What is the next step beyond Web 2.0?
Abscondo performs "Blue House"

5 Big Questions on Innovation (from bpinetwork.org)

 Mark Manney, CEO and Founder, InfobeingInfobeing logo

Mark Manney, CEO and Founder

I’m Mark Manney, founder of Infobeing.com. Infobeing is creating the People Economy to set you free from your job. I’m also the guy who, 10 years ago, escaped corporate office life in Seattle to travel the world, start a virtual sales agency, and make music with the band Abscondo.

After earning my BS and MBA from the University of Colorado, I spent 6 mostly miserable years in Seattle selling enterprise...
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How is your team changing the game within your industry sector?

It is tempting to say that there is no industry sector for what we’re doing, but in fairness we might compare Infobeing.com to social media like Facebook, Ello, Tumblr, and LinkedIn. These sites offer a Web 2.0 experience that is becoming obsolete for a few reasons.

Social media contributes to information overload by providing a massive amount of irrelevant information. This makes us feel physically ill. Information overload is becoming a real problem. Infobeing.com is different because it is designed so that users spend minimum time on the site and maximum time living, doing, and becoming.

Another problem with today’s social media is that there is no real mechanism to meet new people in order to easily form mutually-beneficial relationships. These sites are designed primarily for staying in touch with existing friends or, occasionally, meeting someone new in a random way. Infobeing is designed for the purpose of helping you meet the new people you need to know in order to move your life forward.

Social media leads to stagnation and inaction. It is passive. Infobeing uses the potential of the network world to create a People economy where everyone is doing what they want, what they are good at, just as they live in freedom and maximize their earning potential. This isn’t happening on Facebook.

What are some of the biggest impediments to innovation in your organization or industry sector?

Today people remain stuck in a “corporate economy” paradigm. Our most important economic relationships are with brands, corporations, and companies. The vast majority of our purchase of goods and services are with organizations.

My view is radically different. I’ve spent the past 10 years traveling the world and living mostly in Eastern Europe. Things are done a bit differently here. Relationships between people are valued most. If you need something fixed, need to hire someone for an odd job, or need some help…people look to other people. There is a massive person-to-person economy that is based on cash transactions or even “favors for favors”.

The Infobeing People Economy replicates this in the online world. We provide a new option for people to form relationships and conduct transactions for goods and services with each other. This is a radically different paradigm where we begin to trust each other and work together based on mutual wants, needs, and skills.

How has innovation become engrained in your organization's culture, and how is it being optimized?

As Founder and CEO of Infobeing, Innovation isn’t a conscious focus of mine. I don’t set out to innovate. I simply do what I think makes most sense, with essentially no regard for what anybody else is doing. This is one of the benefits of living abroad, away from conventional wisdom, for so many years.

Beyond this, I think innovation is allowed to thrive, and will continue to thrive at Infobeing, because our goal is not only to maximize profit. We are founding Infobeing as Public Benefit Corporation.  We will be auditing our performance against a charter that includes 5 requirements for serving the public good. We’ll remain completely ad-free, we will improve the overall happiness of our users, we will help our users achieve greater freedom, we will strengthen the local community through direct-democracy, and we will aim to do no harm to the planet.

What technologies, business models, and trends will drive the biggest changes in your industry over the next two years?

I don’t care about changing an industry. I care about changing lives. People have access to amazing technology, but they don’t know how to use it to live in a better way. Infobeing is concerned with improving your quality of life in both the online and off-line world by making it easy for you to meet all of the people you need to know.

Can you share a specific innovation strategy you’ve recently encountered which you find compelling?

Follow your intuition. Meditate. Listen to your inner-voice first and let it drown-out any voices of conventional wisdom. The purpose of your life is to bring your unique perspective to the world. Failure to innovate is failure to believe in yourself and act on those beliefs.



Have you heard of e-lance? or silk road? It seems like what you are building would be in the same group as those two, not comparable to facebook or ello. You aren't the first to come along with vague dreams of a better alternate economy fueled by the internet and cryptocoins.

I think you are either putting on a public face when talking about the problems you face in your new startup, or you may be woefully unaware of the deep problems that have crippled other past and present visionaries who have ventured along the track that you are now claiming victory on. I hope that it is the former.

The problem you are likely to face is not old guard dictatorship or the slowness of paradigm shift. The problems that stand in the way of your company are two very old and as-of-yet unsolved problems, that of anti-cheat, and automatically-curating systems.

The first problem, anti-cheat, is simply put in two forms. First, how are you going to prevent spammers and scammers from clogging up and extracting all the value from your system for themselves. Second, how do you construct your system to actually fairly distribute benefit to all parties as opposed to trending benefit mostly along with popularity which tends only trend virally, gathering and concentrating power and attention, as opposed to dispersing it and benefiting the ecosystem as a whole.

The second, automatically-curating systems, may not even be a separate problem, it may just be a branch of the first. How do you, as you put it, connect everyone to the right people. Or in other words, how do you serve your users with all the right content to suit their needs? Sorting through mass amounts of data is not an easy task, and finding out what will be both novel to a person, plus make them feel like they are a part of some connected in group, without governing the whole thing purely on some popularity mechanic, is incredibly hard. If you don't use a popularity mechanic, then you are running head on into the same information overload that you decry in this very post.

Not to mention, your more successful competitors like e-lance and other peer to peer freelance organization hubs, they also face plenty of other problems, like the vast majority of their users not actually knowing how to price out the service they are requesting... (Um, hey could you make me an app that runs on my phone that will automatically trade stocks according to the rules that I set so that I can make money... Oh, and I think that I'll pay you $500 for that app, because I don't know anything about programming and think that it is just nerd magic and that you can do this as a weekend project cause I've seen guys make whole games over a weekend.) or any other project managers nightmares, like unclear project scope ("Yeah, I'm not sure exactly what I want. I kind of want this..." five months of development later... "That's not what I wanted")

Anywho... If you honestly have the actual solutions to these esoteric and difficult logical mechanical problems, then let me bow down right now and hand over the keys to everything I own, because you deserve to be ruler of everything. But I doubt you do Mark, because there have been lots of people who work for those old corporations and those new social media institutions (which you criticize) who have been staring this problem in the face a lot longer than you and still come up empty handed.

So, anywho. Good luck.

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