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Time to Kill Social Media

Kill Social MediaSocial Media is dying and it needs to be put out of its misery ASAP.  I have been in the social media space for many years and while much has happened, much has been lost.

There was a dream we all had in the earlier days that ‘user-generated content’ would evolve to ‘user-generated productivity’ and social priorities would change. The funny thing about economics is that nothing economic can happen until two or more people physically get together in time and space and make something valuable for each other.

I have seen this over and over in my own businesses. The Ingenesist Project (TIP) has global reach, high the engagement of important people, and a fair amount of notoriety – but after nearly 10 years, 500 blog posts, 60 videos and dozens of conference appearances, TIP has not generated a single penny of revenue.  But I’ve met hundreds of wonderful people many who have become close friends.

On the other hand, Coengineers is only a few years on and gets twice as many website views, we’ve toppled shady contractors, and publish an extensive catalog of engineering means and methods, and saved many shared asset communities from financial peril. But it is not until I physically walk into society and ask people face to face and ask “How can we help you?” that Coengineers generates revenue…. and, then we do generate revenue.  And I’ve met hundreds of people many of whom have become close friends.

Linkedin is worthless. Facebook is criminal. Google is downright creepy.

Again, nothing economic happens until two or more people get together in physical space and time to make something useful for each other. Yes, I know that software can be produced oceans apart, but what is that software about? It is always about something that happens in the physical space. It MUST eventually touch the ground somewhere in order to have an economic outcome to convert back downstream.  Big Data wants those relationships, they want them badly, they think that they should own them.  That is where the value is and Big Data wants to scale it.

ROI Rage

Nobody has ever been able to produce a reliable ROI on social media. It’s easy to get people to talk about something, but it is difficult to get people to buy something. Enter Big Data. According to Josh Sinell, VP at Merkle, “It’s [now] about determining what data we need to make something measurable and valuable happen, and then using that data to craft a strong offer, and delivering that offer when and where that customer is most ready to receive and act on it”.

The implications of this statement are horrific (“Shock and Awe” comes to mind). But we can also look at it as a business opportunity – marketers are willing to pay dearly for clean data from anyone who can harness it. So what if we the people could harness our own data and place a big yellow tollbooth on the Big Data Superhighway?

Turning out the lights 

Curiosumé creates a public key inventory of all the things that people need. Then you create your decentralized private key representing your relationships, which you control. By looking at either key, some global data may be attainable; mostly the the stuff that serves society in general. However, your personal data is encrypted until you – and only you – combine your private key with the public key, then the secrets within are revealed.   This would effectively shut the lights out on Big Data. If they want to see your data, they will need to pay you directly for it.

The famous prophet Mitt Romney once proclaimed, “Corporations are people, my friend” But little do many of us realize that people are corporations too. So go ahead, kill Social Media.  Society may simply reorganize into something else, the sooner the better in my opinion.

 

 

Where Competition Has Met It’s Match

(update; as of November 2012, The Monitor Group headed by Michael E. Porter, the subject of this article, declared bankruptcy ending an era of C-Suite omnipotence strategy thinking.  This article compares competitive strategy to collaborative strategy)

***

The B-School staple “Porter’s 5 Forces” has been the mainstay of corporate competitive analysis since it’s creation in 1979 by World regarded Harvard Business School Professor, Michael E. Porter. Porter developed a model of industry analysis in his seminal book,  Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors

In short, a competitive company’s position in a market is threatened by five main forces acting on the corporate asset:

  • new competition,
  • substitute products or services,
  • bargaining power of customers,
  • bargaining power of suppliers,
  • intensity of competitive rivalries.

Any changes in these 5 forces would be cause for the company to re-evaluate their place in the market … thus leading to healthy consulting practices for strategists the world over.

The Rate of Change

In the 1990’s critics began to argue that Porter’s 5 Forces thesis assumes that the forces are static and non-related.  At the time, the world was becoming more dynamic and more interrelated. For example:

  • Buyers, competitors, and suppliers can interact, and even collude.
  • Value cannot be created in the long run by constantly introducing barriers to entry
  • Participants in a market have the ability to plan and respond to competitive behavior.

As a result, they added another Force called “complementors” while introducing rudimentary game theory to explain the role of strategic alliances to the analysis.

Constant Change

Now in the year 2012, we routinely assume that all players can instantaneously access the same real-time dynamic market information from the cloud.  We readily accept that all players will collaborate massively with whomever they want from anywhere in the World.  As a result, we must assume that all five forces will change constantly and rapidly in real time.

Now imagine how 1990’s game theory would manage conditions where the company AND their competitors must continuously re-evaluate their position in a market under the circumstances of continuous change.  In effect, nobody has the ability to compete with each other, they are competing with the game, therefore, they are cooperating to keep the game in play.

Is Collaboration Underrated?

If any player tries to introduce a barrier to entry, THEY risk get knocked out while the game continues without them. In fact, value is created by applications that remove barriers … and brokers are punished. All of these factors cause the game to self energize and improve as players preserve the asset rather than consume it.

The Value Game

It should not be surprising therefore that Porter’s 5 forces now resemble what we call the Value Game that we have described here (and here, and here).  In the ultimate manifestation, however, The Value Game will play automatically through multiagent algorithmic game applications where tangible and intangible assets would be accounted equally in a Value Game. Individual would own, manage, and deploy their secret sauce of knowledge assets through their personal API that interfaces with the game that is most relevant to their highest abilities.

Where competition has met it’s match

Remember that little regarded fact of Capitalism: Markets are efficient where there is perfect information.  This means that if everyone involved in a transaction has the exact same information as everyone else, the true supply can meet the true demand.  Nobody ever said that this must be accomplished through competition especially if collaboration can do it better.

Ideas Are The New Currency

‘Tis the season for “The Year In Pictures” – the annual new year pictorial accounting of the events of the outgoing year.  Any rational collection for 2011 would include three events; Arab Spring, The Earthquake / Tsunami in Japan, and Occupy Wall Street. These three events eclipsed the Royal Wedding, Steve Jobs, the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the space shuttle retirement and even the end of the war in Iraq.

These three events tell a very interesting story of who we are and where we are going as a civilization.  

Classical economists such as David Ricardo and Adam Smith brought us the idea that a merchant class allocates land, labor, and capital in various combinations as “the factors of production” that match supply and demand for all that societies need via the invisible hand of market capitalism.

Yet, in a single hour, land, labor, and billions of units of Capital were wiped off the surface of the Earth by in Japan.   While we see the images of total destruction, there are hundreds of square miles that were untouched and where all seems quite normal – except for that invisible hand of radioactive cesium.  Land, labor, and capital failed as a an economic cornerstone for all those who had once called this land home.

In the Middle East, with few jobs and even fewer opportunities for youth, the quaint notion of “land and labor allocations” crumbled under the forces of people with mobile access to dynamic data, free information, community knowledge, innovation, and wisdom. Governments, with no relative shortage of money, were unable to challenge the opposing factors.  Again, the idea of land, labor, and capital as the economic cornerstone had failed.

Quite appropriately, Occupy Wall Street was executed on borrowed land, with borrowed labor, and borrowed capital.   The operation was peaceful so nobody died. The stock market did not even crash.  Politicians went largely unscathed and the attorneys stayed in their collective offices. Nothing physical was actually created, and therefore, nothing physical was actually destroyed.  However, a great deal was produced.

All three of these events had something in common – they all produced something very tangible.  They all produced an idea in the minds of others.

As we review the year we review it is increasingly evident that land, labor, and capital are inadequate to articulate what people actually produce.  It will be through these shortcomings of classical economics that a new economy will form.  The degree to which society actually produces the things that society actually needs, this new economy should not look much different.  The degree to which society does not actually need the things that capitalism produces, great new ideas will emerge.

What was once the land of opportunity can now become a planet of opportunity.

Photo Credit: David Shankbone via Mashable 

Do We Really Need To Fail?

Yesterday, I heard a report on NPR about the resource management department in North West Washington, in response to diminished funding – is certifying private boats for emergency duty in clean up, security, and rescue.  This is logical because nobody knows and understands the waters of Northern Puget Sound and The Strait of Juan De Fuca than the local tribes and others who ply those waters daily.

Today, I heard another report on NPR about how the City of Houston has gained far more from the demise of Enron than their existence.  Enron would recruit the top intellect in the country, move them to Houston and reward them for creativity and hard work.  The collapse of Enron released 4000 hugely talented people to the Houston Economy where many have started new businesses with remarkable success.

Vicious Circle or Virtuous circle:

I will not pass judgment beyond what these reports stated, except that there is something very valid about the “Knowledge Inventory” that exists in a community and their specific location.  The Jane Jacobs externality proposes that endowment of creative and educated people drives economic growth in a community by attracting investment and development, which attracts more smart people, etc.

Vicious Galaxies or Virtuous Galaxies

As the NPR reports suggest, the type of investment and development is dependent on the quality and quantity of knowledge assets that exist in a particular location.  Now, let’s extrapolate that to include all disciplines and talents of knowledge that exist in all communities and we encounter a stark reality that there is no knowledge inventory from which to build – except in the response to a failure such as the corrosion of government spending or in the wake of corruption and associated corporate collapse.

Yes, it is often said that adversity brings out the best in people, but is that really necessary?  Do we really need for the whole rig to collapse before we emerge from the ashes? 

We need to build the knowledge inventory today.  People need to know what people know – that is where the truth lives.   We need to know what can be built from the parts that we have in the bin.  We don’t want to try to build something from the wrong parts any more than we want to misallocate the right parts to build the wrong things.  In any industry in the world, none of these situations would pass the stink test, yet this is the state of our communities today.  We don’t even know that we don’t know what we know.  Seriously, is anyone else wondering about these things?

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.

People Are Corporations Too

Wow what a week. I though that I heard it all until Mitt Romney said “Corporations Are people”. Actually, I admire Mr. Romney but I do struggle with this interpretation for his sake and those who he represents – and possibly an opportunity lost to rise above the noise.

In a way, Mitt provides us with a looking glass into the fundamental differences between the rich and the poor. The rich see themselves as the proxy for the prosperity of the poor. Meanwhile, the poor see themselves as the proxy for the prosperity of the rich. Neither side admits that they need each other, but I won’t pretend that I can solve this argument any time soon.  However, allow me to suggest that the winner of the debate will be the one that can evolve above the paradox.

The following video discusses how many components of a corporation – and government – are being duplicated in Social Media. The beauty of is that this great social innovation is available to anyone including the rich, the poor, the corporations, and the government. Oh, but wait – if the UK shuts down social media, they will effectively shut themselves out of the paradox, not evolve from it…Ooops. Be careful, Mitt.

So here is a video I made last year which, in a way, validates much of what we see playing out before us in politics, business, and social media.

Collaborative Consumption Is Here To Stay

There is a persistent myth that a “financial deficit” is looming to destroy all that fall in it’s wrath.  The only deficit is the inability for Money – as we know it – to articulate the value that is created in and by communities.

Social Flights is a new venture that combines cutting edge social technology with the universal truth that collaborative consumption of even the most complex system increases the efficiency of that system.

Social Value as a financial instrument

Social Flights attempts to demonstrate the inevitable – social value can and will be convertible to financial value. Social value can and will enter the balance sheet.  Social Value will not only impact the bottom line – it will become the bottom line.

The Invisible Hand of Social Capitalism

Social media is emerging as a dominant force behind economics, global politics, innovation, and community organization. Meanwhile; it is the art and science of finance that has failed to keep pace with technology.  Social Flights introduces a new class of business methods that can close this gap.

Social Flights sorts people and airplanes with data, not financial infrastructure.  The Value Game provides incentives for communities to organize themselves around travel and transportation assets.  So instead of forest-to-dump consumerism, a shared asset is preserved by a community for the greatest service life possible.  Social Flights demonstrates this with an airplane; however, a hotel, car, tour package, or a trade show/convention are quickly pulled into their own value game cycle given the airplane game playing out in proximity to them.  In fact all “assets” – social, intellectual, creative, or financial – can be pulled into their own value games in response to those acting around them.

Travel: An Ideal Benchmark Industry

We are starting with travel. Specifically, air transportation because of it’s complexity, high profile, and significance to most people and industries. Furthermore, corporate jets are beautiful, awe inspiring, controversial, and conjure the image of power and grace.  Most importantly, travel is pivotal enterprise and the best system for the diverse high-value transfer of new ideas to occur.

Nothing economic can happen until people get together to build something

The value of most commercial activity may ultimately become dependent on the quantity and quality of the data emerging from the millions of Value Games playing out in communities across the globe. Any and all shared assets – from public infrastructure to money itself – can be shared collaboratively in hugely profitable Value games.

New to the Public Domain

Nothing like this has ever been put together before so there is certainly much to learn.  Many people will fail to recognize where we are going with this. However, the rewards will be high and the implications will be vast if we are successful. There will be an extraordinary amount of knowledge to be share to the public domain.

Collaborative consumption is here to stay because it represents a higher value economy than forest-to-dump consumerism.  The financial deficit is simply the inadequacy of Money to articulate Social Value – not the inadequacy of people to be happy, creative, and productive in their communities.


The Value Game Cracks the Monetization Paradox

The Value Game is becoming increasingly generalized as more entrepreneurs seek to learn how to apply it to new economic realities.  The first company to launch is Social Flights.  Quickly funded, in full operation, booking jets and signing contracts, the Social Flights success trajectory has been truly remarkable.

The Ingenesist Project is deploying several more applications of The Value Game.  Our next venture is to develop Reputation Management for High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI).  Here’s how it goes.

The Social Influence Game:

Player 1: At some point, the government is going to stop supporting many very important social programs such as schools, health care, child care, retirement benefits, and possibly even close the charitable tax deduction.  In order to survive, social causes will need to come up with new forms of support or fund themselves with a new form of currency.

Player 2: Many politically and financially influential people in communities are finding that their “Google Results” often tell a story that is less than flattering.  Some have old lawsuits, unpopular business associates, or just too much personal information that presents a skewed picture of how they actually feel toward their community.  It is risky, difficult, and expensive to change Search engine results and it is nearly impossible to “control” what other people say.

Player 3: Legions of Social Media Gurus have long learned to aggregate and influence markets using social media platforms.  They have learned to match knowledge surpluses to knowledge deficits as a means of building their own online reputation and influence.  Many Social Media Gurus have achieved a strong Social Media Presence, which supports book tours, lecture series, personal brand image, or corporate clients and sponsorships. They constantly seek new content.

Converting Political Currency to Social Currency

The Social Influence Game will match HNWI with Social Causes where the HNWI can exert their political and Corporate currency in exchange for Social Currency.  Many HNWI have a powerful lifelong network of other influential people from whom they can find advice, mentorship, assistance, or discover goods, services, or physical inventory that may become useful and available to a struggling social enterprise.

Social Media Gurus who make these connections will blog, comment, and promote their ability to match power surplus to power deficit.  Internet Search results will redraw the Social Graph.

Holiday Shopping For the New Millennium

In practice, HNWI can “Go Shopping” for social causes.  When they find one that suits their talents and passions, they will be able to see what that organization needs; beds, food, heating oil, legal advice, CEO mentor, someone to lean on the land lord or even exert a position with the local government, etc.  The HNWI then will pull out their lifelong Rolodex of powerful persons and exert their influence in favor of the social cause through the interpretation of the Social Media Guru.

Winning The Game:

After a short while, Google will start pushing the old search results of the HNWI farther and farther down the page as the tweets, comments, and blog posts accumulate.   The Social Media Guru will find gold in their own backyards instead of Corporate Astroturf.  Social Causes will achieve their mission while managing new resources and earning important new friends.

Perhaps most importantly, the HNWI community will collaborate in order to sustain their Social Currency in the community.  They will begin to bias their personal and professional actions in favor of social priorities over Wall Street priorities.

In Short, everyone acting in their own best interests benefits the interests of everyone.  This is Social Capitalism.  If it works well enough, maybe we can finally put those pesky social causes out of business.

Who Needs Anti-Social Travel?

I recently returned from a trip from Seattle to Nashville. I am involved in launching a new airline applying The Social Value Game to a legacy industry.  The objective of this venture is to match a fleet of 15,000 private jets to social media networks for efficient door-to-door travel. The start-up is largely founded on the premise that a dismal travel experience is a dismal social experience.

Here is how my trip from Seattle to Nashville went using Commercial Airlines:

11:00 I get in my car and leave home for a 1:00 Boarding
11:45 Drive 25 miles through heavy traffic and bad weather, arrive at self-park car lot near Airport.  I get into a cold shuttle bus.
12:00 Arrive at Airport Security and strip down to last layers of clothing
12:15 leave airport security after long line after harassment over 3 oz of toothpaste remaining in a 6 oz tube and a telephoto lens that obviously resembled a printer cartridge.
12:30 Arrive at gate. Airline took my baggage away because it did not fit in the “Impossible box” and charged $25.00 baggage fee. (95% of all carry on bags would never fit in the “Impossible Box” so why me?)
1:00 Flight was full.  Poked, bumped, cramped, body complies to shape of existing space
1:30 departure was late. Connection in Salt Lake City was tight
3:30 Lands in Salt Lake city, late. No attempt to release tight connections first
3:50 Exit aircraft with 10 minutes to use restroom, grab sandwich, and run 1/2 mile to the next gate
4:20 Board flight to Nashville. Crowded. Window seat. Poked, bumped, cramped, body complies to shape of existing space
4:30 Flight leaves. 30 minutes into flight, I drop my Ipod under seats. Absolutely impossible to recover until airplane lands. No music, sucks.
8:00 Airplane arrives at Nashville (10:00pm Local time). Baggage claim took forever
9:00 (11:00 local): Finally get into rental car
10:40 arrive at hotel near location
11:00 (1:00 local) set alarm for 7 am local (5:00 am Seattle time) head hits pillow
5:00 am wake up sore, tired, and feeling oppressed.

Total Travel Time 12 hours one way and 24 hours RT door to door.

One complete day of productivity wasted. One day of life squandered. Zero time spent with my family or friends. Zero personal time to enjoy or reflect. Zero moments feeling secure, healthy, or self-worthy. 24 hours of confrontation with my surroundings. Zero moments of inspiration. Zero opportunities to be exposed to new ideas. Zero interesting people to learn from. Zero trees, flowers, sunshine, or fresh air. Zero fresh food; no fruit, vegetables, or raw nuts. Zero memories – except bad. No laughter, no friendship, no community. No exercise except running in fear.

The opportunity of the next economic paradigm is the ability to articulate the social value on all of these things – the ability to predict into the future the True Value of all the things that are squandered by an anti-social experience.  That is the essence of The Ingenesist Project.

Who Needs Anti-Social Travel?

With a private airplane, I could leave my home at 11:00 for a 11:30 departure at a small local airfield 6 miles from my house. The flight would have been about 4 hours long and I would arrive at my destination for dinner reservations with my colleagues. The flight would cost less than 1400 dollars round trip and I could return a full day earlier (eliminating 2 nights) than the the commercial flight for the same set of meeting objectives.

If a person’s time is worth 50 dollars per hour, the difference between 10 hours of flight time is 500 dollars off of a 1000 dollar ticket. The commercial flight costs ($300), including parking ($100), airport taxes($50), extra airline fees (50 dollars), car rental ($300), 2 extra hotel night ($400) for a total of 1200 dollars (I have the receipts to prove it).

So if 10 hours of your life is less than 200 dollars, then fly commercial. If your time, family, community – your life – is worth more than 20 dollars per hour, then you should consider taking America’s newest airline.

Don’t Blame The Bankers

There are two sets of values in an economy. Financial value and social value. The value that is required to make something is financial value. The value that a product provides to a community of people is called social value.

Financial Currency

In order to make something, money is used to purchase raw materials and labor. After these ingredients are integrated, the product is then marketed, transported and sold for more money that the input costs. This is called financial profit in a system called market capitalism. The degree to which financial profits are gained or lost is the degree to which a financial value system is functional or dysfunctional.

Social Currency

When the product enters a community, it helps people to occupy their limited time on Earth in a more peaceful and productive manner. The product unites families and communities around human attributes such as happiness, joy, comfort, security, and wellbeing. This is called social profit in a system of social capitalism. The degree to which social profits are gained or lost is the degree to which the social value system is functional or dysfunctional.

Domination

In market capitalism, no enterprise is allowed to make less money than they consume for very long without being punished. Yet, in social capitalism there is no common means to even account for social profits or losses. There are no formal inventory of raw social materials, social value added labor, social marketing, transport, storage or exchange of social capital – the social value system is largely irrational.  The profit accounting and structural mechanisms are what make market capitalism dominant over social capitalism.

Bankers should be studied

For better or worse, the financial system works exactly as it is supposed to. Bankers do exactly what they were designed to do. They will do the same thing tomorrow as they did yesterday. Bankers are extremely predictable.  The problem lies in our irresponsible design for social capitalism and our dependency on anything but ourselves for economic outcomes.  All of the means and methods that we call an “unfair advantage” are available to each and every one of us if we simply copy bankers.

Look beyond the symptoms and you’ll find the cure

By virtue of the range, complexity, and scope of problems that surround our species it should be somewhat obvious that social capitalism is poorly executed. It does not represent a system of human attributes and values. Social Capitalism is unorganized, unaccounted, and unworthy to act in the interest of the participants. That is where the problem lies and that is where the solutions need to be applied.

Must admit that WE have a problem

Anyone can point their finger at the bankers and blame them for all the bad things in the world.  It is a completely different matter to exert the mental discipline to fully understand what makes a banker rational and what makes a banking system accountable, then to generalize this genius for applicability to ALL forms of Value, including but not limited to social value.  If the bankers accept or reject any value system, they will do it rationally.

Be a Banker

Social media provides an extraordinary set of tools for social capitalists.  Specifications that mimic the banking system in social media are readily available.  Important awakening projects are arising that take responsibility for the future rather than lay blame on the past.  It’s time that we all become bankers.

The Capitalization of Silence

"Silence" by Horst Schmier

Coupon Madness

The business concept of rewards coupons is not new. S&H Green Stamps were among the original applications of the concepts. The fact that coupon cutting is now going on-line is not surprising to anyone. A second major trend is in the area of data collection. Supermarkets have learned that it is valuable for them to “pay” the customer in exchange for data that makes stocking and distribution more efficient. When combined, coupon + data is a tremendously valuable marketing and logistics tool.

The next development of coupon + data model is the notion that if a person likes a product, so too will their friends. This is the coupon + data + association model. Not surprisingly, the marketing value of the combination of these linked data increases almost exponentially.

To Pay Dearly

Brands are now willing to pay dearly for information about the transaction as well as the social networks associated with a transaction. With the ability to track several layers of transaction and association, vendors can paint an extraordinarily accurate predictive model that can be used in their favor – and in competition against market challengers.

The half-life of noise

The hype is brisk and often short lived as most companies eventually run up against the proverbial viral backlash. Someone somewhere can just as easily elevate their own influence by challenging a big influencer. Privacy issues, fair trade issues, corporate responsibility issues are all fair game. Social media forces transparency in an organization too as controlled data can quickly become uncontrollable data.

The battlefield is strewn with the corpses of marketing campaigns gone horribly wrong. Even Groupon, once touted as the champion of mom and pop shops across the land is now accused of dumping economic “sugar calories” into a zero sum game where size does matter – a lot. Groupon is now used by competitors against each other thereby wrecking havoc on Mom and Pop Shops across the land.

Help, I need a Guru

Social Media Gurus continuously pound home the message that they must find their customers grazing in their own pasture and engage them in order to be truly accepted into the herd.  Now the Gurus have all the vendors looking like wolves in sheep’s clothing – nothing could be more obvious or look more ridiculous.

The inherent flaw is that companies are designing and delivering products predicted to interact with people in their own setting. Instead, they must develop a set of products and services that are designed to facilitate human interaction with each other in their own setting – and as a consequence, filter out all the noise that wastes valuable social time.

Coupon + knowledge inventory + anonymity

Learning what people know does not mean that they need to give up their identity.   Joining people who have complimentary knowledge is a superior value creation mechanism than harvesting relationships already played out. The ability to protect and empower the customer in their home setting is the greatest branding opportunity on Earth. The ability to filter out the noise is the single greatest competitive advantage that any marketing campaign can ever enjoy. The ability to bring communities of people together to solve the problems of their own choosing is far more powerful than trying to convince people that they have a problem for which only you have the solution.

This is the capitalization of silence

Image by Horst Schmier

Tattle-Tale Economics

Editorialized Economics

Social media used to be so cool – a way to bypass the mediated reality of editorialized content. Real people coming back with real ideas and real opportunities from the crystal clear waters of cooperative community. Then legacy media and their ad-rev departments started to wonder “Hey, where did everyone go?” Marketer started saying, “Hey, these CPM numbers are F***ed – something is cutting into our pie ?!?!?”

Then came the Social Media Gurus

like the tattle-tale kid brother intent on spoiling a perfectly good game of hide and seek, screeching: “There they are, there they are!!!….Can you see ’em?…see, see, your customers are hiding in the shadows… there, in the shadows….quick!!! Can you see ’em now?.  By the way, pay my fee, buy my book, and did I mention my latest ‘keynote’ yet?”

Next, the Gurus went mainstream as legacy media analysts!! Legacy media picked up the ball on the run-away ad spend. They glossed poetic on the “effects” but not the “causes” of social media. And, OH Gawd, what a nuisance all those pesky bloggers are to the dignified art and science of professional journalism.

A Monster was Born

Facebook declared that people really want to share their personal details with the world, and a monster was born. So now we are stuck with Corporate Media on steroids.  Your data are scraped so they can find you. Images are reproduced infinitely. Lies and deception grow legs half way around the world before the truth can even be awakened from it’s slumber. Say one thing wrong and it haunts you forever.

Casualty or Causality

Social Media has become another casualty of the broken financial system where people fight for artificial scarcity.  It is no longer a means to empower and enlighten, it is becoming another means to exploit and oppress.   Special recognition goes out to all the so-called social media gurus. I can’t blame them though, everyone has the right to make an honest living.

Call it tattle-tale economics

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).

Ingenesist.com

Music by Phil Felicia

Why Two Gurus are Better Than Four


Marketers need to recognize the order and permanence of human evolution. Once our species started to walk upright on two legs, we never permanently returned to walking on all fours.   Such is also the case between the lower social order of communication called “Information” and the higher social order of communication called “Knowledge”.  I will explain the difference now.

Social Value written or spoken to a medium is defined as Information.

Social Value which exists only between human ears is defined as Knowledge.

Likewise,

Social Value is created by transforming Information into Knowledge.

Social Value is reduced by transforming Knowledge into Information.

Once humans learn to create, store, exchange, and trade knowledge among each other, they will never return to the utterly primitive practice of mining and exploiting information.

If you agree with me then I congratulate you for your advanced state of evolution.  If you do not agree with me, then I apologize for the inconvenience.

Living in the Past

Advertisers have an especially hard time with this because it is their core competence to devolve human knowledge into information through data mining, social media espionage, and machine gun marketing – all without necessarily elevating anyone to a higher state of social order.   This is, by definition, a reduction of social value.

Consumers now walk on two feet in forming a strategic networks of knowledge assets in social media. Meanwhile advertisers still slither around on all fours pimping info biscuits.  Consumers can easily see when Value is being stolen from them so they simply ignore the screeches and clamoring of the devolved creature.  Or worse, a counter attack is a very simple – and often quite entertaining – using an evolved tool set.

Holy shit, I need a Guru:

So, the advertisers go off and hire a Social Media Guru to make the old evolutionary order all better again.  The Social Media Guru does all sorts of things that look civilized to a four-legged creature, but appear increasingly ridiculous to the evolved being.

Lo and behold, the advertiser is hugely successful in attracting lots of other four-leggers and believes this to be progress!! This makes the Guru into a Celebrity.  But still, the advertiser simply cannot get any attention from the two-leggers, who now control all the Value.  So, the advertiser goes back to the Social Media Guru who responds by joining forces with yet another Social Media Guru….

Surely two gurus are better than one, especially to those who still believe that four legs are better than two.

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.

Social Capitalism And The ROI For Social Media

Social Capitalism can be summed up as Classical Capitalism except with the factors of production swapped from “Land, Labor, Financial Capital” to “Social Capital, Creative Capital, and Intellectual Capital”.

This video introduces a new way of looking at social media valuation. It should be obvious by now that people create value in social media – otherwise they would not do it. The monetization paradox is stuck on “how can this 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.

What’s Your Cut of the $5 Trillion Knowledge Economy?

People accumulate a wealth of knowledge in their lives as they pass from project to project and industry to industry.  Each of our social, creative, and intellectual pursuits and exposures combines to form the person who we are and the contribution to society that we represent.

Your knowledge and experience also helps others predict what preferences you may have and what decisions you may make. Corporations, advertisers, banks, insurance companies, and politicians all want to know this and they will go to extreme and expensive measures to get it – why not just sell it to them?

Peace sells, but who’s buying?

Management of companies, little league teams, Rotary Clubs, even raising a family, is extremely valuable knowledge to a wide variety of situations. Civic service, spirituality, military service, and philanthropy provide a basis for a host of knowledge attributes.  Academic accomplishment, physical achievement, artistic expression, manual dexterity, and whole body coordination provides great insight to the application of all knowledge.  Physical challenges, grief, personal struggles, and the experience of injustice further add to the wealth of knowledge one accumulates in a lifetime.

Every person is unique with a different set of knowledge than any other; therefore, everyone has something to offer to someone else.   Each person’s combination of formal and informal education is valuable in it’s uniqueness.  With the proper system and incentives in place, trillions of dollars are on the table to bid for access to your knowledge.

The Den of Thieves:

The resumes that we post on Monster.com are woefully inadequate and so heavily gamed that predictive utility related to your future decisions and innovative capacity is severely compromised.

The credit score also measures past behavior by tracking negative events; many of which are outside the control of the subject such as a layoff, fraud, medical emergencies, etc.  Again, the credit score is quite useless as a predictor of future decisions and innovative capacity.

Now we have Social Media and the mad scramble to be visible in social media space.  The scourge of marketers, spammers, and fraudsters are close behind chasing your information that they are all too happy to sell to the aforementioned “clients”.

Take a Step Back … and get a grip

We are talking about your information that describes your knowledge attributes which predicts your preferences, your future decisions, and your innovation.  Yet complete industries exist to collect it from you for free, organize it, and sell it to others for a great deal of money.  There are 5000 job boards collecting resumes, 300 Million credit scores being securitized by Wall Street, and 12,000 social media sites aggregating your creative content, relationships, and knowledge attributes.

Join The Ingenesist Project:

The Ingenesist Project specifies a system where your knowledge attributes are expressed in a packet of code that you control, distribute, regulate, withhold and track as you wish.

The result is that you will be paid to learn, to know, to practice, and to participate in life as you wish.  It becomes in your best economic interest to produce exactly what you are best at, and have a talent for producing.  It will be in the best interest of corporations, marketers, Wall Street, insurance companies, and Politicians to support you in these pursuits so they can “farm” the knowledge today that will buy their products tomorrow.

The Last Mile: Social Media Battleground

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

Don’t Worry, Be Neighborly…

Nothing “Economic” can happen is Social Media until real people get together to build things. Sure, Marketers are trying their hardest to penetrate the last mile, but communities are trying to defend it too. This is the final battleground of Social Media. The end game must be as follows: Social priorities must ultimately drive Wall Street priorities – not the other way around. That is the only sustainable thesis for the next millennium.

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

Social Capitalism: Meet The New Intangibles

Today, land, labor, and capital make up the “Tangible” assets allocated by entrepreneurs in the production of all products and service.   Meanwhile, Social Capital, Creative Capital, and Intellectual Capital of people and communities are called “Intangible Assets” on the corporate balance sheet.

As soon as you leave the Corporation, this condition reverses.  What if the new generation of corporations were built on this reversal?

Suppose it is already happening.

The next economic paradigm will be built on Social Media as soon as people start getting together to build things.  Social Capital, Creative Capital and intellectual capital will be allocated by entrepreneurs in the production of all products and services.  Meanwhile land, labor, and capital will be the intangible assets.

This may not be so far out.

LAND: with Social media, Mobile internet, geolocation applications, mobile applications, and speed blogging – most activity is independent of physical land.  Instead, Public “land” or private “land” behave as the intangible component where people assemble and produce things.

LABOR: no longer means that two physical parts are assembled into a machine.  Instead two ideas are assembled into a third idea and redeployed as data, information, knowledge, innovation or wisdom.

CAPITAL: Seriously; what exactly is Capital these days except the thing that banks play with and politicians argue about? Capital is created from debt.  The continuation of Capital Markets as we know them exists more as the absence of a reasonable alternative than an actual proxy for true value or productivity.

Instead; 500 Million people flock to Facebook, Twitter, Google, Linkedin, Foursquare, Gowalla, etc., to collect options and store social value.  Uhm…Why?

The next phase for social media will become user generated productivity.  That is when people get together outside the construct of government and corporations to build something.  If we are lucky, this transition will happen before we are forced to “rebuild” something.

***

The Ingenesist Project specifies an Innovation Economy built on a platform of social media as the next economic paradigm.  Material based on video series here

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.

Knowledge Failure Is Business Failure

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

Top 10 reasons why businesses fail

1. Lack of an adequate, viable business plan
.

2. Insufficient sales to sustain business

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

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

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

6. Lack of experience and knowledge

7. Lack of managerial focus/commitment

8. Poor customer service

9. Inadequate human resource management

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

No excuses:

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

The financial system is not the only problem;

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

So where is the knowledge?

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

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

Tangibility of Knowledge

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

WIKiD Tools; A Futures Methodology

The forecasting methods that we are developing at the Ingenesist Project have become sufficiently vetted and organized that I have decided to formalize them for review by others. The “WIKiD Tools” method is fairly simple to describe and demonstrate, but be assured, it is a powerful method for predicting futures outcomes.

WIKiD stands for:

Wisdom > Innovation > Knowledge > Information > Data

All five of these elements are related to each other – in fact, each is derived from the prior element by integrating the tools of that medium.  For example information is derived from data by integrating the tools of the data medium. Knowledge is derived from information by integrating the tools of information medium, innovation is derived from knowledge by integrating the tools of the knowledge medium, etc.

Likewise, if I want to predict innovation, I look for high rates of change of knowledge in it’s medium….and so on for all five elements as needed.

The chart below helps demonstrate the WIKiD Tools methodology.

Slide05

The Hunter-Gatherer

About 50,000 years ago humans sustained themselves in a hunter gather economy. They would wander for food to eat and fuel to stay warm. Eventually they invented tools to trap their game and chop down trees so they no longer needed to expend as much energy and could remain relatively stationary.

The Agrarian

This led to the agrarian economy, the formation of towns, and the division of labor. A leisure class emerged to engage in philosophy and explore nature. New ideas were explored and the “scientific method” of observation and experimentation was invented

The Data Economy

With the invention of interchangeable parts in manufacturing, the industrial revolution became the dominant era of economic activity. The idea of industrialization separated production from assembly of parts. This allowed for greater efficiency and precision.

The Information Economy

The Industrial revolution generated a lot of Data and the invention of the integrated circuit turned these data into information – we now look back at the 60’s and 70s as the information age.

The Knowledge Economy

Widespread use of computers allowed humans to process the information in creative and unique ways – we now call this the knowledge economy.

Since there were many eras prior to this, we can expect that there shall be many eras following this – so we ask the question “what comes after the knowledge economy?

When we apply the WIKiD Tools Methodology:

We can say that each new era was derived from the prior era by integrating the tools developed during the prior era. We have seen the data economy in the industrial revolution, we have seen the information economy with Invention of the Integrated Circuit, We are in the midst of the knowledge economy with the advent of the Internet.

The next economic paradigm:

Now the tools of the Computer, software, and Internet connectivity are integrating around social media. From this we predict that an innovation economy will emerge by integrating the tools of the knowledge economy, specifically social media, mobile devices, software, hardware, and the internet.

The Wisdom Economy

Looking far far into the future, we can predict that the wisdom economy will emerge from an integration of tools developed in the innovation economy. The wisdom economy – with or without the current financial system – will have the greatest likelihood of achieving a sustainable human presence on Earth. Consequently, failure to achieve the wisdom economy presents an equally predictable outcome.

Georgism; When Old Ideas Become New Again

Henry George was discredited for many ideas which are now emerging in with the increased economic influence of Social Media, social capitalism, trade of limited natural resources, and the trade of social currencies in reaction to the demise of financial currency.

The new film “The End of Poverty?” begins with the same question which Henry George asked in P&P:

Why does poverty become a deeper problem as a society becomes more prosperous?

While times and technology are far different than 110 years ago, early ideas are sometimes essential to peel back the complexity and look for the “truisms” that drive the Human Condition. Only then can we find both our common ground and our common direction.

From WikiPedia: Henry George (September 2, 1839October 29, 1897) was an American writer, politician and political economist, who was the most influential proponent of the land value tax, also known as the “single tax” on land. He inspired the philosophy and economic ideology known as Georgism, which is that everyone owns what he or she creates, but that everything found in nature, most importantly land, belongs equally to all humanity.

[The following is a lose adaption from a 1993 article by Robert V. Andelson which can be found here with links dutifully provided by Stephen Nacci, 2010]:

…The method of discrediting Henry George is described in “The Corruption of Economics

The book describes basically taking Classical Econonomics and distorting it by
artifically merging land into capital, and distorting Classical economic thought
with NEO- Economic thought, and pushing this agenda through media and
institutions… over the last 100 years…

Henry George’s first book, Progress and Poverty: An inquiry into the cause of
industrial depressions and of increase of want with increase of wealth… The
Remedy
was self-published in 1879. It went on to become the best-selling book ever on
political economy,* and in the 1880s and 1890s was said to be outsold only by
the Bible.

*Political economy is the science which deals with the natural laws governing the production and distribution of wealth and services.

He went on to write several other important books including Social Problems, The Land Question, The Condition of Labor, A Perplexed Philosopher, The Science of Political Economy, and (published posthumously) Protection or Free Trade, and a number of articles and speeches, including The Crime of Poverty, Ode to Liberty, Thou Shalt Not Steal, Thy Kingdom Come, Causes of Business Depression, and Justice the Object, Taxation the Means.

In 2006, Bob Drake* did a thought-by-thought updating into contemporary language of Progress and Poverty, which was published with the subtitle “Why there are recessions and poverty amid plenty — and what to do about it. Or, download and listen to Bob’s MP3 here

We hope you’ll explore Henry George’s answers — and his remedy. We are persuaded that the problem of poverty can only be solved through recognizing what George taught.

Cory Doctorow In Seattle

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

For The Win

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

The Activist

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

There is a reason that it’s called Monetization

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

Unfortunately, controlling information also destroys value.

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

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

Event Sponsored by: The Stranger

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