So, here’s a screen shot of the Android app, Projects Function:
What does it do? You simply evaluate how enthused or committed you are to the projects you are involved in. ‘My’ shows your current value, 0 to 10. ‘Soc Av’ shows median — and because not enough people have evaluated their projects yet, the medians are uniformly 0!
Why this function? So that everyone can see how the project is doing at any moment. It should be possible to get data from the server to show individual scores within a specific project, which would then allow users to get the heads up very easily on how people are faring. Think collective project management. We’ll be doing a lot more in this direction once we get moneyflow.
I’m paying Jeditech to code one of the financial functions, ‘Gift’. I had thought of doing ‘Invest’ first, but when speaking with angel investors over the last month, it is the Gifting Mechanic that seems to attract their attention. It’s our ‘route to market’, as they say. It is so counter-intuitive, some ran screaming, specifically one whose background was marketing. When speaking with Scottish Enterprise, Business Gateway, and Scottish Investment Bank, it makes sense — but only when I have a meeting. Written material just doesn’t seem to work in its favour, at least not the way I write it. Which is problematic because I’ve started business plans. Hard work trying to transform the content of a gifting economic into the structure of business plan. The usual questions — problem solved, unique solution, route to market, competitors, etc — are difficult to answer. I am the wrong person to answer. Or at least, my answers are great, but they don’t conform. Such questions lead me to think of the current system and I consider potential ecosystem that may form around the app. I don’t like projecting into the future false figures, I detest those projected figures over 5 years, and I don’t like ‘expectation’ period. Seems very close to speculation. However, a bit of maths has come to my aid.
While explaining the Gifting Mechanism to my coding partner, Colin, a couple of weeks ago, he pointed me at a brilliant bit of free online software — InsightMaker. I’ve been modelling the Gifting Mechanic ever since, onto the 12th iteration. Amazing. It allows the user to choose various rates of gifting, amounts of money, number of people who take, and so on, and runs a simulation, and I’ve included some standard deviation too. It even allows ‘sensitivity testing’, allowing 50 simulation runs simultaneously so it is possible to hone in on the rates that produce favourable results. That is, virals. Amazing! This is not only useful for potential investors, but for people using the app in the future to guide their behaviour — its the gifter’s equivalent to the ‘buyer’s guide’! Each user can get an idea of the kind of behaviour they need to exhibit if they want the thing they are recommending to go viral. And with a financial dimension, this means the money follows things we value. Viral doesn’t necessarily mean exponential growth, it can mean sustainable growth.
I’m getting ahead of myself. Point is, after working on this, I feel confident I can produce some potential figures in a business plan that actually make sense. Combined with the prototype version of the Gifting Mechanism, investors can make an informed decision. Part gut from direct experience, part mind from models and projections. Nice.
And this experience has given me an insight into what a traditional business plan is. It is nothing to do with the product, its all to do with the financials, costings. And because I am naturally aligned to lean business practices, I have come up with a minimal MVP for under £3,000, and the next one at £30,000 for a global open-ended viral capacity. This doesn’t take into consideration salaries for me or my coding partner, nor costs for compliance, etc, etc. It is the minimum to get us off the ground. If we reach the next threshold of funding, so we can pay for the heavier costs. Sustainable growth. I’ve never thought of taking money from an investor to pay me. Which is why our costs are so low. If we factor in salaries, even reasonably small ones, and the other expected costs like ‘sales’, we are dealing with £100,000, which is the figure that all government business loans and most investors are looking at as being ‘realistic’. You live and learn.
Drop me a line. I’ve been terrible at finding user-cases, which would provide us with some valuable data for the business plan. And an investor of course. And coders, etc, etc. Download ecosquared prototype at google play, athe iPhone version should be online very soon. Help to make good things happen — and get generously remunerated for it. Why? Because there’s a global population somwhere down the line who will be incredibly thankful to those who act now.
I tried to create a financial projection like you’d find in a business plan, expected revenue, for the ecosquared entity last year, based on a starting fund of £30,000. Silly thing to do since the entity is not a business, however I’ve gone back and stuck in a column called health. It may be a useful thought-experiment. ‘Health’ indicates how many week’s ahead the entity would live without growth and simply honouring MTTP contracts. That is, if no more people were invited, how long would the MTTP contracts be honoured (and this is without considering any money attracted to the value co-produced). Ignore all the other numbers, just the coloured columns have meaning, and the addition left hand ‘health’ column.
steve jobs and apple’s responsiveness
Eco^2 embodies an alternative business methodology. Remember that the fundamental protocol, mttp, is not based on exchange, and this means that everything which is related to it is different from current practice, including business methodology. Imagine, a world where the fundamental economic social contract is not based on exchange. What does this mean? Well, it takes many forms, and anyone who begins using mttp will notice some of the consequences.
Having engaged Mathew at Jump Marketing and Ken at Newhaven Agency, who gave high scores at the end of the first meeting and said they would invite me the next time I was in Edinburgh, have slid back into traditional methodologies. They begin to treat me^eco as a normal person, perhaps as a potential employee or as a saleman from another company. They want me^eco to put something in writing. This is a bad idea, since writing is a poor means of communication. I wish to give something freely to them, gems which may result in their improvement with their current clients or indeed attracting new clients. Since we^eco are not contractually obligated, and it is about person-to-person trust, then it is imperative that we engage in person. That is, there is a personal relationship which they may choose to honour or not. A faceless email, a bunch of letters on a page, just don’t work.
We^eco are not offering a thing like a salesman does, nor do we^eco wish to be employed. There is nothing to do but to engage, give what we^eco can, and should this be of value, to re-engage. It is not complicated. It is simple, genuine, no-strings attached, not even any contract — beyond what mttp and dmp induce. By entering into the writing game, into persuasion and conviction, we enter into sales, as if there is an exchange. Or, like a prospective employee or partner, a test of whether I^eco will conform to the regulations, the system which they employ. And, clearly, that is not what we^eco offer. We^eco offer liberation from the current system and structures. We^eco offer a new methodology which once they experience it, and put it into practice, will result in new clients, as well as a means of engaging “consumers” in a new way.
Basically, if the social contract is not based on exchange, how can we^eco stop ourselves sliding into the behavioural patterns that people in companies fall back into?
Only two answers have come to me so far. The first: the first engagement I must be ready to offer specific gems so that they are in a position to go with them. The danger is that because in the first engagement they have not really invited me knowingly, they may not appreciate the immediacy of the gift and the necessity for securing my future engagement. By offering me a contract, eg a single £100-day per week or per season, I shall not share that gem with others, thus providing them with the edge. Eg, if I offer them the Levi’s gem, I shall not share that gem with other marketing companies so that they have an exclusive approach to Levi’s.
The second: invite them to a meeting with others in the second engagement. That is, an action cycle. That is, introduce them to potential “clients”.
I had thought that the process is lean enough. That after the first engagement, there is an optional second scoping session where we offer gems and they open the potential for co-creation, and once there is proof in terms of moneyflow, new clients, implementation of a gem or adoption of eco^2 methodology, then we can move ahead with a convergence across different sectors. I still think this is just about the minimum. To cleave closer to the bone as suggested above, either with offering gems in the first engagement or inviting them to an action cycle without “evidence”, seem premature.
Once eco^2 is up and running, with some clout behind it, then this should be fast enough and real enough to work. But at this so early of stages, I am suffering from not having enough momentuum. Not enough capital, financial or social, to carry the process through. The sliding to a traditional methodology, to ask for things in writing, to attempt to grasp with understanding, or to check the web for historical validation, has occurred. Mathew and Ken are good people, there is no denying this. They have high quality of engagement and they are on their game. But they suffer from the methodological problems which nearly all people in companies do, which essentially comes down to distrust.
And trust is the operating system for anyone who is adopting eco^2 principles and practices. Trust is how we^eco roll. That’s how we^eco get results, that’s how we^eco get more trust to go further, and faster. eco^2: trust begets trust through results.
Please remember, I am learning the methodology as I go along. And the openness of the experience, the process, at all levels, is part of the eco^2 methodology. Again, this compares favourably to the traditional methodology where we have salesmen and proposals that are masked with confidence and false figures — just consider the traditional “business plan” and how spurious that process is. With eco^2, it is a process of co-creation. No matter how far down the line we go, how “successful” or “established” the protocols and our experience becomes, we are learning at the very edge of engagement with each and every new person. There is always the opportunity to learn. This is the source of innovation with eco^2, at it’s edge.