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Is Anonymity an Asset or a Liability?

Facebook is delivering incredibly rich data about people, their activities, preferences and knowledge assets right to the doorstep of marketers, employers, and likely, Government.  Is Anonymity an Asset or a Liability?

Uhm…is this what the users had in mind?

“Local Social” is an absolute imperative for monetization of Social Media – every application needs some degree of local integration. Here’s why: Nothing happens until people get together and build something, produce something, or create something together. That is what “an economy” is, that is what “a company” is, that is what “a Market” is, that is what “a conversation” is.

Facebook knows this, but there is a catch; “Local Social” does not need a big platform like Facebook – a small one would do fine. However, Facebook needs the micro platform in order to monetize. In other words, Facebook needs Communities more than Communities need Facebook.

If Facebook is not careful, a huge opportunity awaits a competitor to disrupt the Facebook parade with high value, high segmentation, and high anonymity – and still monetize.

The irony is that Facebook Groups will empower the community to spin off and compete with it.

Here is what will happen:

Facebook must provides consumers with the same information about corporations as they provide to corporations about consumers. Corporations need to be willing to expose themselves to transparency. People will undoubtedly publish the names and addresses of the CEO of the corporations in their communities. Their names, prefered music, groups joined, and Farmville wiggly worms, etc.

If someone goes through extraordinary effort to not be seen, that too will become a data point – distrust.

People are not dumb, entrepreneurs will find a way to make the game fair. Facebook will find itself regulated by its own community. Only then can we expect the level of opportunity and accountability that is required to support a fully convertible universal social currency.

It’s up to Facebook now – I hope they know what they are doing.

Does School Interfere With Education?

I guess that is could be considered sacrilege for a college professor to suggest that higher education is inadequate in some way.  My position is that the college degree must go away in favor of strategic combinations of high resolution knowledge assets.  The irony is that those who really “get it” understand “school” better than the schools.

The price of college education compared to the value of college education in society is skewing toward obsolescence. The news reports are filled with stories of unemployed MBAs and Engineers.  Over qualified, out of date, over generalized, specialized into obsolescence are all risk conditions that can make college a liability, not an asset.

There are many articles in these archives that outline my opinions on the subject. So here is what the kids say….

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Culture: When Engagement Is Not Optional

pLASMA bALLToday we see Social Media duplicating many of the functions of earlier society by storing community wisdom, applying social vetting, and deploying social currencies.

It takes a Community

Here is an article is about a a person who learned through social media profiling that her fiance was active in hobbies that conflicted with her moral constitution – before the wedding instead of after.  In the old days, the community would also profile each individual based on the social record of their behavior.

Social Capitalism

Here is a video article that discusses how social media is  duplicating many functions of the corporation outside the construct of the corporation. Factors of production increasingly enter the org chart as a social media application.  We now question whether the corporation itself is the sole vehicle of wealth creation.

Social Currency

We see social media duplicating many of the functions of the financial system where currency, credit scores, banks, land, labor, and capital are being replaced by social currency, social vetting, social capital, creative capital, and social entrepreneurs.

Macro vs. Micro

We see divisions of scale from the long-winded one-sided content of the static web presence to the micro blogging applications that more closely resemble a conversation.  Time factors are accelerated to the point where real-time is not fast enough.

Local vs. Global

We see an emerging segmentation between Local Social and Global Social. At first global leverage was the awarded the small entrepreneur with something to offer to the world.  Now ‘Local Social’ enjoys substantial leverage over global corporations by reorganizing the way people prioritize and experience each other and their community.

Everyone is a node

Taking an analogy from the physics of electricity, the term “potential” means the difference in energy between two nodes.  The greater the difference, the bigger the spark and the greater the impact.   The local energy at each node influences the direction and size of sparks between nodes.  As people accumulate ‘Social Current’, their position relative to those around them changes. Likewise, their potential also changes relative to the ‘Social Current’ of others. Everyone has some potential relative to every other node.

Integration has arrived

Much like the knowledge economy integrated, but did not replace, the agrarian economy, Social Media will not replace the corporation, the financial system, dissertation, conversations, localization or globalization.  Rather, everyone becomes a corporation, everyone prints their own social currency, everyone publishes their intentions, everyone has local and global leverage.  That’s what Integration is all about.

A ‘culture of one’ is moot.

It is not surprising then that our culture itself is now being defined in terms of social media with effective aggregation of  social norms, storage of social wisdom, and medium of exchange for community ideals.  The true test of “culture status” is when engagement is no longer an optional.  Without engagement, there is no culture.


Gowalla and Foursquare: Money is as Money Does

manhattanMoney happens because people happen, not the other way around.

Wall Street has no idea what’s knocking at their door with the emergence of a new class of Social Media Applications that incorporate geolocation strategy.

Money is as money does.

Hanging out in bars and buying silly tokens does not define a sustainable economy any more than borrowing money from yourself with interest in order to keep it sufficiently “scarce”. However, the strategic combination of social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital does define a sustainable economy.

Social Productivity can be loosely defined as “what you make with your time”. All of us have a limited number of hours on Earth.  “Don’t waste my time” is the new Tax on Tea. The Last Mile of Social Media is a critical step that will complete the Internet as a system of social organization, and as a result, financial reorganization.

The 5 components of a financial system

A financial system must have 5 components acting in a system in order to sustain itself:  1. a means to store and exchange value (currency). 2. inventory 3. vetting  4. entrepreneurs, 5. A business model.  If any of these components is missing or becomes corrupted, the whole system fails.  Where all of these components are intact, however primitive, an economy will flourish.

1. Currency is a social agreement and the Dollar is no exception.  The “social agreement” is the presumption that the currency is scarce and therefore valuable.  In reality, time is scarce.  Geolocation is important because traveling is a quantity and guessing is a quality that are both time consuming.

2. The knowledge inventory is emerging where people establish themselves as experts through blogging, community organization, and development of creative content.  The new class of social media applications like Gowalla, Foursquare (and those not yet created) will eventually evolve to highly organized and finely granulated knowledge inventories in and about communities.

3. The vetting mechanism will form as people with common knowledge assets aggregate around cooperative activity rather than competitive activity.  High integrity will be rewarded and low integrity will be punished. Gowalla and Foursquare are still easy to cheat, but that will get worked out.

4. Entrepreneurs. As information becomes infinite, time becomes more scarce, thereby forming the basis of this new economy. Entrepreneurs will identify knowledge assets and elevate them from low levels of productivity to higher levels of productivity. Gowalla and Foursquare provide visibility to some rudimentary knowledge assets – it will only get better.

The New Class of entrepreneurs will begin by aggregating strategic combinations of vendors.  Then they will aggregate strategic combinations of knowledge assets and match them to strategic vendors in infinite combinations. They will manufacture “time”.

5. The business plan is simple: A. transform data to information, B. transform information to knowledge, C. transform knowledge to innovation, D. transform innovation to data.  Each transformation produces “time”.

In fact, this is all that Gowalla and Foursquare accomplish.   Each transforms data into information and people transform information into knowledge.  People are drawn to the possibility of  increasing the value of their time in their community.

If people can make their own currency more efficiently than a corporation or government can do it for them, they will. Don’t worry, a currency will find a way to represent them – after all, money is as money does.

Foursquare Economics

foursquareThe Next Economic Paradigm is arriving and the first entries include Foursquare.  Few people understand the significance of this new class of social media applications. Foursquare contains many (but not yet all) of the components of the Innovation Economy that we have been discussing for several years at Ingenesist.com, Conversationalcurreny.com, and Relationship-economy.com.

Here is what Foursquare does have:

Geolocation: Sure, social media has been great sport for chatting with your buddies across the world, but nothing really happens until the rubber meets the road.  people need to be in the same location in order to “build something” together.  We call this The Last Mile of Social Media

Mayor of Popcorn: As silly as this may sound, badging it is a highly sophisticated feature that we have called the “knowledge Inventory“.  In order to build anything, there must be an inventory of parts. “Knowledge” is not the exception as the crude and archaic resume system would have people believe.

Knowledge is an asset and it will perform as an asset if it is characterized in the form of a quantity and a quality.  “Mayor of Popcorn”, believe it or not, is in the correct form.

Vetting Mechanism: Vendors are an equal part of the social network and will soon provide their coupons, specials, and other economic incentives on Foursquare because advertising any other way is dead meat.  Vendors will live in a system that is in their best interest to practice high integrity rather than low integrity while favoring mom and pop operations that live in the community.  We call this “Social Vetting” as it lives beyond law and government – let the market be the judge.

Here is what they do not have (yet): Currency

The attraction of foursquare is the promise of fun and fancy crowd play.  The incentive is to be seen as connected, mobile, and plugged-in.  As such, people will be implicitly attracted to you like bees to a flower. In actuality, this game takes Social Media right to the edge of becoming a new financial system that can compete with, and challenge, the almighty dollar. No kidding.

Remember that currency is a social agreement.  History shows that people will trade seashells, tulip bulbs, paper notes, and little copper disks as a device to store and exchange value. All value is expressed in terms of human incentives of some kind.  Well here we have it.  Now let the entrepreneurs play.

That is a huge, huge, huge matter.

The dollar represents productivity….well, so does Foursquare.  What will entrepreneurs do in this environment?  How will entrepreneurs organize communities around “things-o-do” – or even – “things-that-must-be done”?

Here is the hint.  The idea that innovation is the exclusive domain of corporations, academia, or government is now as obsolete as Twitter.  Innovation is now related to knowledge as knowledge is related to information.  Anything that increases the rate of change of knowledge in a community can now be defined as innovation in Foursquare.

Debt and innovation represent the exact same thing.

Innovation is a promise of future productivity. Debt is also a promise of future productivity.   It is only a matter of time that all of the activity in this new generation of social media applications will resolve to, and aggregate around, a new form of currency that will compete with the dollar itself.  Mark these words.

The Invisible Surplus

invisible man griffin jared hindmanKnowledge is THE Asset. Deal with it.

I don’t care what the “definitions” by the Experts, the Patent System, Production Systems, Money, corporate bonds, marketing, advertising, or all the rest of that stuff. In the next economic paradigm, knowledge is an asset, knowledge is the only asset that matters because the transformation of knowledge into solutions will become the next currency.  If not human knowledge, then what else?

You can’t hold it in your hand because you hold it between your Ears

Yet, if you listen to mainstream media, our education system, politicians, and even college textbooks, everything else is the “asset” and human knowledge is treated like some expendable line item that is unworthy of economic development – or economic equality for that mattter.

Knowledge is invisible because there is no inventory. Why are we unable to see things like this? This is the most stunning cognitive deficit imaginable for the World’s most developed country. Why is this such an impossible philosophical chasm that we cannot seem to cross with our modern accounting system?

Now, what would happen if we did? Perhaps we would find find a cognitive surplus.

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Everyone, Inc.

In the state of Washington, it costs 200 dollars to establish a Limited Liability Corporation. All the documents are online and there is no shortage of tutorials on the process. It’s a whole lot easier to get a job because it’s real easy for one corporation to hire (and fire) another corporation. Taxes are simple.

Everyone’s liability is limited and transactions are conducted under a uniform commercial code. And there are no incentives for people doing what they are not good at and every incentive for people to do what they enjoy most.

A corporation is fictitious.

A corporation exists in the form of a bits and bytes simulating a folder of papers in a virtual file cabinet. A corporation gets to deduct all of their expenses from their taxes. A corporation has a credit score, it can borrow money, and even have a bankruptcy just like a person. A corporation can donate unlimited amounts of money to a political candidate. Corporation garner social respect. Laws favor corporation. In fact, the cards are stacked in favor of the corporation over the employee; unless, of course, you are both.

It’s all in the Management….of knowledge assets.

All of the business theories are written to apply within the construct of the corporation. Corporate accounting provides a host of clever ways to manage assets. You can depreciate assets, you can inflate or deflate “intangibles” as needed for whatever valuation purpose. You don’t need to show anyone your accounting either (unless you are a public corporation). American corporations don’t even need to hire American employees, or any employees for that matter. Outsourcing goes to other corporations.

Land, Labor, and Capital

Corporations allocate Land Labor and Capital – well, that’s the theory anyway. Land is underwater in a real estate bubble. Labor is tragically unemployable or under employed or outsourced to the political slave markets. Capital is being consumed by the “interest” monster conjured into existence from the debt. Uuhhmmm….So how’s that workin’ for ya’ll??

So why not become a corporation??

Social Media is able to perform almost all of the functions that a corporation would normally do internally. The “Last Mile of Social Media” is when local communities organize themselves on, say, Facebook. High integrity is rewarded and low integrity is punished. Now you can reliably find other corporations to do your accounting, Human Resources, Marketing, and content design and distribution.

If you need to actually produce something “solid”, well there will always be a corporation willing to do that too. All of these things are only a keystroke away. So why isn’t everyone a corporation?

No, seriously……

We teach our kids to be good employees, not to become good corporations.  How do we expect social priorities to compete with Wall Street Priorities?

Factor of Production #2; Creative Capital

Land_Labor_capitalThe financial system that we live in today is allocated to us all through combining chunks of Land, Labor, and Capital. It should be fairly obvious that there are some issues with land (real estate bubble), Labor (high unemployment/out sourcing), and Capital (financial system meltdown).

As Dr. Phil would say: “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

There has been a flash of conversation centered around the idea of Social Capital as a form of currency in these two blog posts by Brian Solis and Venessa Miemis. I would like to use this post to expand those ideas to one of at least two more “Factors of Production”: Creative Capital, and Intellectual capital, in future blog posts.

Introducing the subject of Creative capital (more later, no doubt), here is a video from TED about the league of extraordinary dancers. Watch them move but also listen to how they talk about what they are doing. Skip through the 17 minutes if you must (you probably can’t!), just see how different they see the world.

If we expect to deliver an alternate social currency backed by innovation, we need to reflect deeply upon this specific factor of production.  We need to think, observe, and interpret with the flexibility that “Creatives” have – if not, we need the humility to let them help us.   Only then can we start connecting the dots.

A Community of Knowledge Assets

A Community of Knowledge AssetsOur culture organizes itself around winners and losers. Corporations reflect this competitive nature to the core of their Capitalist doctrine. Sports analogies abound across the enterprise straight through to the HR department always on the lookout for the most amount of superstar for the least amount of money.

Social media has every industry trying to understand the concept of community. Among the most difficult ideas to grasp is that knowledge assets in a community live on a bell curve, not in winner and loser columns. Everyone is an expert at something and nobody is an expert at everything. Someone who is not performing adequately is simply a misallocated asset, not flotsam subject to jettison at the next layoff or outsource “opportunity”.

A Community of Knowledge Assets

Like most assets, there is a perfectly legitimate market for everyone in a community – nobody need be excluded, marginalized or laid off. Social Media is turning the tables on the hierarchy and old winners who don’t play by the new rules quickly become the new losers. Maybe we ought to run our economy like a community instead of losing so badly at trying to be a winner.

A Community of Knowledge Assets

The Old Economic Paradigm Breaks Down

childmillworkerAs the economic crisis unfolds before us and a paralyzed government, we must seek to understand the forces still acting upon all of us. When cause and effect have become a “complete mystery” to our most prominent thinkers and leaders, they need to look at history.

Does the Merchant Class allocate land Labor and Capital to the a great extent in an Innovation economy? The accepted statistic is that 70% of a company’s value comes from human capital and the creative solutions that they produce.

Land, labor, and capital are ineffective proxies for human creativity and intellect – end of story. The road to new monetization is not paved upon on the roadmap of the industrial revolution.  Something new needs to happen:

The simple truth is that humans have not evolved to the point where they will organize themselves as knowledge assets in a financial system – they still need to use a proxy for their productivity controlled by a master, a corporation, an idealism. It’s called money, politics, and fear.

The reality is that opportunities are endless if we can simply shift away from history and build a new future; a new economic paradigm.

Video: Tangible Knowledge; The Holy Grail of Social Media

Accounting Balance sheets have tangible assets and intangible assets. Unfortunately, intangible often means invisible and those on the dark side of the moon wind up in the unemployment line.

What if knowledge assets were tangible? What if you owned your knowledge like a company owns a structure or specialized machinery? What if it could be quantified and qualified so that it resembles all other tangible assets? Easy answer…entrepreneurs will trade it, like money.

Dark Net and the Economics of Mutual Anonymity

In 2001, Michael K Bergman, an American academic and entrepreneur and one of the foremost authorities about the Internet, published a paper estimating the “Deep Web” to be 400-550 times larger than the known Googleverse.  What does this mean for everything we claim to know about the web, social media, and social influence marketing?

Andy Becket wrote an excellent investigative piece called  The dark side of the internet that I highly recommend reading.  Among many great points, Andy describes the deep web:

“The darkweb”; “the deep web”; beneath “the surface web” – the metaphors alone make the internet feel suddenly more unfathomable and mysterious. Other terms circulate among those in the know: “darknet”, “invisible web”, “dark address space”, “murky address space”, “dirty address space”. Not all these phrases mean the same thing. While a “darknet” is an online network such as Freenet that is concealed from non-users, with all the potential for transgressive behaviour that implies, much of “the deep web”, spooky as it sounds, consists of unremarkable consumer and research data that is beyond the reach of search engines. “Dark address space” often refers to internet addresses that, for purely technical reasons, have simply stopped working.

The implications of the Dark Web are subtle.  Like “Dark Matter” in space, the dark web may behave as a multiplier to account for that which cannot be explained except by some invisible, albeit, constant force.  We can assume consistence because the common thread that transcends the entire Internet is still conversation. The ability to have a conversation as well as the ability to reject a conversation is part of the Dark Web and still a conversation nonetheless.  The opposite of publicity is anonymity – if the universe seeks balance so too can we expect the web to equalize around the average anonymity of conversation.

Entrepreneurial factors also appear rational when applied to the Dark Web, specifically true ownership.  Ownership includes the right to restrict access from others.  In the Googleverse of search rankings and old economics, watered down and largely unenforceable copyright laws create a wasteful game of Cease and Desist among content providers – not exactly a safe place to converse.  The inability to establish ownership and boundaries of user generated content is a primary constraint on monetization.

Meanwhile, the Dark Web utilizes a knowledge inventory where trusted people of known affinity are given free access to share freely – and anonymously.   Ironically, anonymity improves the quality of a conversation by eliminating the irrelevant data that often constrains conversation.   It is worthwhile to consider anonymity as a possibles monetization factor – pay to hide?

Not all anonymity is corrupt and perverse.  People spend a great deal of time and effort developing a database that represents a knowledge inventory and they don’t want someone to just copy it.   Trade secrets are the great competitive financial instrument of capitalism and depend on secrecy.  For better or for worse, political activity in non-free countries such as China, Iran, and Afghanistan also rely on anonymity. The more time people spend on the web, the more of their personal life that would want to keep to themselves – the ability to avoid Google bots is a tangible conversation.

The phenomenon to consider is that people with mutual anonymity are able to share more freely.  Ironically, anonymity improves the quality of a conversation by eliminating the irrelevant data that often constrains conversation.  Conversely, efforts to constrain anonymity destroys freedom of the web.  Tell that to your web analytics team.

Pirates, Anarchy, and the Monetization of Social Media

(Editor’s note: some ideas adapted from writings of Peter T. Leeson and introduces the idea of IOUs trading as a proxy for production.  The monetization of social media will likely evolve from such an idea)

No sane blogger would post an article suggesting that anarchy is superior to government as a means of producing widespread cooperation…or would they?

As Milton Friedman put it, “government is essential both as a forum for determining the ‘rules of the game’ and as an umpire to interpret and enforce the rules decided upon.” Most great anarchist theories are duly faulted for significant problems coping with cheating and violence.

Nonetheless, large swaths or anarchy exist today.  For example, there is no World Court to enforce World Law, if such laws existed.  Nor is there a Global commercial law to enforce contracts between Global traders. Even at a local level there is no guarantee that the government will protect your property or enforce your contracts.

A common objection to anarchy is that without government the strong will plunder the weak because the weak have an inherent inability to protect themselves. How can self-governance alone protect the weak?

Social Piracy?

Fallout: FTC and Blogger Payola

 

The FTC recently issued guidelines for payola to bloggers.  The impact and opinions are now emerging over what this means for social media. As with any game played on a new field, rules need to apply.  The questions emerge regarding who the rules hurt, who they help, and how the game will develop in the future due to those rules.

Straight from the horse’s mouth:

The revised Guides also add new examples to illustrate the long standing principle that “material connections” (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed. These examples address what constitutes an endorsement when the message is conveyed by bloggers or other “word-of-mouth” marketers.

Extrapolate into the future:

Is Freedom A New Economic Paradigm?

A New Economic System of the country of Montenegro is based on complete and unfettered economic freedom; in other words, the elimination of all barriers to conducting business.  Is Freedom A New Economic Paradigm?

Veselin Vukotić ‘s paper titled Economic Freedom and New Economic Paradigm, offers a case study that enlightens us as to some of the core changes, some easy and some difficult, that any proclaimed ‘new economic paradigm’ would place on people, culture, politics, and the markets.  From this insight, perhaps we’ll see a new paradigm emerge.

Freedom; A competitive Advantage

Montenegro has achieved a competitive advantage in their Eastern European region by reducing international trade barriers, treating foreign and domestic concerns equally, reducing “contribution” fees and other taxes, reduction of public spending, affirmation of private property, and encouraging entrepreneurship.   Veselin Vukotić  also notes that the concept of economic freedom is a complete theoretical and practical expression of an idea.  He quotes Plato:

The difference between concepts is the difference between starting ideas!

Therefore, he concludes that the idea of economic freedom is freedom of an individual to conduct business (earn money), and that business is the key factor of a society’s development and individual wealth.  While we now know that unfettered capitalism breaks down at some point, he does accomplish something important – the elimination of all government as a defining element of freedom.

The Singularity Solution

We know it is often easier to solve a problem if we can remove certain elements, even temporarily, and analyze components individually.  Suppose we eliminate Government from the equation, corporations would rule.  However, corporations are made up of individuals, so individuals would rule…they would rule whom?  The logic also breaks down.

There is one exception: what if all individuals were corporations and they ruled only themselves? Corporations are keeping government out of their affairs by keeping people off the books.  The solution is for everyone to structure their existence as a corporation contracting to each other for every conceivable business arrangement.  Heck, it only costs 40 dollars to open a business in the the U.S.

Self-regulating Freedom?

Knowledge would be shared freely, people would be paid for their productivity, diversity and strategic combination of knowledge would be rewarded.  Everyone would own their knowledge and would seek to accumulate more.   Trade barriers would be eliminated, taxes would be reduced, private property would be affirmed, and entrepreneurship would be encouraged.  Like a family, no corporation could become wealthy at the expense of another corporation for very long.

Would you be willing to pay the government to leave you alone? Is that Freedom or a new economic paradigm or both?

Why is college measured in “degrees”?

 

(Editor’s note; This is the first in a series of articles that challenges the “degree system” of knowledge measurement as archaic and irrelevant to what is actually happening in the world today.  Like the resume system  – it is ridiculous if not outright damaging to the prospect of knowledge behaving, and therefore, trading like a financial instrument.  

Why do we still care about college ‘degrees”?

The information that fuels the next economic paradigm will not be captured in the form of college degrees; rather, it will be captured in extremely detailed granularity of unique collections of knowledge assets in diverse combinations of persons that solve complex puzzles – and then share the solution with others.

This begs the question, why do we still care about University Degrees?

Social Isolation Funnel

You don’t stand a chance.

Social Influence Marketing (SIM) is becoming more sophisticated at finding you in your social space than you are in avoiding Social Influence Marketing (Advertising).   A new set of theories and systems have been deployed on how to engage you in conversation, grab your response data, funnel you into the pitch, induce credit card labor, and draw out your social broadcast.  Guess what, your social media sites are helping them….

Flirting with the enemy

The greatest problem that social media created for advertisers was to disperse the crowd from the once treasured “captive audience” of the radio/TV days to millions of individual affinity outlets.  Blasting the message home is no longer a function of Ad spend.    However, marketers are smart and social media sites are corporations too – now these forces are converging with unimaginable voracity.

They have you figured out.

In a quest for monetization, popular sites now provide “data services” to the brands. Such data empowers, once again, the advertiser over the viewer.  Why not provide “data service” to the users about what the brands pay for and what information they are mining about users?  If Brands are not comfortable with disclosing such information – should we be comfortable about teaching our “human nature” to them?

As social sites increasingly develop stickiness applications to retain the audience, new innovations are directed to that old business TV/Radio model rather than reinforcing the reason why social media emerged in the first place.    At some point, it becomes the best interest of the social site to meet the Wall Street expectation of “tangible output” over the user expectation of increased productivity. In other words, keep people glued to the LCD and don’t empower them to enter their communities to innovate social change.

Once users lose the ability to reject a brand message, we’re all right back where we started from.

People need to meet each other in real life to do real things. The best way to retain the original power of social media is to disperse once again.  Micro-social networks reflecting communities of interest need to form in proximity to each member.  Each community of interest must combine with other highly local social networks to share ideas, create local innovation, and enforce social priorities.

Hide your data in your own data:

Each time a different affinity group meets with another affinity group, the demographic data changes – it becomes renewed, refreshed and remains in the possession of the community.  This is where the value is, people can own it of they knew it’s theirs – and Brands can access far more value by supporting communities rather than by isolating communities.

Twitter Vetting = Twetting?

twitter-money

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There are 3 characteristics of financial instruments which make them tangible in a market:   They live in an inventory, they are exposed to vetting mechanisms, and they are subject to constraints.

Tangibility of knowledge:

Here at Conversational Currency we are constantly seeking examples where human knowledge behaves like a financial instrument because a true innovation economy will arise when all 3 characteristics are true for the ‘human knowledge’.

We believe that the platform for the Innovation Economy will be Socialized Media; not corporations, or government.  So we get excited when we see posts like this from Brian Solis via Matt Marshall regarding Twitter’s monetization plans.

Twitter to becoming the vetting mechanism for business intelligence.

Think about the credit score; a list of independent variables run through an algorithm that correlate with the likelihood that you’ll fulfill a financial obligation. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination…read between the lines:

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By Brian Solis:

Over at VentureBeat, Matt Marshall is reporting that Twitter will introduce its first revenue-generating series of premium services.

In an interview with co-founder Biz Stone, it was revealed that Twitter is in the initial phases of introducing commercial accounts to businesses seeking detailed analysis of activity in and around the brand on the popular network as well as other data not available to Twitter users directly.

In the next phase, Stone indicated that Twitter may also debut a new set of corporate-specific API’s that would allow the company to insert a customer layer over the profile and other aspects of the network to more effectively engage with the community, while increasing strategic visibility.

Stone revealed to Marshall, “Twitter will still be free for everybody and we’ll still tell them to go crazy with it. But, we’ve identified a selection of things that businesses say are helping to make them more profit.”

He further elucidated, “We want to build statistics or analytics that let users know — ‘How am I doing on Twitter?”

This news is the latest in a short series of information bursts following the company’s announcement that it is rolling out a new set of APIs to integrate geo-location into Tweets, mostly likely to contend with rising competition of geo-location networks such as Loopt and Four Square and also as a potential generator of hyper-local advertising revenue.

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Ponder this:

Social value lives in an emerging inventory that is ever increasing in granularity.  Corporations have very little control over public opinion –  except in retrospect – which amounts to a constraint on social value.  Now, Twitter is the vetting mechanism.  Wow, we’re getting closer to the next economic paradigm every day.

The implications are vast.  Now we shall ask a few question:

At what point will Corporate Innovation reflect social priorities over Wall Street priorities?

At what point will Wall Street Priorities reflect Social Priorities?

If the Wall Street Manifesto is to “return shareholder value” and Twitter is vetting “social values”, what is the value of Twitter and who is really holding/voting those shares?


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Is a social contract legally binding…and who cares?

Trillions of dollars in play:

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

What is a Social Contract worth?

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

Take me to your leader

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

Separating facts from fiction

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

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

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

However, when we consider social media;

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

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

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

Tangible assets are managed by contracts

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

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

The mystery is no mystery

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

The Competition is Competition Itself

In quantum physics, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle states that certain pairs of physical properties, like position and momentum, cannot both be known. That is, the more precisely one property is known, the less precisely the other can be known.

A practical analogy is the modern corporation.  It is difficult for a corporation to truly innovate because people behave as a function of the corporation’s interaction with them.  Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle suggests that the more we know about competition, the less we may know about cooperation.

Is competition is good for innovation?

A corporation is a closed loop that feeds on internalization.  External influence is traditionally shunned because of the great promise of the competitive economic system.  We compete with other companies, with our own legal system, with Unions, and with each other.  We hold and protect trade secrets; spend millions on patents that never get used.  We make our “intangible Human Assets” sign “tangible” contracts of secrecy and non-competition.

How do we define cooperation?

We often think of cooperation as teamwork. However, we define cooperation as the alternative to working separately in competition.  The definition of cooperation is derived from competition; the assumption that there is an opponent.  There needs to be a war against something in order to accomplish something together.  If you are not with us, you are against us.

Who exactly is the opponent?

Competition is a deeply ingrained part of our culture.  The business world is filled with sports analogies like; “knock them dead”, “carry the ball”, “we need a home run”, “great save!”  We see that national sports franchises command the highest pay and best ratings.  Reality TV is all about kicking people off islands, backstabbing one’s fellow apprentice.  We have even turned the pursuit of love and happiness into a competition.  The object is to decimate the competition. We define ourselves with slogans like: “may the best man win”; “the survival of the fittest”; “winner takes all”.  Destruction sells.

Beating a dead horse:

So what happens when we compete with each other?  What are the consequences when we decimate each other?  What happens when one departments competes with another department in the same company?  What happens when one person competes with another for a salary and bonuses?  What happens when society competes with Wall Street for their 401K?  What happens when the competition is already lost – do we continue competing or do we then cooperate?

The unwinnable war

After a while, societies and communities becomes a closed loop much like the corporations that they interface with.  They have no idea who the friend is or who the enemy is.  When people are in a game that they cannot win, they feel alone. Loneliness is the war that cannot be fought.

Social Media Cooperation; A closed loop system:

Social Media is emerging as an astonishing force in cooperation by uniting communities and people of diverse and complementary interests, affinities, and actions.  Social media works in a new dimension:  It is a “cultural dimensions” where the opponent is opposition itself.

Social media teaches cooperation. The more we know about cooperation, the less we know about competition.

You Are The Algorithm

You are the algorithm.

Google is an information company. Their corporate charter is to organize the World’s information.  Their limitation is that Google cannot organize knowledge because knowledge exists only within the consciousness of a person.   Instead, busy little Google spiders scour the Internet looking for high rates of change of information and they use that as a proxy for “knowledge”.

An economy is crawled

Google Spiders favor blogs because of the high frequency of updates, postings, tags, comments and keywords in comparison to static websites.  The logic goes as follows; if there is a lot of activity, something must be happening.  As a result, an entire industry has grown around the blogging and Search Engine Optimization business; listings are counted, raw data are analyzed, comments provide feedback loops.  Most notably, money is exchanged.

B-school tells us that that ROI can only be calculated from long term future projections, not short-term-recent-past spider activity.  If this “economy” cannot be projected through ROI, then how exactly is it projected?

Dynamic, like life itself

People are figuring out that the rate of change of information is the best indicator of value as well as the best way to create value. The last mile of social media is the next frontier of value creation as people will emulate ‘Google Spiders’ and scour their community for changing information, new ideas, improved information, and feedback loops to organize, categorize, and distribute.  This action will ultimately play out in new corporations built upon perfect dynamic information markets rather than third party selective information markets.  Exit Boston Globe, enter Twitter.

Organize this:

The key to unraveling the Innovation economy will be in refining, restructuring and organizing the profound relatedness between information, knowledge, and innovation.

Information is facts and data – this is the medium of exchange or “the currency”.  The rate at which the facts and the data change is a proxy for new knowledge being created somewhere and somehow. After all, if there is activity, something must be happening.   All of the things that people do with the results creates even more new knowledge – this is innovation.  Innovation creates new information. New currency is created because new information is created.  Knowledge expands.

There is something in it; otherwise people would not do it

We are seeing the tip of the iceberg; social media is the new engine of the innovation economy.  Where information becomes more perfect, markets become more efficient.  Where markets are more efficient, knowledge becomes more tangible.  Where knowledge is more tangible, innovation is more predictable.  Where innovation is more predictable, the innovation risk disappears.  The lower the risk, the cheaper and more abundant the venture capital.

People increasingly use social media to improve information, everywhere, any way that they can dream of.  They increasingly act locally and share globally to create opportunities for themselves and their communities.  People and their behavior is the algorithm of the innovation economy; monetize that. Google did.

What Comes After the Knowledge Economy?

The Ingenesist Project was featured in this video for Social Media Connection Broadcast Network produced by Jay Deragon. This is the first of many videos that we will be producing in order to explain what the Ingenesist Project is and why it is so important.

The Innovation Economy is the next level of economic development following the knowledge economy.  It will not be induced by corporations, Wall Street, or even the Federal Government.  This is something that we must create for ourselves as a social movement.  Social Media will play a pivotal role in this next economic paradigm.

Please watch this video and send any comments, questions, or ideas for future broadcasts about the Ingenesist Project.

I would like to thank all of our contributors for their endless support.

The Fertilizer Economy

The bad, the good, and the ugly

The bad news is that United States has a global comparative advantage in producing bullshit. The good news is that we may actually be able to till it into fertilizer for the Innovation economy.

America’s financial crisis was caused by money created from money which was in turn a derivative of wild-eyed speculation in assorted proxies for real productivity, including real estate.  Stock prices were supported by imperfect information in a Tickle-Me-Elmo culture while broker fees are embedded in every conceivable transaction.

America has become a world leader in hype, marketing, lawsuits, and fantasy. None of these industries actually produce anything yet nobody can say they are not immensely creative, induce sweeping social movements, and their propagation demands extraordinary intellectual resources, flexibility, and adaptability.

The Theory of Comparative Advantage

It is not efficient for, say, Ghana to produce rice and Vietnam to produce cocoa. If they each produce their natural endowments and then trade the differences, fewer resources are expended to produce more goods.  This theory is the basis of global free trade and the efficiencies are irrefutable so globalization is here to stay.

Meanwhile, the literature on the subject of innovation agrees that innovation is maximized as a function of endowments in social capital, creative capital and intellectual capital.  Silicon Valley is widely held as the poster child for emerging from the deep social movements of the 1960’s attracting an inflow of diverse people where high tolerance, creative art and music were abundant in close proximity to intellectual centers of Stanford and Berkeley.

Comparative Advantage for Innovation:

By the theory of comparative advantage, if a country does not possess a comparative advantage in intellectual capital, creative capital, and social capital, they would not hold a comparative advantage in an innovation economy.

For example; China has a huge endowment of intellectual capital and throughout history they have been an inspired creative force.  However, the current government thwarts social capital.  Therefore, whereas China has a comparative advantage in a manufacturing economy, they would not necessarily have a comparative advantage in an innovation economy.

Many other countries have endowments of intellectual capital as well as democratic governments, but cultural norms may still constrain diversity related to gender roles, social classes, lifestyle tolerance, or the acceptance of “outsiders”.  As such, they may have comparative advantage in a knowledge economy, but the relative deficiency in creative capital would inhibit a comparative advantage in an innovation economy just as quickly.

The Fertilizer Economy:

That said, the United States has a vast abundance and tremendous economies of scale in social capital, intellectual capital, and creative capital in comparison to any other country in the world.  The problem is that these assets are sequestered behind the corporate veil, suppressed from true wealth creation by the priorities of a financial system built to produce nothing except analyst expectations.  Like sugar calories, lots of energy is delivered, but sustainable health is not.

The harvest in the wind

The brokers, speculators, and marketers are not bad people – in fact, they are brilliant.  They are simply stuck with the wrong set of incentives.  The Ingenesist Project dramatically changes the incentives and promises a far better allocation of intellectual capital, social capital, and creative capital.  By making such assets tangible outside the construct of the Wall Street, the comparative advantage of the United States in an innovation economy will be astonishing.

Where there is fertilizer in the wind, Wall Street will lead. Where there is a harvest in the wind, Wall Street will follow.

Who Owns Your Content?

The epiphany:

Something very interesting happened when Facebook changed their terms of service.   People who use the Facebook platform (for free) organized themselves using the (free) platform to threaten the core validity of the same (free) platform.  This could not happen in any other industry.

Saving face?

Ownership is largely characterized by the ability of one party to restrict the access of another party.  Judging by the results of this uprising, it seems that for all practical purposes, the users own their content and their impressions no matter what the TOS says.  This is a very strong argument for the tangibility of social, creative, and intellectual capital.

Ownership Economics:

The fact that people own and care for their content is what makes Facebook work.  Ownership is an extremely powerful force that drives intense participation and  innovation.  People will attend to their property, improve it, make it valuable, and create value for themselves and those around them.  Really, when was the last time you washed a rented car?

Historical perspective:

Most history books present the Homestead Act of 1862 as the product of a wise and benevolent government seeking to reward worthy citizens of a great young nation for populating the vast Western territories.  But that is not really true. Most of the land was already occupied by squatters who arrived disheveled, found a nice spot, built their small cabin, and farmed or hunted to sustain themselves.   They could not be evicted or charged with trespassing because a “jury of their peers” was also composed of squatters.

Problems arose when squatters could not borrow money to improve the land because they did not hold a title to it.  Legitimate landowners could not value their property if the land next door was untitled.  Border disputes resulted in gun battles.  Stealing was rampant. The children of squatters could not inherit the land without proper title. There was little incentive to produce anything beyond sustenance. When services and capital projects were required to support the increasing population, there was no tax base.  Not unlike Facebook, this new frontier could not be monetized.

Wisdom in Government; not always an oxymoron:

Perhaps the greatest moment in government came with the realization that it is impossible to change the behavior of people, rather, the best strategy would be to accommodate what they are going to do anyway.  So they legalized the squatters and gave them deed to their land. The occupants could sell or capitalize as they wished.  Investment capital flooded the region and entrepreneurs improved the land and created enterprises.  The government could then collect taxes proportional to the productivity of the citizens. The result was the development of the Western States as economic powerhouse that we know today.

Use it or lose it:

A very similar opportunity is presenting itself to Facebook and now the road to monetization should be crystal clear.  They should go out of their way to create terms of service that protects the rights of each and every member to own and control their content in its entirety, forever.

Next, Facebook should develop applications that allow advertisers to bid for impressions directly with the users compensating them for their time.  Users will build profiles that attract those seeking opinion, knowledge, feedback, wisdom AND SALES related to their products.  Users should be able to control every aspect of their content including any means that they can dream up to legally create revenue from their social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital.  Facebook should develop a knowledge inventory of what users know and make it available to others like a “Public Library or knowledge assets”.  Then they should develop applications to match knowledge surplus to knowledge deficit, etc. Let the trading begin.

The answer in their face:

If smart people can make money using Facebook just by doing what they are going to do anyway, they will flood the system with the most tangible forces in nature; social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital. If Facebook can’t figure out how to monetize the asset staring them in their face, they will soon encounter a more powerful competitor – their own users.

The Great Convergence

Hey Kids, It’s 3D:

The objective of this article is to discuss the Great Convergence of computer enabled society. Social media must not be allowed to converge to a single apex – rather, it must converge to 3 distinct and tangible dimensions.

The factors of production for the industrial economy are land, labor, and capital.  If you lose one, you can’t use the other two to build an SUV, for example.  The factors of production for an innovation economy are social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital. All production in the new economic paradigm will result from the allocation of a “secret sauce” of social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital.  Again, if you lose one, you can’t use the other two to build anything meaningful.

The congregation of congregations:

In order to find The Great Convergence, we simply need to examine Social Media to discover where social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital tend to congregate.

One of the more obvious illustrations appears to be playing out between LinkedIn, Facebook, and Myspace.  Many people use Linkedin for professional contacts (intellectual Capital), other people use Facebook for friends, family and more diverse associations (Social Capital), while many others use MySpace to post videos of their rock band, Artwork, or to discover the latest Mash up (Creative Capital).  Of course there are many more social networks, lots of cross talk, different demographics, rants and raves, etc.  I intentionally leave this analysis sparse as these conditions simply reflect the nature of The Great Convergence.

The Next Economic Paradigm:

We need to watch The Great Convergence with laser focus and deep personal interest because it will be extremely important for the development of what comes after the knowledge economy.   Whatever form this next economic paradigm takes, globally and locally, will depend upon The Great Convergence.  The Innovation Economy is the only wrench left in the toolbox for resolving the vast global problems that we face today.

The Innovation Economy must end global warming, restore financial accountability, enact sustainable enterprise, and institute renewable energy – or not.  This is a huge burden to ask of the next “greatest generation”.  It is clearly in everyone’s best interest to identify, encourage, and support The Great Convergence to form in 3D, before the old single-apex game “resets” and starts all over again, perhaps for the last time.

[The Ingenesist Project discusses this concept at length and identified various predictions, methods, and scenarios, including specifications for an Innovation Economy.]

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