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The Innovation Banker

Future of Banking

When I use the term “Innovation Bank”, people conjure up the image of a cheery place where anticipation reigns as starry eyed depositors arrange their intellectual property in neat cubby boxes, Patents fly like cash register receipts and companies troll the halls looking for a cure for their bottom line blues.

This is not exactly what we have in mind, nor is it too far off either. An innovation Bank is simply a knowledge inventory that contains knowledge assets that exists in the format of a financial instrument and can be deployed for the purposes of increasing productivity.  In the process, it makes 10X more of itself every time it is deployed.  It mints its own money.

The Innovation Banker

This is not much different than a financial bank. In fact, in the financial bank, everyone assumes the borrower has the knowledge to execute the business plan and the bank lends the money. Oh, by the way, the money makes more of itself  10X over (fractional reserve system) every time it is deployed.

With the innovation bank, everyone assumes the entrepreneur has the money to execute the plan, and the seek to borrow the knowledge. Other than that, they can be considered identical. The key is in the scope, depth, and format in which the knowledge assets live in a community as well as the ability to track and preserve the creation of new knowledge in a community.  An innovation banker is a knowledge banker

A Virtuous Circle

Together with the financial banking, these two system engage in the dance of the virtuous circle of innovation enterprise. Apart, they collapse into the swirling cesspool of eternal debt and infinite interest (pun intended).

Ingenesist.com

Music by Phil Felicia

Sell-ebrity Sects

Waiting in the grocery store checkout line, there is never a shortage of glossy media about the sex lives of Celebrities. The stories are always the same, only the Celebrities change.

There are no glossy tabloids in the DIY check-out line where the objective is to check you out as fast as possible in order to meet a competitive “service quota”. In either case, however, the consumer is being extorted of value.

A sect is a group with distinctive religious, political or philosophical beliefs. In modern culture the term can refer to any organization that breaks away from a larger one to follow a different set of rules and principles. A sellebrity is someone who sells distraction for a living – they may talk about something that sounds like productivity, but it is really a distraction designed to maintain a status quo.

When marketers want you to do the same thing over and over again, you get Sellebrity Sects.  When marketers want you to change your behavior, they remove the Sellebrity sects.  The absence of sellebrities is equally interesting, and somewhat counter intuitive.   Yet, consumers think it is the exact opposite.  In either case, the consumer is extorted of value.

Sellebrity Sects refers to a set of rules or principles set out as different from the rest and used for the specific purpose of liberating you from your values; your time value, social values, financial values, even your family values.

Social media is introducing a host of new Sellebrities peddling some object designed to fortify their credibility, usually a book tour, keynote address, “Reputation”, social currency, or an A-list client. The ‘pitchman’ preoccupies the consumer into standing still long enough to create an arbitrage position for those who can exploit the TIME that you are not acting – either for branding or automating. When the arbitrage position collapses, a new sect is formed and the game continues.

Keep in mind that “Value” exists in many different forms, the game is intense, Time is the currency, and the story never changes. Look at the sellebrities all around you. Ask yourself why they are there. Try to identify the sects. Guard your social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital very carefully – use it to increase your productivity alone.  Most of all, be different – they will either ignor you or pay you.

The Mastery of Time

When I was in Music School, I learned some very important things about Time.

As a drummer / percussionist the mastery of time is more important than even the instrument itself.  My instructor would place a metronome in front of me and ask me to clap my hands to the beep.  If he could hear any part of the beep through my clap, I failed.

The expectation was that I must mask every beep entirely at any tempo – indefinitely and seemingly without effort.  The truism is that if the instructor could not hear the beep, then neither could I.  True mastery of time means that the metronome must become irrelevant.

I struggled with this challenge for an incredible amount of hours over many many months practicing this seemingly simple exercise.  One day, my instructor said “it’s not about knowing where the beep is, it is about creating the space where the beep is not”.  In other words: understand the space between the beeps – the emptiness, the void, the silence – and let that become the basis of  your musical expression.

From then on – I could nail the beep.

When we listen to music, we derive value from the transformation of one beat to the next and the transformation of one bar to the next, one phrase to the next, and one section to the next, etc.  Value is what gets created between our actions – but without actions, there is nothing to contain that value.

Social currencies resemble this dynamic in many ways.  While money marks the metronome’s beep, the creative expression happens somewhere between the money – the emptiness, the void, the silence.  Let this become the basis of human economic expression, not the beep itself. Value is what gets created between our actions – let’s capture it there.   The true mastery of time means that the metronome must become irrelevant.

The True Value Calculation

COAL-articleLargeIn case anyone is wondering if Social media can drive Social Priorities  against Wall Street Priorities, they need not look any further than the cover of the New York Times. Here is a story from the August 31st edition about banks that step away from no-brainer money making business venture because of the social risks to their reputations and therefore, their bottom line.

It is obvious that new sources of energy will be hugely lucrative in the future – except when blowing up pristine Appalachian mountain tops or releasing vast CO2 emissions cracking oil from Canadian sands – both perfectly legal enterprises.

In the past, the struggle between those in favor and those opposed to, say, a coal extraction project played out largely in private and was heavily biased toward those with the deepest pockets. In the past, the developers had an advantage of vast money reserves to wage legal battles, political wrangling, and public relations campaigns against the lowly community action members. Now, this fountain of money may dry up in the future if banks step away, politicians become wary, and the public becomes increasingly informed of the true value of all alternatives.

“We’re taking a much closer look at a much broader variety of issues, not all of which are captured under state and local laws,” said Stephanie Rico, a spokeswoman for the environmental affairs group at Wells Fargo.

These dynamics are converging on something called a “True Value” Calculation. The True Value Calculation is the expanded ROI of a business venture which includes the positive and negative impacts on a much wider body of stakeholders in the sum total of viability. In the very near future, we may find that the True Value Calculation will become the rational basis of our democracy as social media aspires to the role of social vetting mechanism and politicians become increasingly irrelevant to anyone but each other.

The Next Great Leap for Social Capitalism

The Knowledge inventory will become the most important element of Social Capitalism.  Today, knowledge is largely sequestered behind the walls of corporation in the form of titles, skill codes, resumes, job descriptions, certifications, and college degrees.  In order to predict the future, we point to the things that we have done in the past.

2nd Place is 1st Loser

10% of the country is unemployed and less than 10% are fully actualized in their profession.  Competitive forces drive the hiring manager.  The consequences of all business decisions eventually lead to win-or-lose market scenarios.  People compete with each other for promotions, the boss’s time, the corner office, or just staying off the unemployment line.  That is the only future anyone can truly predict based on the past.  It’s easier to predict the loser than the winner – so that’s what happens.

Social media is very different.

People are organizing themselves in a new form outside the construct of the corporation.  Linkedin aggregates intellectual capital, Facebook aggregates social capital, and You Tube aggregates creative capital.  Millions of blogs, Twitter, and a generation of search engines reassemble all these parts in ways that create social value.  People are not competing with each other, instead, they live on a bell curve.  They are seeking cooperation and collaboration. People use “like” buttons, tweet counts, and analytic data to “value” the quantity and quality of another person’s knowledge.  There are fewer losers, hence more winners,  because there are a greater number of  markets – not just one corporation.  Everyone is a corporation.

No Governance, no anarchy, no problem

Since social media is outside the construct of a corporation, there is no governance. There are lots of people trying to control only to experience diminishing returns.  Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Facebook must tread extremely carefully on the landscape of public opinion precisely because of their dominance.  People use Facebook to attack Facebook, PowerPoint to attack Microsoft, YouTube to attack Google, and Twitter to attack everyone.  Retribution would be suicide.

The Last Mile of Social Media

Now, geo-location services are filling in the Last Mile of Social Media where communities will form to produce things that are tangible and real.  As a result, there is a sharp increase of interest in a form of currency that can represent this social value.  Some of this is because the dollar is losing its ability to represent people’s productivity.  So they engage a different economic system.

Social Productivity

The next great leap in Social Media will happen when people reorganize themselves in an external knowledge inventory, outside of corporations, and segmented in high granularity of knowledge assets in close proximity to each other.  Entrepreneurs can then assemble people in unique, efficient, and productive ways.   People will then build things for profit using a new currency – a new social currency.

Alternate Currencies Ending the Monopoly on Money

Hundreds of community currencies are forming across the globe. Gaming currencies are jumping back into reality. Europeans communities are calling for the authority to print their own money arguing that the fractional reserve system is like trying to recover from a war by waging more war (a novel thought).

Many people doubt that the dollar has more than a decade or so of steam left as the interest on debts mythically exceeds the total amount of money on Earth. Yet banks march on, heading straight for the cliff.

Governments are polarized against themselves to solve any problem – except by reducing services to the people.  Do the math: Interest on debt can approach infinity while austerity measures can only approach zero.  You don’t need religion to predict that outcome.

But isn’t this why Governments exists in the first place – to provide social services? Are politicians suggesting their own elimination?  Of course not, so they issue press releases and have tea parties worth about as much as the photons they are broadcast on.

Meanwhile, corporate media is trying to dominate (and subdue) social media….ultimately, the end game will flip.  This short video invites the status quo to look at what people are “doing and saying with their productivity”.

(editor’s note:  The language here is generalized to reflect trend not to endorse any system of finance)

Alternate Currencies Ending the Monopoly on Money

The Secret Weapon of Social Capitalism

It should be fairly obvious that there are some extreme financial anomalies on the Global Horizon.  That legendary, but long-in-the-tooth social system affectionately known as Market Capitalism, is up against the ropes as the debt monster gobbles up everything in it’s path faster than any austerity measures can ever keep pace.  Take note that debt can reach infinity but austerity measures can only reach zero … you can do the math on a postage stamp.  If there ever was a need for a secret weapon, it is now.

The following 4-minute story-board video is part 3 to the series called “Will Social Capitalism Replace Market Capitalism?“.  The video introduces an important futures methodology and algorithm called WIKiD Tools for the management of Social Capitalism.   The next few videos will define WIKiD tools more fully while introducing a segment called “The Knowledge Inventory”.   Next, the SC>MC series will lay out scenarios for the capitalization and securitization of knowledge assets. Finally, we’ll revisit the Airplane Game to wrap it all up.   In other words, within the next few weeks, I should have published a fairly explicit set of functional specification for the next economic paradigm answering the question “What comes after Market Capitalism?”

Hold on to your hats and thank you for joining us on this wild ride.

Song For The Sea

I recently received an email from a major on-line publication collecting “Letters To The Gulf”.  I wondered, What would the Gulf Say to Us?   That question sounded familiar so I dug through some old video tapes looking for that long-lost club gig from my days in the Hollywood Rock Band Circuit back in the Late 1980’s.

This piece is called Song For the Sea and it was written shortly after the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 and amid controversy over illegal long net fishing practices.  Lance McCormick is playing Bass and Keys, I am on Drums, and Phil Felicia is on vox and axe.  It is pretty interesting how timeless this theme is.

Interesting features:

Phil uses a can of Tuna as a slide to make the sound of expiring whales and sea life.  His guitar solo is an enactment of a tuna fish thrashing in it’s final moments of life.  I remember that I could barely contain myself, it was so funny to watch – I almost fell off my seat in hysterics every time Phil did the part – but it was powerful imagery especially in later shows after we worked out the shtick a little better.  I think we all took stabs at the lyrics. Keep in mind that this was 20+ years ago in Hollywood California – the objective was to be offensive, shocking and controversial so don’t get too riled up over our choice of words. On the other hand, they do contain an interesting historical perspective from a bunch of kids (transcribed below) in the late 80’s.  The band was called “Rage In Eden”, affectionately named after Gulf War 1

So here is a blast from the past in loving dedication to BP and the gang
***STRONG LANGUAGE ADVISORY***

Song For The Sea

Welcome to my Universe
Once the mighty sea
Turned dumping ground
for all the pigs to see

Now I’m left here in your waste
drowning in your own disgrace
(let’s do it)

Spilling Toxins in my Sea
My putrid flesh bears the stench
of your rotting soul

So I put it to you
Mr. Politician Man
Whatever Gave you the right
To come and punish my world

With your – (indiscernible) – high and low
All I live for in my life
Is just a paycheck to you

So I put it to you, Mr. Businessman
Whatever gave you the right to Punish my world

Dogs dig in my shores
Dollar Whores
I need you to taste the decay and waste
we sold you, yeah

So I put it to you, Mr. judgment man
What ever gave you the right
to punish my World.

Knowledge Failure Is Business Failure

The top ten reasons for business failure are due to a lack of knowledge, not a lack of money. In fact, the lack of money is itself a failure of knowledge.

Top 10 reasons why businesses fail

1. Lack of an adequate, viable business plan
.

2. Insufficient sales to sustain business

3. Poor marketing plan: unappealing product, poor customer identification, incorrect pricing and lackluster promotion

4. Inadequate capital, misuse of capital and poor cost control

5. Poor management skills: lack of delegation, leadership and/or control

6. Lack of experience and knowledge

7. Lack of managerial focus/commitment

8. Poor customer service

9. Inadequate human resource management

10. Failure to properly use professional advice: i.e. accounting, legal, financial, etc.

No excuses:

Lack of a viable business plan is an act of negligence where research, scenarios, and assumptions have not been tested. Market ignorance is not an excuse nor is the failure to know one’s customer. Death by poor marketing plan is knowledge deficiency related to product appeal, customer identification, pricing structure, and lackluster promotion. Obviously, one needs to know how to manage a company in order to be focused, let alone correctly estimate capital needs. Lack of customer service knowledge is deadly in the age of social media. Inadequate HR is an oxymoron – if it’s inadequate, it’s not a resource – human or otherwise. Finally, failure to listen to knowledgeable people is ego driven irrationality.

The financial system is not the only problem;

The innovation system (or lack of) is a crucial element. Information, knowledge and innovation, by any definition, are profoundly and inseparably connected. A failure in one kills the other two. So, just because an entrepreneur does not have the knowledge, does not mean the ‘knowledge’ fails to exist – it simply means that entrepreneur failed to find it.

So where is the knowledge?

Unfortunately, there is no public knowledge inventory – people do not know what each other knows. With social media raging all around us, there still is no way that anyone can assemble the knowledge needed to execute a business plan with a known probability of success given the information available. As such, there is no way to finance public innovation.

The emergence of Social Media technology presents an extraordinary opportunity to organize a knowledge inventory outside the construct of a corporation and marry it to the financial system, much like a corporation.

Tangibility of Knowledge

Knowledge tangibility must be the most important “innovation” in the pipeline today if we expect to meet the crushing challenges that await us. Just because we cannot predict innovation does not mean it cannot be predicted – it just means that we do not know how… yet.

Tangential Innovation Communities

In an earlier article (Cluster Funk) I argued that Industrial clusters can lead to stagnation, vulnerability to external shocks, and the erosion of social capital. Since I’m not one to complain without also providing an alternative, this article argues that the future will favor technology clusters rather than industrial clusters.

Make it up as you go along

Technology clusters serve what we call the tangential innovation market – or diversity innovation dynamics. Don’t worry if you have not heard of these things, I’m making this up as I go along.

For example; composite materials technology is very useful in many applications like aircraft, medical devices, transportation, recreation, and even musical instruments. The airplane company has no intention of building cellos and the automobile company has no intention of building snow boards.

Why compete when you can collude?

As non-competing industries, they can readily share technology and people. The system is naturally diversified and inoculated against stagnation, shocks and silos; if one industry encounters hardship, people and capacity can shift easily to another industry preserving knowledge and expanding social networking benefit while the damaged industry heals or dies off. Corporations may not like this idea, but social networks should.

The Ingenesist Project goes a step further by modeling the business structure of tangential innovation markets as an integrated financial system. Suppose and Originator Company has a promising new composite technology idea but is unable to meet the ROI requirements of their stockholders? Today, such innovation would be shelved. In an innovation economy, tangential markets are factored into the business case.

New applications of social media will identify other industries that would be most worthy borrowers of your technology, if developed. The Innovation Bank can estimate the return on investment that can be expected through the tangential market as if it were another customer. The additional revenue projection would allow the originator to meet the ROI requirement prior to committing development funds.

Intellectual Property can be managed with contracts enforced through social network vetting. The originator can hold an option to see further development conducted by tangential users effectively multiplying their R&D reach and further adding to the expected return.

Then something magical will happen. At some point, the value of the tangential innovation market would exceed the value of the origination market. The originator will begin to specialize in pure innovation as a primary product and airplane applications as the secondary product. As all industries in the technology cluster begin sharing technology among each other, R&D costs and risks are effectively spread across industries. As risk is diversified away, the cost of venture capital approaches single digit rates.

Then, another magical thing will happen. As the mixing of people and ideas accelerates, the definition of corporate boundaries will become more fluid. Ownership will exist in the form of contracts among entrepreneurs now defined by social networks, options, and derivatives in a diverse innovation enterprise.

While the boom bust cycle of Industrial Clusters has brought us a great distance in economic development, technology clusters in an Innovation Economy supported by social networks may turn out to be vastly more efficient at economic growth without the perils of Cluster Funk.

Crowdsourcing The New Exploitation

The cadence of modern globalization has been set by the steady drive to lower labor costs across the world. Not surprisingly, the greatest threat to the global economy is social instability. As usual, political boundaries are drawn to keep people isolated from each other. The new twist is that Social Media arises because people are trying to reorganize themselves. Now, Crowdsourcing moves the eternal struggle to a new battle field.

There are two ways that the tools of the knowledge economy can integrate. 1. People are successful at reorganizing so that when the financial system does collapse, they can deploy a social currency to trade among each other. Or, 2. Social Media will become the new substrate of exploitation. Let me explain:

Turking is a phenomenon of crowdsourcing where people perform simple tasks on-line for money.  Highly intellectual tasks are broken down into small components easily managed by a simple human decision. Each of these simple human decisions are sent out to humans to perform. The results are then re-combined to become a high value knowledge economy product.

Even companies that perform this service for major corporations are astonished that people would work for so little money.  Academic studies declare that people are motivated by something other than money. Somehow Turking provides people with hope, self, validation, and all sorts of great personal benefit – otherwise they would not be doing it. This is good, right?

Wrong….people are desperate and turking is the last treadmill on the rat race to the bottom.

The idea that someone would work for free in order to gain “reputation” is built on the assumption that some “brand” is backing the reputation.  Brands don’t exist – they are fictitious.  Brands are what marketers say the are. Turking lets brands monetize their story line with cheap, invisible, and powerless labor force scattered around the world.

All the asset with none of the liability – and they call it a social miracle?

Most “turking” does not pay enough to cover the cost of the education required to complete the task. It costs a society countless thousands of dollars to teach and nurture a child to read and make good decision. Yet, the net payback is under 1.00 dollar per hour for the simplest turking tasks and net  5-10 dollars per hour for higher orders of analysis requiring specific and proficient skills.  If the turk work is rejected or they lose the “contest” they are not paid and their IP is stolen – no recourse, no rebuttal.

Worse yet, turkers from impoverished countries are valued relative to the disfunction of their economy, not their inherent intellect and creativity. This sets up a tragic dynamic where it becomes, again, in the best interest of some enterprise that the poor countries remain poor and dysfunctional. As such, the inherent intellectual and creative value of their people can be efficiently transferred to the shareholders.

There are social media alternatives under development by The Ingenesist Project and others that allow people to organize and sell their own information.  Applications are being devised that allow people to self organize into productive communities and to reward the nurturing and sharing of knowledge assets in community economic system. Dynamic business systems are under development that reward high integrity and punish low integrity.

The great question of our time is: Who will win, financial currency or social currency?

Photo source

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

Enterprise Prediction Markets Summit

(Editor: I’ll be speaking at the following event on June 4th. If you are in the area or blogging issues in this genre of ideas, let me know and drop by. Look up the other speakers and you’ll find an extraordinary group of visionaries preparing to make this PM Cluster Summit a truly enlightening event.)

Enterprise Prediction Markets Summit:
Leading Enterprise Prediction Markets

Friday, June 4 2010 8:00am – 5:00pm

EVENT LOCATION: The Boeing Company: Integrated Aircraft Systems Lab Building 2-122, Conference Room #102L2 (Conference Center) 7701-14th Avenue South Seattle, Washington 98108 USA

EVENT REGION: US –Pacific Northwest


EVENT PURPOSE: This summit is for executives, directors, mangers, users and practitioners having immediate needs to apply collective intelligence networks and enterprise prediction market mechanisms to advance business outcomes through mastery of collective wisdom.


EVENT SPEAKERS: Dennis P. O’Donoghue (Boeing), Sharon Chiarella (Amazon.com), Arik Johnson (Aurora WDC), Dan Robles (The Ingenesist Project), Dr. Richard O. Zerbe, Jr. (Evans School of Public Affairs), Christel Alvarez, ConsensusPoint, George Neumann, George Daly Research Professor of Economics, (Iowa), Olav Opedal (Microsoft, Internet Security)


EVENT COST: $99

EVENT WEBSITE: http://pmclusters.com/Prediction%20Markets/SEA10.htm


EVENT CONTACT NAME: Jennifer Hulett

EVENT CONTACT PHONE: 714-784-0754

CONTACT EMAIL: Jennifer.Hulett@pmclusters.com


MUST ONE RSVP: Yes! No on-site registration

ATTIRE: Business Casual

BUSINESS CARDS: YES – Bring Business Cards


EVENT NOTES: The conference sessions are focused, practical and conversational. They are for executives, directors, mangers, users and practitioners having immediate needs to apply collective intelligence networks and market mechanisms to advance business outcomes through mastery of collective wisdom.


ORGANIZATION NOTES: The Prediction Market Clusters, founded in 2004, are the global industry commons and open community for prediction markets and collective intelligence networks worldwide. The open, agnostic network is a focused collaboration of vendors, academia, traders, users, developers, markets, regulators and stakeholders. The goal is to provide awareness, diffusion, adoption and pull-through for enterprise and consumer prediction markets. The Prediction Markets Cluster is the worldwide Next Practices network for collective intelligence networks practices, tools and theories.

PM Clusters

Prediction Market Clusters
http://www.pmclusters.com

Trading Money in for Value

Money is a convenient way to store and exchange value. Unless the world enters into a free trade agreement with Martians, Earth is the physical boundary of all existing value.

No matter what a monetary currency is called or how it behaves in the financial system, by definition, it can never represent any more than the value that exists on Earth.

Value is reflected by  “Market Capitalization” of corporation, Roads, Bridges, infrastructure, armies, education, food, real estate, and all so-called tangible things. Intangibles such as human resources, public assets, and shared natural resources are only valuable to the extent that people depend on those resources for survival. Not surprisingly, “tangible” means all things that can be controlled and “intangible” means everything else.

However, if you look at how all value is created, it all eventually boils down to human knowledge.  All control and influence over human knowledge boils down to the individual. All Value on Earth is stored between our collective ears.  In order to fully assess the global financial system, there must be a corresponding global inventory of human knowledge.  There is no body of any influence in the world proposing this as a means of defining solvency.

Meanwhile, the social media revolution is slowly introducing a global knowledge inventory to financial markets with effects that are becoming increasingly profound. In case you have not noticed, money no longer represents value, it represents the control of value.  Social media is disrupting who, what, when, where, and how all the value can or cannot be controlled.

With every new exotic financial maneuver, the monetary currency becomes increasingly divorced from the value of human productivity.  With every new advancement in social media applications, human productivity is becoming less controlled by money.  Watch the news – the battle fields are all about who what when where and how someone can control what is between your ears.

Not surprisingly, governments, marketers, advertisers and even academia are the first and most public victims of losing control of their message.  Their message is being re-written by forces outside their control.

This is serious – Don’t let anyone try to convince you that the value of social currency is not hedging the value of financial currency.

Today, we are on the cusp of the greatest revolution that the world has ever known. The control of money may go to the banks but the control of value will not.  It will happen when people decide it will happen.  Perhaps they already have…2012 anyone?

Future of Money and Technology Summit; Non-Quantifiable Exchanges

The above video playlist consists of the full 6 parts of the expert panel discussing non-quantifiable exchanges as recorded on April 26 2010 at the Future of Money and Technology Summit in San Francisco. The complete video is about 55 minutes. I encourage you to watch it because very few discussions about the future of money approach the subject with as much experience, introspection, and clarity as this historic panel has.

This is not another doom-gloom room – but a truly optimistic model of a future financial system built on a platform of social media. These panelists represent some of the top thought leaders, visionaries, and practitioners in the area of “Local Social” – where nothing happens until the rubber meets the road. It was a great privilege for me to be a part of this esteemed group.

Panelists:

Tara Hunt; Social Media Strategist, Author: The Whuffie Factor
Daniel Robles, Director, The Ingenesist Project
Micki Krimmel, CEO; NeighborGoods
Chris Heuer, CEO, Social Media Club

Moderator: Tara Hunt

The future of Money and Technology Summit is one of the most important conferences to emerge as a result of the accelerated innovation and organizational re-structuring forming as a result of increasing constraints on the global financial system. We all look forward to another excellent conference next year!

Two Sides Of The Social Value Equation

There are two sides to the Social Value Equation – the creation of social value and the destruction of social value. There are countless examples where innovation destroys the value of prior technologies. There are also many instances where “progress”, perhaps in the form of a freeway or public structure, divides a community where strong social bonds once acted.

In the presentations that I give, I often cite the value of a bridge over a waterway. The bridge may cost 50 million dollars to build and maintain, but it increases human productivity by 50 billion in the life span of the bridge. We often cite a factor of 1:1000 for the valuation of the dollar to social currency.

Contrary to that, Jane Jacobs (renowned urban theorist and community activist) may argue, the bridge (and roadway) may divide a community or neighborhood. Where the community may once have been scaled for foot traffic, the new boundary may require a car to circumvent. The new road may divert old commercial traffic in many ways that are bad for a community. In such a case, the social capital destroyed by the bridge is in fact the dominant financial outcome.

So here I am, I just destroyed my own best analogy to demonstrate a point. Without vetting the complete transaction in the form of social currency, net “progress” of any kind is as easy to leverage backwards as well as forward at a rate of 1000:1.

Communities that seek to stop a disruptive development program will often organize to protest urban development decisions. Unfortunately, they are usually up against a calculation of economic impact that is dominated by dollar denominated currency. Without a “Social Currency” of their own, quantified and convertible to dollars, communities are doomed. Law suits will play out in the same manner where damages are non-quantifiable, and therefore non-existent.

Jane Jacobs also writes that a community that can place a value on their social currency – although I do not think she explicitly called it that – and can act to preserve value or increase value by their actions. Many communities from Greenwich Village to Boston have thrived under a social currency diverting projects away from sensitive communities. The Big Dig went underground in Boston much like the The viaduct replacement project will do the same Seattle. Granted, the Seattle project mainly preserves water and mountain views for million dollar condos, this concept, in fact, would be more critical to poorer communities than wealthy ones.

Obviously there is no way to impede progress. All innovations destroy prior value in the creation of greater value. The danger is when Wall Street priorities can dominate Social Priorities. Capitalism, for all the greatness it creates, is amoral. Capitalism is committed to dollar currency, and devoid of social obligation except to the degree that obligation is profitable – that is where social currency converts to capital currency.

Through the magic of the fractional reserve system, Banks create money backed by debt vs. deposits at a factor of 1:1000. Therefore, the convertibility of social currency with a capital currency at a similar factor of 1000:1 is essentially the only effective way to convert Social Priorities into Wall Street Priorities.

Facebook Derivatives

It seems ironic that people are using Facebook to urge others to quit Facebook. If they take their own advice, they would no longer be able to give their golden advice to others. If we took their advice, we would not be able to heed the advice of others in this matter.

Is Facebook too big to fail?

The human race is becoming a super-organism of connectivity. Companies like Facebook are duplicating the functions that governments have performed – by various methods with diverse consequences – since the dawn of civilization. There is nothing new about Government organizing society and pandering to corporations. There is nothing new with people protesting governance. There is also nothing new with forms of governance being replaced by an evolution of human consciousness.

The Next Wave of Innovation in Social Media?

First; Facebook itself has no value other than the value of the people and their networks. As such, Facebook behaves like a financial derivative – it is not the actual item of value, it is simply a utility contract representing value.

Second; Facebook can only deal in information – it cannot deal in “knowledge”. Your information is a derivative of your “knowledge”, not the knowledge itself. The real value of a social network is in what lies between the ears of the members. Therefore, one way to encrypt the information is to encrypt the knowledge.

Third; Suppose that your “resume” were coded as a list of numbers and operations representing the quality and quantity of the things you know. Suppose the people in your network were also coded in a similar fashion. As such, your network, would be a combination of these codes. If you really “know” someone, it would be easy to find them. If you don’t know someone, it would be impossible to find them.

Fourth: The game changes because the incentive now is to “Mind Meld” with real people. Marketers can only then profit by telling the absolute truth about what the product is and the affinity that the product serves – anything else defaults to a “no-sale”. The person can then set filters to be notified of products and services that can make them more productive in pursuing the things that they love and care about – their community.

An Emerging Evolution

Many People cite Cluetrain Manifesto (1999) as the start of this higher consciousness. Cory Doctorow introduced a concept currency called the Whuffie (2003). Tara Hunt, Chris Brogan, Brian Solis, Seth Godin, Clay Shirky, Jay Deragon, and many others expanded the idea of trust and reputation in the formation of social capital and associated social reorganization. As these ideas are reconstructed, especially in a form that is independent of the construct of the Corporation, Social Capital is emerging as a highly complex instrument – not unlike a derivative.

If not human knowledge, then what?

Now we notice that Facebook, Whuffie, and Wall Street Dollars are all built on derivatives where the underlying value is human knowledge. That is where all the man-made value on Earth is stored, period. The value stored by Human Knowledge hedges all bets. Nobody has a monopoly on it, but everyone is trying to figure out how. To do so would be to destroy it.

Code knowledge to set it free.

Despite all of the grumbling about Facebook, Wall Street, and all issues Political, there is a clear path toward a higher purpose in all of this. We should ponder this and be quite grateful.

m-Via; Social Currency and Technology

m-viaIf necessity is the mother of invention, then the Future of Money and Technology Summit 2010 was Paul Revere. There were many innovations that seek to change banking as we know it using a new denomination called social currency. This article (and more to follow) will identify the difference between two business methods – one that squanders social currency, and one that liberates social currency.

m-Via, is a money remittance company focused on allowing consumers to use any mobile phone to make international money transfers. m-Via focuses on the huge flow of remittances from the US to Mexico. I am personally directly aware of the challenges related to money transfers across international borders specifically Mexico; bank fees, extra ID, teller costs, time, risk, conversion fees, etc.

It is obvious to me that M-Via is looking very closely at how, why, and when people interact with a the banking system. The Banks are doing the same thing. The difference is that Banks seek activity thresholds and then design limits that seem to trigger artificial and exorbitant fees. Instead, m-Via seeks to reduce the friction in the transaction to meet the lives, schedule, priorities and concerns of the customer.

m-Via is trading in social currency

Banks are squeezing the least deserving by charging hidden fees for services that cost them nothing. For example; most people transfer small amounts of money on a steady cash flow schedule. Most people can’t spend the time to travel to a western Union on one side on each side of the transaction where travel expenses and security issues may be a constraint. Money is often redistributed among family members once in the target country. This is the reality of people, not an opportunity to set artificial thresholds to drive profit.

Paying money to a bank for the privilege of paying money to the bank…what?

m-Via drives a social currency by reducing risk, increasing yield, and helping people organize in the manner that suits their reality – not that of the banking industry. Most people who need money, don’t necessarily have the ‘money’ to absorb high transaction costs of time, risk, and inflexibility. Current banking practices extol a high social currency cost that amounts to “negative” interest rate against the consumer – in other words, people need to pay the bank in order to pay the bank to use the bank.

m-Via is already seeing a week over week growth of 15% in participation. I expect this growth to continue especially as many other technologies arrive to build out the infrastructure of transactions and business methods that are supported by a social currency.

Disclosure; m-Via was a sponsor to the Future of Money Summit and Technology but has no formal relationship or position in the Conversational Currency Blog.

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 🙂

The 1:1000 Rule; A Social Currency Imperative

What’s the difference between money and value?

Today, I saw yet another doom gloom economic forecast with the proverbial exponential graph of interest-on-debt climbing out to the stratosphere. The prognosis is the same; all bad, very ‘all bad’ things will happen.

So I wonder, to whom is all this interest being paid? Where is all that money stored? It has to belong to someone or be represented by something on the planet Earth, after all, money makes the world go around.

The 1000:1 rule

If I were to take, for example, NOA, the National Oceanographic Agency, and ask someone a Goldman Sachs to place a value on it, they would add up the replacement value of all the ships and weather satellites and come up with a number like, say, 4 Billion Dollars.

Now, if I were to calculate the increase in human productivity that result directly from the ability to forecast the weather – for the purposes of food production, managing all modes of transportation, Energy production, and tangential resource allocation – the value of NOA would be in well in excess of 4 Trillion dollars. This is a factor of over 1000 between the value of the same object in financial currency and social currency.

A bridge spans a waterway and carries 50,000 cars and trucks per day. An alternate route would take each vehicle at least 1 hour longer per day to cross the waterway. 50 billion dollars worth of social value is created over the life of the bridge that cost 50 million to construct; a 1000:1 leverage ratio.

A single Boeing 747 costs 100 million dollars but increases human productivity (including influence ripples) by 100 billion dollars over the service life of the aircraft compared to the nearest alternative mode of transportation. Again, 1000:1

That’s the difference between money and value.

The problem arises because our financial system is not able to articulate true value of social currency using a dollar denominated currency so social value remains invisible, not non-existant. Maybe the financial system does not want to articulate social value. After all, dollar denominated currency represents control of social value at a ratio of 1:1000. It’s about control

9.6 Trillion dollars was spent to educate every American. Just because a “corporation” does not exist to employ them and utilize their talents to the highest productivity level, does not mean that the talent and value does not exist. According to the 1:1000 rule, The GDP of the US in Social Currency is a minimum of 9,600 Trillion. What deficit?

It is about control. The dollar has a 1:1000 control leverage over social currency. It is not at all surprising to see social media expand at the rate proportional to that which the doom-gloom crowd predicts that the financial system will collapse. They are related, they hedge each other. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

Again, the imminent collapse of the financial system – no matter what the ‘doom gloom’ crowd says – does not mean that value does not exist; it simply means that the dollar will no longer control the value; that is, the social value wedged between people’s ears is free to be capitalized and securitized directly. We need to capture social currency in a new financial paradigm.

Social currency is not a buzz word, it’s an imperative – it is the Ingenesist Project

Conversational Cannibalism

hypocriteI don’t often run a full repost from other people on this blog, but this post by Seth Godin was just too rich to leave alone.

I have been posting a lot lately on the irony of social media devolving to spammers spamming spammers, especially the recent Twitter plan to charge advertisers for jumping to the front of the line by exploiting data provided voluntarily by the users (Twitter Me Elmo).

All of this tells us that Social Media is up against the ropes on the monetization plan. As a result it is starting to consume itself. This may be the first indication that the Dollar is NOT the currency of trade in the social media space, it’s a yet unnamed Social Currency. This definitely tells us that something new must happen soon.

Of course, The Ingenesist Project specifies an alternate financial system that can accommodate a social currency, but the lure of the almighty dollar remains strong enough to blind the choir itself and out-pitch the humble whisper new economic paradigm evangelists.

Anyway, here is Seth’s post in it’s entirety. Buy his books and read his blog, get his feed for daily email enlightenment. Seth, I apologize in advance for posting without your explicit permission…etc…just trying to “keep the convo rolling….”

*****

Cannibalism and spam

By Seth Godin:

So, these two cannibals are eating a clown, and one says to the other, “does this taste funny to you?”

We don’t often have conversations about cannibalism. We don’t trade recipes or talk about health issues. That’s because it’s off the table, not permitted, inconceivable.

Marketers should feel the same way about spamming people. Spamming them by email, by text or yes, by calling their cell phones with a robot, repeatedly, just because it’s cheap and because they can.

Tweetswomma

Womma

If anyone should know better, it’s the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. And yet, not only did they spam thousands of people by phone, they want us to “keep the convo rolling”. And when I spoke to their Executive Director, she had a hard time understanding that what they were doing was spam.

Spam is unanticipated, impersonal, irrelevant junk I don’t want to get. Not only that, it costs them less to send it than it takes me to figure out what it is and deal with it. That doesn’t scale. In fact, it destroys the medium.

Why would anyone join, pay their dues, go to their meetings or want to engage with an organization that’s willing to cross a line like this? Even once? (and then brag about it!) Maybe I’m getting cranky, but the relentless march of marketers into our lives is really getting to me.

In case you missed the first part of our show, the future of marketing is based on permission. It’s based on sending messages to people who want to get them, who choose to get them, who would miss you if you didn’t send them. It’s not easy and it’s not cheap to earn permission, but so what? This is my attention, not yours, and if you want to use it for a while, please earn the privilege.

PS If I ran Twitter, I’d build my new ad service about a socially acceptable way for corporate users to build large lists of followers, people who would give permission to get news and discounts and insights from advertisers. Twitter knows who likes what and they have permission from users to be a bridge between the user and those that might want to talk to them. That’s a powerful place to be.

Using cheap technology to spam people is not.

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?”

The Brain-Picking Economy

brainI come across an increasing amount of posts and discussions related to alternate currencies, social currencies, and knowledge as a tangible asset, etc.  It is as if people are grappling with something that they don’t quite understand or can’t quite grasp – but, soon will.  Really, don’t lose heart – they are definitely on to something.

Sandy Jones Kaminski of Bella Domain provideds a well developed argument against letting people pick your brain by proposing the “no brain picking list”.   While somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the article portrays a common frustration felt by specially qualified people who get too many requests for “brain picking” and not enough turkey sandwiches to justify the time-value of the exchange.

[People who ask to pick your brain are either asking you to work for free or they are trying to bypass the very hard work required to build a social network by asking for your referrals]. While not quite a reason to end brain-picking, it certainly indicates a hugely inefficient market.

Taking some clues from the banking industry

A bank seeks to match most worthy money surplus  (rich people who will not pull their deposits abruptly) with most worthy money deficit (employed people with good credit history).  In order to accomplish this, the financial system has 5 essential components: a currency, an accounting system, a vetting mechanism, entrepreneurs, and business plans.

Now suppose we transpose the rules of finance on the rules of brain picking.

Currency

A currency is defined as a vessle that stores and allows for the exchange of value.  So it’s natural to expect that relationships, networks, “contacts”, “followers” and all the other accoutrements of social mediation are means by which we store value.  We invest time in developing our own knowledge assets and we invest those assets in our relationships.

Accounting System

The balance sheet needs to, well, balance.  The first assumption I make is that every single living breathing person on Earth holds value. It’s only a matter of whether they have a surplus in knowledge assets in that which I have a deficit and vice-versa. Since my deficits far exceed my surplus in the vast majority of human knowledge, I am always looking for a fat juicy brain to pick as well.

Vetting Mechanism

If the game isn’t fair, nobody will play.  Social media provides the most critical element of brain-picking economics.  Any time someone asks to pick my brain, I’ll do a Google search or conduct a social media profile on them. What I find will quickly determine what the initial contact will involve a courtesy email or a 3 hour golf game.

Business Plan:

Buy low sell high.  That’s the mantra of capitalism, but it remains “unspoken” in social media.  If a person is very successful at picking brains, there is an inherent quality in that which may be useful to me. I will study them. If other important people have allowed this person to pick their brain, why not me? If I’m getting a lot of pickers from a certain demographic, maybe that represents a business opportunity, seminar market, or speaking engagement.

An entrepreneur is as an entrepreneur does

Entrepreneurs do nothing more than identify assets and elevate them from a low level of productivity to a higher level of productivity.  I ask my brain picker who they have also discussed the matter with. I also ask them places and dates of those interactions.  I ask them about people in their social network, rumors, concerns, projections.  I ask them their goals an objectives in talking with me – exactly as I would do for any client….

…well before you know it, I’m picking their brain.

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