Category: experiment

how much does running a car cost?

I’m returning to education, and because of the rural area in which I live, I shall need a car to get to schools to do supply on a daily basis. So, I shall have to ‘buy’ a car. Which brings into question how much a car costs to run, the issue of ownership, petrol costs, taxes, and so on. Also, a brief look at current ‘alternative’ solutions like Zipcar and a local car-trader down the road who is trying to compete with a low-tech solution, and then we’ll look at how an ecosquared car use may be financed. And if cars don’t rock your boat, we’ll look at other applications of the same math such as with health, revealing a fundamental core to economics: the relationship between capital (a static fund) and regular payments.

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everyday running costs of ownership

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These costs are ‘reasonable’ for running an average car; with new cars devalue, replace the ‘maintenance’ costs with devaluation. ‘Upgrade’ is the amount of money that is put aside to pay for a new car; eg sell a car at a loss of £500 over the year will mean that the new one will be bought to re-coupe that loss; that is, it will cost £50/month to just stay ‘level’.

Still, if you have a car, these costs are reasonable. That’s £3000 to £5000 a year! Cars burn money…

running costs of rental

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Roughly £400, which is £250/£100 more than ownership. No head-aches of ownership. New car. Surely there should be a non-new rental deal out there? There was, but more of that later. Let’s look an a new ‘alternative’ to rent/buy.

‘alternatives’ like zipcar

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 Based on a trip daily to work and back, clearly Zipcar isn’t the right solution. Another one is Uber, but that’s beyond the horizon at the moment; it’s touted to do to logistics what Amazon did to book-selling, and everything else-selling, kinda. It’s what ecosquared will be competing with a few years down the line, if we’re not clever.

a guy down the road called Darren…

I spoke with a guy last night, Darren Sharpe, an interesting guy. He was ahead of the curve and came up with ‘rent-a-banger‘, basically renting out non-new cars. He ran this for 15 years, but the insurance was a real head-ache, and people abused the system; as we know people take care of things they own, and tend to trash or neglect rented cars, flats, tools — a mentality shift which is critical for longer term sharing solutions.

Now, Darren sells five-year old cars for £2k, and guarantees buy-back at £50/week. So, if you want to return the car say 10 weeks down the road, he will buy it back for £1,500. Thus, cost of use is £200/month PLUS £100/£200 ownership costs. That is, using Darren’s system you need £2k capital, and it costs £150/month more than ownership.

summary of current offerings out there at the time of writing

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Looks like ownership is still the cheapest way to run a car, with all the head-aches that ownership entails. Basically there is a financial separation between the players: the owner of the car, those who build the roads and the insurers, the car-mechanics who maintain it, and the company employees who supply the petrol. They are all working together, using the same economic system, with the belief that competition provides us with the best service at the lowest cost.

ecosquared?

Well, it depends on what scale the ecology is at. Let’s say it we have levels of social saturation, which I’ve used before, but in reverse order this time, from the ‘fantastic’ to the realistic, me now looking for a car:

  • Yellow Saturation with massive game-changing coverage
  • Blue Network where a wide sector of people are sharing within ecosquared protocols
  • Green Team of a few people connected and using the protocols
  • Red Solo just starting with only you using the protocols

Yellow Saturation

A world where there are enough people in the network to own Esso; where the users and employees of the petrol stations are the shareholders, have %-equity. Nobody is making a profit from the petrol you get at the station. You drive up, fill up the tank, resource use is tabulated, you drive away. No money transaction. Of course, your petrol use may be higher or lower than others, and this is related to how often you use the car. Remember, none of it is yours: its an economy of use, not possession.

(By the way, Esso is evaluated at $300b. 100million people putting in £3000 each (the cost of petrol for a year for some folk) could buy Esso outright. That’s something to think about. An FTP open moneystream of $300b; that’s everyone on the planet contributed $40 each. Will we ever reach this ‘fantastic’ situation? Well, we have the protocols. We have the intention and love and trust between us as friends and family… we just lack the trust in their operation. We are trapped by our traditional mechanics.)

And the cost of petrol is much lower in certain countries, those which have decentralised their government. Just like Esso is %-equity crowd-shared, so is ‘government’. A double win for the folk who manage that first!

Blue Network

A car-pool where insurance is brought within the fold. That is, a crowd-owned insurance company. Again, no-one is making money out of us. When an accident occurs, it is covered by FTP. Of course, it comes down to trusting people to drive cars around. Do you give a super-dooper car to a young man? Only if he proves he can drive well. Insurance companies have the math worked out in terms of rates of injury etc. We should be using this math to simply reduce costs of premium, or in our case FTP contribution towards this BitCar project. Money is not put into the organisation competing with other organisations, a massive marketing and advertising game, both externally and internally.

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This is from Direct Line’s 2012 Annual Report (p98).Operating costs 25% of revenue, over a £1billion. That’s a lot of ‘financial’ machinery being paid for.

In terms of ecosquared, we don’t want an insurance company; in fact, we don’t want any company for that matter. We simply use the assurance we have between us: MTTP for p2p, and FTP for one to many. If some network of people give a flash car to one of their group, and they don’t have the resources locally to cover it if things go wrong, then they will require other networks to subsidise them. This is the typical fission-fusion and 1:5 grouping that all kids are familiar with by the age of 11. Not complicated. Fractally complex, but essentially — mathematically and psycho-socially — simple.

Green Team

For this to work, the team has to be concentrated. That is, people who live close by, who share the same garage for example. Each participant ‘owns’ their car in the sense of paying for Road Tax and Insurance (£50-£100/month). Instead of paying for when the car breaks down, a contribution is made to keep the car running smoothly. How much? Depends on how many cars are in the network and the size of the garage, but let’s say around £50/month. They may need to take more people on during periods of stress, or pass cars on to other garages if the demand is too high, as occurs nowadays. And when things are slow, cars are invited in to upgrade them. The objective is to keep cars healthy, so that they do not ‘lose’ their value. Courses are put on to invite owners to be involved in the maintenance of their cars.

Instead of saving funds in private banks, or accessing credit, participants GIFT(£50/month) for the use of the car, FTP{Bitcar}. This accumulated FTP (within a year, 10 car-owners accumulate £6000) not only attracts other car-owners to the network, but can operate like insurance, and to buy in new car, perhaps when a member of the community gets to driving age.

Red Solo

Difficult. Two things possible: hack ownership, and share %-equity in the income enabled by car-use.

hacking ownership

Let’s say I manage to generate the funds to ‘own’ a car at £2k. Let’s say I give-it(car)-forwards-to the ‘BitCar’ project. I also give-it(£50)-forwards-to FTP. Which means I have 100%-equity in all three ecosquare value vectors, Vp Vk Vi, namely the Aggregate (ie the car), FTP or Moneystream (which will be £300 by summer), and SEA.

Who knows how I can leverage this in the future? Perhaps attracting others to the Bitcar project? Perhaps someone may wish to GIFT(car)(£50). Perhaps, I will be able to give my car to someone (rather than selling it), and produce the dynamics described in the Green Team? Either because I leave the country and don’t need the car, or I buy a new car. Perhaps I can use the FTP to buy a new car, and thus include the car within the BitCar network?

So, running costs are identical to ‘ownership’, only difference is, the money that normally goes into the ‘bank’ (for whatever nefarious purposes they put it to) when saving up is replaced with FTP, an open-money-stream:

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invest in people, not things — we are the ones ‘making’ the money anyway

Secondly, an alternative way of thinking about this, is to think what the car enables. I will be able to teach, making around £80/day after tax. The car enables this. Without the car, I can’t get to school. So, in a way, the person who gives me the car, is enabling me — they deserve some %-equity in my income. If I make £1600/month, what %-equity would they want? Same goes for the garage mechanic — how much %-equity do they deserve?

Whoever has contributed the car (£2k), the mechanics at the garage (£50/month), I still have to pay for insurance and road tax (£50/month). Based on a plan which is half-way between rent and ownership, at around £250/month, those who supply the car should get around £200/month, which is 12.5%-equity of my income stream.

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After one year, the ‘owner’ has recouped their investment, and the garage has made £323.99, regardless of the repairs. Total, £2400 to use the car.

Now, with this kind of relationship, if I kept using the car by the end of the second year, the car-gifter will have made £1722.78 ‘profit’, and the garage another £750 from the second year to cover the costs of maintenance. Total, £4800 to use the car over two years.

A few questions may come to mind, about what the gifter of the car may do — perhaps offer a better one, and if so, what is the rate now? And does the garage-mechanic keep getting more and more until they are taking all of the 12.5% equity reserved for car use? Well, funnily enough, no. It tends to a number. After 10 years, for example, the car-gift owner will be getting £50/month and the garage-mechanic £150/month. Perhaps the car will require that amount of maintenance, but probably not.

the core of economics: numbers and time

Whatever your interest is in cars, the math pattern deserves attention. Why? Because it shows the relationship between capital and regular investment. Think about this in a completely different field — health. Do you pay for health treatment when something goes wrong (capital), or should you be paying a regular investment for health (regular)?

This relationship is at the heart of all our finances: the difference between a static lump sum and regular payment.

FTP, the accumulation of money as an index of trust within a network, combines both: regular payments to a static ‘standing wave’ of money. Where is this money? Well, it is like a bank, but unlike a bank, accumulated FTP does not get used. Like MTTP guarantee, it remains in escrow between the parties. So, FTP acts more like a guarantee, to be released if not enough revenue is generated from what is co-created; to ‘buy out’ those who do not wish to have %-equity in the co-created product.

The thing to get your head around is that %-equity is at the base of new economics, ecosquared or otherwise. Moneyflow is secondary.

And there is a race going on: as capitalism gets finer and finer in resolution, turning everyone and his dog into a capitalist, versus the sharing economy, where we are all part of a greater whole, a collaborative commons, where we share everything. Capitalism has massive momentum, institutionally, mechanically (financially), and psychologically. The internet has cracked open a massive opportunity in the form of open-source and it rejuvenated the commons and after a decade a massive sharing meme. But are the proponents of the sharing economy fooled by their relative luxury, royalty within the citadel playing games because they live in a world of material abundance?

It’s a tough call, and we each have to make it. We do so in our daily actions. We do so with every single financial transaction. I for one, am not convinced, as I turn to ‘buying’ a car, filling it with petrol regularly, and fueling the current system which is so destructive to our environment, and our collective soul.

explanation-exploration for the proposed happening-hangout

Our current system favours the talker, the entertainer, the wilful person, the persuader, the extrovert and so on. Although we have come a long way, I am fairly convinced the amount of money that flows to those we really value is not high enough.

I have not heard anyone say anything that is outwith the current economic paradigm that isn’t literally about giving things away for free, eg freecycle, various share movements, and all sparked (at least in the last few decades) by programmers sharing code. But the current system can go on quite happily, money laundering its way through the degradation of the natural world, while a bunch of people “buck” the system. It tolerates sharing within the family, for example; it tolerates a certain amount of political and even economic dissension.

An alternative economics, one based on giving — and yet still using money we use nowadays — will produce a different social effect, which may enabling us to be generous, for example, and to value that which we hold dear to us the most: our loved ones, the environment; listeners, contemplators, quiet, loving, careful, open-minded, equanimous people.

designing the happening-hangout

If such an alternative economy exists, the way to prove it, is to test it. That’s the point of the ‘happening hangout’. So, if we set up the happening hangout to reflect us well, and the moneyflow ends up with those we individually and uniquely value; that is, the facilitators get ‘paid’, and more people want to take part. We need to get a result in one hour. I am going to give the experiment a test run of four happening-hangouts, with the end-goal that we have 1,000 people who are wanting to ‘play’ for £10-hour. That means, we are making a collective decision about £10,000 on a weekly basis.

Is this possible? And if so, how?

The question that may come to my mind is, which way does the money go? Does this sound like an odd question to you? It may be, but can we answer it anyway: does the money go outward or inward? Does it go out to the people who are joining it last, or inwards to the people who host, who have done this before?

Traditionally, money goes to the centre, it centralises to kings, governments, banks, companies. Does this suggest that in our alternative economy the money actually goes outwards to the periphery, branching to more and more people, that it becomes diluted…? If this moneyflow was to ever coallesce again, then it would be done by peripheral individuals redirecting the money to those people who they thought deserved it, people they valued. This, actually, is a variation of the Invitational-Protocol.

I am not sure at what stage we are at in the world, whether we can initiate such an IP with the first happening-hangouts. It may be more sensible to think of it as a trust game where participants are inviting the facilitators to play the game, like inviting a referee to steward a football game. Once an activity is decided on, the moneyflow goes to where it has been decided. The fact that it does indicates the trust we have in the facilitators. It is important that all MTTP flows onwards to other people, and the facilitators never take any out for themselves. Their payment must rely on the consequence of the social result of the event.

parameters of experimentation for ha-ha’s

Imagining a state where happening-hangouts are actively springing up with thousands of players, what will distinguish ha-ha’s will be the different flavours of experimentation, whether they are geo-local, what protocols the facilitators use in their engagement, the overal timing of the hangout, and the external apps used like quora, the direction of money-flow, the ‘objective’ of the ha-ha, and so on.

When inviting a bunch of people to a meal, we want to cater for different tastes. My brother had a rule-of-thumb, relying on a few stable dishes he knew how to cook, and add an experimental dish. A level of experimentation is encouraged for every hangout.

If there are enough of us playing these games, we will hone in on few distinct systems that enable different results in the real world. The important thing is that the feedback loop to determine what works is determined not by thinking, but by social impact. In this way, we do no try to ‘isolate parts’, specific people, specific protocols, specific numbers of people. It is very much a ‘wholeness’, and what solutions we evolve are systemic, not at the level of any individual part.

But this is jumping the gun. We definitely need to produce the first set of ha-ha’s that simply work — as good as, if not better than ‘working’ in a company structure.

phase development of ha^2 as interlocking s-curves

phases as interlocking s-curves

Phase zero is coming up with the idea.

Phase one is sharing it, and seeing what people say, who is interested, feedback, gentle awareness. Conversational. This is the stage we are at now. This attracts potential designers, facilitators and contributors, and is on-going in subsequent phases since the entire process is open.

Phase two is inviting the self-selecting team to design the basic DNA of the first ha^2. Who are into open design? Who independently see value in their vision of what the ha-ha could be? What is the basic DNA of the first ha^2? It’s dealing with the mechanics, the software, as well as provisional design of hangout engagement between facilitators, and so on. This will continue as an iterative cycle of evolution in subsequent phases, but we need to have a provisional first game fit for play.

Phase three is the actual embodied experiment. This will require the designers and the facilitators to commit to one or all of the first run of happening-hangouts. Provisionally, it will be a run of four ha-ha’s.  We will need some people who are connected enough within a network that by their invitation, we get plenty of people to trial the system. We can not enter into this phase unless we have all the necessary players.

Phase four, what to do if it works? In order for us to enable this, the first website design must have a provisional plan for growth. That is, for example, the ability for participants to start hosting their own ha-ha’s and allow their networks to crowd-fund them. This may even involve ‘companies’ at some stage using this platform.

time-scale?

The first phase arose over a few weeks, engagement with people like John Kellden, Gregory Esau, Joris Claeys, Bert-Ola Bergstrand. The second was sparked inadvertently a week ago with Michael Maranda which has led to an open, though not particularly well-crafted, invitation. Some incredible engagements with people, like Alex Gagnon, Alexandre Enkerli, Willi Schroll, Anna Blume, Joe BreskinGrizwald Grim, Susan Cox, and Michael Layne Hartsell. As usual, this is piece-meal. Those who happen upon it, who recommend, who are interested. I will give this period a couple of more weeks. I will be calling for phase two mid-July, and the actual trial to start in August. However, this may all slide since it is summer, so that the experiment is conducted in September. We’ll see, depends on whether there are enough open-designers (which reminds me of meta-designer John Wood) who catch the vibe.

fourth iteration — a viable hangout

Coming to the end of the book, and I am fairly certain it is not going to be a big page-turner. I have started to pull together ideas for generating a hangout game show which crosses crowd-sourcing with social impact. Like a social version of kickstarter.

the niche

Currently, someone comes up with an idea or a prototype and they find partners, form a company, seek funding from start-up capital or angel investors or crowd-funding. This fits the competitive model of development.

Many people who are into world change use various online services to gather and share information, from dedicated website, newsletter posts and social media sites. A rising phenomena are ‘conversations’, g+ communities or fb groups curated by a suitably enlightened instigator. Some contributors use the space to connect people, to learn, and then use this information in their offline work, such as consultants. They value these communities, most in the same way we had the ‘water-cooler’ effect in businesses. There is no moneyflow, and yet the space is considered very valuable.

How about producing a hangout show that does both? Here’s a mock-up. An engagement so rich that participants not only reach consensus but commitment to produce a social impact within a short period of time. Social impact is the means by which the hangout is evaluated, and money follows. It allows a network of strangers to make decisions as if they were in charge of a company. It is active use of trust.

the hangout game

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Appropriate a crowd-funding WP site, like the one above. By investing say £10, participants are invited to a hangout game. There are a number of games run at different times and facilitated by different people with different flavours of activity.

The hangout game itself consists of a few facilitators and everyone else watching live. Imagine this is running successfully with 100 people. The name of the game is answering the following question (which is similar to the question in action cycles):

What is the greatest social impact that up to 100 of us do with up to £1000 in the following week?

Participants use quora.com to put in their submissions, and everyone votes up and down the best options. The facilitator’s job is draw attention to those suggestions that may be added late or simply deserve more attention; namely to avoid that phenomenon where the top few listings end up escalating simply because they are highlighted (you know, top videos or articles put at the front of a website like youtube, evident in comments in youtube for example). The trick of the game is to reach consensus and commitment within the hour.

For example, someone may have an idea that could be converted into a kickstarter with a few people’s help. Perhaps within that week a handful of people help turn an idea, or a prototype, into a kick-starter programme and everyone else of the 100 people are the seed funders and recommenders of the project. Perhaps at the end of the following week, the project is funded $80,000. Some of this money is redistributed back to the ‘marketing’ team, the 100 people who participated, say $100 each. That’s a conversion of £10 for entry to $100 return.

Not all projects will have a financial return, but it depends very much on the ‘flavour’ of the hangout game show. Some will be more oriented to getting a financial return, but what matters is how people respond to suggestions that catch their attention enough to add to it, offering their skills, and helping it become a more realistic venture. The point is, we are realising the power of the collective to overcome what halts most of our open source projects — the difficulty of finding followers and securing marketing. Collectively, we have the resources to produce incredible results socially on a regular basis, if we are freed from the usual constraints imposed by company boundaries. Networks working with money flow.

deepening hangouts and ecosquared protocols

Not all the hangouts are in the form of this game. There are others which have a flavour of deepening engagement, learning how to reach consensus faster, how to confront differences and arrive at consilience. These hangouts are run along similar principles, where people who are interested fund the hangout and watch and perhaps participate, from one-to-ones to one-to-many’s, and ideally we will work out protocols to have many-to-many. The objective of these deepening hangouts is to learn what are the protocols which we need to adopt to make best use of our time when we meet collectively on line. Think intense and meaningful. Think of the equivalent to global summits, when potentates meet and need to make decisions about the direction of their governments, or CEOs making decisions as to the direction of their company.

As the fourth iteration of ecosquared, this is an attempt to get real results in the real world. With all our virtuality, our obsession with information and opinion, we do tend to lose the substance. The intention of these hangouts is to bring to the fore what we really value. The ecosquared protocols set up a game where money becomes ‘well-behaved’ mathematically speaking (MTTP), while opening up an economy that is based on subjective enumeration (SEA).

The direction of money is interesting. It appears that participants are paying for a ticket to be able to play the game and the money is going towards the centre, collecting as a ‘capital’. It would be nice to have a gift-it-forward in action, where the money generated from one hangout-game actually is carried over to another. One option is to initiate the Invitation-Protocol where the direction of the moneyflow is outwards. People are invited to play. People are showing trust by inviting people they know to the game-show, and even when they suggest activities to perform over the week, the decision actually hangs on those they have invited. That is, the centre is financially powerless, and the periphery is the collective decision-maker. A good thing for communities.

This may constitute the minimal set-up for us to test the protocols, including SEA, once the system gets up and running. The money that is attracted to the value the network produce, $10k in the example, is distributed by the values that people give one another. Those who contribute more actively are recognised by their peers collectively, and thus end up with more moneyflow. In our example, the team of which produced the video and wrote up the copy for the prototype pitch will naturally end up with more money-flow.

invitation for partners

I am looking for partners to set up the technical system, which looks relatively easy since there are templates for crowd-funding already available, and more importantly seed the game-show with their communities. That is, I am looking for people who would like to host one of these shows.

As a team, our collective input will produce a comprehensively appealing design, as we cover for each other’s blindspots. A team effort will produce a better invitation than this.

Auditions are now open 🙂

conversational invitation

Very simply, I’ve invited Joachim Stroh and John Kellden to separate hangouts using MTTP. We’ll record how the conversation goes, evaluate via SEA, and then put up the video. Viewers can then evaluate it again using SEA, and if they think it is valuable, they go ahead and invite one of us or anyone else to further conversations.

Not sure why I hadn’t noticed this earlier. It is such an obvious application, much easier than writing this fictional narrative book. It is a way to start moneyflow at the conversational level. Must have been primed by John’s curated ‘epic’ hangout the other day. So simple.

The idea came up between me and Ian Merrifield on a well-meaning commentary on a post on facebook, about a whale, loneliness and the state of the world. Of course, he’s a tango man, so genuinely I must say the idea appeared between us. I’ve also invited him to a conversation, and we will see what additional value arises between us.

Whatever the result may be, it is a good start.

 

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