Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Unmarketing. Stop Marketing, Start Engaging.

AWESOME BOOK!!! I seriously loved it. Scott speaks as if his way is the way, but I don't mind it, that's what works for him and it resonates with me. I too recommend what works for me.

One of the topics that have come to my mind when I think of the Financial Institution of the Future project is, what are economic transactions for?? Why do we want to measure them?? and, what is it about value that makes it so important. Recently, I have repeatedly heard phrases that have led me to conclude that economic transactions are all about social relationships.

Paolo Ricciardelli, from a Skype group that discusses complementary currencies, said that "The core idea is that relations of exchange between individuals are more valuable than the goods or services exchanged." 

In another conversation with Helen Dew from Living Economies, she told me that "we know that good relationships mean good trade". A relevant for my local exchange group which is wondering about why we are becoming stagnant. 

Well, the author of this book takes this conversation about good relationships to the world of business in a way that no mainstream businessman could do. Although he apparently also works as a consultant for old-age type of business, I see great potential for using his wisdom in evolutionary businesses. "Marketing happens every time you engage (or not) with your past, present and potential customers" he says. It is not about a department of your business that will put an expensive ad and hope that someone will call, which the author calls the 'push and pray' method. It is about engaging with your customers, it is about establishing human conversations. Furthermore, he doesn't get tired of saying that honesty, authenticity and transparency are key to success. 

So, in a mainstream/old-age company, the employees normally do not care about their job, they do what they do 'to survive', 'to pay the bills'. The employer cares about his employees as long as they bring sales. There is no engagement between them, therefore, employees will never be part of the positive marketing process for that business. They will never tell their friends to visit the factory where they work because it is awesome and have great products for them, for example.  What Scott seems to be telling me is that your employees need to be as passionate about their job, as you are about your company. You need to be passionate about what you do so that you can go out and talk to people about it. 

How does passion comes about?? or how do you motivate your employees?? Engage with them, be honest, authentic and transparent so that they trust you. When they trust you, they will be honest, authentic and transparent to you, so you'll trust them. Then, every one will play a key role in the Unmarketing process. 

I concluded that marketing is about imposing, unmarketing is about creating trust. Scott even talks about a social currency!! something like, every time you build and strengthen your relationships with potential costumers, that is to say, with anyone, you are crediting your social account with a social currency. Eventually, the time will come for you to use it! 

With the Financial Institution of the Future project, I am struggling a bit because I have got people joining the team on the BetterMeans Platform, however, I haven't been able to engage with them in a conversation that would motivate us to actively participate. That is because the platform does not allow us to keep contact with each other through email. If I want to email them, I need to go to my personal email account and select the recipients one by one.  Same would be for them, which is an issue since not everyone has everyone else's addresses. So before we can go out to talk about this project, we need to develop passion for it, we all have to own it, to feel we belong to it and it belongs to us. We need to love the project...but we need the tool to engage and have conversations. I'd like to ask to current and future contributors, how do you think we can overcome this if BetterMeans cannot solve this issue for our project, which they are aware of??

My abstraction of the book can be summarized in  the next sentence: Conversations start the process of building trust, which creates and strengthens good relationships. These are essential in building community, which process engages the public and promotes good trade. Social cohesion is key to healthy and sustainable economic activity. I chose the fractal spiral to indicate that, to me, this is a never ending process, it is an iteration, it feeds itself and when you look at it closer, you find more of the same stuff..."to infinity and beyond"!!

Here it is part of the book. Would love to read your comments about it. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Zeitgeist III: Review and Feedback

Let's start with the not so good stuff. The Zeitgeist film series have been an awesome part of my journey. In fact, the first one was the first breakpoint in my life that I was conscious and fully aware of. However, with the first two films, I always finished with some sort of sadness and a feeling of guilt. I knew humanity has issues with money and the whole systemic errors it has are upsetting, but, am I then a bad person because I have money in my bank account?? Should I aim at not having money at all??  what can I do to get to where the film is talking to me about?? With Zeitgeist 3 I still didn't find the answer to that question...what can I do to get there?? what is in the middle?? what is the process?? The movie goes from the problem to the solution in an almost quantum  leap (they go from a world addict to money to a world of no money at all, no transitional process is proposed or talked about). And the solution they propose is such that people really seem to be lost...they struggle to connect the points.

Another set of interrelated issues has to do with the way they present their criticism and solutions. It seems to me that they may have some sort of obsession against religious practices but mostly, against Christianity. If I don't think that religions institutions provide the best path to sane society, that is fine. But that I express that with sarcastic humor, and choose a particular practice as a target, is somehow counterproductive to what I am trying to project with my film, which is a world of love and positive environment. I would think that most people in this world have a religious believe, what is the Zeitgeist project going to do with them?? Convince them that they're wrong by making fun of them?? I think this approach mostly generates a defensive reaction. It is a similar situation with the way they referred to politicians and governments in general. Yes, the institutions  do not serve the purpose I agree, but many of those who work there, do not know what they are working for. Are we going to leave them behind?? 

And at the same time, I feel that the film ignores that the shift in consciousness is happening in human beings regardless of their profession, likes and dislikes. I think that there is an amazing display of personal change within governments and few politicians, but also within religious institutions. As a civilization, I don't think we can just dismiss them and say that their role is obsolete in the building of the future world. By attacking the religious practices, the film ignores the role of Spirituality in our societies. Osho, a spiritual teacher, led me to think that in the real sense of the word, religion and spirituality are exactly the same thing. The Bible was written for the Spirit, but we read it with the body and thus, we haven't understood much of what it says (personal view, of course). At the same time, yes, it was written by men, who are filters and interpret what they understand. I don't think humans are just bodies that you study in a lab, therefore, human creations are not just things that you can manipulate with scientific approach and technology. The film advocates that all our problems can be solved by creating positive environments through technology and science. I believe that is part of the solution, but not the whole picture. Technology was also believed to be the solution to our problems at the time of the industrial revolution, and here we are....struggling with it. In the end, who invents all this technologies and scientific methods?? humans!!

Having said all that, the movie is a must see and has a lot of positive things. I loved the first half where it talks about leading neuroscience and genetics, more specifically, epigenetics! It brought me tears of joy when I heard one of their interviewees from Harvard Medicine School (or something like that), saying that prison and punishment have not reduced crime rates or social disruptive behaviors. The film really explores this, and my words cannot  match the amount of wisdom and knowledge gathered in there!!

Also, the fact that the movie has a big gap between the problems and the solution is a good thing to me, because people are asking, 'what can we do', they want someone to tell them the direction, but the gap is an opportunity for you and me to create that direction, to take responsibility for it, to make the decision and be co-creators of the world we want to see. Whether the word will be as the one Zeitgeist pictures, I don't know, but we have been left with the opportunity to create it. You can go asking others what you can do, but if you do not find the answer, keep looking for it, maybe you will find that you know what to do, and you'll do it!!

The movie is a must see, regardless of my few comments, the amount of information can be overwhelming but it is self-instructive, it somehow encourages you to go and find out by yourself should you not believe what it says. As I said, it was a break point for me, and my journey would not have been what it is, if not partly because of what Zeitgeist has encouraged me to do.

So there you go...I really recommend it and give it 4 out of 5 stars. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Slowly but surely..??...

Yesterday I went to watch the premier of Zeitgeist III - Moving Forward. There was going to be a session of Q&A at the end of the movie with people who are involved with the Australian charter of the Zeitgeist Movement, so I made sure that I had my attention on what the movie was telling me. 

In the end, I felt that I had to talk about the Social Financial Institution project in one way or another, but I wasn't sure how or where to start from. I don't particularly enjoy public speaking in my foreign language, so I was struggling to put my ideas together before the Q&A session. I finally concluded that it is necessary to create a presentation with the general ideas of the project. What we want, why we want [you] to participate and how you may decide to do so. 

Few days ago I ordered the books Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers and Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences. I wasn't convinced that I was going to use 'Resonate' in the near future, but I think I'll make use of that one before thinking about the Business Model Process.

Thomas Greco suggested to me that I should gather a core team for this project. I agree that if I want the whole process to be truly democratic, I need to 'seduce' as much people as possible so that it is a big group who makes decisions, not only the few of us. Thinking about it during the movie, I thought that with the ones that are already part of the team in the project platform plus those who will be slowly coming, we should agree on what the project actually is about and create a presentation. Once the presentation is ready, each of us would be able to use it in their own space and time to invite more people to work in the Business Plan Generation. The presentation would be like the official open and viral invitation. I see myself using it to give speeches about the project to invite and inspire people to create a new structure. And I see our initial group completely engaged and committed to use the presentation to invite others because it says what we want it to say, it reflects us and we all feel comfortable with using it and its content. This may mean that the 27th of November dateline may not be to present the Business Plan and project pilot but something else...whatever we achieve in this time. Maybe the presentation!!

Currently, everyone involved in the project workstream is named a contributor, except me, who just because I created it and have been updating it, am a Core Team member and administrator, which may change in the future if people so decide. So according to how much someone participates and so on, the team would decide by itself who becomes part of core team, which is a built-in feature of BetterMeans and I love it.

Hope to see you around and remember, if you want to be involved, even if you just want to be an spectator in the platform, please send me an email to and I'll send you an invitation.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Developing the Basic Ideas

What one sentence best describes your idea?

Create a globally known social financial institution for local economic renewal, which promotes environmental sustainability, spiritual fulfillment and social justice.

Describe your idea in more depth. 

A completely new financial banking structure is needed. New motives and aims for banking and financing need to sustain an institution that a) would support recirculation and redistribution of official currency that has already being created through the banking system, by allowing its customers to provide investment options in and capital to innovative, progressive, systemic, holistic, environmentally sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilling entrepreneurial ventures through their savings, and b) Specialize in local economic renewal plans, local import substitution and, design of mutual credit clearing systems that would work in parallel to official currencies to stabilize the current economic environment and bring forth the transition of regions to sound and vibrant localization. 

General ideas: 

Owned by its workers 
Local democratic decision making 
Meritocratic payment 
Allows and encourages self-organizing processes 
Builds local trust and global reputation 
Welcomes competition 
Business replication by franchises 
Savings in official currency used as finance credits. 
Local currency used as spending credits until local economy evolves enough to provide finance credits with local currency. 
Investment marketplace (you decide where your money goes) 

What problem or issue does your idea address? 

In the current global economic environment, citizens from around the world are either in doubt of the ethical procedures of the banking system, or have been directly affected by their decisions on interest rates on loans, to name the least. What used to be considered part of conspiracy theory against governments and bank about how money is issued into circulation, is now an fact that grows the evidence by itself and is acknowledge by many within and without the banking system. The economic theories of perpetual growth are being debated and increasingly rejected, their effect on environmental degradation are being progressively recognized, and the social alienation produced by the permanent, artificially created, scarcity of money, is also evident [to many of us]. 

A completely new financial banking structure is needed!! 

If your idea were to become a reality, who would benefit the most and how? 

Social entrepreneurs: Business plan mentoring and advice, easier access to funds. ‘We can’t succeed until you do…this bank started as a crazy idea’ 

Local citizens and industries: Employment through economic renewal plans and import substitution. You know and usually decide where your money is going and what it is supporting. Community building and resiliency. ‘We help creating the place you want to live in’. 

Global Citizens: Reduce consumption miles, reduce environmental degradation, create the earth you want to live in. 

What are the initial steps required to get this idea off the ground? 

(not in the linear connection):

* Creating a business plan. 
* Networking, involve as many people worldwide as possible. 
* Developing software system that allows official and local currency activity and trading. 
* Creating an evolving timeline to see/show progress of the project and add items as required. 
* Researching legal options and restrictions

Thomas Greco said to me that we should be careful with the name of the project. Using 'financial institution' may create problems too early in the process. 

He also suggested that we look for banking legislation because they will be the first trying to stop this project. However, I have comments about this. Yes, I agree that we must be aware of the legislation, but I believe that we must create the institution as it should work, and in the end, the legislation somehow needs to change to allow this institution to happen. 

Imagine that we get thousands, or even better millions, of people supporting the final result of the business plan and that we cannot go ahead because the banking regulation does not allow us to do so?? There is potential for this project to help uncover the meaning of the regulations to the public. If the regulation does not allow good banking practices, what can we say about it??

I can almost ensure that the final product of this project will not fit with the current legislations, but I am convinced that they are out of date. We cannot limit ourselves by using tools that do not serve the purpose. Fearless love.

I think I read once that when the people lead, the leaders follow.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Open Invitation to Create the Financial Institutions of the Future.

The New Economics for Humanity (NEH) would like to collaboratively create a financial institution which principal aims are a) to support recirculation and redistribution of official currency that has already being created through the banking system, by providing investment options in and capital to innovative, progressive, systemic, holistic, environmentally sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilling  entrepreneurial ventures, and b) develop mutual credit clearing systems that would work in parallel to official currencies to stabilize the current economic environment and bring forth the transition of regions to sound and vibrant localization.
To achieve these goals, The NEH will use BetterMeans and its Open Enterprise Business Model and online platform in all the stages of this project. It is essential for participants to understand some key points of what our relationship with BetterMeans implies to this project:
Collaboration: Decision-making is crowd-sourced. The goals of an Open Enterprise organization are suggested, voted on, and carried out by all members of the organization using a highly efficient pipeline voting system. In this way the line between managers, workers, owners and even customers is blurred or even completely erased. Instead, there are contributors, members and core team members. These titles are not roles. These titles are indicators of the level of contribution an individual has made within the organization. There are no roles, only contributions, meaning each contributor can bring with them the full breadth and depth of their skills.
Freedom: A structure to allow contributors (traditionally thought of as ‘employees’) to work when they want, how they want, where they want, and doing what they want. Action is educed, not coerced. Contributors show up based purely on their interest in achieving the organization’s goals and sharing in the rewards of its success.
Meritocratic Reward: Contributors earn credit for their work, which translates into money and equity in the organization. More credits, in some situations, means more voice and control of the organization’s budget. One earns exactly what one puts in. Credits (sweat equity) accumulate interest until paid, at which time they begin to depreciate over the same duration those credits were invested for. Unpaid credit (sweat equity) earns its weight in profit sharing as a portion of all unpaid credits.
Accountability: Credits are only earned for work that actually adds value to the aims of the organization. Peer-based review of work, a reputation matrix, and a checks-and-balances system keeps spending in check while rewarding those who contribute the most to the mutual aims of contributors. Work done must be accepted by peers. Poor quality workers will remove themselves organically, since they will earn nothing for work that isn’t valued by the organization.
Transparency: Knowledge is shared throughout the membership to allow for informed decision-making by all members. The organization’s values, goals and decision-making processes including financial information and spending is completely transparent to the public—and, in fact, invites public feedback knowing some of those individuals will eventually become newly interested collaborators and members who improve the organization.
Values-Driven: An organization whose activity is transparent is profoundly accountable to the values it purports to extol. As mentioned, work done that doesn’t achieve peer standards isn’t paid, but it is not grounds for dismissal from the organization. Such a participant is always welcome to try as long as they want. Work that achieves acceptable results via unscrupulous means that violate the organization’s values, however, is grounds for removal from the right to participate. The reputation matrix system helps lesser offenders receive values-alignment feedback before such drastic measures, but if no adjustments are made, peers may request a removal by a member-wide vote and review.
Self-Investing: The Open Enterprise Model sees work and financial investment as two vectors of the same line. Therefore, BetterMeans also seeks to incorporate methods that allow for micro-investment from contributors and members into their organizations, in exchange for credit.
We also suggest that potential contributors get familiar with the platform and the model, by reading the BetterMeans White Paper and watching all their videos (All available via The NEH or their website). These guides, although they are true to the vision of BetterMeans and its members, are still subject to change and feedback from the users of the platform. BetterMeans wishes that all the projects using their model and platform, will help to bring the system to peak performance through permanent feedback and collaboration. Work still needs to be done and the NEH is willing to be part of building this new system for business process management.
The very first stage of this project is the collaborative creation of the Financial Institution (FI) business plan, including its name and logo, and the formulation of a pilot project. The specific objective of this stage is to provide complementary currency designers and currency innovators with the space to put, map and match their ideas that suit this project with the experience available. The NEH’s expects to achieve this by November 21st, 2011 and make a public presentation of the results of this stage by November the 26th, 2011.
The Business Plan Generation (BPG) is a task that we, at the NEH, believe should be funded, allowing contributors to earn money according to the meritocratic built-in system of BetterMeans. How it will be funded is a search and a decision to be made by the contributors of the project as an item of the BPG process. A great deal of feedback is needed here to also provide budgeting ideas for different items related to this and any other tasks.
There is a lot of space for self-education, sharing of wisdom, experience and knowledge, development of progressive thinking and for all of us to explore the possibilities of how banks and financial institutions may  need work and operate in order to satisfy the needs and wants of those who do not trust the current institutions anymore. The call is for those who want to create the banks of the new economy, the banks of abundance and support to life, communities and unity, to substitute the old institutions that seem to support   separation, destruction and alienation.

If you are interested in being part of this process, please send us an email to, and we will send you an invitation to join our organization in the BetterMeans platform. Or you can also try this link.
To know more about us (me) and to get more details and videos about BetterMeans, please visit
Kindest Regards
Tatiana Maya

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Banks as Social Enterprises??

Few days ago I was reading 'The End of Money and the Future of Civilization' by Thomas Greco. During one of those breaks to digest what I was thinking and to allow my imagination to fly and create the future, I had what was apparently the most exciting 'aha' moment I have ever had. Somehow the words I read on Venessa Miemis' blog came back to my mind where she said something like "What I do and what I have reflects what I am and what I believe in....a bank does not reflect anything of what I am" (that is the interpretation I can recall now). And the 'aha' moment was: How about creating a bank that does reflect what we believe in???

I really believe that this is one of the businesses that have to be born in the creation of the new economy. Banks who support the transition to localization, incorporate the use of complementary currencies, that are owned by either the workers and/or their investors. Actually, banks who are created by the citizens, like you and like me.

I have lots of ideas and already wrote down the main ones. But I need to reword the document and take sometime to let the idea settle down, read it again and think about it once more. For now, the general purpose I have with this post is to make public my intentions for 2011: I would like to openly, cooperatively and collaboratively build a business model for this financial institution and the document for a pilot project. I am not an economist nor do I know much about finance, investment and so on, but I think that it would be useful if a higher percentage of the general public learns about these topics. Therefore, my first step is to present my idea more clearly and invite people to build this project.

Especially for those of us who are wondering how to make a living by innovating in the creation of currencies, I believe that this is a great potential and a way to accelerate the process towards building the new economy.

I hope to have the bigger picture of this idea available for public reading very soon.

Tatiana Maya