Think Bigger. Aim Higher. Go Further.

Tag: options

New Economies; May The Best Street Win

The great dream for new economies movement is that Wall Street has finally met its match from the vast interconnected social systems that now dominate communication, organization, and commerce.

The problem is that no matter what the New Economies Movement comes up with, Wall Street will capitalize it, commoditize it, securitize it, and sell it back to us for the price of our communities.  Then they’ll build derivatives and options around it and wrap it all up in a nice hedge fund that transfers all risk back to us.   The Street always wins.

So why can’t we do what Wall Street does?

At Social Flights we believe that we can provide 10,000 jobs across the United States by letting people sell options on aircraft seats.

How would this work?

The Hub and Spoke system consists of about 30 major airports in the US that act as hubs.  The rest are spokes and many smaller cities are barely served at all.  So unless you are flying between two hubs, you will always have to catch a connection, waste time, and incur social expenses.

For the price of a typical airport lounge bar tab, a traveler can buy an option to fly a private jet non-stop between their destinations.  An option is the right without the obligation to take a position in the future.  The option would be convertible, transferrable, and may even be exercised on a wide variety of schedules.

Calling all unemployed entrepreneurs 

Suppose that I saw a listing on Social Flights for a private jet flight from Boise Idaho to Colorado Springs taking place in three weeks and costing 300 dollars.  Since I know a lot of people in both cities, I can either use the ticket myself, or I have 3 weeks to sell it for, say, 500 dollars.

This is a bargain because there are no non-stop flights between these two cities and airline prices tend to increase as the departure date approaches.  The private jet can do the trip in two hours whereas the commercial airline would take 8 or more hours. I could buy an option on that flight for, say 30 dollars and resell the ticket for a $170.00 profit.   If I cannot sell the ticket, then I can use the ticket, convert it to another option, or lose my 30 dollars (just like the bar tab).

I am a Capitalist

In effect, I am rewarded for my size and quality of my social network.  I am rewarded for my ability to research in the Internet to find likely prospects who would seek to travel at a time savings.  I am rewarded for my knowledge, associations, professional skills, and ability to analyze data and organize people.   I am rewarded for finding arbitrage opportunities in an inefficient industry.  I buy low and sell high – I am a Capitalist

While this may not seem like a large impact, if 5000 – 10,000 people make their living trading Social Options, the market will shift.  If Social Options can be created for aviation inventory, they can be created for all inventory.  For the exact same effect as a Groupon, people can trade options on goods and services while hedging against Wall Street and restoring community Values.

Don’t just change the game, change the street that it is played on….

Calculating The ROI of Social Media

This video introduces a new way of looking at social media valuation. People find value in social media otherwise they would not do it. How is that value expressed as a financial instrument? If you engage your clients in the same currency that they are trading among themselves, the greater the likelihood you will realize the value of the new media phenomenon.

Is a social contract legally binding…and who cares?

Trillions of dollars in play:

Trillions upon trillions of dollars worth of value that once coursed through the veins of Market Capitalism is being transferred to social media from the legacy economy now stifled by insurmountable debt.  These numbers are indeed spectacular because they account for the invisible value “lost”, and most importantly, the calculations provides clues on how to “find” it again.

What is a Social Contract worth?

According to Legacy Economics, the term “social contract” describes a broad class of theories that try to explain the ways in which people maintain social order. The notion of the social contract implies that people give up some rights to a government or other authority in order to receive or maintain social order. Otherwise, we would each have unlimited natural freedoms, including the “right to all things” and thus the freedom to harm all who threaten our own self-preservation; there would be an endless “war of all against all”.

Take me to your leader

By contrast, Social Media begs the questions: who or what exactly is that authority?  Isn’t the greatness of the Internet the lack of an all powerful authority? So why aren’t we at a war of all against all?  What keeps social media at peace instead of an endless flame war?  Whatever this alien is, it is capturing and storing trillions upon trillions of dollars of value away from the legacy economy, but where?

Separating facts from fiction

According to the old economy, it is a “fact” that human knowledge is an “intangible asset” of which there are only two types defined:

1. Legal intangibles such as trade secrets, copyrights, patents, and goodwill (brands).

2. Competitive intangibles such as knowledge activities, collaboration activities, leverage activities, and structural activities.

However, when we consider social media;

1.    There is no law governing the phenomenon – so there are no legal intangibles.

2.    Collaboration, leveraging and structural activities are not being conducted in a competitive environment (the context of one “Company” against another).

So, the definition fails to account for knowledge assets in social media. The Ingenesist Project discovers the lost trillions simply by treating the social contract like a legal contract.

Tangible assets are managed by contracts

Technically, any oral agreement between two parties can constitute a binding legal contract. The legacy economy limitation, however, is that only parties to a written agreement have material evidence (the written contract itself) to prove the actual terms uttered at the time the agreement was struck.

But social media, email, and blog posts, etc., all constitute vast “written” agreements and material evidence as far as most people are concerned.   So what is missing?  Are we waiting for permission from government, Wall Street, corporations, attorneys, or the Federal Reserve to say it is OK for people to stop competing with each other or to renegotiate the terms of the social contract (and currency of exchange)?

The mystery is no mystery

Guess what, there is nothing there. Absolutely nothing except philosophical barriers carried over from legacy economics built upon political division. The mystery is that there is no mystery except using social media to unite people.  After all, the biggest Brand in the world is a Community Organizer.  Such calculation provides clues on how to “find” value again.

The Vicarious Search Engine

The search engine wars continue as both Google and Bing develop more exotic ways of arriving at the wrong answer.  Both commit the same error as all declining industries in social media space; assuming that they can predict what people want without engaging them in a conversation.

The first development is the predictive search notably pioneered by Amazon.com for predicting future purchases based on past purchases.  While predictive search is an improvement, the next step is the “vicarious” search, that is, when the search engine sees the world through your eyes – or someone Else’s – for your benefit.

The Web is Flat

The Ingenesist Project specifies a standard knowledge inventory that may be represented as a packet of code.  If someone wanted to see the web through the eyes of another person, they could buy a packet of their knowledge inventory.  Likewise, a web article would be tagged with the representative knowledge inventory code of the author.  Each comment or re post to a blog article would contain the knowledge inventory of its aggregated vetters.

The search can be done in reverse as well.  If I find an idea on the web and want to know who can execute it locally, I can simulate the knowledge inventory in one or more local people.  This is not trivial.  It literally allows an entrepreneur to manage knowledge assets that they did not know exists and predict content that does not yet exist.

Been there, done that?

Obviously there are privacy, security, and ethics issues related to others seeing the world through your eyes.  But what if every American was told 20 years ago that their identifier number for an insolvent social security program would be attached to their personal, medical, financial, and civil records then spun through Wall Street algorithms, sold worldwide to advertisers, politicians, banks, insurance companies, demographers, and ultimately hacked?  The cities would have burned.

So why can’t social mediators monetize?

The difference today is that if packaged correctly, we can own and control our knowledge inventory.  We can allow or decline access and we can revoke access – it happens all day long on Face Book, Linkedin, Twitter, and My Space.   On-line communities represent collections of knowledge assets.  The 400 Billion dollar per year advertising budget is on the table – up for grabs.  The 100 Billion dollar “head hunting” budget is up for grabs. The multi-billion dollar election budgets are all up for grabs. What are we thinking?

The likelihood of Innovation

The innovation economy will depend on business intelligence related to society’s knowledge inventory to match most worthy knowledge surplus to the most worthy knowledge deficit.   Entrepreneurs must know supply and demand for knowledge assets as well as where to find them at what cost.  Entrepreneurs need to predict competition, disruption, risks, and volatility in knowledge assets.  They need to conduct scenario tests before expending money.  They need to predict the likelihood of innovation and all of the options that they have in the future related to those innovations.

The Securitization of Knowledge Assets

Entrepreneurs need to securitize knowledge assets in order to finance innovation on the scale that will be required to offset our massive debt. This is how the innovation economy must play out.  We cannot depend on corporations or governments to do this for us.  People must control, regulate, anonymize, and manage  their own knowledge inventory.   If only they could see their world through the entrepreneur’s eyes – perhaps they need a vicarious search engine more than anyone.

1.3 Trillion Dollar Professional Contact Market

“Hey, I know a guy who owes me a favor …”

It is only a matter of time until professional contacts will be for sale.  The problem is that the ROI (return on investment model) is such a poor valuation tool for social media. Another valuation tool used in finance is called Real Options.  An option is the right, without the obligation, to act on an opportunity at some time in the future.  Social Networks, friends, family, and professional contacts behave much more along these lines.

Five Easy Pieces:

While the calculation for the value of an option is complex, the things we need to plug in are fairly simple in the context of social media:

1.    There must be an inventory of the assets
2.    The future date when the asset can be acquired must be known
3.    The cost of acquiring the asset must be known
4.    The value effects on the enterprise must be estimated
5.    The uncertainty related to the asset must be estimated

The term “asset” in social media space may include: Knowledge, skill, an undertaking of a new project, or the generation of a new idea, etc.

The Social Networking Manifesto:

The objective of the building a social network is to know where the knowledge assets are, how much they can help you, how much they cost to exercise, and the certainty that they will be applicable, available and useful when you need them.   Conversely, the best way to increase the value of a social network is to be visible to others, tell people what you can do for them, tell people what you need from them, and establish a reputation for reliability.

Most importantly, everyone must have the right, without the obligation, to accept or decline the opportunity.  This is what jump starts ‘supply and demand’ and makes a market a market

Let’s consider all options:

To estimate the value of an option to call on anyone in your network use a financial option calculator tool on the web and plugged in social media numbers.  Let’s use Linkedin as the knowledge inventory; 40 million knowledge assets also hold options with their contacts. Say that the expiration date is 1 year (for tax reasons).  Assume the market value of their skill is 100 dollars and that at some point in the next year, the value of their skill relative to yourself becomes 200 dollars. The right to buy the asset at the earlier price is worth a premium.  Suppose that the volatility of the asset is 50% and the interest rate is 7%.

The value of the “call” is worth about $3.47 dollars.  The Call is an option contract that gives the holder the right to buy a certain quantity of an underlying security from the writer of the option, at a specified price up to the specified expiration date.

The value of options in a network:

For the above scenario assuming all assets are equal in price of 100 dollars; if someone has 10,000 1st and 2nd level contacts on Linkedin, the value of their implied call option is about 34,700 dollars.  If Linkedin were a stock market, the value of the social contracts that people have with each other is 34K x 40M = 1.3 Trillion Dollars market value for the contracts that people hold and trade.

This is not even the value of the transaction – only the right to have a transaction. The value of the social contract is in the conversations that they hold.  Contracts are a financial instrument that can be traded, combined, diversified, and aggregated for real money.  It’s only a matter of time.

The Ingenesist Project specifies the structure of an innovation economy where a knowledge inventory, a percentile search engine, and an innovation bank will facilitate and aggregate the 5 components of Option Valuation.  Social media applications form the operating system for the market in options.

The Currency of Transformation

The words “conversation” and “convertibility” are really quite similar.

Information, knowledge and innovation are distinct phases of human intellect which are profoundly related.  The vehicle for transformation across these phases is the “conversation”.  As the medium of exchange, the conversation acts as a currency.   The speed at which these exchanges take place defines the value of a market – a good party is where everyone is engaged.  A good time is of the essence.

Changes in the value of the market defines the potential for value creation through conversation – a great party pulls more people into engagement and becomes a social movement; i.e., a marketing success.

Currency (money) and Current (time) and Current (force) are similar too!

Conversations exist as a state of shared information tied to a common and progressing theme.  The internet enables the propagation of conversations from two persons to millions of people.  The propagation of conversations is dependent on interest rates of the audience.  The rate of propagation accelerates with the transformation of information into knowledge by others in it’s path.  People are driven to entrepreneurial action when the alignment of information matches the environment that they observe.

Conversation is Currency

Currencies come in many different forms and the best ones are convertible – or can be transformed – into other currencies.  Our objective is to convert social currency, creative currency, and intellectual currency into a universal currency such as, but not necessarily, money.

Anything of value such as an option to exercise an action at a later date, or an equity position in the actions of others, or a mentorship opportunity with a great teacher are all convertible currencies.  Of course, this is nothing new; we pay money to buy a book, take a class, invest in start-ups, and teach our children.

An End to a Means:

What is new is that social media allows us to convert the other currencies before, after, and in between the conversion to money.  The option to convert to money is simply an option like any other option, not necessarily a means to an end.

Obviously we could pay money to buy a book, use that book to teach our children and hope our children can start up a new company, etc.  However, suppose we could pay money to buy a book, improve the book by adding information shared by others, teach hundreds of other people how to apply the ideas to their start-up, take an “knowledge equity” position in those hundreds of start ups, have access to the data that they produce, and write a book that improves the likelihood of successful start-ups.

The Interesting Thing About Interest Rates

The next economic paradigm will introduce thousands of convertible currencies in the form of infinite conversations.  Those currencies will be converted in infinite combinations for infinite applications each adding value to the conversation.  Relational data aggregation will match most worthy currencies and social vetting will manage the production process. The corporate silo will no longer form; therefore the exploitation of the creativity class will end.  Interest is not measured in terms of risk, but rather in terms of productivity where deficit spending is impossible. This is the currency of transformation.

To Awaken a Giant

“Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished”.

– Barak Obama

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The gloves are off:

Mr. Obama’s statement is profound; in a single stroke, he liberated social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital from the oppressive arm of the financial markets.  This sends a strong message to entrenched and corrupted financial operatives that they no longer hold a monopoly on American productivity.

The factors of production carried over from the last century; land, labor, and capital, can be now be challenged by social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital as factors of production for an Innovation Economy.

The third option:

Q. So how exactly does a country meet a 50+ Trillion dollar obligation?
A. It depends on the social agreement.

First, we could default and let the system crash. Second, we could endeavor to pay it back by committing the next several generations to servitude of the debt.  Or, there is the third option that nobody talks about.

Create a new currency.

Almost every country has done it.  Mexico replaced the old “Peso” with a “New Peso” (worth 1000 old Pesos).  Europe created a new common currency.  Chinese Yuan is a “bridge currency” that gets them from point A to point B. Each of these examples is different, but they have one very important element in common; they are utterly dependent on a social agreement.

People must agree to exchange the new currency on the streets.  Social agreement, creative agreement, and intellectual agreement drives entrepreneurship and all must be achieved completely or “black markets” will form undermining the entire system.

The Tipping Point

We know a few things about currency outcomes.  If inflation occurs, people with “cash” will lose it, while people with “debt” will see it deflate.  The US can erase the deficit by inducing inflation and deflating the debt if production capacity remains undiminished. People, organizations, and governments that have exactly as much cash as they have debt will see no net loss or gain.  In fact, the entire world’s financial system is worth exactly as much as it owes to itself – minus the value of social capital, creative capital, intellectual capital and natural resources – now, set free. 

Social Agreement

As inflation progresses, there will be a point where a critical mass of the “social agreement” will hold the same amount of cash as they hold debt – their net loss will be zero.  That’s when the system can reboot.  obviously there will be serious consequences to any of the options, but this time, unlike any other time in history, social media will be the vehicle upon which the social agreement is catalyzed and not necessarily mandated by policy makers.

The Obama Factor

“Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America”

Mr. Obama is right – the outcome depends on us. We cannot expect government or corperations to attend to all of our needs because we are the ones who individually and collectively own and control the factors of production that will support the next currency. The road to opportunity has been cleared and the invitation has been cast.  We must now reach deep into our imagination and define the new business system where social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital are directly tangible in a new global economic imperative; the Innovation Economy.

Tangible Knowledge; Options and Contingencies

In order for knowledge to become a tangible asset, we need to come to grips with the fact that human knowledge is fluid and mobile, whereas a condo or a piece of machinery is static.  A machine can’t walk away if it does not like their management.

With knowledge assets, the typical “Return on Investment” (ROI) model breaks down.  When assets have a mind of their own, there is no reliable way to calculate ROI without somehow corralling the asset inside some form of closed contract, a corporation, political system, social class, or by introducing barriers to exit, etc.  In the modern financial system, human assets are held tangible by debt obligations – today many people go to work in servitude of debt, not in creation of new ideas.

An option* is the right, without the liability of obligation, to exercise a decision in the future.  Human interaction accommodates this valuation model quite readily; it’s called free-will.  Therefore the option valuation model is an adequate method to assess knowledge assets as a means of making them tangible.

The value of a financial option can be calculated if one knows the following 5 variables: The asset price, the strike price, the date of maturity, the risk free interest rate, and the volatility – or, the odds on the bet.  By contrast, the ROI model requires us to know basically the same things; the cost today, the strike price (future sale price), the date of maturity, the risk free interest rate, and the probability of success – or variance of the expectation.  The equation is just a little different.

Individually, human behavior often appears chaotic and irrational, but in aggregate, we know that human behavior is really quite predictable.  If you put similar people together, you get similar ideas.  If you put extremely different people together, you get extremely unpredictable ideas.  If you put strategic combinations of people together, you should be able to predict the variance of the ideas.  This is all the information we need to place a value on our bet.   If human behavior is predictable, it is tangible.

Suppose we enter into a ROI venture and it fails miserably; the market was wrong or the product was wrong, or the people were wrong, etc.  Even though the investment failed, the knowledge accumulated from the attempt can be exercised in many other projects in the future. While the Patent may turn out to be worthless, the knowledge gained by the team can be used over and over again.  Each person gains a statistical data point in their experience set with which to assess comparable situations in the future.  This is an option and this option has value.  If the team were disbanded without somehow capturing the inventory of new knowledge assets, a very valuable set of options becomes squandered.

Some companies such as Google, try not to kill an idea, they morph the idea into something else.  Free-range knowledge tangibility must achieve those same objectives.  Today we see people building networks on Linkedin – this activity resembles the collection of options on future opportunities.  People post on social media to see and be seen by other knowledge assets as a means of collecting more options for their careers or actions. People would not be doing it if there was no intrinsic value.  The next big leap will happen when knowledge tangibility is married to the financial system through the direct valuation and capitalization of options.  Did I mention there is an equation for that?

The Ingenesist Project specifies a method and system for knowledge inventory that would produce a variance for knowledge assets.  The Percentile Search Engine would pull knowledge assets in combination that diversify variance into a highly predictable surplus assets and deficit assets.   The Innovation Bank would match most worthy surplus to most worthy deficit.  As such, the Innovation Economy itself is now a most worthy option for supporting a feeble financial system.

The ROI model is the mother of all squandered knowledge assets – the very same assets that are really purchased on a project, successful or not, are often willfully abandoned.  All of the parameters of an option valuation model can now be met with social media and The Ingenesist Project integration methods. Free-range knowledge assets can then be directly financed toward business objectives.  The idea of an innovation economy based on knowledge tangibility is well within our grasp technologically, culturally, and systematically.

Social media has an astonishing opportunity to integrate social, creative, and intellectual knowledge assets to trade that single most important part of the puzzle, tangible knowledge assets.  I suspect that this outcome will depend on whether these new tools are treated to an ROI valuation model or on an options valuation model.

* Italic used for clarity

Social Enterprise; Innovation Clusters

Innovation clusters are all the rage in regional economic development circles.  Actually, they are “industrial clusters” because several companies in similar industries collocate in the same geographical area.  The industrial cluster then attracts supporting industry and often causes the migration of educated and motivated people to the prospect of jobs.  I suspect the ‘innovation’ moniker comes from the notion that newer industries locate near centers of venture capital, like planets forming from the dust of the cosmos.

There are, however, a few drawbacks to industry clusters; they are vulnerable to stagnation, silos, and external shocks.  As companies become organized and technologies mature, patents and trade secrets take hold.  As they ‘go public’, SEC regulation effectively places a gag order on everyone and sharing slows while stagnation sets in. Soon after, dozens of nimble companies consolidate into a single giant to achieve economies of scale.  Finally, silos form under the weight of multiple layers of management.  Then, something somewhere happens to shock the cluster; the end of the cold war leveled the So Cal aerospace cluster. 9/11 busted the Seattle Aerospace cluster.  The dot.com bomb stunted Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Route 128.  Hurricanes hit the petroleum cluster, stem cell and genetic engineering legislation stalled biotechnology, and corruption continues to shock financial institutions.   At the end of the cycle, companies divest, people defect and a new planet starts to form someplace else.

While occasional cleansing, in a Schumpeterian sense, is good for industries, the extreme volatility takes a horrendous toll on that invisible turbine of the economic engine – social fabric.  Families, friendships, professional networks are strained or collapse and those who dedicate their life to a career path – the pure innovator themselves – can be left marginalized by obsolescence.

The Calculus of Innovation Economics does not oppose industrial clusters; however, it does favor something called “technology clusters” in a business structure called the “tangential innovation” market.  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.  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 science of Innovation Economics 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.  The Percentile Search Engine can determine what other industries 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.

The knowledge inventory will house the assets rather than office cubicles.  The ‘secret sauce’ of knowledge asset allocation becomes more tangible, safer, flexible, and liquid than any patent could ever be.  Innovation will always be proportional to the rate of change of knowledge that the more diverse assets yields. The Percentile Search Engine will match surplus “secret sauce” to deficits of “secret sauce” much better than multiple layers of management in the past. The Innovation Bank will account for all transactions, obligations, and participation and distribute dividends (rather than hourly wages) to the owners of knowledge assets.  The system will regulate itself through social vetting rather than supporting a cumbersome HR department.

New ideas will get developed in the technology cluster where they would never have been able to meet ROI in the industrial cluster.  The innovation economy induces a multiplier effect on innovation by reducing risk, eliminating barriers to sharing ideas, and lowering the cost of capital.

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 vulnerabilities of industry clusters.

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