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TVG: The Value Game

A New Class of Business Methods

The Value Game (TVG) is a new class of business methods where value is extracted from an asset, not by consuming the asset, rather, by preserving the asset.  The process of preservation and maintenance is the substrate for the creation of social, creative, and intellectual capital in a community.  TVG is a difficult thing to sustain in a legacy economic model, but may be quite efficient and profitable in the modern networked organizational structures enabled by decentralized adjudication, a decentralized ledger. and simple game mechanics.

To illustrate, we cite examples from on-line games collectively referred to a Fantasy Sports.   Fantasy baseball for example is a game played by adapting real life game statistics to create hypothetical game scenarios using some randomization system such as a set of dice.  Over time these games have become more sophisticated, computerized, and have spread to other sports, and now they are on-line.  Today, fantasy sports are estimated to be a 2 billion dollar industry involving over 56 million people.

What if a “fantasy play” could be replicated given a set of validated statistics, in real life? How would the real world game actually turn out?  This is not an uncommon thought. Many HR directors, corporate recruiters, and entrepreneurs dwell on this topic extensively: “How could we identify social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital of people, given a set of market measures, and allocate them into a self-optimizing game to yield production and profit?”.

Building A Value Game

  • The Value Game starts by identifying any asset that a group of people may share.
  • The next step is to find 3 or more diverse communities that have a vested interest in preserving the asset rather than consuming the asset.
  • Each player acting in their own best interest will seek to play their expertise among the others as best as possible.
  • Any threats to the shared asset will be neutralized by the majority of players in a network.
  • The transactions between the diverse communities of people will “mine” social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital into existence generating tokens in the process.
  • Individual transaction records will be memorialized on a blockchain under the control of the individual.
  • Validated transaction records may be transferable to other Value Games, blockchains, or tokens.

Example:  A condominium is an arrangement of several individual owners (of living units) who all have individual talents.  It is in the best interest of each that the building is well maintained, but none are necessarily qualified to manage and maintain a complex structure.  Another community of nearby vendors such as restaurants, accountants, engineers, physicians, and employers have in their best interest that the condominium is maintained because the value of the units impacts the value of commerce – and the productivity of the residents is the primary source of revenue for vendors.  It is also in the best interest of neighboring buildings, the school district, and the city tax pool, civil servants, etc., that the shared asset is maintained to optimize it’s value.  Each player is aware of the impacts in the network based on the analysis of similar networks.

While malicious actors may be a symptom of illness, by actual attack vector is apathy and neglect. Gravity, weather, and deferred maintenance are constantly trying to reduce that condominium structure to lower state of value.  Maintaining an asset creates value equal to the entropy of the system plus asset appreciation due to the creation of social, creative, and intellectual capital.

The Value Game would form a cryptographic token that may be exchanged among the parties in whose best interest it is to preserve an asset rather than to consume the asset.  This is done in many forms today – a restaurant may offer a coupon to residents for a lunch special.  A physician may locate close and rely on referral instead of advertising.  An trades person saving time and travel expenses may pass that on to local community.  When a drug dealer comes to town, they are quickly identified and excised from the community by the community.

Almost any shared asset may be used to form a value game. 

  • A residential or commercial building
  • A Corporation
  • A car, airplane, or other transportation asset
  • Land for farming, mining, or urban forest
  • Water, food, and energy
  • Engineers, Doctors, Civil Servants
  • Educators, mentors, apprentices
  • Laborers, Maintainers, cleaners
  • Planet Earth

New Value Entrepreneur 

The objective of the New Value Entrepreneur will be to organize three or more communities to interact around a shared asset where the interactions among these communities act to preserve the asset rather than consume the asset.  As people interact with each other, they teach, learn, and iterate with each other.  This activity manufactures social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital memorialized by transaction records represented by the community token.

In general, once a value game is started, it will improve itself.   All players will eventually find and play roles in Value Games that correspond most closely to their natural interest and passions and therefore maximize their personal value.

Where Teachers Hold an Equity Position

Teachers are “threatened” with layoffs. In some cases, the profession is openly mocked. Meanwhile, corporations are staring blankly at the knowledge gap in their industries.  The older generation is retiring, moving on, and taking their knowledge with them.  Teacher’s unions are busted and disappearing. Apprenticeships are a thing of the past.  Everyone is asking “where are the jobs – there is plenty of work to do”

Education is obviously a financial instrument.  Think about that for a minute – it is an investment like any other investment. Wall Street has an arbitrage instrument for every market anomaly – why not education?

What would happen if teachers were given an equity position in their students?  Isn’t this what families do to prepare their kids to take over the family business?  Isn’t this what happens in corporations where executives pick proteges?  Isn’t this what happens in politics where knowledge is traded among a closed group?

A school like Harvard University or MIT certainly hold and equity position in their students. What if every community viewed every child as an asset instead of a liability?

It Is Time To Evolve

I saw a Fox News commentary on the Occupy Wall Street movement.  They interviewed a bunch of kids who were taking part in the parade and asked them a simple question: “So, what do you expect to replace Capitalism with?”

Then Fox, in their fair and balanced tradition, portrayed their subjects as the poster children of a failed education system (some children left behind after all) and further testimony to the failure of the Obama Administration. because obviously “These kids don’t know how the real world works”.

The Pundits can’t climb the tree any better.

Unfortunately, nobody else has an answer to that question either – none of the pundits or anchors produced anything except the tired argument that we tried Socialism and it failed so therefore more Capitalism is the only way to fix Capitalism.

It’s a Simple Problem

Market Capitalism only articulates value in the things that people make which can physically sit on a market shelf.  Market Capitalism does not articulate the value of individual people; those things that people make in society.

Of course, it is also a double edge sword since those that really don’t produce anything – like hedge fund managers, pundits, and politicians – will become impoverished. Meanwhile, those who really do produce things – like teachers, engineers, and firemen – will become wealthy.  So watch how the lines are redrawn in this debate.

How the world really works

The Internet and social media have shifted the factors of production away from land, labor, and capital to a higher order of human organization.  This is what we need to be talking about.  People today produce things with knowledge – social, creative, and intellectual knowledge.  These are the factors of production for that 99% of the value that exists on Earth.

A Simple Solution

After many a blue face, I’ll say it again; there is no way to build anything meaningful without an inventory of parts.  Car companies have inventories of parts, Banks have inventories of assets, even biology has an inventory of genomes – but there is no knowledge inventory for our communities.  We don’t know what we do or do not know.  We have absolutely no idea how valuable we are yet we complain that we’re impoverished.  Meanwhile corporation create technology to replace people when people could be just as easily be creating technology to replace corporations.

How on Earth can we determine supply and demand for knowledge assets without an inventory?  How can we expect to create any type of fair and rational economy from a bunch of invisible stuff milling around the parks?  There is no escape from Market Capitalism and no path to Social Capitalism without a Knowledge Inventory, period.

A Stunning Omission

This is a very easy problem to solve and we have all the cards waiting to be stacked in our favor using the tools that are right in front of our collective noses.  If we fail at something so simple, then we deserve to be enslaved.  After all, 100,000 years ago, such people would have been eaten by tigers.  It’s time to Evolve.

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.


Printing Social Currency; Influence vs. Intentions

What is more valuable, their Influence or their intentions?

The heat is on to discover a new currency

Obviously, money is supposed to represent productivity otherwise why would people work for it?  But, everyone is pretty much resigned to the fact that the dollar – and indeed most global currency – is irreversibly divorced from actual productivity.

No Alternative  Algorithm?

The reason why people must trade dollars is that there is no other alternative, and the computer algorithms that control the value of the currency have yet to tell us otherwise.  That’s it, really.  The questions remain, how, why, and when will people stop working for it and what will they work for which can replace it?

This will not be as simple as living in yurts, trading cheese cultures and tweeting about it. Complex infrastructure like a judicial system, transportation, medical care, clean water, energy and food production rely on a financial system that can capitalize and securitize whatever the replacement currency may be.

Influence vs. intention

The latest twist in the new currency movement is the idea that on-line influence can be used to support a currency.  There is no shortage of noble leaders aspiring to “define the standard” in their own image as a service to the lesser masses who seek their respective place in the great new economic void.  PeerIndex and Klout are the two main players that promote a social score based on influence, obstensibly to mimic the credit score upon which all currency depends.

Bad Influence is worse than no influence

Unfortunately, influence is a flawed measure.  Marketers are the target beneficiaries of such influence which is clearly defined as the ability to get other people to take action on a marketing message. My ability to influence others to buy Twinkies does not an economy make. In other words – influence is a consumption currency, not a production currency.

A far better marker is “intention”

For comparison; today, money is conjured into existance by banks based on the signature of a loan candidate who states in writing their intention to produce enough value by their future words and actions to exceed the value of the currency being borrowed (created from thin air) plus interest.  That’s how debt works.  That “intention” is then capitalized, combined with the intentions of others, and securitized into bonds that finance important social services and institutions that support those intensions.

Likewise, a social currency may be similarly conjured into existence – based on a person’s promise to increase human productivity in the future, not however, to increase human consumption in the future.  The social marker for the next currency must be an intension to produce something, not an intension to consume something.  The real danger, of course, is if we define the next currency as just another consumption currency or whether it can truly be married to productivity.

Obviously, it would be helpful to have an inventory of what value an individual is willing and able to produce in the future since this is the best marker of intensions.  It would be even more helpful if there were a public knowledge inventory of what value people in a community are able and willing to produce together.  I’ll stop here because a knowledge inventory for communities does not exist – and curiously, none of the great minds in Social Media are clamoring to define that standard.

Likewise, that is where the great opportunity for the future resides.

The 3 Steps To Social Profits

I have been approached by many brilliant social entrepreneurs in recent weeks.  They each have several things in common. Each has an incredibly creative idea and a strong passion linked to a deep seated observation that social currency has value.  As nebulous as that may sound, it is very real, specific, and clear in the minds of those who I’ll call, The New Entrepreneur.

Nothing Economic can happen until two or more people get together to build something.  Likewise, when two or more people get together to build something, economic things happen. The objective of this post is to demonstrate the 3 underlying actions of a new class of business plans that will become dominant in the next economic paradigm.

Our recipe is simple:

Step one: convert financial currency into social currency

Step two: Create value denominated in social currency

Step three: Convert new social currency back into financial currency – if needed

This simple recipe forms the basis of the business plans for several start-ups including Social Flights and The Social Value Network as well as numerous other projects that we consult to in the US, Greece, Brazil, Australia, China, and Mexico.

So here is how it works

The Old Business Model:  Suppose you buy a truck and you use it to haul stuff for your own personal and business interests. After 5 years, you can sell the truck for about 1/2 what you paid for it.

The New Business Model: Suppose that you buy a truck to hauls stuff for your own personal or business interests.  Suppose that you also let The Boy Scout troop leader borrow it to pick up christmas trees for sale.  Suppose you let the Kiwanis use it to pick up supplies for their annual salmon bake.  Suppose you let the YWCA haul donated furniture to their satellite facility.  Suppose you help your neighbor use it for a home improvement project.  After 5 years, you sell the truck for about 1/2 of what you paid for it.

The difference is that now your community is engaged with your personal interests.  You have converted financial capital into social capital and created new value denominated in social currency.  One notable example includes Neighborgoods, but there will undoubtedly be thousands of variations of this leveraging every conceivable physical asset.

Now, how do you transform this back social capital into financial capital?   Well, that’s what the emerging science of Social Capitalism is all about.  Social Profit is like a fungible option with a face value.  If structured correctly, an option can have a face value equal to the difference between discount and full price. That face value can be traded like money.  When you are engaged in a community, people know who you are, they trust you and they share with you.  People are trading options – the right without the obligation to exercise a financial position in the future.

Options have real value as an asset if you have them or as a liability if you don’t

America’s Uncivil War

I am deeply concerned with the Liberal / Conservative flame wars. Countless Facebook discussions start with a casual reference to one position or the other, then quickly devolve into deeply divisive language. I see it in forums, Chats, Comments on blogs, news articles and YouTube Videos.

It’s getting worse – people can no longer agree to disagree.

I do not believe in big government. On the other hand, I do not believe that corporations should be the sole protectors for safeguarding the social charter. Call me an idealist, but I truly believe that given the right incentives, people can govern themselves to a very large degree.

Weapon of Mass Reconstruction

We have at our disposal the most powerful tool ever created for the potential benefit of humanity. Societies since the beginning of our time would have envied us beyond words – as their villages were pillaged, as the plague spread, or as the hurricane hit shore – if they had a system that could unify and organize people as we can do today with social media.

My fear, is that we will use this tool to divide instead of unify. Traditional media and the advertising industry are in deep trouble as people go online to self-select their news and content.

Trust me, I’m your friend

Unfortunately, traditional media (TV, print, and Radio) are under extraordinary pressure not just to maintain ratings, but to increase ratings to subsidize less successful areas of the enterprise. As a result, the content must become more and more sensational in order to keep people watching commercials. If I earned one dollar for every minute of YOUR time that I could waste, would you trust me? Yet people do.

The Terrorist Within

I am terrorized by the notion that Americans will turn against Americans. The problems facing this nation are so complex, so controversial, and so far reaching into the past and the future that it is unlikely that any intelligent person is more qualified than any other intelligent person to hold the highest office. Barrack, Hillary, Sarah, John, would all have the same pressures pushing back on every move leading them down 95% similar paths. None could be better and none could be worse – we’re officially in this together.

So until the super-star with extra-human discernment rides out of the clouds, People should really really be looking for a third way through this. Pure Communism is a Failure, Pure Socialism is a failure, and we are quickly learning that Pure Capitalism also runs out of track.

America’s Uncivil War

The Next Great American Civil War will be a battle against ourselves – all of the artifacts of past generations that pull at our subconsciousness; the reactionary fight or flight instinct of our ancestors. We are being called to something new. Let’s get on with business and find out where this road leads – together.

Of Anxiety and Optimism

Keep it Simple

I’ll keep this simple because it is simple.  Most people know exactly what I am talking about.  Most people feel that a huge change is underway.  Most people feel deep in their hearts that whatever we are doing today will be different tomorrow.  Most people feel a strange combination of anxiety and optimism.

It’s Time to Change

No, it’s not just a political change or an economic change or even a social change.  All of these, in their simplicity, would not do justice to the magnitude of what is really about to happen.  The forces now in play will resolve to the equivalent difference between the hunter gatherer civilization, and the Renaissance.   The next economic paradigm will be as different as the abacus is from the computer itself.  Yet, the process by which this is happening is so simple, that the mind is repelled.

Factors of Production

In the Industrial revolution, a machine would make widgets.  It did not matter whether you or I ran the machine, the same widget would emerge.

Today, the machine is a computer.  Your interaction with the computer is entirely different than my interaction with the computer.  In fact, you could swap out the computers and our individual output would remain unchanged.

A HUGE difference

Factors of production are no longer the land, labor, and financial capital of Classical Economic theory.  The factors of production are social, creative, and intellectual capital of  people and their communities.

Classical economic theory is breaking down.  There is a huge change on the horizon. The new economic paradigm is in the process of siphoning off the old economic paradigm.  We’re approaching mid-span; both tanks are half empty or half full, depending on how you look at it.

Confidence is a mixture of anxiety and optimism

I can say with great confidence that anxiety and optimism are the correct emotions to be experiencing today.  So go ahead and tell the children in your life that everything will be OK.

Outsourcing Fail

Gambling with Jobs

The US Senate recently blocked a measure designed to reduce the outsourcing of US jobs that many corporations pursue in the relentless drive to reduce costs.

Modern Globalization is a system

Globalization must be analyzed like a system. Data, Information, knowledge, Innovation, and wisdom are profoundly related in a system. If you take away one of the components, the others become worthless.  If you destroy one component, the entire structure could fail.

Everyone knows that data, information, knowledge, innovation, and wisdom are related.  If I corrupt the data, then the associated information, knowledge, innovation, and wisdom are also corrupted.  Likewise, if I eliminate any of these elements, the system fails.

Focus on Core competency – what core?

The standard argument for outsourcing is that knowledge workers are better allocated in innovation jobs so “we can better focus on our core – and heck, we can all save a little dough in the process”.  But when we outsource our knowledge economy, the innovation economy is choked off.    The knowledge economy is the source of the Innovation Economy.  The Knowledge economy is also the recipient of the information economy which transforms data and information into useful tools, ideas, and products.

Rate Of Change is Innovation

The rate of change of the innovation economy is directly proportional to the INCREASE not the OUTSOURCING of the knowledge economy.  This is the calculus of outsourcing.  If, on the other hand, it is in you best interest to keep a population poor, weak, and unable to organize into powerful collectives, then yes, outsourcing is an effective method.

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).

Music by Phil Felicia

Social Vetting Makes Knowledge Tangible

The term “Vetting” comes from the sport of horse racing where the animal is “vetted” by a veterinarian to determine if the animal is in suitable condition to race.  Today, there are many vetting mechanisms acting in society and communities.  Think of it as the referee that keeps the game fair.  This is important because if the game is not fair, people will stop playing.

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

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

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

9/11 and the Convergence Economy

Today, I have been reading a lot of posts related to 9/11 and the terrible events of that day.  The conversation lives.  It is propagated in every direction and expressed in so many different ways once unimaginable from editorialized news.

My memory of 9/11 was quite personal; I was the customer engineering account manager at Boeing – my customer was United Airlines.  I was fortunate to have worked with many UAL Pilots and Flight Attendants and their Unions; UAL lost 16 employees that day – I lost 16 friends.

I remember the anxiety in the aircraft business as the unspeakable was spoken, the impossible became possible, and the unreal became real.   My own identity was defined by commercial air travel and the safety and comfort of people and families.  The relationship between Boeing and UAL has always been profound; but the strain caused inside the industry was foreboding.

The fact that data could shift so rapidly called everything into question.   Relationships diverged, people no longer knew how to process the information that was available.  This gargantuan ‘outlier’ stained every single probability chart in existence – like a crater in a barren landscape.  The only clarity could be found in shorter time segments, before 9/11, after 9/11… but not 9/11.

“Google News” was one of the first information aggregation devices and was developed in response to one news junky’s need to know, as soon as possible, what is happening in the world of such micro-timing. As the subsequent political and economic swings overshot every rational stabilizing mechanism such as ‘checks and balances’, or ‘market arbitrage’ forces, the rest of us sought quicker and better ways to stay in touch with the events of the world.  This meant, quicker ways to stay in touch with each other.

Today, as 9 years of  “new time”  has been added to the risk equations, we can see the effects of radical cultural shifts; social priorities are gaining momentum over Wall Street priorities. While governments still wrestle with the old world order, a new one is forming in it’s place.  This new world has the power to perform many of the functions of corporations and government.  Can twitter catch terrorists?  Can Facebook entries trigger community awareness?  Can instant messaging deliver instant response?  How many lives are saved by Social Media?  I am not certain, but it is an important question to ask that age old question: Will good triumph over evil? or in economic terms; Is humanity self-correcting?

The convergence continues.  The next paradigm of economic development will continue on the micro-time scale as FB communities hit neighborhoods, Linkedin communities hit local communities of practice, and Twitter news armies grow.  Cooperation Capitalism will replace competitive Capitalism and social vetting will replace institutional surveillance.  Finally, a productivity backed currency will replace debt backed currency. Bring it on.

An IPO For Humanity

The term IPO conjures images of empire-making where a hot young company with a great product offers pieces of its future-self for sale to the public as a means of raising money without incurring debt.  The money is then used to create the next titan whose new jolt of growth is shared with all who participated.

Today, every annual report to shareholders touts the great team of people whose social, creative, and intellectual capital make it all happen, the worthy and stoic investors whose vision drives sound decisions, and the legions of happy customers who make it all worthwhile.

Essentially, an IPO is people buying into the productivity of other people.

Yet, the IPO is a strict and complex legal and regulatory maneuver that establishes property rights on these small pieces of future productivity – represented by “stock” in the company.

There are underwriters (usually a bank), battalions of lawyers, the securities and exchanges commission (SEC), brokers, insurers, re-insurers, institutional investors, private investors, and retail investors.  There is a full infrastructure supporting the facts of incorporation, disclosure, accounting, and proper management of internal “inside” information.  And, of course, there is a media /PR campaign.  All are integrated to keep the game fair, yet viable.

In the Age of Social Media

I could be wrong but it seems that such vast infrastructure appears a bit awkward if the end result is simply for people to buy into the productivity of other people.  This happens everyday in Social Media.  At some point, we really need to ask; why can’t an individual or a group of individuals raise money without incurring debt like corporations can?

In Social Media, people own and deploy their relationships,  communities, motivation, their knowledge, creativity, intellect, mentorship, leadership, teamwork, their network, and even their ability to form corporations – people own their time.  Social currency is backed by the scarcity of time and the availability of surplus knowledge.

All of the structural components of the financial system are appearing in an analogous form in social media; social vetting, social gaming, aggregation, influence, knowledge inventories, communities of knowledge assets, local social, global social, tag search, deep search, semantic search, stream of consciousness search, geolocation, mobile computing, multi-media, and many more innovations are being created and deployed everyday which literally serve the functions of banks, lawyers and legislation in an invisible economy.

The Ingenesist Project tries to string this all together with just enough specificity so that an alternate financial system will jump start itself and become both visible and available to everyone.

We’ll hold an IPO for Humanity

All of the infrastructure and the potential for people to produce things would remain intact regardless of what happens to the currency.  Think about what would happen if all the dollar based money system evaporated. The only safe haven for the storage and exchange of value will be in people and their communities.

The only thing missing is a system that can articulate social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital instead of land labor and financial capital.  This system can be built today.

Google CEO Warns of Information Armageddon

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Google CEO Eric Schmidt warns of the future consequences of social media and networks, and the vast amount of personal data that users put out there on the Web.

The article goes on to describe how Google is looking for what is next – that is, a world where the Google Icon no longer dominates the center of our lives.  He warns future societies about creating a “future” by documenting the past.  A future president, CEO, or just a job hunter can be haunted forever by the words and images that are becoming indelible in social media today.  Mr. Schmidt insists that information is social currency.

Actually, I do not believe this to be true.  I believe that is more likely than not a severe disruption is on the horizon which will deeply impact social media, Google, and Facebook, etc.  This disruption will alter the course of the future that Google predicts.

All it would take is for humans to step up one more rung on the evolution ladder.

Think of it like this:  a dollar is used to store and exchange value yet it is completely anonymous – you don’t know very much about it’s past or future – you do not need to know much about the exchange device in order to carry out the transaction.

Google is an information company, not a knowledge company. The next economic paradigm will be based on the creation, storage , and exchange of knowledge – not necessarily information.  Knowledge exists only between the ears and once it is made tangible, I will not need to know where in the past that knowledge was excecuted – college keg parties included.

Neither Google or Facebook have indicated that they realize how value can be created, stored, and exchanged while maintaining anonymity if the public knowledge inventory were properly coded. Likewise, billions of people who use Social Media are dismally unaware that nobody else needs to posess any of their personal information to execute a knowledge transaction – seriously, noone.  In fact, not only is relative anonymity a possibility, it is an imperative to market efficiency in Social Capitalism.

The “next Google” will, in fact, filter out irrelevant “information” as a means of creating time. Time is the real currency. For more on this please see

Google needs to figure out how to get the most worthy knowledge surplus connected to the most worthy knowledge deficit in the shortest amount of time.  Information brokering alone can’t do this, so it’s Armageddon for whom?


Please Vote for The Ingenesist Project to present at SXSW 2011

The Ingenesist Project specifies an Innovation Economy built on a platform of social media as the next economic paradigm.  60 minute solo presentation in the advanced technical track.  Your help is deeply appreciated. All comments welcome.  Material based on video series here

Bizarro Capitalism

In the 1960’s Superman comics, Bizarro World was a place where everything was the opposite as Normal World.  On the planet Htrae (Earth spelled backwards) lives Bizarro Jimmy Olsen, a Bizarro Lois Lane, Bizarro Superman, etc.  Of course, Normal World is the standard bearer for all that is great and good to the reader.

Normal Capitalism:

In the study of Normal Economics, currency always represent productivity – otherwise nobody would “work” for it.   Productivity is defined as: all the stuff we can make within a certain period of time. We measure it with expressions like “dollars per hour”, “miles per hour”, “5% compounded annually”, board-feet per minute, etc.

Abnormal Capitalism:

Suppose we were to describe a Bizarro currency as:  All the Time that can be produced within a certain amount of stuff.

After all, every living person is allocated a certain amount of time on Bizarro World.  Time is a scarce resource whose value is determined by supply and demand.  Time is not easily forged, debased, or counterfeited.  It makes for a perfect Bizarro currency.  Of Course the Bizarro Currency would be called the Rallod (Dollar spelled backwards).

Bizarro Capitalism:

In Normal Economics, land, labor, and financial capital are the factors of production called “Tangibles” while social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital are called “Intangibles”.  By contrast, in Bizarro Economy, social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital are Tangibles while land, labor, and financial capital are the Intangible factors of production.

Of course in Bizarro World, it takes rallods to make rallods.  So if you want to get rich, you need to invest your time in one of two things: Saving time for other people, or reducing the amount of stuff they need to consume on their time.

Likewise, in a Normal Banking, an entrepreneur assumes that they have the Knowledge to execute a business plan and they borrow the money. In Bizarro Bank, the Entrepreneur assumes that they have the money to execute a business plan and they borrow the knowledge.

In Normal World, money is backed by debt.  In Bizarro World, money is backed by innovation.

What if we got it backwards?

Probably the most immediate concern is whether the Rallod can hedge the Dollar, or will the two planets collide?

Material based on video series here

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.

Independence Is A State of Mind

Independence is a state of mind. Americans have always chosen independence – and they will continue to do so. It is often convenient to let ourselves trust elected leaders and the esteemed business titans to do what is in our best interest. Don’t be fooled, this is “trust”, not dependence.

It is likewise unwise to underestimate the independence movement – independence from corrupt currency, independence from fossil fuel, independence from corporate greed, independence from divisive politics, independence from endless war. Just when everyone thinks that Americans are up against the ropes, they come up with an idea so radical, so creative, and so astonishingly consciousness-altering, the rest of the world just shakes their heads in collective disbelief.

That is where we are today. Something extraordinary is about to happen in the way Americans organize themselves. Nothing is sacred, no one is immune. The next economic paradigm will alter the course of civilization.

All stages of human development were derived from the prior stage of human development by integrating the tools of that prior stage. For example, the agrarians integrated the tools of the hunter-gather such as using the chopping rock to till a field for planting – and so forth. Likewise, the industrial revolution integrated the tools of the scientific revolution; mathematics, chemistry, and engineering. Earlier this century, the computer age integrated the tools of the industrial revolution, etc.

The next economic paradigm will be derived from the Knowledge economy by integrating the tools of the knowledge economy; these are The Internet, Social Media, mobile communications technology, etc…

Americans will chose Independence every time.

Social Capital Trolls

A Troll is a member of a race of fearsome creatures from Norse mythology. Troll mythology is, in fact fairly complex but seems to resolve to common images of Neanderthal type people living under bridges who extort money from passersby, steal babies, and fear God.

In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion [Wikipedia].

In the Intellectual Property world, a troll is an individual or business that holds patent or copyrights with no intention of developing the IP and every intention to enforce against infringement by those who do develop ideas.

Naturally, we seek to anticipate the future usage of the term Troll in a context of Social Capitalism. We can say that someone who was in a position to constrain Social Capitalism has the potential to engage in troll behavior.

The troll does benefit from the eventual success of traveler passing through the constraint; however, they create an unnecessary or non productive friction in a market. This can kill many business plans as troll fees and uncertainties need to be factored into the risks of doing business.

I am reminded of a legal system that facilitates litigation over education, negotiation, and cooperation. Social media has an inherent self-policing aspect that may threaten “regulators” in law and government who seek to hold exclusive vetting privilege over a social market.

I am reminded of advertisers who put lipstick on the pig by pretending to play up the whuffie, trust agent or engagement vibe, but instead lay Astroturf and buy up social media outlets. Spam is spam is spam.

I am reminded of Internet service providers that purposely slow down a connection and charge for speed that costs them less to keep open than to slow down. I am reminded of the demise of unlimited data packages for mobile Internet – now that the user is an addict, pull back the dosing in exchange for compliance.

In short, a social capital troll is any person or organization that seeks to CHANGE the online behavior of an individual and their community rather than EMPOWER the individual and their community to do what they would have done in the absence of the troll.

Fell free to add more for future posts on this subject……..

Will Social Capitalism Replace Market Capitalism? (Parts 1&2)

This video describes a set of predictions for 2020 based on an entirely new form of capitalism whose velocity and voracity will take the world completely by surprise. Nothing is sacred and nobody is immune, not Facebook, not Google, not Wall Street, not even Governance itself….

Part 1

Part 2:

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.

Cluster Funk

I recently attended another one of those economic development summits where a bunch of people with long titles gets a chance to speak on a panel touting the mysterious benefits of a mysterious innovation clusters that create mysterious wealth that can only be realized if their mysterious department is funded.

Nearly every speaker concluded with the following paraphrase: “if only government would fund this or that, everything will be fine”, or, “if only corporations would fund this or that, then we’ll all be better off”

Uhmmm…sorry to break the news, it ain’t gunna happen.

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 new ideas will somehow result from similarity of ideals and purpose.

Group Think Tanks

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 while jobs are mechanized or outsourced.

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 bomb stunted Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Route 128. Hurricanes and environmental disasters 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.

Remember “scrubbing bubbles”?

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 term “Innovation Clusters” makes for a good soundbite for politicians because it fits on the “Jobs R Us” banner they can stand in front of (thumbs up) for the next election cycle.   The term keeps funds flowing to organizations to publish studies that conclude that more studies are needed. Maybe these summits ought to be renamed to Cluster Funks because that is largely what they actually promote.

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

Let’s Argue About the Definition of Productivity Instead

Many arguments rage because of poor definitions to terms. If people cannot agree on a definition, they will not agree on much else. A definition should be definitive – here I will tackle 5 of the most elusive definitions that are at the center of much, if not all, global controversy: Data, Information, knowledge, innovation, wisdom

To state the obvious

It should be obvious that data, information, knowledge, innovation and wisdom are related. The test is simple: if you corrupt one of them, all the others become corrupted. The question becomes; how are they related?

Consider the following definitions

Allow me to provide the following 4 relationships:

1. Information is derived from the productivity of data

2. Knowledge is derived from the productivity of information

3. Innovation is derived from the productivity of knowledge

4. Wisdom is derived from the productivity of innovation

These relationships are very useful.

1. They include everyone, they exclude no one.

2. They are personal enough to reflect individual value system yet discrete enough to not contradicting the value system of another.

The question now resides in how we define productivity, that is a much simpler, more efficient, and far wiser problem to be arguing about. Besides, a singles solution solves 4 problems.

Financial Currency vs. Social Currency

The difference between the current economic paradigm and the next will balance on the difference between financial currency and social currency. Let me explain:

The flawed calculation

Obviously, the Gulf Oil Spill was a result of a flawed calculation. As a result, the rig was not equipped with an “acoustic trigger” in the event of an explosion – should the dying surface workers fail to hit the manual cut-off – this device would automatically shut the well.   The device costs 500,000 dollars.

The estimated damage at 1 month of constant spilling was estimated at 14 Billion dollars with no solution in sight. The residual social cost in unemployment, health and destruction of social fabric could easily double that score. The long-term cost to industries and natural ecosystems could double that number again.

Score: 500,000 dollars vs. 50 Billion dollars; The financial currency to social currency ratio = 1: 100,000

Ted Nugent, a fervent and vocal Republican, Tea Party spokesperson, 2nd amendment activist, hunting enthusiast, and hard rock guitarist accuses this nation of losing it’s culture of accountability. His quote on CNN this weekend “I never had a fire, but I have a fire extinguisher in every room of my house. The spill was a criminal act of negligence”. In this case, I would have to agree with ‘The Nuge’.

Accountability is a calculation

When a company performs a cost benefit analysis, they look at the remediation cost of peril and the cost of mitigating peril and the probability that the peril will occur. The problem arises from the valuation of remediation cost; quoted in financial dollars “subject to litigation” when it should be actually be quoted in social currency. Litigation risk is not a proxy for social currency.

In the example of the Gulf Oil Spill, this equation was off by a factor of 1:100,000. Every other possible failure calculation that could have occurred was likewise flawed by the same ratio. Therefore, there is 100% probability that none of the perils were properly mitigated, hence, accountability was zero. I am sure the 11 workers who perished would have agreed.

Scraping the Deep Web

So what would accountability look like? We see that Social Media, in general, provides a remarkable system to punish low integrity and reward high integrity. Could this medium of exchange in social currency provide an accountability standard to hedge financial currency?

If Facebook can map the human consumption genome, technologists certainly have the data scraping ability to develop a true value calculator that can compare financial value to social value for any venture, prior to the venture being executed. In fact, we should be able to predict what ventures are more likely to occur given the relative values of social and financial currencies. The fear, of course, is that this will hurt business.

True leverage calculator

A true value calculator would, in fact, be better for business because it improves business intelligence shifting opportunities to meet true market demand. A true value calculator would not eliminate markets, it would liberate the true demand of a market. And if that is not enough, consider the 100,000:1 market leverage that the trade in social currencies could have over financial currencies.

Now that’s a business to consider!

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?

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