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An Analog To Digital Converter For Knowledge Assets

A-D ConverterCuriosumé is an analog to digital converter for knowledge assets.

The single most destructive characteristic of the Market Capitalism is the dependence on resources extracted from the Earth to fuel constant economic growth. Natural resources are finite while constant growth model is infinite.  There are several ways to manage this disparity; the first is to expire Capitalism, the second is to base that dependence on an infinite resource. Given the shortcomings of most viable alternatives to Capitalism, the latter is likely more plausible than the former.

Many perils to society that manifest today have their beginnings in the thesis by Adam Smith called “The Wealth of Nations”. In this document Mr. Smith outlines the conditions of Capitalism where a merchant class would arise to efficiently allocate land, labor, and capital in various combinations in order to produce all of the useful things that society needs. The working class would hold the system in balance; too much growth would result in a shortage of labor that would constrain capital through higher wages (supply and demand). Government would be hardly necessary in a self-balancing system. Ironically, A great deal of innovation has arisen from the prospect of eliminating labor, which allowed growth to continue beyond the natural constraint.

Karl Marx identified the inevitable situation of constant struggle between the working class and the merchant class. One group strived for greater wages while the other strived to lower wages. From this struggle arose a spectrum of adjustments ranging from labor unions and calculated government regulations (Socialism) all the way to full State allocation of public resources (Communism). Herein lies the dawn of geopolitics and competing ideology.

It is fairly easy to see from this short history where hierarchy, competition, politics, exploitation, environmental crisis, and monetary corruption are intimately related. Today, these elements are enshrined in our culture in B-schools, sports, warfare, education, 2-party representation, etc. The result is that people are forced to compete with each other for jobs, money, food, water, air, education, civil liberties, etc.

But it does not have to be this way. A relatively simple modification to the existing paradigm can realign the economic incentives, and therefore social priorities, from consumption to preservation of our planet without necessarily triggering a collapse and subsequent reboot.

Consider the proverbial “basket of goods” – an economic standard used in a variety of analyses including Relative Price Index, Forex, Gross Domestic Product, etc.  The basket of goods consists of unit quantities of tangibles such as food, housing, energy, transportation, etc.  Now consider the human knowledge required to produce that same basket of goods. One can easily imagine economic standards articulated as either the tangible basket of goods or the intangible basket of goods. Both have the same outcome.

Yet, knowledge is an infinite resource that can underwrite so many more dimensions of human existence than a select basket of goods.  The problem is that there is no accounting system for intangibles as there is for tangibles. There is a reason for this – it is called control. Therefore, to create an accounting system for knowledge assets is to take control of productivity and the currency that represents it.  That is the evolution we ought to focus on.

This is a much simpler challenge than trying to solve every problem that our civilization faces individually. This is a much easier problem to solve than trying to change the minds of entrenched ideologies. This is a much easier problem than changing all the laws and institutions that exist to make the old game as fair as it can ever possibly be.  In fact, the solutions for our most complex problems as a civilization are stunningly simple to create.

Did I mention that Curiosumé is an analog to digital converter for knowledge assets?

The Paragon of Capitalism

Capitalism is characterized by the condition where individuals acting in their own best interest consequently act in the best interest of society.  By contrast, Socialism is characterized by the condition where individuals acting in the best interest of society consequently act in their own best interest.

Who are the Socialist?

While America espouses a capitalist system of social organization, the jobs that Capitalists create are contained in corporations that operate much closer to the socialist model of community organization.

In a corporation, employees are motivated to act in the best interest of the corporation as a means to assure their own best interest.  Resources allocation is channeled through ministers who are led by a benevolent dictator responding to the priorities of a family of stockholders.  Tasks are segmented into units of equal pay for equal work. There are limited avenues to advancement. People cannot talk freely against their employer. It is acceptable practice to banish some people for the best interest of the collective.

First Amendment To The U.S. Counterintuition

The opposite holds for the OWS movement – some say the occupiers are socialist, however, the jobs that they create are Capitalist.  There is no benevolent dictator or appointed ministers or hierarchy to allocate resources.  Anyone can join and nobody gets sent to the gulag.  Yet, everyone knows what to do like some kind of invisible hand that elevates an ideal.  Most importantly, there are unlimited avenues for advancement.

The movement was peaceful.

Buildings did not fall.  Mothers did not mourn the death of children. There was no volatility induced on the stock markets, the lawyers stayed in their offices, politicians were relatively unscathed. Those protestors who did suffer are now celebrated in the media, culture, art, music, Facebook, etc.  In short, People acting in their own best interest were in fact acting in the best interest of society.

Reoccupy Wall Street

Now that the movement has been dispersed, and the 89% who still have jobs return to occupy their respective corners of Wall Street.  The global narrative has changed for everything from warfare to environmental protection to income equality.

The products that emerge

Already, mobile apps now exceed CD/DVD sales.  Mobile computing devices will replace PCs. Television sales are going down. Many of us now own our last internal combustion automobile. Social Media Applications are mimicking financial instruments with new systems for trade, exchanges, trust, influence, and value creation.  Allocating social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital rather than the now quaint but hopelessly static notions of land, labor, and fiat capital is producing real value.

Capitalism and socialism are simply two of many different forms of social organization.  People are reorganizing.

89% Are Already OWS

99% of Americans don’t have a game that they can win playing by the rules imposed on them by the other 1%.  But in order to keep this game in play, that 1% utterly depends on the remaining 89% who still have jobs to show up for work and do as they are told. The spectre of the 9% fallen is an incentive, of sorts, to those still walking.

These are the 89 percenters…

…who already occupy Wall Street with their knowledge of systems and processes to implement procedures and methods that support the connections and networks of the remaining 1%.  Without these people in place, the system will fail faster than S&P can calculate a credit score, literally.

The 89% know what each other know

The logistics manager knows whom to call when the packages are late.  The account manager knows all of the customers by name.  The service team knows exactly how to get the computer systems back online.  The loan officer knows where the money is.  But only the 1% know where the knowledge is…and where it isn’t…

Knowledge is money

As RIM recently learned, if the computers go down, all the money in the world will not bring them back.  Most companies have an off-line life span of only a few days or hours before irreparable damage occurs.  Only the right knowledge in the right place at the right time can save the firm.   This is a huge monetary vulnerability.

The Public Knowledge Inventory

I found a great picture of the Occupy Wall Street Library from here.  The great irony is that OWS felt the need to build a Library that represents the ideas that they have between their ears.  What they really need is a “Library” for the knowledge that actually lives, breaths, and acts in the minds of the 99%.  Only then can they deploy the force that they need to move enterprises.

Divide and conquer

As long as Americans are fighting with each other, there is little chance that they will organize their knowledge assets and deploy their knowledge assets in a manner that serves social priorities instead of Wall Street priorities.  This is the big shift that the World is waiting for.  As long as people fear losing their jobs, they will comply with the 1%

What scares them the most?

The greatest fear of any company is to have their key employees poached by a competitor.  Companies have gone out of their way to implement non-poaching agreements between known competitors and NDAs against unknown competitors.  Companies hide key players behind a mountain of bureaucracy, misinformation, and obscure titles and job descriptions in order to hide them from the open market; yet they willingly poach other firms when they can.

The cry of the 99% is income equality.

Let me suggest that OWS consider knowledge equality as a superior alternative.  So instead of the OWS book library, they should form a public knowledge Library.  A public knowledge inventory would make knowledge transparent to all people and all companies equally.

Then Let the Poaching begin

If the 89% were not scared heartless about getting another job, then they would be far more willing to join the movement.  In fact, the MVPs would be the most powerful voice of the movement – the top innovators and visionaries toiling their life away for a company willing to raid their pension fund or drop insurance coverage at the drop of a hat.  Nobody is going to tell them to take a bath – they are the water.

Plenty of Work But Where Is The Knowledge?

Millions of people are looking for Jobs.  Meanwhile, employers complain of a chronic “skills mismatch” that prevents them from hiring people or initiating new innovations.

When an engineer is laid off from an airplane manufacturer, a company like Starbucks has no idea what that person knows even though aircraft and milk steamers have a great deal in common from the perspective of the Engineer (both are pressure vessels subject to extreme environmental conditions).

The same is true for a marine engineer, and HVAC engineer, or an electrostatic coating machinery engineer.  Each of these disciplines has far more in common than they have differences.  However, if you compare the descriptions for any of these jobs, they sound like they all happen on different planets.

God forbid you are not an expert on MS Excel, which only takes a few hours for almost anyone to learn – yet not tagging that radio button can negate 20 years of experience that only 1% of people have the desire, discipline, and intellect to achieve.

The same holds true for many talents and professions. There are serious problems with the way that we discern the supply and demand for knowledge assets.

What is needed is an intermediate knowledge inventory in the commons that everyone can index to.  So when an engineer tags “pressure vessels” the term registers into the resident ontology of all observers.

Why is this better?

Of course companies are trying to eliminate variance and risk by hiring a person who has been trained by someone else – preferable a direct competitor.  On the other hand, the mantra of modern business is to innovate.  Innovation does not happen by duplicating yesterday’s ideas. Mixing diverse combinations of knowledge assets, and not all common knowledge assets, accelerates the process of Innovation.  Think of all the music that is yet to be created for lack of musicians to play the different instruments.

An intermediate knowledge inventory solves both problems by allowing companies to introduce diverse knowledge assets without introducing irrelevant knowledge assets.  It also gives people far more mobility to pursue specialties that they are most talented and interested in.  As such, the allocation of knowledge assets would improve to match supply of knowledge with the demand for knowledge in an innovation economy.

There is not a shortage or work, only a shortage of knowledge about knowledge.  

The Voice of the Youth

HS students Euro ChallengeDoes One size fit all?

The 40+ crowd is flooding to Facebook.  The 30+ massage their Linkedin profiles. The 20+ crowd is tweeting their hearts out.  What are the kids doing?  How are they organizing themselves?  After all, they are saddled with a 50 Trillion dollar debt liability and a warming planet courtesy of their Tenants.  I posted an article below about a High School Student from Issaquah Washington (read “Small Town USA”) with a head full of ideas.

Reading between lines:

Kids are looking for better ways to promote themselves to colleges, employers, and each other, with a twist; they want control and ownership of their data.  They see it as an extension of a business card rather that a bill board branding channel.  Yes, they are open for business and ready to produce insanely creative things.  However, there must be some intimacy in relationships which other social networking sites cannot provide. They seek quality over quantity in the next economic paradigm.  They seek simplicity and eschew the corporatism of  their media.

They are consummate sharers always aware of their own productivity.  Their new applications are a chain of productivity tools for other students creating a world where teenagers can find useful tips, tricks and products to get through the teen years successfully.  They are passionate about engaging the world on their level.  They are passionate about their role in providing value to others.  I, for one, welcome the prospect of turning the world over to it’s rightful owners – the kids.

Students develop Web sites for peers

Skyline Running Start student Adam Sidialicherif has a lot of ideas floating around in his head these days. The self-taught Web developer has so many, he even maintains in his bedroom a list of Web applications he wants to write to help his peers with numerous aspects of life, he said.

The Capitalization of Knowledge – The Virtuous Circle

We have set up a new game for entrepreneurs to play called Innovation Economics. We have defined a currency and an inventory where knowledge is visible outside the construct of the corporation – and resident in social networks. We have also described a way for entrepreneurs to visualize the knowledge asset and the supply and the demand for knowledge assets. We have given them a tool for matching assets for profit. We have described how social networks will keep the game fair. We have outlined the structure of new business plans; the brain storming session, product development cycle, the neural network, and the multiplier effect. Future businesses will be built upon combination of these four structures and whatever else entrepreneurs can dream up.

We have described all of the pieces needed to form a new economy. Now we need to connect with the financial markets so that knowledge is readily convertible to other currencies.

For review;

With the financial bank, the entrepreneur assumes that they have the knowledge to execute a business plan and then they look for the money. The risk is that the entrepreneur does not in fact have enough knowledge.

With the Innovation Bank, we assume that we have the money, and we go to the bank to search for the knowledge. The risk is not having enough money to purchase sufficient expertise.

With both banks acting together – the risks cancel each other out and the innovation economy tends toward a ‘risk free’ cycle; the more knowledge you can assemble, the more money you can borrow. The more money you can assemble, the more knowledge you can assemble.

Now we have a virtuous circle. The more knowledge you have, the more money you can borrow; and the more money you have, the more knowledge you can borrow.

There is no shortage of money circling the globe – only a shortage of risk free places to put the money. The innovation economy is an environment of very high return for a very low risk and will attract a great deal of money to fund innovation enterprise.

Earlier we demonstrated that money represents human productivity. It follows that the places that have the greatest potential for increasing human productivity can create the greatest amount of wealth. Therefore, poor areas and marginalized economies with under utilized knowledge inventories or the injection of specific knowledge inventories, become the highest ROI centers in a risk-free system; a condition the explicitly favors the wealth equalization rather than wealth disparity.

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