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Tag: Twitter

It Takes Currency to Make Currency

If you’re a Flash game developer, you are concerned with how you can make a living from your creative and intellectual services. Fortunately there is a payment system so workable, that it may actually work.   Game developers can charge money both for their games, and for things within their games.

Here’s how it works:

1.    Player pays real money to buy fake money within the game.
2.    Player spends fake money on virtual stuff.
3.    Virtual stuff increases the value of the game.

The game developer can technically charge for whatever they like: level packs, hats, extended versions/director’s cuts, etc, etc. The sky’s the limit.

These types of transactions have been very popular in places like Korea for a long time, and it was amusing to see the initial resistance and resentment in North America to the idea. Meanwhile, North American Pioneers of such systems are drowning in money.

The Right [virtual] Stuff:

Now, suppose that Social Media could be modeled after a huge game where people act based on a set of incentives like, say, connecting with friends, accumulating followers for their blog, finding proverbial “gold rings” like employment opportunities, business opportunity, spiritual growth, professional advice, cheap airfare, fun things to do, product reviews, or political activism…just to name a few.

Suppose that in order to get from one level of the game to the next, they need to engage in conversation with another player.  Anyone who has been on Linkedin, Twitter, or Facebook long enough knows that the “right virtual stuff” is sometimes hard to acquire.  Twitter finally broke the mold with applications that now “sell” followers (I wonder if there were any Flash Developers behind this innovation).

A Mutually Inclusive Game:

Now, suppose the game was mutual such that some players need you a little bit more than you need them and they are willing to invest in your connection.  Similarly, suppose you need some players a little more than they need you and you too are willing to invest for their connection.  Finally, all players know that a mutual link between two appropriate players substantially increases the value of both players relative to the game.

It Takes Currency to Make Currency.

Immediately the engine of entrepreneurialism will ignite as people figure out new ways to play the game.  With a trillion dollar advertising industry, a trillion dollar Professional Placement industry, and a trillion dollar recreation/leisure/entertainment/family industry on the ropes, you can guarantee that innovation will be absolutely intense.  Welcome to the Innovation Economy.

(Editor’s note: This article was inspired by a piece authored by Ryan and can be found here)

The Vicarious Search Engine

The search engine wars continue as both Google and Bing develop more exotic ways of arriving at the wrong answer.  Both commit the same error as all declining industries in social media space; assuming that they can predict what people want without engaging them in a conversation.

The first development is the predictive search notably pioneered by Amazon.com for predicting future purchases based on past purchases.  While predictive search is an improvement, the next step is the “vicarious” search, that is, when the search engine sees the world through your eyes – or someone Else’s – for your benefit.

The Web is Flat

The Ingenesist Project specifies a standard knowledge inventory that may be represented as a packet of code.  If someone wanted to see the web through the eyes of another person, they could buy a packet of their knowledge inventory.  Likewise, a web article would be tagged with the representative knowledge inventory code of the author.  Each comment or re post to a blog article would contain the knowledge inventory of its aggregated vetters.

The search can be done in reverse as well.  If I find an idea on the web and want to know who can execute it locally, I can simulate the knowledge inventory in one or more local people.  This is not trivial.  It literally allows an entrepreneur to manage knowledge assets that they did not know exists and predict content that does not yet exist.

Been there, done that?

Obviously there are privacy, security, and ethics issues related to others seeing the world through your eyes.  But what if every American was told 20 years ago that their identifier number for an insolvent social security program would be attached to their personal, medical, financial, and civil records then spun through Wall Street algorithms, sold worldwide to advertisers, politicians, banks, insurance companies, demographers, and ultimately hacked?  The cities would have burned.

So why can’t social mediators monetize?

The difference today is that if packaged correctly, we can own and control our knowledge inventory.  We can allow or decline access and we can revoke access – it happens all day long on Face Book, Linkedin, Twitter, and My Space.   On-line communities represent collections of knowledge assets.  The 400 Billion dollar per year advertising budget is on the table – up for grabs.  The 100 Billion dollar “head hunting” budget is up for grabs. The multi-billion dollar election budgets are all up for grabs. What are we thinking?

The likelihood of Innovation

The innovation economy will depend on business intelligence related to society’s knowledge inventory to match most worthy knowledge surplus to the most worthy knowledge deficit.   Entrepreneurs must know supply and demand for knowledge assets as well as where to find them at what cost.  Entrepreneurs need to predict competition, disruption, risks, and volatility in knowledge assets.  They need to conduct scenario tests before expending money.  They need to predict the likelihood of innovation and all of the options that they have in the future related to those innovations.

The Securitization of Knowledge Assets

Entrepreneurs need to securitize knowledge assets in order to finance innovation on the scale that will be required to offset our massive debt. This is how the innovation economy must play out.  We cannot depend on corporations or governments to do this for us.  People must control, regulate, anonymize, and manage  their own knowledge inventory.   If only they could see their world through the entrepreneur’s eyes – perhaps they need a vicarious search engine more than anyone.

1.3 Trillion Dollar Professional Contact Market

“Hey, I know a guy who owes me a favor …”

It is only a matter of time until professional contacts will be for sale.  The problem is that the ROI (return on investment model) is such a poor valuation tool for social media. Another valuation tool used in finance is called Real Options.  An option is the right, without the obligation, to act on an opportunity at some time in the future.  Social Networks, friends, family, and professional contacts behave much more along these lines.

Five Easy Pieces:

While the calculation for the value of an option is complex, the things we need to plug in are fairly simple in the context of social media:

1.    There must be an inventory of the assets
2.    The future date when the asset can be acquired must be known
3.    The cost of acquiring the asset must be known
4.    The value effects on the enterprise must be estimated
5.    The uncertainty related to the asset must be estimated

The term “asset” in social media space may include: Knowledge, skill, an undertaking of a new project, or the generation of a new idea, etc.

The Social Networking Manifesto:

The objective of the building a social network is to know where the knowledge assets are, how much they can help you, how much they cost to exercise, and the certainty that they will be applicable, available and useful when you need them.   Conversely, the best way to increase the value of a social network is to be visible to others, tell people what you can do for them, tell people what you need from them, and establish a reputation for reliability.

Most importantly, everyone must have the right, without the obligation, to accept or decline the opportunity.  This is what jump starts ‘supply and demand’ and makes a market a market

Let’s consider all options:

To estimate the value of an option to call on anyone in your network use a financial option calculator tool on the web and plugged in social media numbers.  Let’s use Linkedin as the knowledge inventory; 40 million knowledge assets also hold options with their contacts. Say that the expiration date is 1 year (for tax reasons).  Assume the market value of their skill is 100 dollars and that at some point in the next year, the value of their skill relative to yourself becomes 200 dollars. The right to buy the asset at the earlier price is worth a premium.  Suppose that the volatility of the asset is 50% and the interest rate is 7%.

The value of the “call” is worth about $3.47 dollars.  The Call is an option contract that gives the holder the right to buy a certain quantity of an underlying security from the writer of the option, at a specified price up to the specified expiration date.

The value of options in a network:

For the above scenario assuming all assets are equal in price of 100 dollars; if someone has 10,000 1st and 2nd level contacts on Linkedin, the value of their implied call option is about 34,700 dollars.  If Linkedin were a stock market, the value of the social contracts that people have with each other is 34K x 40M = 1.3 Trillion Dollars market value for the contracts that people hold and trade.

This is not even the value of the transaction – only the right to have a transaction. The value of the social contract is in the conversations that they hold.  Contracts are a financial instrument that can be traded, combined, diversified, and aggregated for real money.  It’s only a matter of time.

The Ingenesist Project specifies the structure of an innovation economy where a knowledge inventory, a percentile search engine, and an innovation bank will facilitate and aggregate the 5 components of Option Valuation.  Social media applications form the operating system for the market in options.

Social Media Strikes Back

Money represents human productivity.

Recent headlines declare that 78 billion dollars worth of fuel and productivity are wasted each year by congestion on highways. 1.2 Trillion dollars per year in productivity is lost due to past failures in education. The US spends 7% more of our GDP on health care than the average of other developed nations leaving nearly 1 trillion dollars of unknown ‘productivity value’ in vapor per year. 200 Billion dollars per year is spent on war, whether necessary or not, that has not increased American productivity in an economic sense.

2.5 Trillion Units of Human Productivity

Without even trying hard, 2.5 Trillion Dollars per year in stuff not produced is wasted on activity that does not increase human productivity (stuff produced). Obviously debt is a promise to produce stuff in the future. But we’re wasting stuff now? At some point the logic falls apart but no matter how you look at it, money represents productivity and the only way out of this mess is to innovate at an astonishing rate.

Conversational Capital

In an earlier article, we conjured up a rough tabulation of productivity gains due to social media:

One billion messages are sent on Facebook every day. Suppose that each Facebook conversation has a net value of $1.00 per person. That comes out to 730 Billion dollars per year of human productivity saved.

Twitter is worth a cool 100 Million tweets per day. Let’s assign a net productivity gain of $1.00 per tweet delivered. That is $36 Billion per year in increased human productivity.

Suppose each blog article published increases human productivity by $0.50 each. With over 100M blogs, that is 10 billion dollars per day – or1.8 trillion dollars per year.

The grand total is 2.5 Trillion Dollars worth of conversational currency.

In Search of Waste Economics:

Now, return to the waste side of the balance sheet let’s reflect on the areas of impact that social media has on: transportation, energy, education, health care, and world Peace:

Social media reviews automobile quality and drives social priorities toward green industry. Social media allows people to find work close to home, social media vets energy systems such as wind, solar, nuclear. Social media is driving journalism to value added roles and away from corporate collusion. Social media provides richer and more current content than textbooks. Social media is driving social priorities over Wall Street priorities in health care, energy, politics, industry, and science. You Tube is seeing a 1700% increase in downloads as people set up video cameras all over the world searching and reporting injustice.  Little Brother is watching.

Social media strikes back

In order to predict where social media will strike next all we need to do is look for the waste economy; areas where world governments, institutions, and corporations are inefficient, wasteful, co opted, or corrupt.

How Does Social Media Affect GDP?

Gross domestic product (GDP) is a basic measure of an economy’s economic performance.  GDP is the market value of all final goods and services made within the borders of a nation in a year measured in Dollars.  Globally, GDP is equal to the total monetary income generated by production of goods and services in a country.

Gross Domestic Product does not take into account many important variables accelerated by Social Media and growing exponentially in economic influence.

GDP counts only industrial output, but…

Industrial output is becoming increasingly dependent on social networks and social innovation.  GDP does not take into account such non-market transactions such as open source development, crowd sourced innovation, conversational currency, social capital, creative capital, or intellectual capital exchanged between people in diverse social networks

GDP reflects Wall Street Priorities, but…

Wall Street Priorities are increasingly challenged by social priorities. GDP does not account for sustainable business practices, heroism, mentorship, activism, volunteerism, social networking, uncompensated innovation, and community involvement.  GDP does not account for quality improvements and social multipliers such as aggregation of social media, increasingly powerful computers, acceleration of conversations, online etiquette, multi-media, and social editorial services.

All of the above exclusions are valuable, because…

These exclusions add value, they store value, they create value, they distribute value, and they exchange value.  If we called it a financial instrument that is highly convertible, extremely liquid, and easily transported it would describe a currency by any definition of the word.  For the purpose of this discussion, call this currency the “Rallod” – or Dollar spelled backwards.  The Rallod is the currency of the new American economic and production paradigm.

The Invisible Currency

For Example; Twitter is doing in Iran what America has been trying to do in Iraq for 8 years.  Face book, LinkedIn, and the entirety of social media space is producing many times the effectiveness of the $200 Billion U.S. advertising industry in terms of driving people to specific action. Social vetting platforms such as blogs, commentaries, groups, and content aggregation have increased the efficiency of markets by vastly reducing arbitrage opportunities while also identifying scams and corruption.  Human productivity is being converted to Rallods and there is no politician, executive, or white collar criminal anywhere in the world who is not deeply concerned about this invisible currency.

The Best is Yet to Come:

The “Last Mile of Social Media” is analogous to the last mile of broadband Internet – the marginal cost of reaching every person in every household and tightening social networks to extremely high resolution, is diminishing rapidly.   The Last Mile will bring communities together to vet local politicians, corporations, products, and policies.  The Last Mile will formulate a knowledge inventory combines with close proximity of knowledge assets and a percentile search engine to predict outcomes.  The Last Mile of Social Media will duplicate every function that exists in a corporation except it will be built upon the social media operating system; aggregated, amalgamated, sustainable, and reflecting social priorities.

So what happens to GDP?

GDP by current measure will reflect only the value of the “dollar”, not necessarily the value of the human productivity.  Perhaps it already does.

The Invisible Currency Among Us

Liquid Swords - by Megan Olson

Liquid Swords - by Megan Olson

Invisible Currency

On my birthday, I received many greetings on Facebook from friends and family.  So, let’s say for example that Hallmark sold 10 less cards (@$3.95 ea), the telephone company sold 10 less long distance phone calls phone calls (@$.60 minute),  FedEx delivered no additional packages, oil companies sold no gas, and my friends did not deploy, say, 20 hours (@$25/hr) of human productivity buying stuff, licking stamps, or delivering mail in my honor.  Total productivity savings can be valued over $500.00; or roughly $50.00 per message.

Conversational Capital

One billion messages are sent on Facebook every day.  Each message sent and received constitutes a conversation.  Each of these conversations has a value that can be expressed in terms of productivity saved and assigned a dollar value. Suppose that each Facebook message has a value of only $1.00 per person engaged in a conversation.  That comes out to 730 Billion dollars per year of human productivity saved – enough to fund TARP.

Twitter is worth a cool 100 Million tweets per day.  Let’s assign a net productivity gain of $1.00 per tweet sent (not received).  If you think that tweets are not productive, follow the Iran Crisis; a revolution fought with liquid swords.  So let’s assign Twitter $36 Billion per year in increased human productivity.

Next, according to Google analytics, about 100 real people spend enough time on my little blog every day to read at least one article.  Suppose each blog article increases human productivity by $1.00 each. Technorati tracks well over 100M blogs.  That is 10 billion dollars per day – or a whopping 3.6 Trillion dollars per year.  Let’s discount that by 50% to only $1.8T in fairness to the skeptics.

The grand total is 2.5 Trillion Dollars worth of conversational currency – 2 times the 2009 national deficit and 5% of America’s entire debt obligation – and growing.   Where is all this productivity going?

What’s happening is what’s not happening.

People are NOT sitting through hours of TV commercials anymore.  People editorialize their own news and do NOT watch what is designed to corrupt them.  People are NOT letting their ideas die unheard.  People are NOT letting politics run them down and have now elected health care, the environment, and the end of warfare to the Presidency of this and other nations.  People have become far more focused and more productive through the rediscovery of family, friends, Art, Music and social priorities over debt enslavement.  Next, social media is coming to the neighborhoods.

Millions of people practice “social media” in their spare time.  This is invisible productivity that effectively magnifies the productivity of others with an astonishing multiplier effect.  Craigslist, CarFax, Zillow, Epinion, Amazon, and Expedia are all eliminating arbitrage opportunity and sending brokers scurrying for a real education. Product reviews are killing the scams and delivering the right product to the right market.

The Anti-buck

Maybe the Dollar is not so overvalued after all. Maybe the dollar deficit is counter balanced by this new invisible currency.  Suppose the more inflation that occurs, the more this invisible currency will affect the overall economy.  Suppose people are hedging dollar currency with conversational currency.  Suppose social priorities are replacing Wall Street Priorities.  Suppose we are approaching a new equilibrium rather than an impending free fall – except for those who try to control it.

Special Thanks to Megan Olson

The Second Impression of Social Media

As we move away from the ROI valuation model for social media and adopt a more dynamic ‘options’ analysis, a different picture emerges.  People are trading options; that is, the right without the obligation to exercise an action.  The next economic paradigm will emerge as a function of people exercising their options.

What are you doing here?

On the surface, there appears to be a lot of ‘feel-gooding’ on linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter, etc.  It is easy to brush them off as trivial, non-productive, and delusional.  I often fall victim spending too much time on these devices and have asked myself, simply: “why?”

Computer Enabled Society

At second glance, however, I have personally developed a few extremely profound, important and valuable relationships through “computer enabled society”.  People who I have never met in person have stepped way out on a limb to help me along.  As a result, I have given these people the option to access my network and they have done the same for me.  Our common purpose makes each relevant and valuable to the other and each are willing to support, mentor, and elevate the other.  We exercise options together.

Impressive Results

The distinction is that what once was a “first impression” – firmness of handshake, fashion, and physical appearance – has become the “second Impression”.

What was once the “second impression” – intellect, wisdom, talent and generosity – has become the “first impression”.

People exercise their options accordingly; first impressions leads us to action.

Evolution or Revolution?

Social media does not care if you are rich, poor, young or old, beautiful or homely.  It does not care about the color of your skin, fat or thin, physical ability or disability.  It does not care what kind of car you drive, clothes you wear, or the size of your home. Or does it?

For every revolution, there is a corresponding evolution.

What is the ROI for Social Media?

The quick answer is that ROI is indeterminable – get over it.

ROI is a static measurement where financial decision makers look into the Crystal Ball to project a future economic outcome which is then be protracted back into the present to arrive at a value of an investment opportunity.  In case you have not noticed, this valuation method is largely bankrupt.

Like lipstick on a pig

Yet ROI Persists. B-schools teach SWOT; Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats as a means of dressing up our projections with yet more projections.  All the ROI in the world may predict the economic future but as soon as people react to the market condition through improved information in Social Media, all those models fail.  This is called reflexivity and it is becoming a dominant influence in all financial projections in the age of Social Media.

Fortunately, the true visionaries of the next economic paradigm are increasing in numbers and rapidly moving away from the ROI model into something far more valuable simply by asking the serious questions……

Hey, what exactly is the currency we’re using?

David Bullock and Jay Deragon from the Social Media Connection Network are producing a series of videos investigating the currency of social media where they astutely ask the tough questions, “What are people trading?” and “what is a Tweet worth?” While these may seem like simple questions, they have many an ROI expert stumped.

Nobody really cares if I had bacon for breakfast; so the ROI on that tweet is exactly zero.  However, if you get 15 tweets in an hour on the same subject – there must be something important related to bacon today.  The more people sending bacon tweets, the greater is the value of my “option” to react to what looks like a bacon pandemic.  Still, I hold the option, without the obligation, to expend my limited resources in response.

Options have value

The value of social media is counted in options – not ROI.  Social media is dynamic, not static. Therefore “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT)” are also highly dynamic moving targets that are highly contagious in social media and cannot be foretold in the next 5 days let alone 5 years. The cardinal rule of business is to collect assets and reduce liabilities. An option is an asset and an obligation is a liability.

ROI fails.

ROI is a future projection brought to the present.  Options are collected in the present and projected to the future – there is a fundamental difference between the two that must not be overlooked.  People are doing something, they have a plan, they are cooking up a new trick and the ROI is indeterminable…

Options have value and obviously people are willing to pay for them with their time at a keyboard, therefore, they are willing to pay for them through any medium of exchange.  This is what people are doing on social media – collecting options. The Next Economic Paradigm will provide a means to cash in those options. Hold on to your chips, the social media game is far from over.

The New Economic Paradigm; Part 6: The Business Plan

The objective of this series is to contain what we know about social networks within the construct of the financial system.  The intention is for knowledge to behave, and thereby trade like a financial instrument.  In prior articles, we discovered the currency, the inventory, the institutions, and the entrepreneurs of the next economic paradigm.  This module will construct the business plan:

A business plan is the blue print for the construction of enterprise.

Like the construction of any tangible asset, an inventory of parts is assembled in strategic proportions.  The ability to accomplish this gives the enterprise a strategic and competitive advantage in a market.

Business failures are knowledge failures

Most enterprises will emphasize design, or service, or performance or price in their proprietary secret sauce of market success.  The question becomes, what quantities and qualities of strategic components allow the new enterprise to create a positive economic outcome.

Most business failure are due to knowledge deficits such as the inexperienced management team, a poor assessment of market conditions, under estimating the amount of money needed, under estimating a competitor, loss of a key employee, or the poor understanding of the technology, etc.  These are knowledge problems not financial problems.

Prediction is the quality of knowledge:

To solve the knowledge problems is to decrease the risk of innovating and increase the predictability of innovations. To decrease the risk will decrease the cost, and increase the availability, of venture capital.  To increase the predictability would increase entrepreneurial activity.

The Unit Business Plan:

The business plan of the innovation economy is very simple; it starts with the single transaction between two people.  The lender provides information and the borrower combines the information with their existing knowledge to create more knowledge.  This single transaction has a value of 1 unit of currency and we call it a unit business transaction:

The Parallel Circuit:

Now we will assemble these single transactions in many combinations.  When we combine two unit transactions in a parallel circuit.  This represents a brain storming session between two people.

The Percentile Search Engine matches the person with the most worthy knowledge supply to a person with the most worthy knowledge demand. The transaction is a simple conversation and the outcome is a prototype process, system, method, or iteration.

The Series Circuit:

The next transaction type is modeled as two unit business transactions occurring in a series circuit.  This represents a product development cycle.

Each cycle of these transactions is an improvement to the business objective. Each time the transaction occurs there is a net increase of new knowledge and therefore an increase in value.  New options are created.  The conversation stops when the product is ready for the market, cancellation, or next physical iteration.

The transaction is recorded as an event between two known persons of known knowledge inventories.  The transaction is stored in the intellect of the participants and becomes their property in the form of a knowledge asset represented by the things they create with their knowledge.

The Social Network:

Now if we combine the parallel transaction with the series transaction we have what now looks like a network.  In practice, we know that strong networks of people freely exchanging ideas make organizations better, smarter, and more efficient.  Networks are where knowledge and community wisdom is stored. A network is fault tolerant, if one person leaves, the network survives. For a relatively small input into a network, we can produce a large output of new knowledge – we have a learning organization.

However, in society, these interactions are largely accidental; people meet at Church, Starbucks, and Social Events or by word of mouth. Other times, these interactions are concentrated inside a single community of very similar people such as a technical conference, group meeting, or lunch buddies and are often not well diversified.  More recently, interaction is self selecting through social media devices such as Twitter, Linkedin, Craigslist, Biznik, and Meetup, etc.

What if the social interactions could be made less random and more intentional?

Suppose interactions be designed with a specific purpose by the entrepreneur as a means toward producing a unique outcome. The Innovation Bank will combine people of complementary knowledge assets in a calculated manner in order to arrive at specific business approaches and applications.

What if Innovation could be made less random and more intentional?

The Multiplier Effect:

A special case business plan is called the Multiplier Effect. In effect, building a network of applications from a network of knowledge assets.

Suppose that a company owns composite material technology for use on aircraft.  Since the company specializes in airplanes, they have no intention of pursuing other applications such as recreational equipment, energy production, or health care products.

The Innovation Bank:

Suppose that the company could deposit this asset in a bank and collect interest.  The Search Engine can scan the business landscape to find persons or organizations with a worthy knowledge deficit in the area of your technology. The originator holds the option to see what those other companies invent and hold the right to use their new ideas in an aircraft application. 

Contracts manage those options.  Those contracts are social contracts and they can be traded.  They are a form of currency – or stored value.

In the event of a cyclic downturn, instead of “laying off” knowledge assets, people can work in tangential industries where they will continue developing – literally putting “Knowledge in the Bank” – to be called back to their original company when market conditions improve.  A mobile knowledge asset increases in value and continually becomes smarter and more productive over time. This is not socialism, this is not capitalism, this is Ingenesism – from the root word: Ingenuity.

Market Efficiencies:

With an innovation Bank, a company can reduce their Research and Development costs and create additional revenue in a tangential innovation market.  Millions of people are being layed off work from corporations – billions upon billions of dollars of innovation potential is being squandered.  With reduced cost and risk of innovation, The new American corporations will specialize in inventing, networking, and applying new ideas as their primary revenue source.

The Balance Sheet for Knowledge Assets

Innovation economics has a way of forcing us to look at the mirror image of conventional wisdom.  This article will look at knowledge assets as they might appear on an accounting balance sheet.  You may be surprised at what happens at the bottom line.

Wall Street will often reward a company that has a large backlog of orders. This can appear in the eyes of most observers as an asset. After all, who would not want a backlog of orders?  However, in the world of social media, a huge backlog causes a serious problem – it represents commitments made that have not yet been delivered. An unfulfilled promise in a social network is a liability and not an asset.  By extension, a backlog in an innovation economy is a liability and not an asset (note: climate change).

Applying conventional wisdom to an innovation economy, we find that most companies have an excellent inventory of the “liability” but a poor inventory of the “asset” that will execute those promises. All of their plans, specifications, blueprints, job descriptions, policies and procedures, etc., are liabilities in an innovation economy because these define the promise that is unfulfilled, not the asset that will fulfill them.

Until recently, companies assumed that the right knowledge assets will always be available – an assumption that for a long time has limited the level of productivity that humans can achieve, specifically, the sustainability of natural resources. The absence of a knowledge inventory limits the complexity of problems that humans can solve much like industry was limited to custom machinery before Eli Whitney demonstrated the concept of interchangeable parts less than 200 years ago.

Further, if the product line is expected to have a life cycle of more than a few years, the knowledge inventory must extend beyond the doors of the company and into the surrounding community.  Therefore, the knowledge inventory must take on the taxonomy of the community, not the taxonomy of the corporation such as skill codes, levels, titles, etc. The requirement is now clearly in the domain of social networks.  Yet, I still hear grumblings in the blog sphere that social networks cannot be monetized – nothing should be further from the truth.

So, let’s talk about the bottom line.  For example, Boeing announced today that their greatest future challenge would be the availability of engineers. Boeing has a market capitalization of $34B and a $300B backlog.  Money has a 10:1 multiplier as it travels through and economy.  For a balanced accounting statement, what would be the real value of a social network that can capture the correct knowledge inventory to support Boeing; 34B, 300B, or 3T?

In general, valid estimates of the bottom line can vary by 2 orders of magnitude depending on the point of view of Wall Street, corporate management, or the social network community.  Who would be the better steward?

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