Think Bigger. Aim Higher. Go Further.

Tag: Network

Valuation of Hierarchy vs. Network

Modern platforms such as Google, Facebook, AirBnB, and others enjoy astronomical market valuations despite having comparatively less hard assets as legacy firms like Marriot, Boeing, T-Mobile, or Walmart. The difference may have something to do with their organizational structure.

Hierarchy: Since the dawn of the industrial revolution, centralized organizations comprised of multiple levels of management have been the proven means for allocating resources and minimizing risk.  The value of such a construct is expressed in terms of market demand and sensitivity to risk as expressed by the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM).

E(Ri) = Rf + Bi (E(Rm)-Rf)

Where:

E(Ri) = Expected rate of return on capital amount
Rf = Risk free rate of return
Bi = Sensitivity to market volatility
(E(Rm) = Expected market return

The CAPM valuation model for an organization is dominated by market risk multiplied by a firms sensitivity to market risk.  CAPM valuations are limited by market expectations and performance.  CAPM is largely a linear function except in the exclusive state where volatility is very low and market returns are very high, such as monopoly or some duopoly conditions.

Networks: A network is characterized by a collection of nodes (which may represent a switch, a computer, a sensor, or a person) and branches (wires, signals, instructions, or communications) connecting the nodes.  The value of networks is a function of the total number of nodes and the total number of possible connections that can be completed between them multiplied by some coefficient of value for the quality of those connections. 

Metcalfe’s law for Networks suggests that the theoretical value of a network will be proportional to the square of the number of nodes according to the following relationship.

Theoretical value is proportional to: n(n-1)/2

The Actual value would be related to the quality of the nodes, the actual number of existing branches, and the net quality for the transactions that transpire over the network. For example, the Value of Facebook is estimated at:

VFacebook = (5.70 x 10-9) x n2

Where (n2) is the total number of users and (5.70 x 10-9), is an incredibly small number represents the average quantity and quality of nodes and branches between them. The Facebook platform objective is to maximize total number of connects AND maximize quantity AND quality of the interactions.  For reference; MySpace still has 500M registered users giving it a valuable network, however, a low coefficient of interaction has eroded value of the platform substantially.

Self-regulation, fault-tolerance, and Management Autonomy

The network can make independent decisions: An engineer that is mis-allocated can quickly move closer to their area of interest and competence.  Overlap between civil, mechanical, and electrical engineers can be managed appropriately.   A corrupt engineer would have a very difficult time gaining access to a target without enduring a long and difficult road to establishing a transaction record that would permit sufficient isolation to the target to actually profit from the crime. It would be difficult to corrupt an engineer without knowing if they will be assigned to a target.  It would be difficult to which engineer will be assigned to a potential target in advance of the attack.  If an attack was attempted, it would be easy to identify who committed the crime.  High impact targets may be covered with redundancy or a Byzantine proof.  Obviously, Bots would be quickly and easily dispatched to the null condition.

Network Learning

Interactions between nodes will tend to optimize claims such that the value of the compensation received is proportional to the effort required to establish and verify a claim.   This is a common practice in professional societies and certification bodies today.  Further, strong professional communities with sufficient diversity, create conditions for rapidly and iterative teaching, learning, and collaboration leading to a high rates of innovation.  Finally, professionals may reflect artistic or literary expertise or cite membership in multiple networks on their own valuation and the valuation of their team.  Reflecting diverse interests from professional, recreational, and social opportunities will increase the individuals stake in the network and everyone’s stake in a team.

The Value of the Quantchain Network:

Economist Robert Solow received a nobel prize for his work in estimating that 80% of economic growth can be attributed to technological change. Said another way, for every 2 dollars spent on engineering, society can expect 8 dollars returned to the economy.  This conveniently provided an average nodal value for engineers.

It is easy to count the number of engineers on the Quantchain, therefore the only variable left is the ability to assess the value and diversity of the interactions. Quantchain accomplishes this precise objective in several ways:

  • The decentralization of engineers diversifies interactions
  • Dominant game strategy = cultivate a diverse community of claimants and validators approaching Dunbar Number.
  • The Percentile Search Engine assigns optimum probability vs. cost to all transactions. 
  • Individual transactions and collective transactions are readily analyzed.    

Engineering networks can be assembled and subdivided in any number of ways and theoretical values may be assigned to them making the valuation of teams, mergers of teams, divestiture of teams, or scenario testing of any imaginable combination of teams, a quick and accurate projection of network value.

Decentralized CRM With Curiosumé

Photo credit: New York Times

(Photo: New York Times)

Modern CRM (Customer Relationship Management) emerged from the boiler rooms of corporate sales departments. They needed a way to keep track of contacts, leads, calls, and ping schedules.  Soon they added client information like DOB, Spouses name, neighborhood news, etc.  The customer responded remarkably well, in fact, perhaps too well – they started asking for things like better service, warranty claims, and “can I get that in purple”.

Salespersons, being so closely tied to the revenue, began telling the service department that they are choking revenue,  and telling the warranty department when customers are defecting, and telling engineering to introduce new features.  They got away with it because they had management support as a revenue driver.  Pretty soon CRM systems began migrating across the enterprise evolving along the way. Ironically, CRM now finds itself losing touch with the customer despite the ever increasing amount of data that now populates the hit sheets.

Recently, we were asked to consider scenarios for Curiosumé applications in a CRM role in the financial industry. There are several important features of Curiosumé that can reconnect the customer to the enterprise.

Top level ontology in the commons
Instead of controlling people’s information, set it free and watch where the client leads you.  When all market channels pull their information from the same network of nodes and branches, they can always be current and synchronized. When the client adds information to the commons, this becomes available to the vendor outside of a firewall eliminating many security issues.  You don’t necessarily need (or want) to know the ID of the client in order to serve them better.

Anonymity layer / autonomous matching:
AUPOT (Anonymous Until Point of Transaction) allows clients to deploy anonymous personas so that they will be more willing to;

  • reveal true intentions to the commons,
  • perform their own pre-analysis in the commons
  • increase their insights and contribute that to the commons.

Customer Controls Their Data:
Help the client own and control their own engagement data.  Give them the same tools and opportunities to experiment as researchers as the Big Data wonks have.  Allow them to delete, save, edit or have as many different personas as they want. Let them deploy and retract personas as a way of finding you.  A better and more efficient relationship will emerge between both sides of a transaction.

User interface layer:
Instead of leading your client like cattle through an arbitrary ontology tree, show them photographs that corresponds to nodes in the common ontology.  These can then be matched algorithmically to advisors, products, or different departments in the firm, in real time.   In essence, you can create a multi-agent algorithmic game in a user interface that could be fun, engaging, and sticky as heck.

Advisor interface:
When a client chooses to engage the advisor or a product or a transaction,  they can submit their persona into the algorithm to select specialized advisors or a team of advisors. Only at the point of mutual acceptance, both players cross the firewall and engage in honest, trusting commerce. Layers and layers of bureaucracy, vetting, and security breaches can be eliminated until the actual exchange is made.

(Photo: The Philadelphia Orchestra)

Powerful Feature:
One of the most powerful and least recognized features of Curiosumé is the ability to constrain a “score” to a number or a range. One reason for this is to create imbalance around the mean – when the system is not balanced, it can never be static and will always have some movement (regression toward the mean).  It will become largely self-managing, self centering, and even a little joyous.

For example: if we constrain the client to having a Curiosumé score of zero; that means that for the total of all (+) sigmas, they must also accumulate an equal and opposite total of  (-) sigmas such that their net total is zero, in order to pass “go”. When we lay this back on to the top level ontology (Wikipedia), we can find a series of paths that unite the (+) sigmas to the (-) sigmas.  This path tells us a GREAT deal about where the client wants to go.  Likewise an older client may prefer a net (+) portfolio where a younger client may prefer a net (-) portfolio.  Decentralized CRM with Curiosumé can also be applied to risk pooling in the same manner. The deviation s from the mean and resulting movements are precisely how we would price the derivatives of intangibles, i.e. tangibles.

Outcome:
Decentralized CRM with Curiosumé is readily ready to happen. We know that people, advisors, and products can be brought together in personal and emotional engagement when they intersect paths of common interest. This is the weakness of both the barter system AND modern technological Capitalism  If we can envision interests flowing dynamically along vectors, we will have the ability to align human incentives and the markets that depend on them.

Virtual Hub And Spoke System

The Hub and Spoke system is a time honored formation of commercial aviation. People accept hub and spoke as the most rational way to organize people and planes much like they accept the corporation as the best way to organize production of goods and service.

Meanwhile, social media is challenging every assumption that we hold dear to our hearts as new applications role out which steadily increase the ability for people to organize their selves.

The newest applications such as Google + show us that people are the hub and their various forms of social networks are their spokes. A person has a group for their family, one for their friends, their colleagues, their schoolmates, etc.  While G+ fatigue may wear in as people get tired of classifying their casual contacts, the real value of G+ may arise in the intentional Organization of people for social and financial efficiency.

The similarity between the airport and G+ Hub and Spoke is not a casual coincidence.  There is a very real and physical connection between the way people organize themselves in social media and the way they organize themselves in corporate production and the way their organize themselves in air transportation systems.

Suppose we make the analogy that the person in the center is the customer, the circle that they belong to is the market, and the person in the market is a client.  The analogy hold when we try to “preserve college friendships”.  College is the social market and the friend is the mutual client relationship where the currency is a social currency.

The analogy is still very young, but it is truly profound.  This way of thinking will drive a form of social organization that may rival corporations, government, and even international boundaries.  It is also no coincidence that Social Flights has been modeling this analogy for the 2 years since we first started developing our business plan.

Today, Social Flights is working on some important concepts for defining Travel Tribe Leader functions.  The objective is to duplicate the function of a “concrete” hub and spoke system denominated in dollars with a virtual hub and spoke system denominated in social currency.

Network Characteristics of Travel Tribe leaders:

  • Each Travel Tribe Leader is responsible for 10-20 city pairs from their own location.
  • Two travel tribe leaders for each city pair (one located at each point)
  • Travel Tribe Leader creates revenue by matching people and places
  • Builds tribal/shared knowledge
  • Redundant, opportunistic, and fault tolerant
  • Ideally suited for Twitter, Google + and Facebook Distribution Channels

Conclusion:  The organization of people it figuratively (with G+) and literally (with corporations) is the exact same thing.  This will become obvious when people discover the necessity to organize their selves into productive communities in the absence of corporations and government.  But why wait – we can, and we will use social media to form a new system of social organization.

Citationhttp://www.slideshare.net/padday/the-real-life-social-network-v2

How To Use Data Correctly

There is a raging debate about data usage, privacy violation, and even epic technology data hacks.  The reason is simple – data has value.  Ultimately, data are convertible to value – in some form or another, including money.  That means that data are a convertible currency.  This is not necessarily bad, however, there is a right way and a wrong way to convert data into value.

The wrong way is to steal it from it’s rightful owners

You and I, by our motions, movements, communications and the pursuit of freedom and happiness create a huge amount of data.  This belongs to each individual.  When two or more   people interact with each other – the data they create belongs to them, and nobody else.  This is a very powerful relationship that others seek to exploit.  Equally culpable are those who don’t protect their data and the data they share with people around them.

The right way to use data is to play a game

If you observe any game that people play – from children’s games to sports, and even gambling – they all have one thing in common.  Each player has the same information as all the other players.  The game is largely the ability to influence the information with data. Kids know the probability that a they will be tagged and influence their strategy accordingly – but they all play on the same field. In a basketball game, gravity behaves exactly the same for every player on the team. Poker players know the probability that their opponent will draw a flush – there are only 52 cards.   Stealing Data is like slanting the playing field, stealing cards from the deck, or changing the influence of gravity.

Fair Market Value is a Value Game

The underlying assumption of market capitalism is that everyone has the same information.  Two people holding the same Carfax report can have a rational and fair negotiation about the value of that used car.  As such, the used car market is efficient.  Package labeling, truth in advertising laws, and pharmaceutical disclaimers are an attempt to keep a market efficient so that the market can arrive at a “Fair Market Value”.

The Value Game

The Value Game being tested now at Social Flights is a real life game where real people fly to real places to do real things on real nice airplanes.  There are no badges, tokens, little pink cows, wiggly worms, mayorships, or leader boards.  The Value Game is a real economic game built on real data that real players create, own, and share only with other real players.

How to use data correctly

The Value Game will process a great deal of information to make Social Flights operate efficiently.  Data must be normalized to calculate the probability that a flight will fill so that everyone can make a rational decision about price.  Normalized data can be used to create a seat cancellation insurance policy to reduce price volatility.  Normalized data can help travelers buy an option on game 7 of the World Series, before game 5 has ended. Normalized data can be applied so the player knows exactly how much of a discount to require from a vendor for accepting a coupon. Etc.

The Value Game does not need to know your name, address, phone number, or credit score to compile useful information.  The Value Game does not even need to know such information about your friends, family, or professional relationships.  Nobody needs to know your private information –  unless they intend to use your data incorrectly.  After all, thieves need to know who to restrict your data from – you.

Where is The Knowledge Inventory?

Knowledge marketsThere is no knowledge inventory of our communities. The is a STUNNING omission for a country whose only hope at climbing out of economic hardship is sequestered within the innovative minds of its people.

If done correctly, knowledge can behave as an asset of trade. This must first start with a comprehensive knowledge inventory. Like the human genome project, the knowledge inventory project must be a sustained effort.

Link to specification document

Draw Your Own Org Chart

I recently caught up with a childhood classmate on Facebook. I remembered hearing that she had lost her older brother, Robert, in a recreational accident several years ago. Nobody ever knows what to say to a friend in a situation like that. But her brother was different.

When I was a freshman in high school many years ago, a couple of goons were getting ready to kick my ass for no particular reason except that I was a freshman. Then Robert walked around the corner. He stood next to me, applied a menacing grin, and stared my oppressors down. After a few moments, he walked away without saying a word.

Robert never said very much, he didn’t have to. He had so many friends that nobody dared to mess with him. I very much appreciated his intervention because nobody ever bothered me again.

Over the next several months, I saw Robert do this few more times. That’s when I realized why he had so many friends. It was one of those “life lessons”.

I’ll leave the story here, where Robert left it for us. Draw your own conclusions about social media organization.…

Picture credit: Names and Faces are not of the actual people portrayed in article

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

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

Does Social Relevancy Matter?

The Ingenesist Project Community concerns itself with the value of social reach since this will most certainly impact he relevance of  those conversing as well as the relevance of the conversation to some business activity.  Obviously, innovation is about having the right team in the right place at the right time.

Furthermore, business activities such as marketing and advertising need to make their communications more relevant and less wasteful of their audience’s limited bandwidth – lest they risk being perceived as “anti-social”.

Stated somewhat more clinically; the most worthy knowledge surplus must be matched with the most worthy knowledge deficit in order to produce the most valuable outcome.

Brynn Evans offers the following observation:

The future of search  involves social networks, social graphs, or social filtering in some capacity.  Companies will live or die by whether they get the “social” part right: creating the right level of intimacy, trust, reliability, social connectedness, and accuracy in their results listings. Of course, this specifically means that their user experience must at least meet or, preferably, exceed that of Google’s.

To achieve this, we must first stop arguing over the different flavors of search.

Real-time search. Social search. Semantic search. These distinctions are essentially meaningless, especially when we can’t even agree on definitions and when each of their boundaries remain undefined. Instead, we should recognize that they’re all part and parcel of personalizing and contextualizing search for individual users. Let’s stop playing the “name game” and start thinking holistically about how each (and all!) affects and improves what we think of today as “search.”

Defies analysis, defies control:

Ms Evans’ excellent analysis continues to identify numerous problems with attempting to classify Social Relevance – each system is merely trumped by new issues related to semantics, context, and proximity.  It seems as if the more you try to “control” social media, the more it defies control.  The more you try to study it, the more it shows you a mirror of yourself.  Introspection is the irony of extroversion.

The great big Sucking Sound

While nobody, including Ms. Evans can tell you how to increase your social relevancy, we can probably all agree on what does not.   If your message sucks, your social relevancy will also suck.  If you are trying to sell a product that does not actually save people time and increase their net productivity, your product will fail and your social relevancy will suck.   If you are in any way trying to match unworthy knowledge surplus with unworthy knowledge deficit, your social relevancy will suck.

Give up Control in order to gain control:

Business intelligence is the science of knowing what sucks and what does not.  Let Social media carry your message wherever it wants to carry it. The sooner the market tells you what it wants, the sooner you can adapt your products and services to meet the needs.  Things happen fast in social media space and the corporation needs to be faster.  This may mean corporations need to give up control in order to gain control of both the threats and opportunities of the future.  After all, even by the playbook of Corporate America : survival of the fittest is the only relevant social rank.

(Ed: Brynn Evans is a PhD student in Cognitive Science at UC San Diego who uses digital anthropology to study and better understand social search)

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.

How Does Social Media Affect GDP?

Gross domestic product (GDP) is a basic measure of an economy’s economic performance.  GDP is the market value of all final goods and services made within the borders of a nation in a year measured in Dollars.  Globally, GDP is equal to the total monetary income generated by production of goods and services in a country.

Gross Domestic Product does not take into account many important variables accelerated by Social Media and growing exponentially in economic influence.

GDP counts only industrial output, but…

Industrial output is becoming increasingly dependent on social networks and social innovation.  GDP does not take into account such non-market transactions such as open source development, crowd sourced innovation, conversational currency, social capital, creative capital, or intellectual capital exchanged between people in diverse social networks

GDP reflects Wall Street Priorities, but…

Wall Street Priorities are increasingly challenged by social priorities. GDP does not account for sustainable business practices, heroism, mentorship, activism, volunteerism, social networking, uncompensated innovation, and community involvement.  GDP does not account for quality improvements and social multipliers such as aggregation of social media, increasingly powerful computers, acceleration of conversations, online etiquette, multi-media, and social editorial services.

All of the above exclusions are valuable, because…

These exclusions add value, they store value, they create value, they distribute value, and they exchange value.  If we called it a financial instrument that is highly convertible, extremely liquid, and easily transported it would describe a currency by any definition of the word.  For the purpose of this discussion, call this currency the “Rallod” – or Dollar spelled backwards.  The Rallod is the currency of the new American economic and production paradigm.

The Invisible Currency

For Example; Twitter is doing in Iran what America has been trying to do in Iraq for 8 years.  Face book, LinkedIn, and the entirety of social media space is producing many times the effectiveness of the $200 Billion U.S. advertising industry in terms of driving people to specific action. Social vetting platforms such as blogs, commentaries, groups, and content aggregation have increased the efficiency of markets by vastly reducing arbitrage opportunities while also identifying scams and corruption.  Human productivity is being converted to Rallods and there is no politician, executive, or white collar criminal anywhere in the world who is not deeply concerned about this invisible currency.

The Best is Yet to Come:

The “Last Mile of Social Media” is analogous to the last mile of broadband Internet – the marginal cost of reaching every person in every household and tightening social networks to extremely high resolution, is diminishing rapidly.   The Last Mile will bring communities together to vet local politicians, corporations, products, and policies.  The Last Mile will formulate a knowledge inventory combines with close proximity of knowledge assets and a percentile search engine to predict outcomes.  The Last Mile of Social Media will duplicate every function that exists in a corporation except it will be built upon the social media operating system; aggregated, amalgamated, sustainable, and reflecting social priorities.

So what happens to GDP?

GDP by current measure will reflect only the value of the “dollar”, not necessarily the value of the human productivity.  Perhaps it already does.

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.]

Finally, A Definition for Innovation

Innovation: The rate of change in knowledge with respect to time 

[In earlier post we identified the 5 essential elements of a market economy. What would be the currency of an innovation economy? Currency is anything that serves as a medium of exchange, a stored value, and a standard of value. Basically we are asking; What are those things that people are out in the World trading among each other today?]

Today, innovation is repeatedly cited as the only thing that can get us out of the financial/environmental/sustainability conditions that find our ourselves in, yet the most common definitions for this term are deeply and tragically flawed.

Most definitions for innovation boil down to: “a new idea introduced that has an economic outcome” or “something new that is useful”. While these definitions match some observations, they are reflective and “You know it when you see it”. As such, there is little to define innovation before it happens or to make more of it from this definition.  It is like defining “Art” as the thing that people stare at.  Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of our troubles.

“Innovation is a new idea introduced that has an economic outcome” is impossible.

This definition defines one unknown quantity (innovation) with four other unknown quantities: what is new; what is an idea; what constitutes “introduced”; and what is an economic outcome?  From High School Algebra we know that you cannot solve one equation with two unknowns – let alone four.  There is little that you, I or anyone else can do to satisfy this definition.  Therefore, it is not useful.

Granted, this definition sells plenty of ad copy as the guru of the week wax-poetic over those four pesky unknown thingies.  I found one consultant who claims that innovation has 51 variables and only he can solve that matrix – for a price.

What is the truth about the phenomenon of Innovation?

A useful definition must clarify the subject in a manner that is repeatable and measurable.

If we look at history we know that economic “benefit” and innovation are mutually dependent – you can’t have one without the other.  Wealth has been created by increasing human productivity through innovation in agriculture, manufacturing, computers, etc.

Next, we observe that information, knowledge and innovation are also mutually dependent – you cannot have one without the other two.  Wealth is created by integrating information, knowledge and innovation.

Next; look at our society; everywhere we turn, people are collecting information from each other, building their knowledge, and innovating together, i.e., coming up with better ways to do things. All of these little exchanges obviously add up to something because things like IPods and Airplanes get built and lots of stuff rolls off assembly lines.

Innovation is anything that increases human productivity

Next we can say that information, knowledge and innovation can be related as follows:

  • Information is defined as facts and data

This should not surprise anyone.

  • Knowledge is proportional to the rate of change of information (facts and data) over time.

This is a little trickier to grasp. But any good teacher knows that information must be introduced in a certain order and at a certain speed before the information can become knowledge – this is called learning. Learning is a mental process for turning information from a book, a lecture, or personal experience into knowledge that can be used later.  Therefore, knowledge is proportional to the rate of change of information and can only exist inside a person’s head.

  • Innovation is proportional to the rate of change of knowledge over time

trickier still, but for example; everyone has had an ‘Ah-Ha!’ moment during a brainstorming session, some incredible event that we witness, or even after some real bad mistake that we made. The Ah-Ha moment is a spike in our knowledge that happens in a very short period of time. Innovation is related to this high rate of change of knowledge.  Then we blurt it out, or write it down, or make a sketch, give a lecture, in the form of information, etc.

Definition of Innovation:

a. Innovation is anything that increasing human productivity.
b. Innovation is proportional to the rate of change of knowledge and information.

Admittedly, not as sexy in the sound bite but this definition does include all conversations, sketches, dreams, and ideas of all people on Earth and allows them to combine with the sketches, dreams, ideas, of all people on Earth to become designs, methods, and processes which further combine to become products, systems, and institutions, etc.

Let entrepreneurs worry about the economic outcome

Since innovation can be difficult to observe directly. Our new definition allows us to use a proxy that is easier for entrepreneurs to see. For example; if you want to identify innovation as it is happening, simply look for high rates of change of knowledge in a community. If you want to create innovation, do things that create high rates of change of knowledge. Likewise, if you want to identify knowledge, look for high rates of change of information.  If you want to create knowledge, do things that create high rates of change of information.

We need to give the entrepreneur a game they can win. The key is that everyone must be included in the game. This is a definition that can be used by anyone and everyone, in fact, it already is.

notes:

[Anyone familiar with differential Calculus can see an equation forming where Innovation is the derivative of knowledge and knowledge is the derivative of information. Calculus is the study of change like geometry is the study of space. Since the mathematics is beyond the scope of this article, I’ll finish with the following analogy for defining information, knowledge, and innovation more intuitively: “Information is to knowledge is to innovation what distance is to velocity is to acceleration”]

Social Enterprise; The Vetting Mechanism; #1

I read many articles with rants like “all this social network stuff is cool – but show us the money”.  Innovation Economics offers a way to see new markets and new businesses that are currently hidden by “the old way” of doing things.   This article is part of a series called ‘Business Plans of the Innovation Economy” which will identify ways that Social Networks can command huge markets and drive vast revenues – if, and only if, they align themselves in a specific way….

Managers manage through experience. They observe a situation and compare it to prior situations they have encountered. Through a process of intuitive (statistical) analysis, they calculate the probability of success based on the success or failure of prior experience. This is the reason why managers are often older and also why youth correlates with inability to manage.  The depth and breadth of one’s experience is often called wisdom.

Today’s problems, business opportunities, technological change, and competitive strategies are so complex and so integrated across the globe that no single person can accumulate in a lifetime the experience needed to manage at what is called a Pareto Efficiency. A Pareto Efficiency, named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, is an economic condition where a one’s actions benefits at least one person while leaving no other person less better off.

The problem with the “top-down” management structure is that the “top” no longer has a statistically relevant sample of prior experiences from which to fully understand the probable future outcome of their actions – the consequence is that someone always gets screwed (Pareto Inefficient).

The concept of Pareto Efficiency may be what people are today inadvertently calling “sustainability”.  I recently saw the movie Syriana with George Clooney about the petroleum industry in the Middle East.  It was a convoluted mix of 5 different stories.  Each story had its hero doing what they thought was in the best interest of those they represent – “the common people”.   Yet the combination of actions carried out by these heroes was absolutely disastrous for all of them.  So no matter how benevolent one’s intentions are – and I believe that most corporate managers are acting in the highest integrity that they know – this systemic failure of knowledge will always hurt someone, continually adding to those already at the fringes.

The world of imperfect information is therefore the enemy of sustainability.   Perfect information is when everyone associated with a business transaction has the exact same information as everyone else.  Perfect information is what makes markets efficient and decisions rational.  Agreement is perfectly mutual, supply and demand are perfectly aligned, all risks are perfectly predictable and cause and effect are perfectly transparent.

It follows that any business plan that simply improves information in a market can command revenues proportional to the degree at which market efficient is improved.  For example; Ebay owes its 50 Billion dollar market capitalization to the feedback system which supplies improved information in a market.  Carfax, The FAA, Craigslist, Democratic Government – all have vetting mechanisms that make their prospective markets more efficient.

Likewise, when the vetting mechanisms fail, the market fails.  I attended a lecture once with Charlie Munger, CFO of Berkshire Hathaway.  Regarding Enron, he said (paraphrase) “It’s tragic enough when the accounting profession goes bad, but God help us if we lose the engineers”.

This brings us back to management.  The business plan of the millennium will be the art and science of perfect information.  We know that no single human can accumulate enough experience, however, we also know that perfect information can reside in many people – it is simply a matter of finding the perfect group of people who collectively possess perfect information.

This relatively simple task is entirely and irrevocably the domain of Social Networks. Social Networks are sufficiently enabled by current technology to perform this essential and highly lucrative task – if and only if they align themselves accordingly.  Social Networks need to hold a complete and detailed inventory of resident knowledge.  Social Networks must cooperate to codify social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital so that computational methods can be used to assemble unique collection of persons holding unique collections of experiences. That unique set of knowledge assets must then be deployed precisely in the market, ideally targeting specific transactions.

If Real Estate Agents can command 6% of a gazillion dollar housing market and bankers can take another huge chunk – and not even do a very good job at providing perfect information – only to get bailed those at the fringes.  Social Networking have a moral, ethical, and entrepreneurial obligation to compete in the sustainability game.

Social Networks and the Multiplier Effect on Innovation

If we combine the parallel transaction with the series transaction we have what now looks like a neural network. In practice, we know that strong networks of people freely exchanging ideas make organizations better, smarter, and more efficient. Networks are where knowledge and wisdom is literally stored. A network is fault tolerant, if one person leaves, the network survives. For a relatively small input into a network, we can produce a large output of new knowledge – we have a learning organization.

However, in society, these interactions are largely accidental; people meet at Church, Starbucks, and Social Events or by word of Mouth. Other times, these interactions are concentrated inside a single community of very similar people such as a technical conference, group meeting, or lunch buddies and are often not well diversified.

Suppose the interactions among people were not random, instead, they could be designed by the entrepreneur to produce a unique outcome. The Innovation Bank will combine people of complementary knowledge assets in a calculated manner in order to arrive at specific business approaches and applications.

A special case of the above business method and resulting social network is called the Multiplier Effect. A financial bank enjoys a multiplier effect with the ability to lend the 10 times more money than they hold in reserve. Money changing hands has a multiplier effect on an economy. Again, financial analogies hold.

Suppose that a company owns composite material technology for use on aircraft. Since they specialize in airplanes, they have no intention of pursuing other applications such as recreational equipment, energy production, or health care products.

Suppose that the company could deposit this asset in a bank and collect interest. The Search Engine can scan the business landscape to find companies with a knowledge deficit in the area of your technology and make loans of your technology. As the originator, you have the option to see what those other companies invent and you hold the right to use their new ideas in your aircraft application.

With an innovation Bank, you can reduce your Research and Development costs and create additional revenue in a tangential innovation market. With reduced cost and risk of innovation, you are likely to specialize more and more in innovation as your enterprise. In the event of a cyclic downturn in the business of an originator, instead of “laying off” knowledge assets, people can work in tangential industries where they will continue developing – literally putting “Knowledge in the Bank” – to be called back when market conditions improve. A mobile knowledge asset increases in value becoming smarter and more productive over time.

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