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Re: We need researchers for this proposal!

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  • Andrius Kulikauskas
    (Apologies for writing in English.) Guillermo, Bipin, John, WELCOME! and THANK YOU! for your creative, encouraging letters. ... Bipin, that s a truly great
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 8, 2003
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      (Apologies for writing in English.)

      Guillermo, Bipin, John,
      for your creative, encouraging letters.

      >>Here is the thought that InDiA has wide varity of
      >>langauge, traditions, customs, and various life styles
      >>even within one state itself so how about that which
      >>will allow to share knowledge.

      Bipin, that's a truly great idea. I think it makes a lot of sense to
      consider all kinds of "small cultures", both those that have independent
      states, and those that don't. This will become increasingly important
      in the European Union where the lines of sovereignty will blur.

      On the way to India I was seated next to Mihkel Pilv of Estonia. He
      impressed me greatly as a creative entrepreneur with his success at
      organizing online educational materials http://www.miksike.com I know
      what a great challenge it is to set up such a progressive business and
      make it profitable in such a small country. He gave me a lot of hope,
      and opened my eyes to the enormous business problem that the European
      Union faces in integrating Eastern Europe, and that our lab might help.
      Mihkel is a perfect example of somebody who has created a "knowledge
      system" that serves a small country and builds on it as a base from
      which to reach beyond. I wrote to him, and he responded with interest,
      adding an idea of his own:

      > Just one point where small countries can benefit is that small
      countries are somewhat more innovative on the whole state level. So new
      ideas are quicker to implement, because of the smaller sizes. So here is
      the point where we can sell the idea of being a "pilot" in different
      innovative projects. So bigger countries may learn afterwards.

      The research topic that I would like us to pursue is to show how to set
      up knowledge systems so that we can nourish the local culture, clarify
      the local challenges, turn them into resources that stimulate
      innovation, perfect the solutions, and learn how to export them, apply
      them elsewhere. I would like us to do that in several different
      cultures (and at the same time build up Minciu Sodas as a multilingual
      - Lithuania (a small, newly independent country) because that's where
      I'm writing from!
      - Estonia (likewise, many similarities and interesting differences)
      because of Mihkel.
      - Tamil people (in Sri Lanka, India and around the world) because of
      George Christian Jeyaraj, http://www.ryze.com/view.php?who=George1 , who
      got involved in Minciu Sodas while in and out of refugee camps these
      last five years (he now has a visa). He created Tamil pages for us
      http://www.ms.lt/ta/ and we have a small group
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/minciu_sodas_ta/ The Tamil people have
      been working/fighting for independence/autonomy in Northwest Sri Lanka
      (I think there's now an outbreak of peace). Through George I got to
      know Bala Pillai http://www.ryze.com/view.php?who=bala , a creative
      leader of "Mind Colonies" and organizer of http://www.tamil.net He
      completed our questionnaire "Do you think out loud?" so I'm hoping that
      he could join us soon.
      - India has many other minority peoples, and many Indians impressed upon
      me how meaningful they feel when the different regions of India help
      each other in times of trouble. I accept that as true, and I think
      Bipin, your idea is great, so I ask for more clarification from you and

      I would also like to include:
      - Spanish-speaking community because I think we will soon gain critical
      mass at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/minciu_sodas_es/ What is the
      relevance here, I'm not sure! (Please help!)
      - Belarus, because it is a challenging place, it is very convenient for
      me to go there, I've already been there twice, and we have assembled a
      small group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/minciu_sodas_by/

      Perhaps these can serve as a "control group" in the sense that the
      Spanish-speaking and Russian-speaking worlds are not small, but not
      English either. Also, in what sense can we speak of local cultures, such
      as the Canary Islands or Argentina or Belarus, and in what sense is that
      relevant to the question of knowledge systems?

      My intent is to conduct research by "doing", as the Wright brothers did.
      They proved that they could fly by doing it.

      My business goal is that we be able to use this research money to build
      our own knowledge system so that it might serve our projects, both
      commercial and noncommercial.

      Therefore, the goal of our investigation could be to set up a
      multilingual, distributed knowledge system that helped us connect
      individual innovators in "small countries" with creative thinkers in
      large corporations. The point of the system would be that we would set
      up an international network that would make the individual innovators
      very attractive. Imagine having contacts with software teams in India,
      web designers in Belarus, leads in Venezuela, grant writers in Eastern
      Europe. More importantly, imagine if they are all thinking people! We
      can demonstrate our ideas by making them real.

      For our lab to function well, we need to involve a lot of people in
      large and small ways. Therefore, our money will get divided up and look
      quite modest. But we will be forming a network that will stay with us
      for the next project.

      I'm including below a letter that I wrote about how I think our lab
      should look economically, at least as far as how we spend money. The
      idea is to work in a "fractal" way. I imagine this project as roughly
      100,000 dollars distributed as follows:

      - $20,000 for which I would lead the project
      - 5 x ($4,000) for investigators. These are people who would write
      parts of the investigation. They would be responsible as organizers for
      some aspect of the project, probably leading a community (such as
      Lithuanian, Estonian, Tamil...) to accomplish some task (like making
      corporate contacts, or coding an interactive website, or designing a
      knowledge management system). They would try to do less work
      themselves, and delegate it to:
      - 25 x ($800) for all manner of work, but primarily for serving
      corporate thinkers, either directly or indirectly. They will get
      support from:
      - 125 x ($160) this is to involve in the work people of the local
      culture, both to support their activity within the local culture, and to
      apply the things they build to our global system.
      (And the remaining $20,000 I assume will get eaten up somewhere by all
      manner of administrative overhead).

      This is not optimal for making profits, but I think it is optimal for
      building assets. We should be able to build a team of more than 100
      people, supported by an even larger group of participating members.
      Also, we can be developing services that will let us all earn money, as
      individuals and as groups.

      Officially, at this point, my idea is that I and Mihkel would be the
      official investigators (that we way have investigators from 2 countries,
      and qualify for more money). I'm trying to get in touch with Bala, and
      if anybody would like to join us, please speak up and contribute your
      ideas! I'll think through how we might all fit in. I need to turn in
      our CVs by this Friday, along with the initial application. If we pass
      the first round, then we turn in our full proposal for June 6th, and we
      find out the results in July.

      I will adjust the amounts above, and it does need to be minimally
      profitable for me, and for Mihkel and all of us. My thought is that we
      should try to set this up so that the expectations on us are very
      convenient, and the work that we do benefits us directly. $4,000 is for
      many people a very small amount of money, but if we add the ability to
      delegate work to others, and the work benefits us directly, and we can
      use it to generate additional business, and we are building a team for
      the future, then I think it can be very worthwhile. Especially if we
      set it up so that there aren't any taxing demands on us.

      Thank you to us all for making this happen!
      I include below more of my thinking on this kind of "fractal" work.




      Fractal hand is Vision transistor

      I've been getting ready to write bigger, bolder proposals for Minciu
      Sodas. So I've been thinking what to wish for. What size should the
      projects be?

      The business problem that the European Union faces in trying to
      integrate Eastern Europe is mind boggling. Lithuania alone is set to
      receive $1 billion per year, about 3% of its Gross National Product,
      from 2004 to 2006. Across Europe, the European Union's funding mechanism
      is huge, and will keep growing bigger in the near future.

      Our ideas for an economy for working openly are very relevant here. We
      can set up such an economy with the purpose of organizing an "open
      conspiracy" to win all manner of funding for all manner of partners. We
      can do this with the blessing of the European Union, and even win some
      funding from them. I think such a conspiracy could generate large
      profits for the entrepreneurs who fund it, and yield great social value.
      It is the kind of thing best done openly, and makes use of our many

      The real question is, how large do we want our lab to be? What would be

      At least for now, I would like to be able to devote 100% of the energy
      that I put out to make a living. Optimally, I would need for myself
      $125,000 per year, of which 20% would go to the inevitable
      administrative overhead, leaving $100,000 for my taxes, expenses and
      wages. This amount is mostly dictated by my need to make payments on my
      loans and repay them, but also travel and office expenses.

      Optimally, I shouldn't work alone. But here are some constraints:

      * I would like to be the sole ultimate leader, so that I could be
      responsible for the lab's overall vision.
      * I would like every participant to be equal in the sense that they
      are ultimately responsible for the vision in their scope of our work.
      * I would like every participant to be completely free (just as I
      want to be) for the overall vision of their own work.
      * I would like our investments, through our work, to be voluntary
      and transferable, so that all or part of our work may be easily moved
      and reformed elsewhere.

      In short, I would like to work with equals.

      In practice, this means that I would prefer not to hire anybody full
      time. I would prefer not to have any administrative personnel, except
      perhaps on a temporary, apprenticeship basis.

      I would, however, find it very helpful to be able to farm out
      substantial projects. I imagine that I would have my hands full if I had
      five helpers, each in charge of their own project, roughly one-fifth the
      size of mine, say for $25,000 each (of which 20% would disappear into
      some kind of administrative overhead, leaving $20,000). Any more
      projects, and I think a group dynamics would take over, which would then
      require its own vision. And if the projects get any bigger, then we lose
      our equality. Nobody should be subject to me! and I shouldn't have to be
      completely responsible for anybody.

      In theory, I think this suggests a "fractal" approach. It should be
      recursive, in that each of the helpers would also benefit from five
      helpers (not necessarily assigned, but at least to know they are there).

      * A) 1 project at $125,000 (=$100,000). This is leading our lab.
      * B) 5 projects at $25,000 (=$20,000). This is a size that I would
      feel comfortable proposing to our members like Shannon Clark, Flemming
      Funch, Matt Mower, Denham Grey, Jeffry Archambeault, Natalie d'Arbeloff,
      Peter Kaminski, even Jerry Michalski . It might be designing a Knowledge
      Management system for us, coding it, getting leads, organizing groups,
      writing proposals, making international contacts.
      * C) 25 projects at $5,000 (=$4,000). This is for small
      initiatives, or a decent sum for somebody working in Lithuania. A nice
      sum for thinking through and writing up a set of proposals.
      * D) 125 projects at $1,000 (=$800). This is what I'm proposing for
      our coaching service, or for being editor for an ideafeed for an endeavor.
      * E) 625 projects at $200 (=$160). This is actually the optimal
      project size (500 Lt) that we proposed to Lithuania's Open Society Fund
      for a "market for working openly".
      * F) 3125 projects at $40 (=$32). This can take the form of a free
      book, software, domain hosting, etc. Or we could put out a quarterly.
      This might be for answering a questionnaire, or a reward for generating
      activity, helping it move forward, a reward for helping individual members.
      * G) 15625 projects at $8 (=$6.40). This might take the form of a
      CD with our materials, a newsletter, paperback, T-shirt or small prize.
      It might be a "thank you" for helping us find independent thinkers, or
      for encouraging them, or for spreading the word about our various
      members' projects.

      Here I think it's important that, at each level, funds be controlled
      mostly by the level directly above, allowing for a dispersion of
      control. So A controls funding for B, but B for C, C for D, and so on.
      This is important so that the relationships develop at every level. You
      can always break off, you can work independently or start your own lab.

      It can continue onward, to infinity. I like how it feels. It's at the
      limit of order, at the edge of chaos, organized just enough to transmit
      a vision, but allowing for self-organization to take over further out.
      Each individual is responsible for their own vision, and connecting it
      with everybody else's, there is no faceless group vision to fall back
      upon. There is a gradation of commitments.

      It's structured a lot like a pyramid scheme, or a fascist party, except
      that it's in the reverse direction. It's capped at the top, and it just
      keeps expanding outwards, I imagine, to smaller projects involving
      larger groups, as far as it can manage to reach, becoming invisible,
      just a good feeling.

      It is a way for projecting a vision by stirring a movement. The activity
      goes far beyond what we're paid for because there is a lot of synergy
      with what people want to do for themselves. This is a contraption for
      taking the vision of a funder and filtering it through a pyramid of
      people so that it they can all advance it in their own way.

      Practically, it suggests that an optimal budget for our lab would be
      $125,000 per year for each of levels A through G, which is a total of
      $875,000. It would make sense to fund for two or three years, which is
      $2.2 million. This is what I would aim for. We would have a lab roughly
      like Ecademy or Ryze, with about 3,000 official members. Assuming that
      our funder wanted us to create an open conspiracy to exploit the
      European Union's funding system, we might aim to win 50 projects at an
      average of 500,000 euros each, for a total of 25,000,000 euros, all
      somehow benefiting our funder and our members. I think that would be a
      good result because also a lot of work for the projects would actually
      be done, I think, along the way. It's not unreasonable because for each
      project we would have one project writer receiving $4,000 to write a set
      of proposals, and having the support of a team of 5 at $800 and 25 at
      $160 and 125 at $32 etc. Plus a creative environment, a knowledge
      management system to support it all, and reasons to be together, both
      self-interest to win the projects, and shared relationships through the
      lab, and a space for individual projects.

      This is what I'll aim for. It's quite ambitious, so I'll also propose
      smaller versions. The smallest, an experimental pilot, would be an "open
      market" with about 25 projects of size E = $200, so that's $5,000 each
      for levels C), D), E). That's almost exactly what I proposed to
      Lithuania's Open Society Fund, I'll hear from them soon. It's also
      similar to what I proposed to the Chaordic Commons.

      Now I'm writing a larger proposal, the smallest that would be
      economically viable for me. If I could earn $20,000 over 8 months then I
      think I could hang in there for better days. Or I could maybe fit it in
      with other projects. So it could be levels B + C + D + E which is
      $100,000 or so. So that's the size project I'll be writing up now. Also,
      I will make a short write-up for the bigger one that I can propose for
      private entrepreneurs, and within it propose starting with this smaller
      setup to try it out.

      I've written up what I think a "mature" lab would be like, sizewise. We
      could all start our own labs, there could be lots of them, with lots of

      These ideas are helpful for me. I appreciate your response. Is this
      attractive or not? Can it work? Can it be improved, and how? What would
      you like the lab to be?

      Andrius Kulikauskas
      Minciu Sodas
      +370 (5) 2645950
      Vilnius, Lithuania

      Guillermo Cerceau wrote:

      > s bipin,
      > I think that India, with all these different areas and levels of culture /
      > development / use of technology / would make a very interesting case for the
      > study proposed, also for helping understand / solve / act upon "digital divide".
      > --- In minciu_sodas_en@yahoogroups.com, s bipin agravat <ruehue15@y...>
      > wrote:
      >>Dear all
      >>Here is the thought that InDiA has wide varity of
      >>langauge, traditions, customs, and various life styles
      >>even within one state itself so how about that which
      >>will allow to share knowledge.
      >>well i M from Gujarat and a villger with background
      >>of the Technology with one hand and traditional
      >>knowldge on the other hand . now this itself make it
      >>interesting to know the digital divide.
      >>how to bridge the Gap for this knowldge divide or
      >>digital divide.
      >>with regards
      >>s bipin
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