Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Leading by example.

I was indeed one of those who was trying to change the world and wasn’t getting paid to do it, so this business was designed for those who felt identified with my situation, those who felt connected somehow with my words, feelings and experiences. I was there to, As Peter Block would say, “help others solve that which I have struggled so much for myself”.  I wanted then, to secure stable income for my family, which only had three members back then, Granpa, myself and uncle Sebastian. At the time, a low income earner received about AU$30.000 a year, and a high income person was earning about AU$120.000. So I thought that an income of AU$120.000 for the whole family, rather than per person, or equivalent of $60.000 per adult family member, would be sufficient. We had lived on much much less before (AU$ 15000 per adult), we weren’t big spenders and my passions were driving me towards a life of collaborative consumption, so although we were learning to live happily on less stuff, often we wanted to access passion related information and education that wasn’t quite possible with our family income. Donations to our heartfelt causes were also limited by this. So $120.000 seemed like we both could support our passions and live without pressures.

I set up a timeframe to reach this goal in two years, which would come from the %20 of each member’s contribution. All contributors had complete access to every other’s accounts, including mine.

Goal timeframe
Income goals per year
Income goals per month
Cells required if contributing

20% per year. Personal
100% py. Platform
20%per month. Personal
100% pm. Platform
 $    30,000.00
 $   150,000.00
 $          2,500.00
 $  12,500.00
 $          83.33
 $    60,000.00
 $   300,000.00
 $          5,000.00
 $  25,000.00
 $       166.67
 $    90,000.00
 $   450,000.00
 $          7,500.00
 $  37,500.00
 $       250.00
 $  120,000.00
 $   600,000.00
 $        10,000.00
 $  50,000.00
 $       333.33

I had to be very careful. I didn’t want to reach my goals to quickly because I had to ensure contributors were getting a good experience from our interaction and participation. At that time, lots of businesses were reaching thousands of what they called customers in months, but the focus was mostly to make money. In my case, it would have been counterproductive to have thousands of contributors in little time that would leave the platform very soon. It was much better to have fewer contributors that would build with us a movement and would stay longer. We were about connections built with openness, trust and relationships, which coming from the world we had, they took time to build.

It was wise to set up my financial goals this way and made them available to all. As it happens, I reached my financial goals by December 2012. After that, I was still getting contributor’s 20% so I was able to travel to meet contributors face to face in many parts of the world. I would stay with them for long periods of time assisting their ideation process, activating connections, I would attend their meetings, become part of their lives for a few months and take their business model generation process as mine, most of the time I didn’t have to charge one cent, they had made that possible. All this combined accelerated the formation of organs and cells activation. It was like a gestation process. Millions of cells with a life of their own joined together with affinity of ideas and functions to form tissues and organs to make our body functional. Money became a tool to catalyze ideas towards meaningful businesses to change the world. It was not about payment anymore, nor about scarcity. It wasn’t about getting paid per hour, per job done. I just simply took the basis of what I felt it would be appropriate to make material life financially sustainable, and from then on, I used all the extras to put it back to the community in various different ways. Work was delightful for me, and it was on its way to delightfulness for many others…I was a connector and social architect.

Eventually, the community evolved into developing local currencies. Since the services where already available and the connections and strong trading between us existed, many of us considered appropriate to make use of official currency for other connecting purposes and establish local currencies for day-to-day exchanges. The currency we use in this suburb today, is one outcome of that process, as it is many other currencies around the globe.

Today, the business model has been replicated and modified in many different ways. It was impossible for me to anticipate what would happen and how eager people would be to embrace it and make it happen as their own project. The original platform is today still alive and relevant, but I stepped back long time ago.

That was the story of how the movement we created back then, assisted to change the story of humanity. Today people no longer need to identify with what they acquire. Today you don’t need to have money to do something that will make you happy. Instead, your happiness is an unconditional state, so you can freely decide what you will do and what you’ll have or will not have. We went from en economy of increasing mass production of useless and self destructive stuff, to a collaborative production and consumption of all sorts of goods and services. We redefine the meaning of competition, the only reason why you know about war is because we’ve told you about it…it must be hard trying to imagine all these things…it was hard to be there…but it was worthy.

What do you think will happen in the future?? The story you hear from your parents today, and the things you talk about with your friends, were unthinkable in my time. I don’t want you to imagine that it’ll be like this forever…sometime in the future, our civilization will have to go through an evolution leap again. I have no idea how it will happen, but you now have much more capacity than my generation did, to change the course of your history before it changes you. Far behind are the days of a deeply asleep civilization. 

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