Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Making a life, not a living

We created a system that delinked the notion of “job for wage”. We achieved that by arbitrarily setting the system to distribute 80% of a member’s monthly contribution equally into the ideas members were actively working on and by asking each working group to democratically decide the percentage of working capital that each member had put in. Because an idea could attract a big group of small contributors, a small group of big contributors or a mix of the above, it was never a given how much money a certain idea would bring in from monthly members’ contributions. Therefore, the motivation to start the idea and get it going was out of deep interest and true desire to make it happen. And the re-contribution was left to serendipity and democracy to do their job. A new invisible hand was created. Re-contribution by default was not a payment, it was not based on a ‘per hour’ basis, nor on milestones, or goals achieved. These aspects where all considered by the group to establish the percentage of actual work contribution, but not of money allocation. As it works today, two different groups working on the same issue, could mean that one has $5400 in their fund and another one has $900. If they both take similar time to get it done, and they both actually get it done, re-contributions to its participants would be completely different.

Two groups of people were in mind when we built the structure. Both were guided by the desire to connect people and to express their love and make it visible to the world through them and their work. One was composed of those who wanted to change the world by being entrepreneurs, who I used to call body stem cells; and the other one by those who wanted to invest their working capacity in a new industry offered by meaningful entrepreneurship. The platform offered a structure and unified language called Business Model Generation and Canvas. With it, all stem cells had access to a general process to progress their start ups, or organs in formation. It was inspiring to see how members developed their own ways to use the BMG process and how they progressively went from asking for assistance, inspiration and guidance, to providing all their experience to the community.

The overview page for every start up (organ in formation) had its respective canvas, which allowed other stem and non stem cells, those offering working capacity for meaningful work, to explore and understand the start ups. Then if a cell wanted to know more, it/he/she would explore the organ’s information, which is to say start ups’’ wikis, documents, profiles, subscribe to their newsletters, or ask and communicate with the community through the built-in social media page. All those things allowed stem cells, organs in formation and cells to build connections and create an actual organ, an enterprise. This organ could, once formed, keep using the platform to manage its activities as if it was its body, or not. If they decided to leave the body, which anyone could do at any time, all the details and documentation of the organ formation process was kept available in the platform or body, but cells would stop all their contributions to the community. All information was completely available to everybody. 

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