a lot to do

Having been here in Aberdeen for a week, I am as if under water, inundated with the amount of material of ecosquared I must assimilate and detail for coders and designers. Sleeping patterns have been disturbed. Mindflow at the start of the week, some beautiful insights. Yesterday it was the clarity sparked by Matt talking about a big company which had replaced the weight of annual reviews for an app that persistantly asked every single employee three times a day whether they should continue or change something. The relevance of this to Ecosquared Projects was startling. So simple. So, so, simple. Exactly what I want, and I used to think. But right now, I am inundated with detail, submerged, holding my breath.

This morning I woke many times, to the point where I was conscious in my dreams. My brother, I am sorry to say, I wished upon him my eczema, literally on his body, his face. I realised it was a dream, and then asked him to report back to his own conscious mind that he needs to change his mind. The version of him in my mind said with anguish that it had tried, and failed. I insisted that it try again, after all, never had it been given support from another mind in this kind of way.

As I woke and fell back to sleep, I related this to the myths around witch-doctors, and other kinds of spiritual activity, spirit flying etc, things I have always kept at a distant from my cool intellect. To actively, consciously engage the mental version of my brother, in my own mind, with the intent of it influencing my independently bodied borther, was a twist of psychology I have never experienced — not from this side of it at least.

As for the web-app, Credits came to mind. We can call our internal system of account, Credits, or Credamus, ‘we believe’. It is an article of faith.

That if I ever do a presentation, on a stage, it will be as an old man, tired, close to death. Even if we present the future ahead, it is a place I can not go. I am the gatekeeper, opening up the door, and presenting a future which others, younger, may take — may make.

Regarding timeline, having a central NOW line within the present context. Above are offers and notifications, below are people. We can decide what default setting is for red user, then green.

Was thinking about qualification of user, different levels. Perhaps not have colour, because of Jim’s mention, but stars. And when a user does anything, it gives them a star. Once certain stars are done, level is unlocked. And of course, user can ‘buy’ the level.

pr perhaps reason

I have now used the FE to change my password, thanks. And I’ve defined a new one of course. I’ve added a new task in the next bundle: login if wrong should send back a message to the user, not just freeze — helping out the user at that point will be most appreciated. If their overal experience of the app is a pleasant one, she or he will be giving us money to improve things further — and we are in a position of listening to what changes they may want to bring to make their experience even more joyful and elegant..

 

 

Whatever my complaints are, and how we have shape up with the UX — not just does it look nice — but the actual experience of pleasure, and how gentle this thing is on the mind. Like Apple Mac operating system with icons and windows and a pointer was just a lot easier on the mind than a command line.

The trick was to generate the simplest system that could offer maximum user interactivity.

Our prototype won’t manage it, we are not going to produce that mac experience because that mac experience came out of a few years of development by highly paid and expert people. The millions that cost to get it into production, was predicated on that experience — that first real hit of user experience. UX is not just the tapping or long tapping on a screen. the intuitive engagement with the interface which is less like a maze and more like an obvious route to do what you want to do.

We might have the chance of producing that mac hit with the beta. But we will need to be absolutely merciless about making that UX slicker than a Ferrari or whatever flicks your switch. Because if we are merciless to produce the best user experience possible, as deep into the code design as possible, to enable the wealth of social enrichment this app will enable.

 

No doubt about it. Problem is, we haven’t produced enough of an experience with people to justify it. We need to get more done, ensure UX is satisfyingly sufficient, an enough that is satisfyingly satiating.

 

And sadly there has not been enough critical mass of people who… perhaps know each other or work together. When we get this critical mass — or intense quality — we will be in for a ride. Not just in terms of great share pictures, or pleasant messages, or new gadgetry in the world, or interesting new developments socio-psychologically. But what about what we are doing with the world, bringing a quality of responsibility with one another that is not overshadowed and objectified into the roles and offices we hold. This is what we need — proper, serious engagement about matters which really move us, about global situation, environment, continued sociopolitical unrest.

 

 

At this stage, the BE and FE may be clumsy, but they give enough of an experience that a user experiences ecosquared pleasantly. There is a systemic experience. And it is not a person to machine interaction. Nor a person to another person through mediating piece of technology. People still think a computer is a window, like the TV was. It can operate like a TV now, and we can direct it to all number of things out there in the world that are tremendous, gadgets, and videos, and things to buy, and books to read, and whatever takes your fancy — the computer can allow us to find things. And we can talk to each other through this, like a phone, and we can keep track of what our friends are up to, and organise our socials better.

However, the real value of it remains untapped.

 

I appreciate your work — you do not know how much. In the future, money will indicate it — and it will be from people who are using a tool that you built.

 

[18/07/2015 03:07:33] David Pinto: Think about the previous word — “interface design” “experience of the interface”. The “interface” is basically the screen. It is how it looks, and how we move things around the screen. It allows to see into our bank account (amazing) or stay in contact with people from a few years ago (amazing) and for learning about loads of stuff, and see films, etc, etc.
[18/07/2015 03:07:36] David Pinto: No.
[18/07/2015 03:08:52] David Pinto: I think you will have to experience the front-end. And you will have the benefit of having coded it.
[18/07/2015 03:10:45] David Pinto: The relationship between experience, and how the code is structured have a relationship. I don’t think we can communicate it about it very well — you will be taking their experience as being more important than yours because of their position. I’d rather you were actively involved in the experience you want to have from using the app. We just have to experience it.
[18/07/2015 03:11:03] David Pinto: Problem is, you don’t really have any idea how you’d use the app — or even want to.

 

 

Nobody else does either. Which is why we need to try it. And once people try it, they will be influence how they are experiencing it. And the first really powerful people to use the app will be coders.

 

[18/07/2015 03:12:36] David Pinto: Nobody else does either. Which is why we need to try it. And once people try it, they will be influence how they are experiencing it. And the first really powerful people to use the app will be coders. Or could be.
[18/07/2015 03:12:43] David Pinto: Strange lot coders though.
[18/07/2015 03:13:40] David Pinto: But once they get it, and find how it operates, and base their use on a feedback loop that makes sense, socio-economically and potentially politically.
[18/07/2015 03:13:50] David Pinto: I don’t think many coders are aware of how political what they do is.
[18/07/2015 03:15:28] David Pinto: The romans built the roads and the aquaducts, the british built steam engines and industrialised great parts of the world. Tool builders. We are living through an age where the main thing we are building, is code.
[18/07/2015 03:16:02] David Pinto: Change how people code, and why they code, and we change the world.

 

You guys are creating the platform, the infrastructure, the buildings and institutions of the future. One bit at a time. The fucking builders of the future — the construction workers, the civil engineers — the virtual engineers. Changing/creating/making the future.

 

But for example, it is text stream. Although I can mark it with emoticons — there’s no way I can ‘activate’ these emoticons, I can use them to track my feelings, or get a revision of things I have noted. Like a summary. So the history of engagement is not just an endless block of text, but it is punctuated with emoticons and ‘intellicons’ which perhaps others might find useful. Less like blog, and more excerpts from work engagements, or love exchanges rather than deliberate ‘poetry’.

I’d like Skype to evolve. And I haven’t felt part of its evolution very much… it doesn’t change enough. Improvements, etc.

Anyway — you guys are coding the future.

[18/07/2015 03:26:11] David Pinto: Anyway — you guys are coding the future.
[18/07/2015 03:32:04] David Pinto: If I am right with ecosquared, and the design is slick enough, and scalable enough, a lot of people are going to be very happy and appreciative. And we give them the tool to enable that. And not just to show their appreciation of us because of what the tool enables — more importantly — their experience with other people improves because of the higher level of trust and the obvious positive cycles that generate good will and superb application to whatever we attend to. Appreciate whatever or whoever they want to appreciate, music, tango partner/teacher/student, cake baking, badminton-playing, golfer. And they can take care of their children and grandchildren securely.

 

{qbase, qforce}

 

a million i’s

Not just eyeballs on a page, or the first three seconds of an advert. Not just the shallow response of an easily evoked emotion by a skillful illusion that is a film. When we can engage deeply enough with one another, together, such that there are a million people appreciating the same… rather complex or subtle thing… and make a decision together with eg £10. That’s a game I’d LOVE to play. £10 to play with 1,000,000 others — how to spend £10,000,000. By consensus. All of us. Over a few hours, maybe a weekend.

Well, if we got to that level socially — which seems realistic at the time this was written in 2015 — but because of our app, we managed to get to 1,000 of us deciding in an hour to spend £10,000. Yup, I’m up for that game. The tool to enable this can be bodged together from different services across the net — we used QAHDGDH and off-the-shelf crowdfunding app (should have got coders to maybe implement some new features), and google hangouts. For any future version (relative to time of writing) or what seemed to work (relative to those readers who have had this experience, where I am in their past and across an unknown social distance) — for any version to work, probably need a simple live ly.visual map like thing which shows current decisions held by people, values as well as moneyflow. And because of curiosity, you draw yourself into certain peoples ideas, and the state of agreement, and the formation of teams possibly, while others are simultaneously exploring how to improve the experience as it is happening, and those who are spreading a means of communication — like hand signals — help 10 people orchestrate their listening better. And you contribute, your appreciation, and perhaps you draw attention to people through your appreciation, like everyone else is, and why you are drawn into certain potential solutions for the movement of £10,000,000 this very evening — with the special theme of the evening is — we want to see a significant improvement in attitude in a school which has been experiencing low grades, or revitalising garage (like those shows where you upgrade your house, how about you upgrade your company — I’d watch that — that’s one up on Dragon’s Den!).

1,000 people in an hour? Ok, what about 100? Or 10? Or 2? There are different ways of engaging at different sizes of grouping. For 100 to engage — usually its most are watching or sitting, and there one or a small group doing something that they are appreciating. 100 dancing is unusual, in terms of ‘ballroom’ dancing and that is at least in pairs. 100 dancing at a club — are they dancing in pairs? Much? How much in small groups? Yes a few friends bunched together. And of course when a club takes off, then everyone is in it together. Different states of mind, different scales of mind.

I think 1000 people in an hour means we have to learn how to communicate in a way we can’t do just now. But if we learn, some of us are going to be leaving with £10,000. Yup, that’s a game I want to play. I think my ideas are pretty cool, and I got amazing results from kids. We did things in ridiculously short timeframes, and got inspired a LOT. If ecosquared provides the platform tool device that allows mapping of this social manifestation… the potential is rather…. consequential. Globally.

 

 

[18/07/2015 03:55:20] David Pinto: Cheeky buggers!
[18/07/2015 03:55:41] David Pinto: I can see all your hard work. I’m not sure you see mine.
[18/07/2015 03:55:52] David Pinto: Hopefully the experience of the app will justify it.
[18/07/2015 03:57:54] Maxi Dev: Just looking Asana we can tell al your effort on the app and the idea
[18/07/2015 03:58:30] David Pinto: Wait till we hear the social music.
[18/07/2015 03:58:33] David Pinto: That’s my work.
[18/07/2015 03:58:36] David Pinto: Did with kids.
[18/07/2015 03:58:55] David Pinto: Adults… they needed money I think for it to work. At least initially.
[18/07/2015 03:59:22] David Pinto: Once we are working because we really really want to, in fact — we pay to participate. Then we know it is working.
[18/07/2015 03:59:27] David Pinto: 🙂
[18/07/2015 03:59:37] David Pinto: You will be making enough money, that you will be giving it away.
[18/07/2015 03:59:43] David Pinto: Call it business investments.
[18/07/2015 03:59:52] David Pinto: Call it sharing to people you think deserve it.
[18/07/2015 03:59:59] David Pinto: Or people who can get stuff done that you think is valuable.
[18/07/2015 04:00:02] David Pinto: Whatever.
[18/07/2015 04:01:01] David Pinto: And more importantly whoever you appreciate.
[18/07/2015 04:03:15] David Pinto: That’s when our social song will have begun, properly.
[18/07/2015 04:03:33] David Pinto: Ok, I am off to bed. Tango was good tonight, that’s why I am quite happy.
[18/07/2015 04:03:39] David Pinto: Sleep well when it comes.

up to $1 million for helping us make history

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.

verge of beta completion

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.

Everything is in order: provisional Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy in place, Business Plan, Financial Projections, Viral Math Simulation, landing page and video animation.

what now?

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!

 

risk and its appreciation

It has taken a season to vet lawyers and accountants and assemble all the pieces for a business proposal. Could it be faster? Of course, but not given the current financial landscape and my lack of qualifications (being a math teacher doesn’t open up a world of connections in the adult world…). That’s three months of no income. I’ve read about other start-ups that haven’t had revenue for a couple of years, and they even have the audacity to promote a ‘lean’ business methodology. That’s not lean, that’s starvation-lean! And since they are heralded as successful on linkedin, it means they are being patronised by a parent company, and for me that’s cheating.

In business speak, I am now investor ready. Now it involves facing risk, or the perception of risk.

some basic math

The history of risk makes for fascinating reading, eg Against the Odds. I have always been drawn to the particular conceptual framework around probability. Three things stand out. First, teaching young minds probability is a real eye-opener. Any adult takes for granted that flipping a coin produces a 50/50 chance, getting an Ace of Spades 1/52. But this wasn’t God-given; this is mathematical application, and it doesn’t come naturally to young minds. Why not? Second, probability is contained within statistics, and I hate statistics since it is overly applied and misapplied. Third Bayes Theorem, something I have dived into over the years, and still have not been able to ‘tame’.

At the core of probability is time, at least for the applications that attract my attention. It is the perception of future events, a way to enumerate possible futures to help guide present decisions. This is fine for certain mechanical systems, eg cards shuffled in a deck. But not that useful for a system which involves consciousness. Just look at the Prisoner’s Dilemma, and thats a simple case. Its the capacity of participants to second-guess outcomes which elevates such systems beyond the complexity of purely mechanical systems. Whether it is a class of kids, or investors playing on the stock market, complex dynamics. Chaos Theory 101.

what is a business plan, after all?

It took me months before I realised what it is, or at least half of it is. Costs. A business plan is primarily a summary of future costing. It is the basic burn-rate of a company over the coming year, at least. That’s half of it. The other half is smoke-and-mirrors.

Whatever anyone says, a business plan attempt to forecast future adoptive behaviour — will people buy the thing or not? Sure, if your company is a new brand of ice-cream, there’s reasonable data out there to base your figures on; stock only one line on the shelf versus three wide, will influence whether the tub is picked up or not. But introducing the very notion of ice-cream is quite another — Steven Johnson’s mentions this in his excellent series which also makes for fascinating viewing.

When it comes to innovation, genuine market-creation, forecasting adoption figures is entirely speculative. Appreciation of risk is nowhere near a mechanical affair. And yet, it may have an equivalent level of simplicity to it, especially when faced with lack of evidence.

so how does an investor decide what to invest in?

I only know one bone fide entrepreneur who managed to win £110k from an investor match funded by Welsh government after months of stressing; within the year, the money was gone and he had established his original invention wasn’t viable — and he was going for a second round! A consequence of our current enterprise system is that once people invest, especially government bodies, it is hard to pull out until they get their return. Which results in investors and governments being reluctant to enter an investment relationship in the first place, introducing more checks and compliance tests at the outset, thus inflating initial costs. A nasty feedback loop.

This is biggest problem, as all entrepreneurs know, the stepped investment route. Originally, I asked for £30k, but this has grown to £60k, and it has been suggested I put together a £125k business proposal to reach the ‘lower boundary’ entry for VC’s. Again, what happens is that while the vast majority of entrepreneurs are ‘genuine’, wily ‘serial entrepreneurs’ know how to stay on the treadmill, just look at this outrageous trail of mayhem.

The consequence? The entrepreneurial scene, for investors, is like the stock-market. Few invest in the actual product or service of a company, it is merely a numbers game where stock goes up and down. The only difference being, perhaps, investors are betting on people, not companies. More like horse-racing gamblers than poker-players. And as a 45 year old ex-math teacher, I’m not the youngest horse in the paddock.

ok, what’s the simple answer?

It comes down to this: Has it been done before? If not, can it be tested, and how much will that cost?

Ecosquared is simple. Very very simple. And it is entirely natural. Given our current state of institutionalisation, however, it appears ‘counter-intuitive’ to the point that it is invisible. I watched Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto last weekend again, for all its flaws it is a truly remarkable blockbuster; have you come across the invisible ships proposition? A Gift-Economic evokes a similar response from members of a 3,000 year culture based on a transaction-economic.

Captain Cook's Risky Endevour?
Captain Cook’s Risky Endevour?

First and foremost, it takes an acute mind to see Ecosquared. Certainly, I have found paper to be a terrible medium; however, I do find that everyone I engage ‘gets it’ in person. Still, this requires effort because it is mistakenly understood as ‘an idea’ rather than ‘a tool’. Once we get a prototype, and people experience it, even a child will get it — why? because we all grew up in a gift-economic, its entirely natural.

Second and more importantly, it takes courage to appreciate it. For an intellectual, this means admitting how new it is. Experts find this hard because they make their living based on what they do know. For an investor, this means acting on it, ie investing.

Most investors want to know how they are going to get their money back. Which is entirely reasonable for most kinds of investment — new brands of ice-cream say. However, with market-creation, as we have shown above, the rules are different.

We got first prototype running for under £1500, and I use it to track my engagement with people. Didn’t turn the light bulb on with investors. So, approaching the end of £3k and close to second version prototype. It will be clunky, chances of it going viral are slim, but it will reveal a glimmer of its potential. To the right people this will be enough. Enough for a £60k experiment which might show a greater acceleration than any bit of technology in history.

And besides, in a gift-economic, risk is a misplaced factor. I will leave that for another post to describe.

big day, in that little kind of way

This won’t excite anyone else on the planet, but I noticed it.

I was replying to an email from Scotland’s talent scout for Angel’s Den. His email went to the heart of it — understanding Ecosquared, explaining it, and trust. For the later, he’s actually introduced me to a colleague of his from Oak Team, to check the worth of our system, before he can approach individual investors. So far so good — though if we were operating Ecosquared, all this would involve moneyflow.

I finished my email thanking him for his candour — I am so glad I am operating in Scotland! — up-front and honest is the way I like it. And I mention (in parenthesis) that I am recording it. I sent off the email, and went to the Ecosquared Prototype app and dutifully recorded my evaluation of the engagement: partly for his observations (he said it was a waste of his time or it was brilliant), and partly for what was evoked in me (genius is in the mind of the beholder). He’s second on a specific list of people (the people I have introduced to the app, not the core group), and fourth in terms of SQ. I sat there, checking the evaluations, how people compared, and thought yes, that’s fair, at least from my point of view. And is the SQ fair? Difficult to say since there’s not enough density of engagement. SQ matches my evaluations just about perfectly with the exceptions of Colin and myself.

And then this happened. I closed the app and noticed that it was on a side page. I flicked to my home-page. I use Ecosquared all the time. I like using it. It is useful to me. Yup, home-page is where it deserves to be. Here’s what it looks like now:

Screenshot_2015-01-22-10-10-28

Gmail, Maps, a torch (I have used this a few times, very practical), and now ecosquared. What did it replace? Google Play Store. Yup, it ousted one of the Google products. Question is, will it ever replace one of the docked apps? Phone, Chrome, Camera, Settings…?

ok… anything slightly bigger to share with us, David?

In the wider world, things are going relatively well. Jorge is making headway with the back-end coding of the Gifting Mechanism. My God it has been a rigmarole getting a server and server-admin, and we’ve got a new URL to operate in the background. All his work is being hooked to the front-end, so we should have something to see pretty soon. All very exciting, in a back-end kind of way.

Meanwhile, I’ve spoken with Kevin from the Alba Innovation Centre. Once before Christmas, and twice since new year. He’s set up a meeting this Friday with an IP specialist and a regional manager from Scottish Enterprise. We agreed last week to meet at Kevin’s offices in Livingstone Tuesday. At his request I have been writing up a business plan over Christmas and New Year. Finally I have succumbed to ‘business sense’. Business Plan, horrible thing for what Ecosquared is, wrong tool. It reads more like an academic paper, nearly 50 pages. And on Monday, I decided to pivot, the lean-business term to basically signify a change of direction, taken from basket-ball I believe. I forked a business plan exclusively concentrating on the Gifting Mechanism. Much more succinct, and much more attractive to investors.

Mistakenly thinking Livingstone was south of Glasgow, I thought it sensible to make a few appointments in Glasgow to make the journey from Dundee worthwhile. I called up three angel investor groups, two responded positively: Lancaster Capital (the chap running caught me when I got my first knock-back last year; there’s a story behind that which I will go in to one day if that avenue turns out well), and Kelvin Capital. Meetings went well. Why? Because of the maths! I’ve modelled the Gifting Mechanism using InsightMaker. Take a look at the following.

healthy viral page

I’m not going to explain it. Perhaps it will make sense to you, or perhaps it just piques your curiosity. But it sure is exciting.

anything else?

My parents have been ill. Influenza of some sort. They are rather old, and it has floored them. My father in bed for a week with aches in his bones. Illness like this makes them age visibly before my eyes. My mother hobbling around, coughing to the edge of the very end of her breath. I’ve seen news reports about flu and how significant it is to that generation, but only in person does it have meaning. Honestly, their mortality is visible, to themselves too. Definitely a wake-up call.

Why mention this personal thing in this Ecosquared blog? Because the thing that is missing when I talk to people is the real experience. Adults are so used to simulating things in their heads, with business plans and financial projections, etc etc. The level of misunderstanding that Ecosquared triggers is very very basic. People think it is about ideas, on models. It is not. It is based on genuine, real relationships between people. Friend, family, living relationships, of blood, of feeling. This is why it will work. Not because it is commercial. It is real. It is an accounting system which tracks genuine value between people. And old people in our society deserve all the help they can get. Ageuk is one of the charities I’d like to pull in for the soft-launch in Easter.

It’s less about age, it’s more about wisdom. If the app doesn’t help us generate a sensitivity to wisdom, then it isn’t worth it.

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.

front_s

everyday running costs of ownership

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 15.17.00

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.