I am going to record my learning experience with the tool, in order to outline the methodology of use.
Let’s start with how to use the tool in terms of sharing, and explain how flexibility and responsiveness lead to us living a free calendar.
Currently most people are ‘busy’, and reports indicate that most of the business is bureaucratic. Although sci-fi in the 50’s depicted life in the future to be easy, carefree, liberated from the drudgery of household work by robots, looks like we are tied into a digital Dickensian dystopia where most of us spend hours in front of computers. The internet exponentially expanded bureaucracy, and hasn’t replaced it.
Ecosquared implies a different lifestyle. That we are not busy. That we are in fact open to opportunity every day. Not ‘sales opportunity’. But genuinely responsive to actual real events.
In order for us to cultivate this, I’m suggesting we embody a practice of responsiveness to one another through the app — from the beginning. Be the change you want to see in the world. So, if each of us responds quickly (accept & open, value & share) a few nice social results will emerge:
- less ‘backlog’ of stuff we need to deal with ‘sometime’…
- our little bit of pull starts to replace the intrusive push of marketing and advertising
- replace ‘buying and selling’ with ‘sharing financially’
- it doesn’t have to be the person you share with — revoke and think of someone else who is currently free; this means we rely on a wider social network
- feels good too
I’ll follow this with a few others as learnings arise. Do get in touch if you are interested in participating. We’ll summarise a ‘programme’ when we achieve a working, validated, model of use!
If you are reading this outwith the platform, then request an invite!
This 2 min video shows how to accept & open, value & share on Ecosquared webapp. Also peek at Usership to find people who you may already know; Projects will make this a lot easier.
Relevant for Alpha release 1.0.2 — if you haven’t got it, request an invite at ecosquared.co.uk.
With two versions of the web-app not reaching public quality in 2015 and 2016, a third was begun in summer 2017.
Two posts were written and posted on Medium, because Ecosquared represents a potential business model for Medium itself.
The third update will be posted on Medium too, but it will be shared via the Ecosquared platform.
The ecosquared.info site is an archive of the early explorations of the Ecosquared system, and might host Help videos for the web-app. Please use the contact form if you’d like to take part in the alpha release.
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Applications open to join our test-team: input your details here.
Essentially, business is a trust game, and for this we propose a trust-metric, a social accounting system simpler to use than money.
In Ecosquared, money is only ever held by individuals; there is no ‘pot’ of money to argue over. And there is no set hierarchical structure of positions to justify or protect. As a result, you have the power to contribute as you see fit, with money and effort.
Start off as a test-user, and there’s nothing stopping you leading a soft-launch partnership with Ecosquared by summer 2017.
- You are first and foremost open-minded;
- you align word & deed in your daily activity;
- you are not afraid of taking steps in a new direction;
- you see a need for deep change globally and locally;
- you can feedback on UX until it works.
Of the 16% of our revenue earmarked for our usership, we are cordoning off 1% for our active test-users. When we hit $-billions, our first 1000 active test-users will get from $1,000 to $1,000,000.
Apply to test-case the world’s first trust-metric, and make history.
Since the last public post we’ve managed to scrape together investment, £10k then £15k then £20k and £35k, together with grants from Scottish Enterprise, £14k and £8k; so around £100k in total. Nearly all has gone on development, the alpha completion and the majority on the beta which has taken 4 months to date.
I embarked on the last four months with a spring in my step. A specification for the beta laid down, and a team of coders raring to go. After my first month’s intensive definition of the specification, it has been a long and painful 3 months. Painful because I have not been allowed to give feedback! To give them their due, the coding team needed a block of time without interference.
state of the beta
There are numerous details to correct, and some issues which interfere with user’s UX, but it looks pretty much what was specified. Testing was meant to be included within development cost, but I suspect stress-testing with millions of users is yet to be done.
The plan was for the beta to run on its own, so that we could go live ourselves without any additional VC money. I will be finding out later this week what the estimate is for reaching completion.
Not being able to give feedback runs against my methodology: continuous improvement, to pivot during an ongoing project. This new team is not flexible, so they plough on despite encountering major difficulty. They never provide alternative workarounds, and I have not been invited to simplify the system. A tough experience to be sure.
status of business
The company has entered into overdraft, and extendable to its limit over the next two months. I am personally liable, which I guess is fair; the responsibility for bringing Ecosquared to the world is set squarely on my shoulders. We should be able to claim back 30% based on a government IT grant, returning us to a status of zero balance. On the knife-edge.
The plan we pursued from the outset 4 months ago was to approach a VC for £300k. £100k to complete beta to global standard, and £200k to secure business partners.
If we get £150k matched funding from SIB, and investors claim SEIS, they will end up paying £75k. £75k for a shot of becoming a global player, changing the future course of world history, and giving humanity a chance of dealing with the massive disorders that result from our current economic. And making £-billions in the process as we conduct this transition.
We need to tidy up landing page with its basic intro video, gather a pitch deck, a two-pager intro, and then it is about approaching potential investors and partners.
I have also approached a few small video production outfits. I want to record people’s response to the app, whether investor, partner or punter. The plan is to create a teaser, which may replace or supplement the intro video. With investment, we create a pilot and submit it to TV channels for commissioning — imagine a series where we demonstrate how the app is used on the ground, each episode following a group of people attempting to use it to help achieve their objective. A cross between Dragon’s Den and Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.
Meanwhile, I am going to work on the Ecosquared book. I have written something over the summer, but I am fairly sure the style of it is not good enough. Would be nice to get a proper writer involved — the world is not ready for my unconventional style and approach. I must be content with presenting the math and the Ecosquared tool.
So, app to tidy up, £300k+ investment drive, documentary video and book. We are approaching zero-time!
After a long rather slow slog, Martin has secured investment. Hurrah. Not for the full amount, so Kevin has applied for government matched funding which will take a further two months. Baseline fact — we have enough to produce a beta version while upgrading the UX so that prototype is smoother. Whatever happens, we will have a better app at the end of this.
We have tentative relationships with paying use-cases at Find-a-Player, allthing.io, and Perth & Kinross Council. Only a few, since we are still spending most of our time on development; I’ve got a few months to attract a few other players, eg a charity, and a working prototype will greatly help with that. So, we need to drag the current prototype into shape. We’re working on implementing the Projects function to enable team formation for gratitude tracking, while making rudimentary wallet structure and security features to enable use in the public wild-lands. ETA within a month.
Though the web-app is by invitation only, do join in.
For the beta, we are hiring a talented UI Designer, Martina. We have one team who will be taking prototype to beta, using MEAN development stack, Artem and Tim, and another who are working on a .NET version from scratch, Sonya and Nicola; we will decide which fork makes sense a month in to development. Jorge will be managing migration from prototype to beta, while concentrating on creating the bitcoin wallet system, coding the SQ algorithm, and working with system admin and security expert Maxi to create world-class security.
We’ve also attracted Marc, an incredible pluralist artist, to conceive and ground a minimal project design for a mobile display — a task I have found to be beyond me — and with Martina I am sure we can come up with a UX which demonstrates the future development path of the web-app beyond the basic Ecosquared beta. We’ve got a pair of eyes on the potential native mobile app development path, Dave, and another on the whole tech development side. Of course we have Martin ensuring dots and crosses are consummately executed on the finance side, and I, David, get to fret endlessly as project manager, designer, founder.
Doesn’t feel like play yet. Once we get the prototype to minimal standard, with a full complement of functions, I think I may start being able to play. For example, I gifted the web-app to a teenager, Anna, yesterday. Not only did I experiment with gifting a thing via SMS — it works, Jorge, thanks! — she was able to accept and complete registration on the iphone — wow, Artem, good work whatever you did! Ok, Anna was not particularly phased by the notion of receiving money with her gift, more a teenage shrug versus the up-in-arms shock induced in most adults, but she was soon directing her mother on how to use the app correctly.
Play will occur when the interface becomes so natural, that the potential playing field beyond the tool attracts curiosity. At some point in history, the notion of using a racket to hit a ball around was totally alien. Of course we’ve thrown stuff around since year dot, cavemen probably played catch with bones. But a racket? Animal gut stretched across a space? I mean… totally alien. But, once the alienness of it was overcome, the effect on hitting a ball is quite natural. Completely useless in its own right, really. We need a frame, a court, rules, a game.
Sure, we can outline a few rules for Ecosquared, but without actually playing with the web-app the lines drawn out are almost arbitrary. We need to play around with the prototype. Early adopters — scratch that — early pioneers, designers, social creatives, the first people and groups to use the prototype will begin getting a measure of what it can do. Then, we will be able to evolve some social rules or conventions, and thus define web-app configurations for a real game. Then, and only then, will we have the kind of play that brings our humanity to excellence. Socially. Played meaningfully in teams of ten or less, and yet interscalable to millions or billions of us, just like our current, traditional, 3,000 year-old economic game.
A tool that enables us to excel at collaboration. Ecosquared, inviting our future genius.
First bona fide pitch to investors. New for them, and new for me too. I have plenty of experience with world premiere’s, at least in educational terms. I present ways of thinking, concepts, and so on, to kids in mathematics classes. Yes, most of the concepts are known, most from the last few hundred years, nevertheless they are new and fresh to the listeners. An Ecosquared pitch is a world premiere for first time listeners.
From an introduction by Michelle at Business Gateway, Finlay listened to Ecosquared and invited me to Perth & Kinross’ Angel’s Share event. There were five companies pitching, ranging from a website that enables group booking (nice solution), a lighting company producing back-lit tiles and a zero-volt supply system (cool tech), a craft distillery (very professional set up), and an electronic tagging system using NFC (a clear future market for this). And Ecosquared, the value-tracking app.
how d’it go?
I gave myself a 4 out of 10. My lawyer said it was excellent, and the LINC representative thought so too, and the gateway investor who gave us a Pitch Perfect training day last week also thought it was great. I gave myself a 4 because although it went well enough, it didn’t bring the audience close enough to the actual WOW of what Ecosquared is. I believe that if I can do that, a quality of response will be evoked. Literally, an inspiration. If we get that, we get investors signing up.
Let’s be clear about this. It is not putting down my skills. Not at all. It’s about the challenge of heightening listening such that people can perceive A) what ecosquared is and B) the potential within our reach. I don’t provide a vision. Or at least, I point out enough that the vision occurs to the listener. The connection is made in the listener’s mind, not mine. And I am not ‘making’ this connection in their head either.
I gave myself a 4 because I crossed the boundary, and mixed my vision with their perception. Does this make sense? Actually, it doesn’t need to — what matters is that people see its potential, and when they do, they can’t help but be amazed by what they see. The true inspiration is in their mind. This is not an esoteric point — it goes to the heart of Ecosquared: can Ecosquared deliver a non-intrusive rating system? It’s not about pushing, and advertising, and shouting; it’s about listening, valuing, and acting on one’s values, whether lolcat amusement last week or political votes once every 4 years.
I had a few conversations with investors afterwards. Some were impressed enough to suggest they would like to share Ecosquared with a few associates. Others were still struggling with the premise of Ecosquared, specifically the Gift-Mechanism. We talked a little, and I will follow it up with sharing the mathematical model of the GM. The math is solid; I’ve no problem with that. It’s the debate around the psychology which is the issue.
I’ll also be sharing the prototype with them. Very close to tying up the FE to the BE for today, but couldn’t quite. Looks like Friday. I am a great believer in experiential learning, whether it is learning to ride a bike, or algebra, or Ecosquared. My only worry about the prototype is that people won’t be able to see beyond the rather clunky interface. Like the first cars appeared noisy and smelly, so it took some enthusiasts to see beyond that and to exploit its actual function.
Best result of the day? Finlay at the end mentioned that the guy doing the photos — constantly crawling around throughout the whole 3 hour period — said it was ‘amazing’. For some reason, I find that has brought me the biggest sense of satisfaction. Of course I’d love for the investors to love my presentation and invest in Ecosquared — and I hope they will! Nevertheless, there is something very satisfying about hearing a positive response from an oblique angle, from someone who couldn’t help but be engaged. What do you think? Is my observation misplaced?
Get working prototype — if you want to test it, stick your email in the landing page — ecosquared.co.uk
Respond to any invitations to speak to investors, through LINC or otherwise.
I’d rather keep presentation to a minimum just now. Once we get £60k, have a working beta app by the end of summer, I will be happy about shouting it from the rooftops. For now, dealing with the shocked response in people is… not realised fully in a positive sense. Yes people are engaged and interested, but they are often overwhelmed as they try to simulate it in their own minds; the mental furniture of the current economic system gives little room for manouver. And I have noticed, beyond the genuinely open-minded, quite often the more intelligent the person is, the more contradictions it triggers, whether investors or intellectuals. Then again, flight is a rather tricky thing to get your head around, as is a bicycle if you think about it — certainly before a century ago, such things were simply flights of fancy.
Steve Jobs called a computer ‘a bicycle for the mind‘ — hear it in his own words. Ecosquared is a social bicycle. £60k gives the world an accountable, enumerated gift-economic a go.