create the next titan whose new jolt of growth is shared with all who participated.

Today, every annual report to shareholders touts the great team of people whose social, creative, and intellectual capital make it all happen, the worthy and stoic investors whose vision drives sound decisions, and the legions of happy customers who make it all worthwhile.

Essentially, an IPO is people buying into the productivity of other people.

Yet, the IPO is a strict and complex legal and regulatory maneuver that establishes property rights on these small pieces of future productivity – represented by “stock” in the company.

There are underwriters (usually a bank), battalions of lawyers, the securities and exchanges commission (SEC), brokers, insurers, re-insurers, institutional investors, private investors, and retail investors.  There is a full infrastructure supporting the facts of incorporation, disclosure, accounting, and proper management of internal “inside” information.  And, of course, there is a media /PR campaign.  All are integrated to keep the game fair, yet viable.

In the Age of Social Media

I could be wrong but it seems that such vast infrastructure appears a bit awkward if the end result is simply for people to buy into the productivity of other people.  This happens everyday in Social Media.  At some point, we really need to ask; why can’t an individual or a group of individuals raise money without incurring debt like corporations can?

In Social Media, people own and deploy their relationships,  communities, motivation, their knowledge, creativity, intellect, mentorship, leadership, teamwork, their network, and even their ability to form corporations – people own their time.  Social currency is backed by the scarcity of time and the availability of surplus knowledge.

All of the structural components of the financial system are appearing in an analogous form in social media; social vetting, social gaming, aggregation, influence, knowledge inventories, communities of knowledge assets, local social, global social, tag search, deep search, semantic search, stream of consciousness search, geolocation, mobile computing, multi-media, and many more innovations are being created and deployed everyday which literally serve the functions of banks, lawyers and legislation in an invisible economy.

The Ingenesist Project tries to string this all together with just enough specificity so that an alternate financial system will jump start itself and become both visible and available to everyone.

We’ll hold an IPO for Humanity

All of the infrastructure and the potential for people to produce things would remain intact regardless of what happens to the currency.  Think about what would happen if all the dollar based money system evaporated. The only safe haven for the storage and exchange of value will be in people and their communities.

The only thing missing is a system that can articulate social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital instead of land labor and financial capital.  This system can be built today.

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