Think Bigger. Aim Higher. Go Further.

Tag: media

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.

Cory Doctorow In Seattle

Activist, Science fiction writer, and blogger Cory Doctorow spoke at in Seattle to a full house at the Sunset Tavern in Ballard. He performed a reading from his latest book, “For The Win”. Cory has an interesting sense of abstraction. He’ll spot a trend – or collection of trends – and extrapolates them into the future dutifully revealing all the complexities of the human condition.

For The Win

His reading centered on the “exploitation” of young adults who are hired to play online games where they work to achieve levels, rewards, virtual currency, and game status which is then sold to rich Western players. Some players become highly valued for their knowledge inventory of game world monsters, strategies, power points, and the uncanny ability to assess the knowledge inventory of their opponents who’ll get suckered into a virtual dual with predictable consequences. The kids literally “mine gold”. As always, gold corrupts the most innocent hearts resulting in situations and behaviors at least as strange as the game itself.

The Activist

Cory has long been an activist for digital publication rights and rules. Not surprisingly, the Q&A was dominated by privacy, security, and exploitation of information issues. Cory recently closed his Facebook Account which caused quite a stir in the blogsphere. Ironically, every big name in world-class privacy violation had recently been in the news for Mr. Doctorow to eloquently spit roast on an open flame. It was quite entertaining.

There is a reason that it’s called Monetization

While Mr. Doctorow did not specifically mention this, what struck me most was hearing him talk around this emerging battle for control of people’s information. While this idea is not new, the reasons behind it may be new. As Money is losing it’s capacity to store and control value, human knowledge is increasing it’s capacity to store and control value – this is hugely accelerated by social media. The desperate attempt to control people’s information is really a proxy for the desperate attempt to control knowledge, therefore to re-control the value that money once represented.

Unfortunately, controlling information also destroys value.

People actively participate and share on social media to achieve levels, rewards, and status which is then sold to corporations in the form of predictive marketing by third party aggregators like Facebook. Some people become highly valued for their knowledge inventory of real-world game perils, influencers, and social mavens and become celebrities of the craft. Many develop the uncanny ability to assess the knowledge inventory of their opponents who get suckered into a virtual dual with predictable results.

Suddenly the News started sounding like one of Cory’s Science Fiction Novels…

Event Sponsored by: The Stranger

Social Currency and Anonymity

The subject of privacy and anonymity are again rising up with the latest move by Facebook to integrate updates across the Internet onto the Facebook platform.

Conspiracy theories about Facebook and the CIA continue to flourish.  Meanwhile, the marketing and advertising industry seems poised to reboot their dwindling influence under a new cloak and dagger of social media data hustling and predictive demographics rather than playing by new rules of engagement.

Money is one thing and value is another.

I am astonished that people willingly and freely give up huge volumes of information about themselves when they really don’t have to.  In earlier times, marketers and advertisers would pay a great deal of money for far less information that people give them for free.  People do not understand the value that is stored between their ears or how easy it would be to set up an alternate economy that trades in social currencies.

If advertisers can pay someone to cold call me, to graph my data across the web, or sneak around my social networks, then they can certainly pay me to answer the phone.

The Ingenesist Project specifies an Innovation Economy built on the platform of social media.  While that thesis is extensive, let me summarize that the primordial soup of the Innovation Economy is called the Knowledge Asset Inventory.

Anonymous assets

One essential element of the new economic paradigm is the ability to combine knowledge assets so that innovation becomes predictable and therefore capitalized. However, a side effect is that such code makes the individual containers anonymous.  Marketers will have to pay you to find you.  here is why:

Now think about it this way – if you remove 20-dollar bill from your wallet to buy a Latte, you do not know (nor do you care) whether the last transaction performed by that 20-dollar bill was a donation to a charitable cause or a drug deal.  The dollar bill is anonymous – but you, as an asset, are not.

Social Currency is a Social Imperative

Dollar denominated money is a system to control social currency at a leverage factor of 1000:1.  Take away the dollar currency, and the leverage disappears.  Add a social currency and the national debt disappears.

Almost as a bonus, it is an absolute impossibility for marketers and advertisers to store and exchange value denominated in a social currency without extraordinary changes to the way they engage their clients….like, uhm, …don’t waste our time.

If we are smart, we can shut down the privacy issue in a hurry – anonymity of knowledge assets is the key.

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 🙂

Twitter Me Elmo

Elmo

Dorothy the goldfish is imagining Elmo reading his Twitter stream… and what would it say? Who would he follow? And who would follow Elmo?

Elmo; “Computer, who’s following me on Twitter? Starbucks, Microsoft, and WalMart? Hey wait, Twitter is selling advertising. What’s up with that? Let’s ask Mr. Noodle.”

Mr. Noodle (in mime) “Everyone is promoting something on Twitter otherwise nobody would use it.”

Murray Monster: “Hey, I thought that Twitter was supposed to give everyone an even playing field. Otherwise, nobody would go to school to learn how to actually produce anything. Ovejita!!!

Ovejita (translated from Spanish): “Yeah, everyone spends time and energy building social capital in their community. Now Twitter lets rich guys can come along and just buy access. Why then should the rest of us work so hard?”

Big Bird: “Sponsored Tweets allow Brands to buy a seat at the head of the line. What about my Tweets? Does this build or diminish my social equity?”

Grouch: “Yeah, isn’t that great, Twitter is built on social currency. Now you don’t have to produce social capital, you can just buy in. Watch the social currency devalue!!”

Count Von Count; “ah ah ah, I can count the people leaving Twitter, ah, ah, ah… 50, 40, 30, 20 million,… ah ah ah”

Abby Cadabby; “I’m comfortable with who I am in a pink dress and can just cast a barrage of nasty Tweet spells on those unfair Tweeters”.

Baby Bear: “The only ones who really benefit are National and International Brands – what do they care about what happens here on Sesame Street, let alone in the forest where grandpa bear still lives?”

Grouch: “Quit complaining, the big Twitter moments will be revolutions, airplane crashes, assassinations, natural disasters, celebrity indiscretions, political extremisms, etc. I know that only the most respectable Grouchy brands will jump into any trash can that’s burning with eyeballs….can you say Voyeur?”

Burt and Ernie: “Who said Voyeur?”

Gordon the Shopkeeper: “Then there is the subject of conflict of interest. Can a brand dispel, displace, or disproportion negative Tweets by purchasing out the social media space? Will Mr. Hooper’s store have to buy tweets just to be stay in business?”

Elmo: “Thanks guys. If Twitter makes a little bit of money and goes public, they will eventually want to make more money and more money and more money until people are fighting over the next Christmas Toy Craze. Will this invite a competitor, a disruptive technology, or speculators? Let’s ask a Baby.”

Baby: [confused look]

Elmo: “Thanks baby, What does the future hold? Even Elmo has to worry about profit margins on character marketing. It’s only a matter of time before I will Tweet and my tweets will be followed – but the question becomes; by whom?”

Building Better Problems

The solution to any problem is entirely dependent on how the problem is defined. Likewise, redefining the problem, exposes huge opportunities for new solutions.

In Fact, a great deal of innovation arises not from a clever solution, but from a clever new definition of a problem.

For example, “build a better mouse trap” has entirely different outcome when one simply changes the definition of the word “trap”.

Manufacturing Problems.

Commercial Air Transportation, for example, was once lauded as a “Time Machine” because airplanes could carry a person into “a future” that was otherwise impossible to emerge in, or to a “past” that would never have been witnessed by any other means.

However, solving this problem created many more problems such as runways, infrastructure, car parking, noise, oxygen, crashing, etc. Diligently, we went about solving those problems as well. Unfortunately, solving each of those problems created a host of new problems. Today we’re down to solving the 3.0 ounce of toothpaste rule and the flammable underwear problem.

At some point we need to ask if we are manufacturing problems with every new solution. At what point is innovation taking us backwards? How prevalent is this human trait and does it have anything to do with the financial deficit?

Redefine the Problem

One of the greatest opportunities of Social Media (which is rarely cited by the experts) is the opportunity to redefine problems in the context of social media. Using our airline example, we know that commercial aviation arose from WWII as a response for bringing troops to static battle fields with such dynamic machines as the DC3. This worked great after the war too!

Today we still treat people as static and airplanes as dynamic. Suppose we were to redefine the problem so that people are dynamic and the airplane is static?

Think about it, people go about their life with work, family, and friends. Then they hop into a long aluminum tube, tie themselves down and sit there doing nothing. After a few hours, they emerge from the tube to go about their life, work, family, and friends. The aluminum tube is static, not dynamic – it’s a time machine, remember?

The opportunity, therefore, is for people to self-aggregate using social media around locations, schedules, and events related to life, work, family, and friends. The market could then supply the correct size aluminum tube to meet the need of the community. After all, wouldn’t it be easier to move one airplane to meet the ‘market of many’ rather than trying to move the ‘market of many’ to meet one airplane?

This may sound trivial now, but don’t underestimate the creativity of social entrepreneurs to build a better problem to solve.

Social Currency And The Innovation Bank

'Innovation and Growth, Chasing a New Frontier' book launch(2)The real estate market is trashed, money markets are unstable, commodities are in the tank, the banking system is corrupted to the core, inflation is looming around every corner, and the politicians are engorging themselves in a game of Cerebral Gridlock.

Literally, there is no safe place to put your money. Instead, people are investing their productivity in social media – social media is simply a storage device for knowledge assets. Soon it will become a stock exchange for knowledge assets. Investors should not take this lightly – the best place to store your money is in the real productivity of real people.

People are trading knowledge assets in social media. This exchange is denominated by a conversational currency. If we consider the structure of conversations and compare that to both the structure of social networks AND the structure of our financial system, we see a huge opportunity to develop an alternate financial system that can capitalize and securitize knowledge assets in social media.

Ingenesist.com

Music by Phil Felicia

A Community of Knowledge Assets

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

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

A Community of Knowledge Assets

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

A Community of Knowledge Assets

Social Media as a Vetting Mechanism

unhq

Where the vetting mechanism fails, the system fails. This has happened in countless instances from the current financial crisis to nearly every product, market, environmental calamity, or political failure in recorded history – the referees who were supposed to keep their eye on the ball, did not. Likewise, where a vetting mechanism is effective, the system is efficient.

EBay does little more than defend the vetting mechanism (feedback system) and entrepreneurs do the rest. The credit score allows companies and people to capitalize and securitize assets. The US legal system keeps the game of commerce as fair as practical. Police officers and school boards keep our society safe and smart. We often overlook the importance of vetting in our communities.

Today, we find severe problems in finance and government and people are investing their knowledge assets in social media as the place to “store and exchange” their present and future productivity – instead of debt. As such, social vetting is taking many different forms to validate, qualify, and quantify those assets.

While the progression may not be noticeable, there will be a tipping point where the medium has built enough trust that it can support a currency. This new currency needs to be only a little bit more “trustworthy” than the currency it will replace. This is the point where knowledge becomes tangible.

Video: Taxonomy for Community Knowledge Inventory

2009 Forecast DocAny taxonomy that is used to classify information is a candidate for the classification of knowledge. This is because knowledge is related to information in a differential equation that also includes data and innovation (another blog post).

The trick is that everyone needs to be using the same taxonomy so that we can all access knowledge inventories of the people around us as easily as it is to access books on Amazon.com. This will lead to a trade in knowledge assets formally the sole domain of corporations through the process of industrialization (yet another blog post) .

Please enjoy these videos, use them as you wish and let us know what you think.

The Old Economic Paradigm Breaks Down

childmillworkerAs the economic crisis unfolds before us and a paralyzed government, we must seek to understand the forces still acting upon all of us. When cause and effect have become a “complete mystery” to our most prominent thinkers and leaders, they need to look at history.

Does the Merchant Class allocate land Labor and Capital to the a great extent in an Innovation economy? The accepted statistic is that 70% of a company’s value comes from human capital and the creative solutions that they produce.

Land, labor, and capital are ineffective proxies for human creativity and intellect – end of story. The road to new monetization is not paved upon on the roadmap of the industrial revolution.  Something new needs to happen:

The simple truth is that humans have not evolved to the point where they will organize themselves as knowledge assets in a financial system – they still need to use a proxy for their productivity controlled by a master, a corporation, an idealism. It’s called money, politics, and fear.

The reality is that opportunities are endless if we can simply shift away from history and build a new future; a new economic paradigm.

Video: Tangible Knowledge; The Holy Grail of Social Media

Accounting Balance sheets have tangible assets and intangible assets. Unfortunately, intangible often means invisible and those on the dark side of the moon wind up in the unemployment line.

What if knowledge assets were tangible? What if you owned your knowledge like a company owns a structure or specialized machinery? What if it could be quantified and qualified so that it resembles all other tangible assets? Easy answer…entrepreneurs will trade it, like money.

Video: The Last Mile of Social Media

Sure Bro…Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin are great for broadcasting across the Ocean, but how good are they for meeting your neighbors? As wonderful as all this global chatter appears, nothing tangible happens until the rubber meets the road.

Don’t Worry, Be Neighborly…

The following video describes how the components of the next economic paradigm must act locally, but share globally. For anyone wondering what to do next or where the great opportunities are, think about building out the Last mile of Social Media.

Video: Money vs. Productivity

The questions are:

1. What is money? 2. Why is it important? 3. Why is it all so confusing?

The answers are:

1. You are money. 2. You are important. 3. You’re not supposed to know this.

This video provide an easy way to find the truth among the high-fiber ambiguity that has become our political morass. Oh Yeah, they want you to be confused because they don’t want you to act any differently.

The Monetization Mystery

maritimeMystery

OK, the social media buzz is getting a little stale folks.

  • Yes we know that social media is valuable.
  • Yes we know that lots of folks are doing it.
  • Yes we know that the predictive web is predicted.
  • Yes we all know that all this activity will mysteriously “monetize”

Show me how everyone is related and I’ll show you a new economic paradigm. Here is how they are not related:

  • They are not related by “earning” people’s trust today so you can shove your product down their throat tomorrow.
  • They are not related to collecting thumbnails.
  • They are not related to giving the g00gle alg00rithm an 00rgasm.
  • They are not related by “The 6 Steps to [Fill in The Gap]”.

The next economic paradigm is related to transformation.

  • People transform data into information
  • People transform information into knowledge
  • People transform knowledge into innovation
  • People transform innovation into data

Under a set of fundamental assumptions that:

  • All people are socially talented
  • All people are intellectually talented
  • All people are creatively talented
  • All people are good at something
  • Nobody is good at everything

This is how value is generated. This is where the mystery of monetization hides.

Is it Social Media or Corporate Media?

corporate news

Visionaries Ho!

There are no shortage of intelligent and visionary social media celebrities.  They write great books about markets, social media tools, strategies, and on-line reputation for the benefit of the millions of people stuck on any part of the slippery social media learning curve.  They are infinitely generous with their knowledge and share it freely at countless conferences, blog posts, and syndicated articles.

There is, however, one thing that most of these Guru’s have in common – they consult to and are paid by large corporations. I could be considered part of this crowd for whatever my influence is worth.  So the question about causation is due – will social media develop as a function of corporate interaction with it?

If so, then it is not social media – it is corporate media.

This is no surprise, nor should there be any apparent concern, after all, everyone has to make a living and it is better that the corporations pay people to create content that benefits me.   The practice is conducted quite ethically too -most readily disclose where their financial support comes from and we all benefit from free information that helps us keep the playing field as level as it can be.

But at the end of the day, it’s all about eye-balls and bullhorns.  In order to produce eyeballs and bullhorns, people must be sitting at a computer or, at least, staring at a handset.  The longer you can keep people interacting with the brand instead of interacting with each other, the better off everyone is, right?

Social Media Consumer Advocate

A consumer advocate is someone who helps look after the best interest of the consumer for product safety and false advertising.  Social media is pushing the envelope of the corporate interaction with consumers.  “Advertising” no longer lends itself to the objective review of a billboard, commercial, or public statement.  Social Media Marketing is increasingly sophisticated and manipulative.  The vulnerable people; children and elders are no less vulnerable on social media, and may be more.

Social anomalies?

Some of the emerging research related to social media is surprising with increased instances of what can be considered social anomalies:

Infantilism; adults doing childish things like playing silly games in ‘public’
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; constantly checking for updates and new photos,
Depression and loneliness; preference of social media over real live interaction
Narcissism; The excessive love or admiration of one’s image of their self.

Is it social because it is media or is it media because it is social?

We need to ask ourselves what is the difference between computer enabled reality and computer simulated reality.   If we lose “causation” the entire body of analysis can be called into the question: is social media or is it corporate media?

Predictions for 2010 and Beyond – Nothing is Sacred

transparentIt looks like everyone is buffing up their predictions for another year of astonishing growth by social media. The last several years have brought so many surprises that the next several are promising to yield a bumper crop of “I told you so” fodder from the “pithier than thou” crowd.

My prediction for 2010 is that nothing is sacred, including the onslaught 2010 predictions. Therefore, I’ll will go way out on a limb and make my 2011 predictions in 2009.

In General:

The interest coming due on our national debt will consume increasingly more of the money that institutions need to provide basic services. As these institutions weaken, they will increasingly be replaced by social media enterprise. These structurally weakened institutions will drive social media innovation more than any other factor.

Specifically:

  1. Social vetting will catch everyone by surprise. Google buying Yelp is the game changer that will shake markets to the core. A market can only be as efficient as its vetting mechanism. To control vetting is to control a market – ask any despot. Where the vetting institutions of the old paradigm break down, they will be replaces by social media vetting. Nothing is sacred – the SEC, AMA, Federal Reserve – everything is vulnerable. Google knows this and will usher in an era of social media applications that will completely disrupt the gatekeepers.
  2. Everyone says that social media will monetize. It will, but not like anyone expects. 2011 is the year of the Deep Web; the deep web is the vast universe of unprocessed data that exists like dark matter in the Google-verse. Social media will monetize around data because data is the only thing that corporation, governments, and other people are willing to pay for. Google created economic initiatives for legions of entrepreneurs to create information content. The new Deep Web Search engines will create economic incentives for legions of entrepreneurs to create databases.
  3. The convergence of data will create the “new monetized innovation economy” defined by the way people interact with data. Highly localized data that will reflect the knowledge inventory of a community and will be represented by a virtual currency.
  4. It will become increasingly apparent that many of the functions of a corporation can be duplicated outside a corporation by new vetted social media applications. Networks of people will become “corporations” and trade knowledge assets through the trade of virtual currency contracts.
  5. Corporations will become technology centric rather than industry centric with open source architecture liberated to armies of diverse entrepreneurs. For example, breakthoughs in one industry will shoot across all industries like iphone apps – especially effective in environmental and “community organization” innovations. Nothing is sacred.

So there it is and be assured that 2012 will not disappoint even the hardiest eschatologist!

Sorry for not repeating the “real-time is king” mantra or singing the “people will finally pay for content” tune, or reciting the “every department is the marketing department” manifesto. Something much bigger is about to happen. The evolution away from the current financial system will drive social media more than any other factor.

Open Letter to all Deep Web Researchers

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

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

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

Who are we?

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

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

Where do you fit in?

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

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

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

What’s in it for you?

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

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

Thank you

The Social Media Paradox

Starbucks paradox (Bernie Hou)The very nature of the traditional corporation is called to question by the Social Media Paradox:

Definition (by me):

Social Media Paradox: The degree to which the act of engaging in the social media paradigm reduces one’s ability to engage in the pre-social media paradigm; and vice versa.

Success in social media requires humility, authenticity and commitment to the medium.  Like a tattoo, that impression defines the person and is not easily removed – after all, everyone’s got to have some skin in the game.

Social media rewards people for doing what they are best at and saying what they feel to be most true. Furthermore, brands need to trust their employees to represent them – this means that they need to give up control of the message.  The more they try to control the message, the less effective they are in a social medium.

Sounds like a great idea, but is it practical?

Many people still need to work for a living often find ourselves at the mercy of corporations for an actual paycheck.  Social Media provides a free source of reference material on a new candidate.  If a person is seen as edgy, ‘counter culture’, or defiant by any number of risk averse HR gatekeepers, one’s “old-paradigm” employability can be affected.  The subtle irony that the those who best understand the medium can make themselves unemployable as a result.

The opposite is also true:

When Capitalists Are Really the Socialists

SocialistMickeyYikes…

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

Mediated Reality:

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

Building a Better Entrepreneur; Google 10^100

Google 10^100 award voting is Launched.  There are two sectors that we believe would have the greatest impact on the greatest amount of people; building a better banking system and funding social entrepreneurs.  You can’t have one without the other – if Google funds these two sectors in concert, the outcome would be incredible.

Build A Better Bank

In the old banking system we assume that we have the knowledge to execute a business plan and we go to the bank to borrow the money.  In the new banking system, we will assume we have the money and we go off in search of the knowledge.  Social Media is an excellent “public accounting system” for knowledge assets.

Our current banking system has gotten it backwards.

Technological change must always precede economic growth. The supranational currency may be backed by productivity and not debt.  Social media provides an excellent platform upon which to design such a banking system. People trade “social currency” at a tremendous rate.  This is evidenced by the amount of destructive innovation is occurring in many legacy sectors due to social media.

Better Banking Tools for everyone

“Partner with banks and technology companies to increase the reach of financial services across the world. Users submitted numerous ideas that seek to improve the quality of people’s lives by offering new, more convenient and more sophisticated banking services. Specific suggestions include inexpensive village-based banking kiosks for developing countries; an SMS solution geared toward mobile networks; and ideas for implementing banking services into school curriculums”.

Suggestions that inspired this idea

1.    Enable prepaid cell phone bank accounts for millions of people working in the informal economy
2.    Create a community-level electronic banking system for rural areas
3.    Build IT-enabled kiosks which provide access to financial services
4.    Create a single world bank or supra-national currency, uniform rules and transparent public accounting

Fund Social Entrepreneurs

Venture Capital is ridiculously expensive. Corporate innovation serves shareholders value over social priorities.  Some say that the financial risk of funding innovation is too high. The top ten reasons why start-ups fail are due to knowledge deficits, not money deficits.  A new banking system that trades knowledge as currency would solve this problem.

The key is to match most worthy knowledge surplus to most worthy knowledge deficit.  Google is perfectly able to build a search app for knowledge assets if there were an inventory of knowledge assets.  With the most worthy match, Risk can be reduced and new financial instruments can be developed such as the innovation bond, innovation insurance, tangential innovation markets, and destructive innovation transition contingency options, etc.

Help social entrepreneurs drive change

Create a fund to support social entrepreneurship. This idea was inspired by a number of user proposals focused on “social entrepreneurs” — individuals and organizations who use entrepreneurial techniques to build ventures focused on attacking social problems and fomenting change. Specific relevant ideas include establishing schools that teach entrepreneurial skills in rural areas; supporting entrepreneurs in underdeveloped communities; and creating an entity to provide capital and training to help entrepreneurs build viable businesses and catalyze sustained community change.

Suggestions that inspired this idea

1.    Provide targeted capital and business training to help young entrepreneurs build viable businesses and catalyze sustained community change
2.    Create a non-profit, venture capital-like revolving fund to invest in high-impact local entrepreneurs
3.    Send young American entrepreneurs to underdeveloped communities to help create small businesses that would economically benefit those communities
4.    Create schools in rural areas to teach local people how to become entrepreneurs
5.    Create a private equity fund to help immigrants in developed countries finance business development in their countries of origin

If it Quacks like a Buck…..

If it looks like a buck, and talks like a buck, and quacks like a buck – it’s probably a buck.

So when your money gets “free will” and starts walking out the door door, that’s bad enough.  When flies out the window en mass enabled by the same social media that  brings money in the door – serious management issues arise.  Should organization choose fight, flight, or cooperation?

Battle lines are being drawn:

  • “Among large U.S. companies, 33% have employees on staff to monitor e-mail messages — up from 15% last year, one survey found. The Proofpoint study also found that 31% of companies had fired workers who breached confidentiality via e-mail, and 8% had fired someone over a social-networking leak. The survey found 41% of respondents are worried about potential leaks via Twitter. ZDNet (08/10)”
  • “Marines banned social networking sites from their computers Tuesday due to security concerns, and the Pentagon announced a policy review. But Pentagon’s top officer will still tweet (Christian Science Monitor 08/05)

There are literally thousands of articles on this subject but none of the few that I read came to any conclusion, so I will:

Money is becoming intangible (cannot be contained) and Social Media is becoming tangible (has become the container)

The very structure of organizations is changing.  Trying to control the temperature of the room when the windows have been blown out will only destroy existing controls faster.  A completely new economic structure is emerging complete with new factors of production, incentives, institutions, accounting, and currency.

Swap or swamp?

Easier said than done?  Not really; all we need to do is swap the same methods that we use to manage tangible assets with those same methods that we use to manage intangible assets.  There are in fact people and organizations trying to do this (specifically this author) but you won’t find then in corporations anymore.

Companies have no choice but to understand migration patterns, flock actualization needs, motivation, and environmental issues.  Going from an economy where the corporate charter is only “to deliver shareholder value” to one of safeguarding the health and welfare of people and their property” is a huge leap.

The discussion of Conversational Currency is required to understand the underlying economic forces that drive social media and the emerging institutional structure for corporations to create value in a computer enabled society.

Buddhist Economics

Back atcha!

Everything is Connected:

The economic models and theories that prevailed through the 20th century are rapidly falling apart. Economists scramble to offer explanations and solutions. However, much of what has gone wrong was anticipated years ago by E. F. Schumacher (1911-1977), an Oxford economist and protégé of John Maynard Keynes who proposed a theory of “Buddhist Economics” following his interest and studies in Asian philosophies.

Schumacher was among the first to argue that economic production was too wasteful of the environment and non-renewable resources. But even more than that, he saw decades ago that ever-increasing production and consumption — the foundation of the modern economy — is unsustainable.

Never see what has been done; only see what remains to be done.

Schumacher wrote that western economics measures “standard of living” by “consumption” and assumes a person who consumes more is better off than one who consumes less. He also discusses the fact that employers consider their workers to be an “expense” to be reduced as much as possible.  He questioned the theory that some amount of unemployment might be better “for the economy.”

What we think, we become.

Schumacher argued that an economy should exist to serve the needs of people. But in a “materialist” economy, people exist to serve the economy.  Notably, he argued that labor should be about more than production because a person’s work has psychological and spiritual value that must be respected.

Instead we consider goods as more important than people and consumption as more important than creative activity. It means shifting the emphasis from the worker to the product of work, that is, “from the human to the subhuman.”  We have outsourced our soul.

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

Today, many enterprises – some entire industries – are failing and they cannot understand why.  Over time, they have crossed that philosophical line and now serve advertisers, not their customers.

Traditional media and journalism are an example; they scare people, feed on their anxieties, promote insecurities, and stoke desire.  Demographers trespass into people’s homes, collect statistics, run numbers, and design messages that steal the things people love about their self and sell it back for the price of the product.

We end up with no end of entertaining consumer products that soon end up in landfills, but we fail to provide for some basic human needs, like health care for everyone.

A jug fills drop by drop:

Top News in Business Week Print Edition v. Growth Rate for print media:

•    Pending Home Sales Rise for Third Straight Month
•    GM: A View from the Back Seat
•    U.S. Corporations Size Up Their Carbon Footprints
•    Move Over, Amazon? Google Aims to Sell e-Books

Top News in Business Week Exchange – Reader Chosen Topics vs. Growth rate.

•    Social Networking

•    Global Economy
•    US Economy
•    Green Energy

The Editor selected topics in the top chart are aligned with corporations, consumption, and large bailout efforts.  Meanwhile, the reader selected topics in the second category screams: “Hey, where are we and where are we going?”

It would seem that mainstream media should be asking the same question.

(ed note: special thanks Barbara O’Brian at about.com)

Web 3.0; An Elephant Never Forgets

The opportunity for America reminds me of the elephant that is convinced since birth that the slender rope tying him to the fence post is stronger than he.  When the elephant grows up, he still believes the rope is stronger even though the elephant now has gained the strength to pull the whole building down.  Americans are the 8000 pound elephant in the middle of the room.  The question on everyone’s mind is: what will the elephant do next?

Throughout history, economists have determined the structure of business, enterprise, and commerce and wisely the government complies.  With remarkable success over the last 150 years,  corporations had been the source of most innovation sufficient to support the value of a currency.  Fortunately, the corporation had become the center of economic policy while the knowledge inventory within them have been fenced inside the accounting term: “intangible assets”.  Unfortunately, our corporations can no longer innovate efficiently enough to support the debt. Witnessing GM facing up to this very question, while the government manufactures money like taffy, seems a lot like feeding sugar calories to an elephant that is too big to fit out the door, dead or alive.

What the economists and many of the great visionaries of out time do not anticipate is the emergence of computer enabled society and the tangibility of knowledge outside the corporate structure through developments of social media.  Web 3.0 is supposed to bring us a semantic web – a computer program will be able to read the elephant story above and determine whether it is about education, zoology, macramé, Interior decorating, taxidermy, building demolition, or cliché old business metaphors.   Perhaps this is our little rope tied to the post as we wait for Mother Corpora to provide solutions.  Get a grip, the only computer that can read, classify, and extract a thousand words for any photograph is between our collective big floppy ears.  Web 3.0 will be semantic alright, except by the integration and capitalization of human knowledge through social media.

We spend billions on a human genome project to inventory our DNA, but nothing to inventory the knowledge as it exists naturally in society.  We will build statistical models to forecast weather, elections, click-throughs, insurance, demographics, and mortgage risk; but nothing to predict the value of various combination of social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital in society.  We have search engines that match most worthy blog to most worthy keyword, but little to match most worthy mentor to most worthy apprentice.  The top reasons why start-ups, businesses, innovations, and markets fail are due to the wrong knowledge in the wrong place at the wrong time. It seems that if we solve the knowledge inventory problem, then we can solve the innovation risk problem.  That, in turn, will solve the money problem which solves the elephant problem.  We need to release the great “intangible asset” into the wild world of tangibility and trust that it knows where to go.

Sometimes it just takes someone to give us permission to do things differently.  So here I go: human knowledge is the most perfect, predictable, flexible, and valuable capital asset in our world.  Knowledge can become far more tangible than anyone could have ever imagined. Information, knowledge, and innovation are profoundly related – separated they are useless, integrated they are wisdom.  Everyone on earth innovates every day, period. The vast majority of people will do the right thing given the right incentives.  With the next development of the Internet, we will have the tools to organize ourselves in a far more efficient manner than the command and control structure of a traditional corporation.  Management can be outsourced too. Corporations respond to corporate priorities, social networks respond to social priorities.  Which one sounds like a business case to curb global warming?

The Ingenesist Project specifies three web applications which if developed and deployed to social media will allow social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital to become tangible outside the construct of the traditional corporation and inside social networks.  Just because people have never organized themselves in an open sourced innovation economy before, does not mean that they never will.  But once they do, well, let’s just say that an elephant never forgets.

The Great Convergence

Hey Kids, It’s 3D:

The objective of this article is to discuss the Great Convergence of computer enabled society. Social media must not be allowed to converge to a single apex – rather, it must converge to 3 distinct and tangible dimensions.

The factors of production for the industrial economy are land, labor, and capital.  If you lose one, you can’t use the other two to build an SUV, for example.  The factors of production for an innovation economy are social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital. All production in the new economic paradigm will result from the allocation of a “secret sauce” of social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital.  Again, if you lose one, you can’t use the other two to build anything meaningful.

The congregation of congregations:

In order to find The Great Convergence, we simply need to examine Social Media to discover where social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital tend to congregate.

One of the more obvious illustrations appears to be playing out between LinkedIn, Facebook, and Myspace.  Many people use Linkedin for professional contacts (intellectual Capital), other people use Facebook for friends, family and more diverse associations (Social Capital), while many others use MySpace to post videos of their rock band, Artwork, or to discover the latest Mash up (Creative Capital).  Of course there are many more social networks, lots of cross talk, different demographics, rants and raves, etc.  I intentionally leave this analysis sparse as these conditions simply reflect the nature of The Great Convergence.

The Next Economic Paradigm:

We need to watch The Great Convergence with laser focus and deep personal interest because it will be extremely important for the development of what comes after the knowledge economy.   Whatever form this next economic paradigm takes, globally and locally, will depend upon The Great Convergence.  The Innovation Economy is the only wrench left in the toolbox for resolving the vast global problems that we face today.

The Innovation Economy must end global warming, restore financial accountability, enact sustainable enterprise, and institute renewable energy – or not.  This is a huge burden to ask of the next “greatest generation”.  It is clearly in everyone’s best interest to identify, encourage, and support The Great Convergence to form in 3D, before the old single-apex game “resets” and starts all over again, perhaps for the last time.

[The Ingenesist Project discusses this concept at length and identified various predictions, methods, and scenarios, including specifications for an Innovation Economy.]

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