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An Analog To Digital Converter For Knowledge Assets

A-D ConverterCuriosumé is an analog to digital converter for knowledge assets.

The single most destructive characteristic of the Market Capitalism is the dependence on resources extracted from the Earth to fuel constant economic growth. Natural resources are finite while constant growth model is infinite.  There are several ways to manage this disparity; the first is to expire Capitalism, the second is to base that dependence on an infinite resource. Given the shortcomings of most viable alternatives to Capitalism, the latter is likely more plausible than the former.

Many perils to society that manifest today have their beginnings in the thesis by Adam Smith called “The Wealth of Nations”. In this document Mr. Smith outlines the conditions of Capitalism where a merchant class would arise to efficiently allocate land, labor, and capital in various combinations in order to produce all of the useful things that society needs. The working class would hold the system in balance; too much growth would result in a shortage of labor that would constrain capital through higher wages (supply and demand). Government would be hardly necessary in a self-balancing system. Ironically, A great deal of innovation has arisen from the prospect of eliminating labor, which allowed growth to continue beyond the natural constraint.

Karl Marx identified the inevitable situation of constant struggle between the working class and the merchant class. One group strived for greater wages while the other strived to lower wages. From this struggle arose a spectrum of adjustments ranging from labor unions and calculated government regulations (Socialism) all the way to full State allocation of public resources (Communism). Herein lies the dawn of geopolitics and competing ideology.

It is fairly easy to see from this short history where hierarchy, competition, politics, exploitation, environmental crisis, and monetary corruption are intimately related. Today, these elements are enshrined in our culture in B-schools, sports, warfare, education, 2-party representation, etc. The result is that people are forced to compete with each other for jobs, money, food, water, air, education, civil liberties, etc.

But it does not have to be this way. A relatively simple modification to the existing paradigm can realign the economic incentives, and therefore social priorities, from consumption to preservation of our planet without necessarily triggering a collapse and subsequent reboot.

Consider the proverbial “basket of goods” – an economic standard used in a variety of analyses including Relative Price Index, Forex, Gross Domestic Product, etc.  The basket of goods consists of unit quantities of tangibles such as food, housing, energy, transportation, etc.  Now consider the human knowledge required to produce that same basket of goods. One can easily imagine economic standards articulated as either the tangible basket of goods or the intangible basket of goods. Both have the same outcome.

Yet, knowledge is an infinite resource that can underwrite so many more dimensions of human existence than a select basket of goods.  The problem is that there is no accounting system for intangibles as there is for tangibles. There is a reason for this – it is called control. Therefore, to create an accounting system for knowledge assets is to take control of productivity and the currency that represents it.  That is the evolution we ought to focus on.

This is a much simpler challenge than trying to solve every problem that our civilization faces individually. This is a much easier problem to solve than trying to change the minds of entrenched ideologies. This is a much easier problem than changing all the laws and institutions that exist to make the old game as fair as it can ever possibly be.  In fact, the solutions for our most complex problems as a civilization are stunningly simple to create.

Did I mention that Curiosumé is an analog to digital converter for knowledge assets?

The Conjuring of Intangible Values

Conjure valueMy prior post “The Tale of Two Cities” demonstrates that the intangible social value conjured into existence by the bridge that connects two fair cities far exceeds the ‘tangible’ value of that bridge.  Yet, only the tangible value of the bridge is accounted for on a balance sheet such as GDP.

The Conjuring of Intangible Values

This may seem trivial until you observe that people are paid for their intangible assets (knowledge, creativity, and engineering calculations) as a percentage of the far lower number while the bankers, government, and corporate interests compensate themselves as a percentage of the far higher number.  The difference appears to be unaccounted for.

The Tail of Two Cities article concludes that the value that is conjured into existence by both the bridge and the fractional reserve system must be equal, by definition; otherwise the metaphorical breezeway that connects the two worlds would fall.

Bitcoin suffers from a similar curse as The Tail of Two Cities.  The prevailing argument against the crypto-currency is that it has no intrinsic value.  I have personally argued that a currency must represent human productivity intrinsically or else no other human would be willing to work (be productive) in exchange for it.  An article by Paul Bohm “The Value Of Bitcoin is Decentralization” makes a good point that the intrinsic value of Bitcoin is based on the value conjured into existence by increased productivity to society by what can be accomplished with Bitcoin that otherwise would be impossible without Bitcoin.

So if the valuation of a bridge crossing the river and the valuation of Bitcoin crossing the broker both suffer the same curse that there is no accounting system for intangibles, wouldn’t it make sense to solve that problem first  – i.e., measure into existence the intangible value of the Ingenesist – and then release those millions of human intentions (bridges and Crypto-currencies, not withstanding), into the system of trade?  This is the problem that Curiosumé proposes to resolve.

I believe that we first need to solve the under-mining problem that there is no accounting system for intangible assets.  Only then can there be intrinsic value in the conservation of those assets

… then maybe none of this would seem so mysterious.

Reorganizing In The Era Of Social Capitalism

Reorganizing In The Era Of Social Capitalismapitalism is evolving. Society needs to reorganize itself to trade “abundant intangibles instead of scarce tangibles”.  Then, all the decentralized innovations currently coming online can truly integrate.….and, everything will change.

Reorganizing In The Era Of Social Capitalism:

This 16 minute video describes a method for intangible assets to be made tangible in an accounting system for the purpose of storage, exchange, and creation of new value in communities.

The next step is to create a series of similar videos specifically tailored to each major industry in our economy specifying how Curiosumé would benefit them. That is described in the following document:

Video Proposal

We also seek to reach the community of entrepreneurs who will build the next generation of data visualization tools that will facilitate matching algorithms for communities.

Finally, we will introduce The Value Game and the WIKiD Tools Algorithm with which we may form a new cryptographic currency backed by abundant intangibles rather than scarce disposable tangible assets.

 That is Reorganizing In The Era Of Social Capitalism

The NWO On The Block Chain

frictionThe first line of Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper reads as follows: “A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”  The goal is achieved quite simply by removing three frictions to the exchange of value among people.  

The First Friction:

The Bitcoin protocol goes to great effort to foil the bad players and reward the good kids with game based incentives.  The probable cost of an attack is greater than the likely benefit of attempting to do so.  This wipes out the massive and hugely expensive vetting apparatus of verification, fraud investigators, audits, charge backs, legal claims, and courts. 

The Second Friction:

With the judicial use of cryptography, the BCP wipes out a colossal industry of third party brokerage activity that withholds information about transactions ostensibly in the name of trust, fairness, and privacy.

The Bitcoin Protocol Analogy

The most obvious Bitcoin analog is to Gold; everyone gets this.  Due to the economics of scarcity, miners have an incentive to expend resources in order to add more gold to circulation.  However, as the scarce resource becomes more expensive to extract, the incentive shifts to transaction fees as reward for participating in the digital value exchange.  

Transactions are abundant. There is potentially no limit to the amount of transactions that can take place.  Participating in a transaction today does not remove future transactions from the account balance.  In fact, transactions can be created by anyone at any time, and combined or subdivided in any number or ways.  

The Third Friction:

The social analogy should be crystal clear, if not prophetic.  As Consumption Capital becomes unsustainable, Abundance Capital will emerge as the primary generator of value creation between people.  As such, the strategy for success in the BCP era, is not in the domain of tangible consumption, it is in the domain of intangible transactions.  In other words, everything that we call “intangible” in the Era of Scarcity, becomes “tangible” in the Era of Abundance, and vice versa.  

The New Tangibles:

The tangibles assets of the post BCP era are knowledge, innovation, and wisdom of people and communities of people as an abundant and recurring resource.  The business methods of the post BCP era will require the promotion, exchange, and manifestation of knowledge, innovation, and wisdom among communities of people.

New Factors of Production:

Productivity is in the old economy meant increasing the amount of stuff that can be made a certain amount of time.  In the new, productivity will involve maximizing the interaction of people within a certain amount of time, where the largest denomination is a natural lifetime.  The World According to the BCP is the world that was meant to be, not the world that exists today.

A Practical Guide to The Big Flip

We have an opportunity to propose a panel for one of the most important futurist financial summits in America, if not the World.  The Future Of Money and Technology Summit IV, brings together the brightest minds in financial technology innovation at the beautiful Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco.  This year’s event will be held December 9, 2013

***

Anyone can imagine the worst case scenario for economic collapse.  But we are interested in understanding the best case scenario for the diversification from fiat currency.  TIP loosely envisions a Big Flip; when so-called “intangibles” become the new “tangible”.

The Ingenesist Project is proposing the following panel for FOM&T

A Practical Guide to the Big Flip

The specter of economic calamity is rearing it’s ugly head once again, but for many, the end game came in 2008.  Innovators have spent the last 5 years developing new systems and methods to survive in a collaborative economy.  While community currencies are an excellent representation of material productivity, they are not readily convertible beyond small groups.  On the other hand, innovations such as Bitcoin are readily convertible globally, but are not necessarily backed by material human productivity. What if alternate economic systems used current or future generations of crypto currency to articulate community productivity? Could this combination finally solve the riddle of capitalization in non-fiat money?  Could this combination become the mother of all hedge funds during the Big Flip?  This panel will explore such frameworks for collaborative capitalism in the years to come. 

But We Need Your Help!!!

Please send us ideas about what new innovations have occurred since 2008 in response to the economic crisis – I’d like to mention them in the discussion.

Please send us ideas about what parts are still missing in order for an integrated alternate economy to emerge.

Please send us what innovations – if combined or in some way integrated – would serve a greater good than the sum of their parts.

Looking for fireworks.

There would be four panelists and myself as moderator. While we already have several people in mind, no commitments have been extended, so please also do let us know if you have anyone to suggest for this panel. We are looking for a MOST diverse group specifically targeting as many corners of the ideological spectrum as possible – in just 4 people. 

An amazing summiting experience

I have had the extraordinary opportunity of being invited to speak at FOM&T several times.  As a result, I have met some truly amazing people.  I have seen magnificent careers launched, international speaking opportunities arise, and we have found missing pieces in our own project – all at this magnificent event.  Many of my most trusted tech friends came from this conference. Of course, one relationship leads to another….and that is what is the Bg Flip is really all about.

THANK YOU!!

Please contact me through this site, or Twitter handle @ingenesist

 

The Rango Prophesy

When I asked my friend and highly respected Seattle consultant Joe Brewer for advice, he simply says:

“Tell an Epic Story”

Rango is a hapless Chameleon in a classic “fish out of water” tale and unlikely hero who finds himself in a “Dust Bowl” meets “Spaghetti Western” hardship scenario. His only preparation is an active imagination and a lot of luck.

All of the characters are similarly encrusted desert animals doomed to a life of subservience to a central banker in an economy where water is the currency of trade.

The Mayor of the town first appears as an almost spiritual leader who provides his flock with hope that their suffering will soon be relieved on the day when water flows again from the shrine of the Holy Spigot.   The analogy to modern religion is hard to miss.

When Rango arrives and accidentally stumbles upon an act of valor, he is anointed sheriff of the town.  Meanwhile, the mayor is, in fact, the person causing the hardship by secretly constraining the supply of the water so that he can buy up all of the failed farms for commercial real estate development.

Upon providing guidance to the new sheriff, the mayor inadvertently slips that proverbial libertarian battle cry  “whoever controls the water (currency) controls the people.”   This sparks suspicion in Rango, who then ventures off on an adventure with some of the town folk to find out what is happening to the water.

After plenty of twists, turns, predators, mistakes, and a whole lot of ironic/comical symbolism, Rango and his gang finally learn that the mayor simply shut off the valve tapping the Las Vegan water main.  Once Rango’s gang opens the tap, water becomes abundant again and the protagonists meet their appropriate demise (suitable for young viewers).

The metaphor for the real world is a no brainer, for most reading this blog anyway.  Bankers artificially control the currency tumbling communities into bankruptcy, unemployment, and despair.  Meanwhile politicians, corporate interests, and legislators conspire to offer fasle hope to the wallowing masses as each person, one by one, hands over their fortunes and freedoms to the powerful elite.

Of course the plan is foiled when a group of brave citizens form alliances with their previous adversaries acting in unison toward a common goal.  It then becomes readily apparent that an “abundance” of productive currency, such as water, is precisely the solution to ridding desert society of crime and corruption thereby enabling peace for all – not the other way around.

This is the story that I want to tell.

There is a very simple task at hand – find the main line and open the valve.  Human knowledge, like water is constrained behind artificial barriers called “intangible” asset accounting.  To build an accounting system that makes knowledge assets “tangible” will open the floodgates of the most valuable currency civilization has ever known.  Not surprisingly, the protagonists will meet their appropriate demise –  suitable for young viewers, of course.

 

 

Gyroscopic Effects And The Tangibility of Intangibles

Countless examples abound where the forces of INTANGIBLE assets align is ways that allows them to detach from their shackles and float like a gyroscope. Invisible internal forces allow new social entities to organize, travel, produce, and consume seemingly without structure or anchors. Yet they influence the most tangible of assets in their path.

Next Economic Paradigm

The next step is to harness this social energy toward sustainable productivity.  Then, and only, then can we arrive at the new economic paradigm (albeit one that may be largely unrecognizable from what we know of today).

The United States has a skills crisis

Millions of smart, motivated, and skilled people are out of work. Meanwhile companies complain that they cannot find the skills that they need to fill open positions.  Predictably, the arguments rage polarized; companies are unwilling to train, the education system is unwilling to teach, etc.  But I don’t think that is the problem.

A Function of Time

The lag time in the traditional competitive cycle remained the same; measured in months for a marketing campaign, or years with a product development cycle, or even decades as with an aircraft program.  Government is also slow to act with election cycles, public debate, and assorted diversions. Likewise, education system curricula can take 3 to 5 years to go through the release process.

Like car crashes, bubbles pop when the system is too slow to respond.

Meanwhile machine enabled social technology is developing so fast that companies do not have time to respond in competitive manner.  Everything becomes a bubble as companies find themselves playing in a game that can crush them at any moment by any number of forces; financial, economic, political, regulatory, public relations, wiki leaks, Facebook, YouTube, Smart Phones, etc.  Even strategic partnerships can unnecessarily and irrevocably tie an institution to the possible misfortunes of associates, with no prior predictability or analysis – until it is too late.

The Tangibility Of Tangibles

The corporate structure that is supposed to be the MOST TANGIBLE assets that an institution can hold is what effectively nails them to the floor.  The bottom line is exactly that, the bottom of the value barrel.  Companies that cannot see past the bottom line, can only see the bottom – and that is where they are staffing today.

The Value Game

Although developed independently, The Value Game (described herehere, and here) resembles a form of Michael E Porter’s 5 forces of corporate competition – except moving at hyper-speed to generate internal forces like a gyroscope.  Players have neither the time nor the incentive to compete with each other, rather, they compete with a game that produces both tangible and intangible assets in a common accounting system creating new value at an astonishing speed.

Of course, the corporation will not disappear any more than industrial revolution eliminated the agrarians. However, you can bet that the differences will be equally profound.

The Value Game Primer

This reference post serves as an introduction to The Value Game (TVG).   The Ingenesist Project will be posting Value Game Solutions to many specific scenarios that our readers and clients propose.  Having this post as reference will help those new to The Value Game catch up quickly.

The following 12 minute video gives some historical perspective of The Value Game as we have applied to the aviation industry (see SocialFlights.com).  This video also expands the idea to any shared asset and provides important insight as to how to generalize The Value Game across the economic spectrum.

Introduction to Value Games

  • The Value Game is a new class of business methods that manufactures New Value.
  • New Value represents all value that is not normally convertible to U.S. Dollars; i.e., creativity, community, sustainability, resilience, compassion, trust, etc
  • Currently, The Value Game begins and ends with dollars, however, all New Value created within the game is denominated in “social currency” which has no physical manifestation.
  • The Value Game converts between Social Currency and Dollars; i.e., business plans that are not viable in dollars may become viable when social currency is included in the bottom line

Building A Value Game

  • The Value Game starts by identifying any asset, tangible or intangible, that a group of people would share.
  • The next step is to find 3 or more communities that have a vested interest in the asset
  • The New Value Entrepreneur is able to discern which communities and which assets will interact successfully in a Value Game.
  • In general, once a value game is started, it will improve itself since only those who have a vested interest in the asset will continue playing.
  • Players that are inappropriate for the given asset and related communities, will drop out or find another value game
  • All players will eventually find and play value games that correspond most closely to their natural interest and passions.

The New Value Entrepreneur

Just like with any business venture, it is up to the entrepreneur to identify and engage all of the right components required to build any enterprise; this is no different for Value Games.

  • The objective of the new value entrepreneur is to organize three or more communities to interact around a shared asset
  • The interaction among these communities acts to preserve the asset rather than consume the asset.
  • Each community acting in the best interest of the other community is, in fact, acting in their own best interest.

The material that references this post will help identify what types of assets are suitable for value gaming and what types of communities would make worthy participants.

The Ingenesist Project is currently building Value Games for clients in aviation, construction, education,  affinity groups, and social service communities.  Please let us know how we can serve your New Value creation enterprise.  

This Is What I Believe

  1. There is a tiny flaw in Market Capitalism that can be easily corrected
  2. Technological change must always precede economic growth; we are going about the process of globalization as if economic growth can precede technological change.  We got it upside down, that’s all.
  3. Anything that can be made by allocating scarce land, labor, and financial capital can also be made by allocating abundant social, creative, and intellectual capital.
  4. For every dollar of tangible value, there is at least 100 dollars worth of  ‘intangible’ value that is really just ‘invisible’.
  5. The global debt is trivial in comparison to the invisible value that exists with no accounting system to represent it.
  6. There should be no economic incentive for anyone to make anything other than what they are most talented, interested, and passionate about.
  7. Nobody knows everything.
  8. Everybody knows something they can teach any other person.
  9. Students, by definition, hold an equity position in their teachers.
  10. Therefore, teachers should hold an equity position in their students – this will fix a lot of things.
  11. Nothing economic happens until two or more people get together and build something.
  12. Competition is over rated.
  13. Collaboration is under rated.
  14. All monetary things are valuable but not all valuable things are monetary.
  15. There is a perfectly legitimate market for everyone.
  16. A new currency will be the last thing that happens, not the first.
  17. You can’t eat Gold
  18. Information is proportional to the rate of change of data with respect to time.
  19. Knowledge is proportional to the rate of change of information with respect to time.
  20. Innovation is proportional to the rate of change of knowledge with respect to time.
  21. Wisdom is proportional to the rate of change of innovation with respect to time.
  22. If you want to create wisdom, go increase the rate of change of innovation.  If you want to create innovation, go increase the rate of change of knowledge, etc. Now, flip over the series 15-18 above.  See, you’ll do just fine.
  23. Money represents past, present, or future productivity – otherwise nobody would work for it (think about that ).
  24. Therefore, a currency backed by debt and a currency backed by innovation would become the mother of all hedge funds.
  25. Securitization is a miracle of scale if done correctly, a disaster of scale if not
  26. Time is the only valid basis of a currency.
  27. My singular objective and greatest aspiration is to make “intangible” value tangible.  I am confident that my children – and yours – will know what to do next.

The Facebook Basket of Goods

Facebook does not produce anything.  Facebook sells personal information to advertisers. This is not to say that Facebook is not worth a lot of money, but it certainly deserves a little perspective.  In order for Facebook to be worth anything, people must be doing things, making things, and organizing things – otherwise, there would be no need for the utility that Facebook provides.

Consumer Value Index

In order for people to do things and make things, there needs to be basic infrastructure like energy, clean water, telecommunications, food,  roads, bridges, and airports.  There needs to be housing, education, and health care.  There needs to be an effective and fair legal system, equitable political representation, and civil decency.

Debt or Human Potential

Facebook adds value to the human productivity potential that already exists.  It is precisely that invisible human potential that seems to be worth most of the money that Facebook commands.  When we estimate a value of 100 Billion dollars for Facebook –  an astonishing 99 times their advertising revenue – we estimate that the market believes that intangible value exceeds tangible value by a factor of 100:1; versus, say, Apple at 16:1 or Google at 20:1

Nothing economic happens until people get together to make something

Charles Munger, CFO of Berkshire Hathaway uttered these deeply foreboding words at a conference at Seattle University in reference to the Enron debacle;

“it’s bad enough when we lose the accounting profession, but dear God help us if we lose the Engineers”.

Suppose a team of 10 engineers designs a bridge that spans a body of water cutting 1 hour off the alternate route for 14,000 people per day (connecting 2 small towns).  Over the 75-year life of that bridge, those 10 engineers are responsible for 380 Million hours of increased productivity. At 25 dollars per hour per person whose time is saved, 10 engineers create nearly 10 billion dollars of NEW VALUE.  As such, only 100 engineers could create the same amount of New Value as Facebook is worth in an IPO.

You are worth what is measured

We need to ask ourselves what is more efficient; making things that act as a proxy for the things that we are trying to sell, or measuring the real value of things that we make.  Perhaps Facebook would be worth 10 Trillion dollars on such a balance sheet.  Maybe Facebook would be worth nothing if true value were in fact measurable. Who knows?

Well, that’s exactly the problem – nobody knows.

Facebook acts as a proxy for human productivity, just like money is a proxy for productivity, but with no intrinsic value itself.  Perhaps this explains their Wall Street convertibility.  However, if we backed Facebook with New Value of human potential, rather than a basket of debt-able goods, perhaps we would not have a financial crisis to deal with, just a value crisis.

I wonder what Charlie Munger would say

New Value And The Future Of Money

The 3rd Annual Future of Money and Technology Summit was held in San Francisco on April 23rd, 2012.  This was my 3rd appearance at the Summit and I must say that #3 was one of the most profound experiences that I have had a conference.  FOM&T is possibly one of the most important conferences of its kind.

Lunatic Fringe

Several years ago, many ideas that are now becoming mainstream were fringe topics at best.  At one time, the very idea that intangibles may in fact be immensely tangible, drew razor shards of broken glass from the KM community toward anyone who ventured toward such a claim.  Then, modern events such as Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street demonstrated a direct challenge to very tangible “guns and money” brought by new ways of organizing communities around intangible assets.

The fringe questions of today become mainstream questions tomorrow

Now, what happens if we turn that concept into a means of producing the things that people really need instead of producing things that people don’t really need? What happens when people interact around a shared asset – either tangible or intangible – will they work to preserve the asset or consume it?  What if an economy arose where the Earth is the shared asset?  What if an economy arose where the individual was a shared asset? what if Both happened?  What would that look like?

A Value Game

The New Value Movement Panel came together around those ideas.  When I set this panel up, I created a value game – each of the people has something to gain from the success of the others on the panel.  This  panel shared an intangible asset in the form of a conversation.

The outcome was movement – a new value movement. Please watch this video and contact me with your thoughts – I am deeply interested in your interpretation of what happened here.
Thank you.

I hope to see you all at the next Future of Money and Technology Summit

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 

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.

Please Vote for The Ingenesist Project; SXSW

TagCloudPhotoThe Ingenesist Project has submitted the following presentation to the South By Southwest Conference in Austin Texas on March 2011. We sincerely encourage our readers to vote for this presentation. It promises to be hugely compelling, deeply controversial, and boldly disruptive. This is for a 60 minute solo presentation to the Advanced Technical Track – the competition is impressive. Voting ends Friday August 27, 2010

Please select the following link to vote

Thank you very much for your support

The Ingenesist Project

Description:

Today, we have one of the most extraordinary opportunities in human history playing out before our eyes. Social Capitalism is no longer merely a band-aid for an amoral Market Capitalism, it is a new form of Capitalism in it’s own right.

In the age of social media, many entrepreneurs no longer allocate land, labor, and financial capital as a primary means of production. Rather, they deploy social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital to the production of a vast amount of “value” that is stored and exchanged in communities. The objective of The Ingenesist Project is to make this value tangible outside the constructs of government and corporate interaction.

This presentation identifies the five essential components of Market Capitalism and demonstrates similar elements emerging in social media. It then specifies how these elements can be integrated to perform the essential analogous functions of financial institutions. Next, we specify three relatively simple social media applications that may create a new class of business plans enabling millions of social entrepreneurs worldwide. Finally, a new financial instrument is described which can be capitalized and securitized to form the basis of a fungible social currency to hedge the dollar.

The net result could create a condition where Wall Street priorities are subservient to social priorities rather than social priorities being subservient to Wall Street priorities.

Questions Answered


What can replace market capitalism when it finally runs out of steam?
What exactly are people producing when they engage in Social Media and why does it create value?
What characteristics must a social currency have in order to be fully convertible or even a replacement for the dollar?
What is a knowledge inventory, how should it be formed, and why should every community have one?
What would be a powerful strategic plan for the Internet in the absence of one today?


[Level Advanced Category Entrepreneurism / Monetization Tags monetization, Social Capitalism, Social Currency Type Solo Event Interactive 2011]

The presentation will mirror some content found in the following video series

Photo credit:


Social Capitalism; The Scarce Resource is Time.

The difference between market Capitalism and Social Capitalism is that factors of production are reversed.  In Social Capitalism, creative capital, intellectual capital, and social capital are the “tangibles” while land, labor, capital become the “intangibles”.

But the currency for social capitalism must still represent productivity – otherwise nobody would “work” for it.   Productivity is defined as “all the stuff we can make within a certain period of time“.  Market capitalism is built on “stuff” while Social Capital is built on “Time”.   Waste stuff and you’ll lose money.  Waste time and you’ll lose social currency.  Every living person is allocated a certain amount of time on Earth.  Time is impossible to forge, debase, or otherwise counterfeit – unless stolen from someone else – as such, Time makes an excellent currency.

What is the ROI on Land, Labor, and Capital in Social Capitalism?  ROI is wholly dependent on the knowledge assets deployed upon that Land, Labor, or Capital.

So what exactly is the underlying asset that supports Social Currency?

WIKiD Tools introduced the idea that everything we produce will ultimately come as a result of transforming data into information, or transforming information into knowledge, or transforming knowledge into innovation, or transforming innovation into wisdom.  We can articulate a very powerful Equation to model productivity in Social Capitalism.  This equation can be translated as follows:

Wisdom is proportional to the rate of change of innovation with respect to time.  Innovation is proportional to the rate of change of knowledge with respect to time.  Knowledge is proportional to the rate of change of information with respect to time.  And Information is proportional to the rate of change of data with respect to time.

Note that in each case, the “rate of change” (hence, time) is the underlying asset.

The creation of Social Currency:

Sounds complicated?  Well, it happens every day in every city where a person sees an important issue and convenes a conference where they invite relevant speakers and guests into the discussion.  It happens when a manager notices people talking about something important to them and incorporates it into their job description.  It happens when a teacher helps a student to the next level.  It happens when someone spends some of their time so that you can enjoy more of yours.  It happens with stay at home moms.  It happens with volunteerism.  It’s created by mentors, parents, neighbors, civil servants, and everyday citizens. It is created in Communities, not factories.  It is created by time.

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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

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.

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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

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

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?

To Accelerate Serendipity, The Whuffie Factor

Tara Hunt; Future of Money and Technology Summit 2010

Tara Hunt; Future of Money and Technology Summit 2010

In 1999, Cluetrain Manifesto flipped everything we knew about online behavior on it’s head. The integration of information being published on the Internet reached a tipping point indelibly articulated for all time by Doc Searles: Markets are Conversations”

The Whuffie

In 2003, Cory Doctorow published Down and Out In The Magic Kingdom where he introduced the concept of Whuffie as a form of reputation currency that accounts for social value in a fictional future society. In Cory’s thesis, people who produce things that represent social value were awarded Whuffie. People who produce anti-social value were punished Whuffie. The twist was that everyone has equal say as to who is awarded Whuffie and who is punished Whuffie. In retrospect, the concept of Whuffie, stands today an important metaphor marking the beginning of the social media revolution.

The Whuffie Factor

In her book The Whuffie Factor (2009), Tara Hunt identifies the facts of a reputation backed exchange among real people, communities, companies, and social interactions – with all their associated human complexities. By the gift of wisdom or intuition, Tara’s choice of the modifier “Factor” is an important distinction. In mathematics, a “Factor” is a multiplier against some other quantity.

Social Capital

In Tara’s book, Whuffie is roughly synonymous with ‘new’ social capital – a hugely complex financial instrument that is currently emerging before the eyes of all practitioners of social media. In 2010, everyone still struggles to articulate social capital with a 1999 vocabulary of new conversations living in old financial markets. There simply is no word for the phenomenon of social media daily manifesting in so many new and valuable ways – it’s just too new.

Yes, Tara has critics, but most I believe are short sighted. The term “Whuffie” is as good a word as any, so deal with it. The term “Factor” is what Tara is really talking about, so lets move on.

Love ’em or Hate ’em, Whuffie is a Derivative.

From Wikipedia: a derivative is any agreement or contract that is not based on a real, or true, exchange ie: There is nothing tangible like money, or a product, that is being exchanged. For example, a person goes to the grocery store, exchanges a currency (money) for a commodity (say, an apple). The exchange is complete when both parties have something tangible.

If the purchaser had called the store and asked for the apple to be held for one hour while the purchaser drives to the store, and the seller agrees, then a derivative has been created. The agreement (derivative) is derived from a proposed exchange (trade money for apple in one hour, not now).

Infinite Possibilities

In short, the current value of the relationship is backed by the past and future value of the many other relationship(s) formed. The twist is that social media has vastly equalized people’s impact on the true value of relationships – this remains consistent with Doctorow’s thesis. Tara takes us a step further where the underlying asset can be generalized as simply “value” where the Whuffie Factor is a derivative against this value. This is consistent with Searles’ thesis.

Social Currency

In my opinion, The Whuffie Factor will become one of the seminal books of its time period. Indeed there are many excellent books in the genre of collecting, building, engaging, storing and exchanging trust, reputation, or influence in Social Media. What sets Tara’s book apart is that, like Doc and Cory, she had the guts to call it something real.

Elevate the conversation or get out of the way

Tara Hunt effectively nails this profound abstraction to the floor so that the rest of us can now walk through to define and articulate the Holy Grail of our generation; a true Social Currency. Bravo Tara, Bravo

To Accelerate Serendipity, that’s the Whuffie Factor.

Photo Source/Credit; Jesse Lara

Future of Money and Technology Summit; Non-Quantifiable Exchanges

The above video playlist consists of the full 6 parts of the expert panel discussing non-quantifiable exchanges as recorded on April 26 2010 at the Future of Money and Technology Summit in San Francisco. The complete video is about 55 minutes. I encourage you to watch it because very few discussions about the future of money approach the subject with as much experience, introspection, and clarity as this historic panel has.

This is not another doom-gloom room – but a truly optimistic model of a future financial system built on a platform of social media. These panelists represent some of the top thought leaders, visionaries, and practitioners in the area of “Local Social” – where nothing happens until the rubber meets the road. It was a great privilege for me to be a part of this esteemed group.

Panelists:

Tara Hunt; Social Media Strategist, Author: The Whuffie Factor
Daniel Robles, Director, The Ingenesist Project
Micki Krimmel, CEO; NeighborGoods
Chris Heuer, CEO, Social Media Club

Moderator: Tara Hunt

The future of Money and Technology Summit is one of the most important conferences to emerge as a result of the accelerated innovation and organizational re-structuring forming as a result of increasing constraints on the global financial system. We all look forward to another excellent conference next year!

Social Currency and Anonymity

The subject of privacy and anonymity are again rising up with the latest move by Facebook to integrate updates across the Internet onto the Facebook platform.

Conspiracy theories about Facebook and the CIA continue to flourish.  Meanwhile, the marketing and advertising industry seems poised to reboot their dwindling influence under a new cloak and dagger of social media data hustling and predictive demographics rather than playing by new rules of engagement.

Money is one thing and value is another.

I am astonished that people willingly and freely give up huge volumes of information about themselves when they really don’t have to.  In earlier times, marketers and advertisers would pay a great deal of money for far less information that people give them for free.  People do not understand the value that is stored between their ears or how easy it would be to set up an alternate economy that trades in social currencies.

If advertisers can pay someone to cold call me, to graph my data across the web, or sneak around my social networks, then they can certainly pay me to answer the phone.

The Ingenesist Project specifies an Innovation Economy built on the platform of social media.  While that thesis is extensive, let me summarize that the primordial soup of the Innovation Economy is called the Knowledge Asset Inventory.

Anonymous assets

One essential element of the new economic paradigm is the ability to combine knowledge assets so that innovation becomes predictable and therefore capitalized. However, a side effect is that such code makes the individual containers anonymous.  Marketers will have to pay you to find you.  here is why:

Now think about it this way – if you remove 20-dollar bill from your wallet to buy a Latte, you do not know (nor do you care) whether the last transaction performed by that 20-dollar bill was a donation to a charitable cause or a drug deal.  The dollar bill is anonymous – but you, as an asset, are not.

Social Currency is a Social Imperative

Dollar denominated money is a system to control social currency at a leverage factor of 1000:1.  Take away the dollar currency, and the leverage disappears.  Add a social currency and the national debt disappears.

Almost as a bonus, it is an absolute impossibility for marketers and advertisers to store and exchange value denominated in a social currency without extraordinary changes to the way they engage their clients….like, uhm, …don’t waste our time.

If we are smart, we can shut down the privacy issue in a hurry – anonymity of knowledge assets is the key.

The 1:1000 Rule; A Social Currency Imperative

What’s the difference between money and value?

Today, I saw yet another doom gloom economic forecast with the proverbial exponential graph of interest-on-debt climbing out to the stratosphere. The prognosis is the same; all bad, very ‘all bad’ things will happen.

So I wonder, to whom is all this interest being paid? Where is all that money stored? It has to belong to someone or be represented by something on the planet Earth, after all, money makes the world go around.

The 1000:1 rule

If I were to take, for example, NOA, the National Oceanographic Agency, and ask someone a Goldman Sachs to place a value on it, they would add up the replacement value of all the ships and weather satellites and come up with a number like, say, 4 Billion Dollars.

Now, if I were to calculate the increase in human productivity that result directly from the ability to forecast the weather – for the purposes of food production, managing all modes of transportation, Energy production, and tangential resource allocation – the value of NOA would be in well in excess of 4 Trillion dollars. This is a factor of over 1000 between the value of the same object in financial currency and social currency.

A bridge spans a waterway and carries 50,000 cars and trucks per day. An alternate route would take each vehicle at least 1 hour longer per day to cross the waterway. 50 billion dollars worth of social value is created over the life of the bridge that cost 50 million to construct; a 1000:1 leverage ratio.

A single Boeing 747 costs 100 million dollars but increases human productivity (including influence ripples) by 100 billion dollars over the service life of the aircraft compared to the nearest alternative mode of transportation. Again, 1000:1

That’s the difference between money and value.

The problem arises because our financial system is not able to articulate true value of social currency using a dollar denominated currency so social value remains invisible, not non-existant. Maybe the financial system does not want to articulate social value. After all, dollar denominated currency represents control of social value at a ratio of 1:1000. It’s about control

9.6 Trillion dollars was spent to educate every American. Just because a “corporation” does not exist to employ them and utilize their talents to the highest productivity level, does not mean that the talent and value does not exist. According to the 1:1000 rule, The GDP of the US in Social Currency is a minimum of 9,600 Trillion. What deficit?

It is about control. The dollar has a 1:1000 control leverage over social currency. It is not at all surprising to see social media expand at the rate proportional to that which the doom-gloom crowd predicts that the financial system will collapse. They are related, they hedge each other. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

Again, the imminent collapse of the financial system – no matter what the ‘doom gloom’ crowd says – does not mean that value does not exist; it simply means that the dollar will no longer control the value; that is, the social value wedged between people’s ears is free to be capitalized and securitized directly. We need to capture social currency in a new financial paradigm.

Social currency is not a buzz word, it’s an imperative – it is the Ingenesist Project

Innovation Suicide

The following question appeared on a Linkedin Forum that I follow:

Complete this sentence: The ONE factor that is MOST important to innovation is… and here’s why…

I have said this in a few blog posts and I’ll say it again here: The current definition for “innovation” may be the single most disastrous eliminator of innovation.

Innovation Suicide:

Yeah, it kills itself. Really, look it up – it’s a horrible cacophony of buzz bits and weasel speak that amount to nothing more than “Ya know it when ya see it”.

Any definition is supposed to give the reader enough information to duplicate, recognize, and identify instances of the subject – Preferably before the event has ended. Think about it – if the definition for Innovation were clear, nobody would be asking this question.

I am always amazed at how simple the answers to complex questions – and how complex the answer to simple questions – can often be.

Question: THE ONE: Complete this sentence: The ONE factor that is MOST important to innovation is… and here’s why…

My Answer: The Definition of Innovation

Here is why:

Information, knowledge, and innovation are obviously related to each other.

1. You can’t have one without the other two.
2. If you cannot measure one, you cannot measure the other two.
3. where all three are integrated, the system becomes efficient.

Yet, the definitions of each term do not include the other two. Therefore, the current definition of innovation is insufficient to describe the condition. That is why this is the ONE most important factor.

Let me prescribe the following analogy; distance, velocity, and acceleration are obviously related.

1. You cannot have one without the other two.
2. If you cannot measure one, you cannot measure the other two.
3. where all three are integrated, the system is efficient.

This is because distance is the point between two facts, velocity is the rate at which the distance between two points changes. Acceleration is the rate at which the velocity of travel between two points changes.

Therefore let’s re-define innovation as follows:

Information are facts and data. Knowledge is defined by rate of change of information. Finally, innovation is defined by the rate of change of knowledge in a community.

If we can accept this definition, everything changes. Seriously, everything changes.

Now, that’s Innovation!!!

* note: If you are familiar with differential Calculus you may see how a new economic paradigm may arise from this algorithm.

The Brain-Picking Economy

brainI come across an increasing amount of posts and discussions related to alternate currencies, social currencies, and knowledge as a tangible asset, etc.  It is as if people are grappling with something that they don’t quite understand or can’t quite grasp – but, soon will.  Really, don’t lose heart – they are definitely on to something.

Sandy Jones Kaminski of Bella Domain provideds a well developed argument against letting people pick your brain by proposing the “no brain picking list”.   While somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the article portrays a common frustration felt by specially qualified people who get too many requests for “brain picking” and not enough turkey sandwiches to justify the time-value of the exchange.

[People who ask to pick your brain are either asking you to work for free or they are trying to bypass the very hard work required to build a social network by asking for your referrals]. While not quite a reason to end brain-picking, it certainly indicates a hugely inefficient market.

Taking some clues from the banking industry

A bank seeks to match most worthy money surplus  (rich people who will not pull their deposits abruptly) with most worthy money deficit (employed people with good credit history).  In order to accomplish this, the financial system has 5 essential components: a currency, an accounting system, a vetting mechanism, entrepreneurs, and business plans.

Now suppose we transpose the rules of finance on the rules of brain picking.

Currency

A currency is defined as a vessle that stores and allows for the exchange of value.  So it’s natural to expect that relationships, networks, “contacts”, “followers” and all the other accoutrements of social mediation are means by which we store value.  We invest time in developing our own knowledge assets and we invest those assets in our relationships.

Accounting System

The balance sheet needs to, well, balance.  The first assumption I make is that every single living breathing person on Earth holds value. It’s only a matter of whether they have a surplus in knowledge assets in that which I have a deficit and vice-versa. Since my deficits far exceed my surplus in the vast majority of human knowledge, I am always looking for a fat juicy brain to pick as well.

Vetting Mechanism

If the game isn’t fair, nobody will play.  Social media provides the most critical element of brain-picking economics.  Any time someone asks to pick my brain, I’ll do a Google search or conduct a social media profile on them. What I find will quickly determine what the initial contact will involve a courtesy email or a 3 hour golf game.

Business Plan:

Buy low sell high.  That’s the mantra of capitalism, but it remains “unspoken” in social media.  If a person is very successful at picking brains, there is an inherent quality in that which may be useful to me. I will study them. If other important people have allowed this person to pick their brain, why not me? If I’m getting a lot of pickers from a certain demographic, maybe that represents a business opportunity, seminar market, or speaking engagement.

An entrepreneur is as an entrepreneur does

Entrepreneurs do nothing more than identify assets and elevate them from a low level of productivity to a higher level of productivity.  I ask my brain picker who they have also discussed the matter with. I also ask them places and dates of those interactions.  I ask them about people in their social network, rumors, concerns, projections.  I ask them their goals an objectives in talking with me – exactly as I would do for any client….

…well before you know it, I’m picking their brain.

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