Think Bigger. Aim Higher. Go Further.

Tag: stock

Why This Bubble Is Completely Different

I had a discussion with one of my partners that we need 2.5 million users and Social Flights will manage itself.  The partner said, “You mean 2.5 million dollars”.

No, I said, “I need 2.5 million users”.

The partner said tersely, “No, I really think that you need dollars.”

Again, I replied, “I need users…. “

This went on for a while until we both got it: The value of Social Flights is contained within the users, not within the dollars. After that, the conversation could progress in a meaningful way, priorities found their place, and the teams found their roles – including the investors.

Nothing economic can happen until people get together to build something

Financial analysts are aghast at the magnificent valuations that social media applications are delivering; P/E ratios of 1000, valuations of 100 dollars per member, billions of dollars per billion time hours in game play – these are not the ratios that they teach in B-school.  Is this crazy or does it make perfect sense?

The Great Rapture

While highly unlikely, suppose the Almighty Father called upon all good and pious dollars to ascend unto heaven in a glorious rapture of currency – on a single day, all money disappears from the face of the Earth.  What would be left?  What happens next?

At least for a little while, I’ll still be sitting in this café typing a blog post.  The value of the education and social network of the person who I will be meeting for lunch will still be intact.  The value of the roads, bridges, schools, and highways would remain intact.  The value to teachers, firefighters, and doctors will remain.  The sun will shine and gravity will continue to act on matter.  The money may go, but a LOT of value remains.

No Such Thing As Free Lunch

Of course, things will quickly devolve when I tell the café owner that I can’t pay for lunch because my money has been raptured. Of course that would seem like a relatively minor problem given the fact that their money has been raptured too.  In fact, so has their supplier’s money, and their Bank’s money.  Obviously, there can’t be a bail out because the government has no money either.

Each of us would probably stare at each other for a few minutes until somebody asks the other, “well, then, what do you have that I can use?”  Once that conversation is exhausted, we’ll move on to  “Who do you know that has something that I can use?” Etc.

The mother of all hedge funds

If this were a game, the person that knows lots of people who do useful things would stand a greater chance of being served lunch than someone who is isolated and disliked – no matter how much money they once had before the rapture.  Likewise, if you have a lot of money, what “Bank” would you put it in?  What “Stock” would you buy?

This bubble is different.

It may be that the dollar is in a bubble and the true value of our economy is stored and exchanged in communities of people enabled by social media.  Those magnificent valuations in social media companies may actually reflect true value and act like a huge hedge fund on currency in the absence of any other plausible financial instrument.

As our noble politicians continue to play their game of chicken with the productivity of honest, educated, and productive Americans, they fail to see the polarity shifting away from money and into “true value”.

The value is in the people, not in the dollars. now we can have a different conversation about how to manage ourselves.

If It Ain’t Broker, Don’t Fix It.

The function of the innovation economy is to improve information.  This has the derivative effect of improving knowledge which, by definition, fuels more innovation.   Monetization is easy if we simply improve information between any buyer and any seller in any market, anywhere.

…If it is, please do

For example, the job of a broker is to mediate the transaction between a buyer and a seller.  There are real estate brokers, mortgage brokers, stock brokers, etc.  Unfortunately, it is not always in the best interest of the broker to provide perfect information to both sides of the transaction.  Rather, the broker provides the minimum amount of information needed to complete the transaction, within which they build their commission for rendering such filtration services.

Any B-school undergrad can tell you that a market is most efficient when the buyer and the seller have exactly the same information as the other when making a transaction; this is called “perfect information”.  As such, “supply and demand” can do its magic.  Resources of production can be perfectly allocated in the glorious capitalist system.  The financial meltdown has shown us that the more complex the product is, the greater the deficiency in perfect information becomes.

The Holy Grail:

The great opportunity for social media is the ability to improve information in almost every transaction conceivable and create wealth.  The next generation of social media strategists will rise to tremendous heights in this domain of the Innovation Economy. However, the Holy Grail of information improvement is the knowledge asset market itself:

For example: Corporations have a great deal more information about employees than employees have about corporations.  People are encouraged to compete with each other, not to cooperate, for that carrot on a stick. They are trained to keep their salary a secret.  The “job statement” is in a secret code language that is only understood inside the company, not in the general work force.  Managers “broker” information by filtering it on the way up and on the way down the corporate structure.  It is little wonder that corporations are having a tough time with the social media stuff.

When the layoff comes, the outsourcing begins, or the life change happens, the resume is often no better than a bingo card in a key word lottery.  By the way, customers have even less information than the employees. Peanuts anyone?

The mothers of Invention

The knowledge market is the mother of all imperfect information markets.  Social media is a single iteration away from greatly improving information in all knowledge markets. Nothing happens without applied human knowledge, as such, the potential capitalization of the next generation of social media applications is as big as the market itself – and it will challenge the very structure of the traditional corporation and associated filtration services.

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