Thank you! Our culture's business opportunities
- I am very grateful for the many letters of support
for our Minciu Sodas proposal
Samwel Kongere, Dennis Kimambo, George Onyango, Kennedy Owino, Peter
Ongele (Kenya) Betty Kyewa, Fred Kayiwa, Davis Weddi, Joseph Runnel Lule
Kofi Thompson (Ghana) Wendi Losha Bernadette (Cameroon) Prosper Steven
Mbwambo, William Wambura (Tanzania) Janet Feldman, Marcin Jakubowski,
Peter Burgess, Kevin Parcell, David Ellison-Bey, John Harland, David Alan
Foster, Patrick Reilly, Jeff Buderer, Ben de Vries, Edward Cherlin (USA),
Pamela McLean (UK), Franz Nahrada (Austria), Benoit Couture (Canada),
Rytis Umbrasas, Zenonas Anusauskas, Tomas Cepaitis, Albertas Dusevicius,
Danute Ulvydiene, Irena Buinickaite (Lithuania), Markus Kit Petz
(Finland), Sasha Mrkailo (Serbia), John J O'Brien (China)
We showed that in one week can prepare an innovative proposal and organize
a wide network of support. I'm impressed and I think that the Research
Into Use agency will be likewise. They will respond in October.
Special thanks to Janet Feldman for detailed suggestions and especially
for selecting a set of innovations from the Research Into Use database
that are relevant for our investigatory culture.
Our letters of proposal were a timely and effective way to support our
laboratory as we seek to win more than $500,000 of funding. I will also
study them to learn and share about our interests, endeavors,
investigations and values.
I included even letters or excerpts that simply showed our desire to
express support, even if we were'nt able to write a more specific letter.
I'm especially encouraged that we're involving our Kenyan leaders Samwel
Kongere, Kennedy Owino, Rachel Wambui Kungu, Dennis Kimambo who we know
from our Pyramid of Peace.
I look forward to writing and thinking about business opportunities that I
and others might pursue through our lab. Thank you to Kofi Thompson for
alerting us to the opportunities for offering DSL Internet services in
Africa. I will write and share my thinking about the kinds of business
opportunities that are most promising for our lab. I am looking for work
that would leverage our lab's culture of investigation, thinking and
sharing and working openly. I expect that 90% of the wealth we generate
will be nonmonetary, and only 10% or so will be monetary, which is very
different than the typical business. We openly work-for-free on our own
projects and help each other and this should open the doors so that we
don't have to spend energies on additional marketing, business networking
or "work on speculation".
I encourage us to pursue our own businesses and make use of our lab for
opportunities such as Kofi alerts us to. However, such businesses aren't
the core of our lab. They are very demanding and they require large
speculative investments. They may lead to big financial returns, but our
lab and our culture doesn't need lots of money, and might even suffer from
it. Instead, we need steady, flexible, high-paid work for participants in
a wide variety of situations.
Businesses such as DSL Internet require a traditional business structure
based on power, not authority, and capital, not relationships. They also
are fiercely competitive. One must be ready to compete with the world's
great telecoms. And one must be ready to leave the business at the right
time. Such businesses are not long term solutions, and they don't build
our lab's assets or leverage them, in my understanding.
However, smaller "opportunistic" projects would be great. I tried to do
this for several years in the field of software, organizing teams drawing
from our participants. However, my efforts failed for several reasons.
One is that in our global economy I've had about 25% of clients not pay
what they said they would. More importantly, the global market has
opened, the labor costs have dropped, the complexity of web programming
has increased, and there's not much value in the personal relationships
that we can provide.
Our lab is able to organize large teams as we showed with My Food Story
http://www.myfoodstory.info and Pyramid of Peace
http://www.pyramidofpeace.net It's easier for an independent
contractor, a self-proprietor like me to work with a few clients, three or
four, then to offer a commoditized service to thousands of people.
Corporations are designed to manage the production and sale of
commodities, and I see no point to compete with them, and no benefit to
our lab to manage the many details and occupational roles relevant for
providing a consistent, predictable service. Instead, our network is very
good at unleashing personal character, initiative, creativity. I will
keep writing proposals and looking for opportunities, but the greatest
challenge is forming the relationships with the people who might benefit
from our team. In a sense, we have to court the great independent
thinkers we might wish to work for, such as Stephen Wolfram, and engage
their communities, and then we might find paid work for our entire lives.
Similarly, we can infiltrate corporations that we believe are central to
our interests. Five independent thinkers in such a company can be enough
to find us a budget and project that we might do. Proposals I will now
work on include to Lithuania's Foreign Ministry that in Afghanistan's we
help those with marginal Internet access; joining the European Living Labs
Network; engaging companies that might be interested in the Includer and
related ideas; offering a vision of adult education for Chicago's Catholic
Schools. I ask us and invite us to write about the opportunities we'd
like to pursue and I look forward to forming teams and working together.
Kofi is right, I believe, that in the long term the best financial
foundation would be business services that we might provide. I am
thinking that the services which might best leverage and support our lab,
network and culture, would be "online assistants". We have many
participants who, along with me, could provide all manner of online
assistance at our chat room and wiki to help with errands and projects,
such as shopping for airline tickets or computer equipment, making
contacts, video editing, doing research and all manner of knowledge work.
We can also make larger teams available for help in emergencies and
contingencies as we did with Pyramid of Peace. This is a direction that I
would like to pursue because it would provide a base of income but also
open up many small and large business opportunities for individual
In order to do this, I need to fix and upgrade our online venues. I look
forward to working with Samuel Rose and others who might be on a Software
team and also look for opportunities. I also ask our help to think
through a community currency / metric system that would thank and
encourage us to come to us with our errands and show what we can do, so
that we help each other in our own economy. We do and should have an
increasingly vibrant gift economy of our own, and my plan is that we have
a smaller but sufficient cash economy in parallel with that.
This vision of our economy should be informed by Pamela McLean's vision
for a World Without Poverty. If we are thoughtful, they can be the same
and we can make much real progress.
I appreciate our thoughts and how we might work together to make a living
and to get help for our needs and wants. Thank you to Jeff Buderer, John
Harland and David Ellison-Bey for uplifting spirit in these life
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