Tagged: ecosquared

investor gatekeepers

After a few weeks of putting the word out, here is a summary of my experiences of the angel investment situation here in Scotland.

first there were ten

Of the ten or so contacted, it has been relatively easy to arrange meetings, once I learned that I have to talk about level of investment and equity, nominally £30k for 16%. Of the few who request written info before even contemplating a meeting, they all respond with a negative, saying it does not match their criteria. I usually have to reply with a rather forceful email requesting what criteria exactly, and on two occasions this has led to a meeting.

Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 17.32.11

from five to two

Of the five I have met, one did not have a clue what I was talking about. I am on point, and I do explain how the gifting mechanic works. This can be overwhelming. For all but two so far, the app-server combo does not conform to the criteria they use to evaluate and subsequently pass on to their syndicate of funders. Most of these syndicates consist of reasonably well off professionals who are looking for different investment opportunities. In comparison to ISAs or playing on the stockmarket, investment in any kind of company or startup is a high-risk. They are not looking for innovative. They are looking for a niche product, something which fits the current market and makes a reasonable case for growth. Most are physical companies, many biologically orientated for some reason, and only a few in app development, eg controlling household boilers or lights with a mobile app, that kind of thing.

Of the three that said it was not suitable for their syndicate, they did offer to pass on my proposal to specific individuals they thought might be interested. None have honoured their word. The quality of response of individuals I have met here in Scotland is higher — where what they say and what they do match more closely than business people I have met south of the border. It is a tiny sample, for sure, but I suspect there is more hardness in the Scottish businessman. He doesn’t want to promise anything he can’t deliver. But still, I find the gap between word and action is still wide enough that I mistakingly take a barge of bullshit for a trustworthy relationship. I am learning. I am now entirely skeptical. It doesn’t matter what anyone says they will do now, it means less than the vapour from their tongues, insufficient to moisten a stamp let alone a letter of intent, or anything resembling useful action.

Why this behaviour? Because there is no moneyflow. I have dabbled with the notion of introducing MTTP into the initial engagement, but I have found that it appears to be too much of a gimmick at the moment. Only when I have sufficient funds and a body of practice behind me, will it operate well. Indeed, operate for anyone on the planet. Point is, we need to have moneyflow from the initial conditions. The current system has all this hot-air, talk, preparation — which could go on for months! — until eventually ‘gold’ is struck. And course, the investment has to be worth the time and effort that everyone has put into make the decision. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that upward of 25% of money funded goes to pay the time and effort before funding is released. Absurd, and also makes for a distrusting business environment. The alternative? Money flow from the start.

I am tracking people’s contributions through the app, of course. So, when moneyflow does arise, I can distribute it to those who have have actually been helpful. I tell people this, but because this is early days, they can’t ‘compute’ the significance of this. When I end up distributing £1,000,000 to these critical first-steps, the world will be a different place — it will pay to be sensitive and helpful.

two interested — why?

Through this relatively painless procedure, two have shone through. Despite the obvious challenge of comprehending the app in the first place, they were open-minded enough to listen. This indicates a qualitatively different mind-set. Both were quite unlike the others. First, they were investors themselves. Second, they were not simply going through a checklist, establishing what other products our app is like. They were genuinely looking for newness.

One began to relate ecosquared to trust networks already out there. For example a child-sitting service which was growing slowly in the US west coast (where else?). He talked of the importance of sharpening the pitch so that it was super-clear what was being offered, giving me examples of mechanical buzzards, of all things. Of course, the problem I have is that the tool has potentially ubiquitous use, but what I need to do is pin-point some specific potential user-cases. Specific problems solved, so the ‘market’ will find the offering obvious. And this chap offered to do just this.

Another had direct experience of equity investment and he was specifically interested in the gifting mechanism of our app. He recognised what I call the ‘fractal seed’ of the gifting mechanism, and revealed that another company was pitching this for £500,000. Good news to know there is a competitor, so I don’t feel so bad when I meet someone who has no idea what I am talking about, their response being more a reflection of what they don’t know or haven’t come across. The bad news is, they are putting together a professional bid with plenty of commercial bells and whistles. Another bad thing is that it was intimated they are using a traditional business model and will not be using the gifting mechanic themselves on their own product. That is, those who are tinkering with the gifting mechanism may be first to market, appropriating our one last great chance to escape the capitalist system (or thing-ownership strange-attractor).

In both cases, these individuals were genuinely engaging. Genuine potential here.

a final surprise

My nephew did something unusual, in fact doubly so. Firstly, it is unusual for (my) family members to mix business with blood, and secondly, it is unusual for someone to recommend something when they do not understand it. Both, I believe, are natural to the human state and once ecosquared has some validity, people will find it is healthy to trust friends and family first, whilst also developing the courage to explore things they do no understand or feel is right. That is, genuine trust network, and thus a strong enough existence to explore new experiences. Strong roots, strong branches.

So, my nephew showed a few slides to a neighbour of his who is a successful entrepreneur, and his response was positive. From what I heard, very positive. It looks like the most positive response has occurred indirectly, ie not through me directly — which is a good sign. It indicates that whatever is presented is reflecting what the viewer already knows. That is, they have observed the elements in society themselves, and my composition brings these elements together in a rather pleasant composition. Thus, resonance and acknowledgement, followed by appreciation and excitement. I am only speculating at this stage, since I haven’t met the gentleman. But I do know how the psychology of discovery works based on my experience with young adults.

I am, in fact, envious, that my nephew witnessed the buzz. Had I been present though, I am sure I would have white-washed whatever their excitement was with my own. This is a major problem with inventors or creators, at least for some. Without recognition, the creator internalises the lack of response, and so whenever even a glimmer of appreciation appears, it can often lead to an incandescent explosion of delight from the creator, which all too often snuffs out the joy of the receiver. I don’t make this mistake with kids. Or rather, when I see a kid start to light up with a discovery, I add my passion like fuel to their flame not just for having a new enlightening perspective on fractions say, but expanding it out to the joy of mathematics in general, and the ability of any one of us to learn! I have found that this genuine learning flame is weak in adults and can get easily snuffed out, whereas with young adults it has the radiance of nuclear fission, all-at-once intellectual, emotional and indeed spiritual.

conclusion

So, who is to know what may emerge? It is slow progress. I am certainly not excited about a positive response any more, because I have had people say ecosquared is genius before and very little came of it. In fact, the opposite — I trusted their perception and their direction and risked too much, losing my family in their enthusiastic promises. I won’t make that mistake, indeed I can not.

I have also begun the route through the public funding maze. Very nice engagement with managers at Business Gateway and Scottish Enterprise so far, with potential matched funding or 70% funding, but it is going to be 12 weeks putting together the proposal and then a further 12 weeks getting a decision. We’ll see how far I get along that path before I run out of steam, though perhaps some business-minded people may be attracted to complete that journey. Again, the method justifies the accretion of more ‘business folk’. The more money involved, the more people, and the more it costs to get anything to happen. Something which our app has the chance of cutting completely.

Meanwhile, Colin continues to develop the back-end engine and I fund the front-end app, which can be found on Google Play, ‘ecosquared’. I’ll write about user-cases in another post — feel free to submit your interest in the comments, via the app itself, or from the ecosquared.co.uk website.

ecosquared app

So, to recap. Early this year, Colin Kilburn went ahead and coded a back-end financial engine on a server. He also coded a web-app. Meanwhile, I taught maths in order to make some money. This autumn, I paid a chap called Abhinav to code a front-end android app, some cash and some %-equity.

Here we have a working prototype.

Screenshot_2014-10-02-16-56-42

It allows a user to choose a project (touching the title at the top, in this case ‘peek at app’), choose the name of someone (eg Tim), and choose a score (eg 6). Users can see their relative values they give for each person, thus getting a gauge of the priorities they think are important, and the SQ, the Social-Quotient, the result once everyones relative values are relativised themselves using our algorithm. It can be sorted by the tabs (in this case, SQ).

Screenshot_2014-10-02-16-57-18

 

We’re looking for interest from various partners:

  • user-cases to test in the field — reasonable density, people who interact relatively regularly over a week or two, so a group of people can evaluate the effectiveness of the algorithm to capture ‘intangibles’
  • angel-investors — around £30k to make the engine more robust, secure, and scalable on a virtual server so that anyone on the planet can use it
  • coders — to develop the other modules (Colin has run out of money and is now working for money, poor man)
  • business folk — to flesh out some commercial potentials, business plans, etc
  • contributors — landing-page designers, designers, philosophers

 

I’ve had plenty of people who want to commercialise it. Either by tracking value in a building renovation setting, licensing the code to enable people to value emails, gift buttons — all of which are under licence, using our back-end financial engine. Still, nobody as yet has seen the commercial potential in the app itself. So, I am especially interested in people who have the vision to see how this can be applied ubiquitously. Basically, anyone anywhere who is doing anything, can use the app to track the contributions people make to whatever they are doing.

When I started out saying ecological economics, I didn’t mean as a category. I meant it as a description. It is an alternative economic. A gifting economic. A network economic. An instant economic. And this app is the first working tool that enables it. We are coding the other functions later this autumn into winter.

GIFT(x) FTP Invitation

So, FTP has been rolling around my head since the beginning of the year. I haven’t finished the math, or the website invitation, but after speaking with Patrick Anderson, I pulled together this provisional video. From even the briefest perusal of Patrick’s G+ About page, it’s clear he is insightful and working towards bettering the world.

In terms of the system, I already have a Stripe submission in play, though will be looking at alternatives for moneyflow for content, eg for this site, which constitute ‘Surplus’ which is divided in the ratio of SEA. That is, the system is minimally operational!

the triggering dialogue

david pinto
Interesting. I found you on linked-in… searched for your future product foundation thing on the internet, didn’t find you, but eventually came round to your g+ page — and you are already in my circles! How are things going with you?
1:57 PM
Patrick Anderson
Hi David. I’m doing well. How are you?
david pinto
Hi. Yeah, pretty good. Too many convergent thoughts since the new year. Way too many. Hence my rather rare attempt to outreach, eg with you. Perhaps a few other players who are on the fringes, who are exceptional, may share the… burden of exploration 🙂
2:32 PM
Patrick Anderson
I don’t know where it comes from, but once you see in a new way, you are compelled to show others. I see your G+ response to my old, repetitive post. In not really sure what you mean by math or model, but I am willing to work with you to develop those interpretations
2:38 PM
david pinto
Ah, nice. You talked about fractional ownership, I think. I was asking if you have any math for this? To track fractional ownership. If this is what you were working on, coding, etc? With your product future foundation?
2:39 PM
Patrick Anderson
Ah. Hmm… It seems so elementary that I don’t see how math would help
2:41 PM
david pinto
hehehahahahah ok, cool heheha I have the opposite problem. When I engage my peers who are trying to develop algorithms that track value, they don’t see the simplicity of our solution. So, good.
2:43 PM
Patrick Anderson
I may be wrong, and an willing to try, but let’s look at a small example and then scale up to see where we lose track
2:43 PM
david pinto
Well, that’s it exactly. Ok, you free for a quick chat? Or perhaps a major engagement? How serious are you about this? By major engagement, I mean, say, an hour, where we delve as deeply as we can. So that we establish the parameters of our engagement.
2:44 PM
Patrick Anderson
I am extremely serious about this. I can prove it is the optimal organizational form
2:45 PM
david pinto
Can you prove it financially? Are you loaded? Are you living in comfort? A life of luxury?
2:45 PM
Patrick Anderson
I want to chat right now, but I have to go to work in about half hour Just because I’m not living and luxury now doesn’t prove this approach invalid
2:46 PM
david pinto
Same here. However, if you can prove something mathematically, that’s a big bonus. Something useful to leverage with.
2:47 PM
Patrick Anderson
I haven’t actually implemented anything yet because nobody understands me yet
2:47 PM
david pinto
I’ll put £5 forward to engage you over the next 20-30 mins or so. Will you.
2:47 PM
Patrick Anderson
I appreciate your offer but I am so anxious to explain this solution that I would be willing to pay you:-D
2:49 PM
david pinto
Exactly, will you put money forward? I will take you at your word. Which means, if after we engage, you don’t think it has been useful, then don’t honour your word. From the little I have engaged, I believe we are worth £5
Patrick Anderson
You want me to pay you?
2:50 PM

david pinto
Not really, it just goes forward. Part of the discussion… I’d like to have a video up explaining it, but, that’s still in the pipeline. The actual math hasn’t been finalised yet. Hence this engagement. You might be part of the solution. Doesn’t prevent us from experimenting, though. So, I am willing to put £5 forwards. Are you? Actually, with this time now, let’s reduce it to £1 since we don’t have much time left…
2:52 PM
Patrick Anderson
The system I am trying to describe “cancels out” most of the need for money
2:54 PM
david pinto
Yeah, I know, I know. I need something to sustain my exploration. I’ve done enough over two years and have to go back to work because of ‘problems’ in communication. Let’s talk another time when you have the time and the £ interest. You definitely are saying the right things. It will be good.
2:55 PM
Patrick Anderson
We will need some money to start, but I’m sure a kickstarter campaign will work once we can explain it to others
2:56 PM
david pinto
Good luck! Get back to me when you are ready to engage logarithmically.
2:57 PM
Patrick Anderson
I am in severe debt right now going through a divorce and was out of work until just the beginning of this week
2:57 PM
david pinto
Tell me about it… That’s why our engagement will be valueable. Don’t waste it through this little text chat. You are highly valuable, so am I, and our engagement will be valuable. Don’t worry. If I had the money, I’d invite you personally, but I don’t. So, be assured, get back to me when you have time.
2:58 PM
Patrick Anderson
Okay, it would help me understand your needs if you would send me example of algorithmic engagement
2:58 PM
david pinto
ehehe — which comes first, understanding or experimentation? I have enough info from your posts that I want to experiment with you. Based on that experiment, I will have more understanding, and so it builds… It’s fine, don’t worry. This engagement has already been useful. Believe me. I will record something, post it, and invite you to review it.
3:01 PM
Patrick Anderson
Ok, set you later. *see
3:02 PM
david pinto
Cool. Have a good day, really 🙂
3:02 PM

readability of this post — the turning point of understanding and information

Editing a Google Hangout Chat has been a real pain. I hope it is readable. How well you penetrate this, how deep your reading, will determine the depth of our engagement, and the speed by which this protocol takes shape in 2014. Your temporal co-ordinates as you read (early January? Spring 2014, Summer? Perhaps 2015), compared to the current saturation of this (FTP) protocol in the current marketplace, will determine your importance in this process. You  know, early adopters and all that.

So it comes down to understanding. I have explained complex math to kids. I am a professional communicator. And yet, with ecosquared, the resounding response from the beginning has been lack of understanding — and get this — a demand for more explanation. Just look at this site — it is two years worth of explanation! I have risked my wellbeing, my family’s wellbeing, on ecosquared. I believe ecosquared holds the kernal of a global solution, and this FTP may be the actual turning point — it enables a means of moneyflow that helps us learn how to operate a completely alternative economics, an ecological and ethical one, one based on giving.

Is there enough information, through the video, this post, the other posts on this video — is there enough INFORMATION, that it warrants engagement? It is through the process of engagement that understanding will emerge. That is, is there enough INFORMATION that you are willing to conduct an EXPERIMENT? Not just theorise, discuss, chat, etc, but actually conduct a financial experiment?

But where does the money go?

Yes, that’s the trick, isn’t it? Where indeed…

You’d like to know where it goes, but as we know from our current situation, the money end up in the pockets of those who have it. Capital. Money attract money.

Ecosquared protocols perform two hacks on money, namely MTTP and SEA. FTP performs the equivalent function of ‘capital’, though it operates more like ‘insurance’.

For now, suffice to say, you will get a say in where the money goes if it ever has to leave the network. That is, FTP is merely the decision to give money forward to a future date where you and others decide what to do with it. What power you will have in where it goes, depends on the quality of engagement you have, the value you co-create, and so on. The money doesn’t really ‘go’ anywhere. It is like a standing wave of collective intention; the accumulated FTP indicates the health of the network, the level of trust we have in one another.

Perhaps faith. Once our engagement occurs, our initial faith in one another will be honoured by trust. With small amount of money, small periods of engagement, and small projects, and over time this grows — based on results. Just like any enterprise or company or government or any social organisation in recorded history. It’s results driven. But to have results, one needs experimentation.

It’s up to you. Right now.

So, are you willing to gift £x forward to an engagement? You don’t have to pay that up after the engagement if you didn’t think it valuable. Of course not. But if you do think it is valuable, you will be happy to, and indeed, perhaps give more money forwards as your confidence in what we are doing is proven. Yes, in what we are doing. FTP is the financial protocol for collective co-creation. It is the process by which teams form in a network. And it operates from the get go.

Perhaps you will need some more information, so read on. Perhaps you need someone social validation, an article in some trusted source gets written at some point, or someone you know invites you to FTP later in the year, and after a few invitations, your trust of your friend or colleague overcomes the need for ‘understanding’ and you give it a go. And then, you will have experiential evidence of the experiment: how money-trust-time operate in ecosquared. Then it is for you to decide what to do next. Lovely.

This is a win-win-win solution. It’s just a matter of time. It’s a matter of who reads this: those who already resonates with it, and those who are willing to risk their word-action to test it. And of those who participate, those who can iterate a better version of engagement than this first, rather crude, iteration of video and blog post.

I look forward to meeting with you!

second critical week of co-design of ha-ha’s

We had our second meeting on Monday, framing what needs to be done this week, namely working out the ‘Invitational-Protocol’, how we invite people to the ha-ha’s and what the tech required to enable a smooth player experience.

I’ve timestamped the first hour so far. There are a few framing bits to start with, framing piece, and then two conversational bits of about 10-15 mins between Doug, Mani and me which are very interesting.
I get the impression when reviewing this, the complexity of the space we are creating within. Amazing to hear Doug’s and Mani’s perspectives. Very revealing, of themselves and their trajectories, but more importantly the space. Doug has a remarkable understanding of the current corporate ecology, Mani is focussing on designing the player experience, and I am attempting to introduce ecosquared financial protocols. If I wasn’t locked into the objective of 1000 people by end of september, this is the kind of conversation we ‘should’ have had in phase 1. I believe our objective would have been different.

benefits of light-touch co-design of a specific instance

I still think we can pursue multiple strategies, which is the benefit of working as lightly as we are. By creating a prototype, by fulfilling our commitment:
    • we have something to show eg reddit or quora which is along Doug’s lines
    • we’ll be able to tighten up an experiential tube to fulfil Mani’s method
    • we have experienced a way of working which is light, and yet fulfils our objective

That is, we have something concrete to take forwards, as well as the experience of trying to integrate our thinking in a specific instance. A second iteration may emerge as a consequential result, either directly through the ha-ha’s if they turn out to be successful, or as a separate trajectory if not.

this week’s co-design focus

So, let’s apply ourselves to the co-design for this week: creating the ‘Invitational-Protocol’. The default is running much like a crowd-funding site. Can we include a loop that binds people through trust? Can we include a financial movement when we invite friends? If we manage it, this increases the chance that the ha-ha’s will work. By binding value, trust, and moneyflow at the dyadic relationship, in the ‘Invitational-Protocol’, we create an ecological economics equivalent to ‘marketing’ and ‘sales’. Check out the MTTP animation, since the IP is a version of MTTP.

Remember, though, it is not sales or marketing, since what we are inviting people to is ‘not-known’. It is a genuine invitation to co-create. Amazing potential — let’s see if we can apply ourselves this week and crack it!

 

financial health and steve jobs

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.

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 13.45.51

instant health-check

If we are tracking MTTP contrasts as they happen, it should be possible to see how long it will live, at any instant. The spreadsheet above is done weekly. On week 17, for example, the entity will live for another 14 weeks before it dies.
An observation: everyone is responsible for the entity as a whole because the rate of invites will effect the longevity of the entity. Too many invites at a lower period than the current health will further shorten the life-span of the whole entity. Hence the need to invite people at a longer period. Thus, at the level of the whole entity, the notion of competition is redundant. There is no competition at the highest level, since all our well-being depends on the health of everyone.

steve jobs and apple’s responsiveness

One of the reasons Apple took off was because they used their computers to track their accounts. Because of their speed, Steve Jobs was able to see the state of his company on a weekly basis. Thus, he could change rates of production etc based on sales etc on a weekly basis, thus he could out-manouver other companies which relied on quarterly or even annual cycles. This meant he could respond to the market faster. Apple, as an organism, had greater responsiveness and thus a competitive edge.
If the entity forms because of the number of MTTP contracts and people agree to track SEA, it will have the fastest response time ever — instant info — as well as having a completely responsive interface — everyone! Of course, there may be people who are more like Steve Jobs within the network, and hopefully if we recognise them and value them, their input will allow the entity to grow while producing amazing value, whether it is in the form of computers, products, services of experiences.
I like to think of Steve Jobs as a social artist. And though Apple has taken on a monolithic form, the products are very much designed with aesthetic and the people who use the computers have a pleasant disposition. Will MTTP and SEA encourage a similar pleasant disposition to us?

self-selecting filter

eco^2 membrane

eco^2 membrane

The initial boundary of engagement is very important indeed. If someone is personally invited to attend, it is advised that they go through the following procedure. The objective is that they leave with a greater understanding of where they are in terms of business practice, build some network relationships, clarify what they offer and their aims, and perhaps have actually demonstrated their skills. For the entity, which consists of the other people who are currently there, it is about accessing the resources of that new individual as quickly as possible, their skills, awareness, assets, get them connected and useful, producing value.

It is essential to realise that the filter is a direct confrontation of internal value and external institutional thinking and practice. Money might be the primary motivation that attracts people to the economic entity, with the guarantee of “double your money” when invited. This motivation interfaces directly with the internal culture of the co-creation of value. It is not an understatement to restate: this engagement is very important indeed. Even for those who are approaching the entity without interest in money, they may find the boundary offensive, and such an attitude could prejudice their awareness and contribution, blinding them to the opportunity to manifest social value.

Depending on the context, the filter contains the following elements. Ideally, there will be a regular cycle of up to ten people. These are conducted by “experts”, people who have self-selected to lead the processes, invited to do so by other members of the entity. The role of the person conducting the filter is very important, because they have the ability to spot “talent” and provide personal recommendations to other members directly. I need to know if particular people turn up, those with a fine sensitivity of mind, and are willing to play, capable of improvising given challenging circumstances.

The filtering process is self-selecting. There is no judgement made by anyone, and it is not compulsory. It is about self-determination. But this is less to do with willfulness and individual efforts which give rise to ego and competition, and more to do with open-mindedness and collective effort which give rise to community and collaboration.

Although the diagram shows an arrow entering the entity, if the filtering works, the entity will grow into the social world of the individual. It is less about people joining, learning what the rules are etc within the “group”. If conducted well, people will feel listened to and valuable, and thus the entity will have grown into the social space of the individual. The community will have grown. And even the notion of “invitation” may be reversed, and it is the new person who is inviting everyone within the entity into their lives, to help them out with work issues and their local community.

(from original eco^2 document)