Posts categorized "Web/Tech"

What is the next step beyond Web 2.0?

Outside of the venture capital community, today’s best and most radical ideas are getting shrugged off. Intellectual breakthroughs and creative pursuits, no matter how brilliant, are drowning in a sea of information overload and big data. Yet there is this one exception; the startup. This is why, as a creative intellectual and an artist, I am foremost a startup founder.

Not long-ago, rock bands were still being funded by labels because new music still excited us. Now new technology excites us and it is the startup that gets funded. The best startup has the power to change the world. If this potential to change the world is precisely what brings the big financial returns, then let’s think even bigger!

Web 2.0 happened 10 years ago and it’s time for another significant shift. I can point to an example of what’s coming next because I’m building it. The next phase of our online evolution goes beyond social media. Now begins the era of the alternate economy. It is entirely possible to create a virtual economy, featuring a virtual currency and even an element of direct-democracy, on a global scale and with minimal funding.

Consider the failures of today’s economic system. Most of us remain stuck in an outdated employment model. A job is one way to earn a living, but jobs come at a great cost to your personal freedom, time, and energy. There’s nothing inevitable about earning a living through a series of monogamous commitments to one company at a time. Jobs limit your potential for personal growth and only tap into a fraction of your capabilities. We can do better!

The social networking potential of the online world offers you that chance to create something better. Why not create a system that allows you to form mutually-beneficial relationships with new people? With a systematic way to meet and work with others based on mutual wants and needs, you can grow, gain experience, and ultimately earn more income just as you live in freedom. This concept can be the core of an alternate economy and we can call it the People Economy. While today’s Corporate Economy is structured around the relationships people have with companies, the People Economy emphasizes dynamic economic relationships between people with compatible wants and needs.

In this new People Economy I am proposing, users will be connected to all the right people. We can also plug-in a virtual currency to facilitate economic transactions in this virtual economy. Would a currency that is directly tied to the needs, wants, talents and skills of every participant in the economy not have the potential to strengthen against real-world currencies? A currency backing a better economy is simply a better currency!

Alternate Economies are about creating integrated, holistic systems to improve the way we live and work. As we listen to so many people complaining about or protesting governments and corporations; do we not recognize a market demand? Do we not see this deep dissatisfaction as a market opportunity to offer them what they want? What these frustrated people of the world (our customer base) are really asking for is nothing other than a better life! Our competition (corporate and government institutions) are too self-serving to accommodate their needs. We, on the other hand, can!

Today’s entrepreneurs have yet to understand that we are the ones responsible for creating a better world. No other group is willing or able. Each day we continue to tinker with million dollar ideas, we miss the trillion dollar idea that will improve the lives of billions.

Investors, too, have failed to comprehend the scale of this opportunity. The startup community has become rigid, overly-confident, and too dependent upon conventional wisdom. This has led to a failure to see the forest for the trees. Let’s go somewhere new. Let us create a new forest!

The entrepreneur and the investor may soon come to understand that we (and we alone) have the power to transform the world. No amount of success or influence is greater than in founding and enabling an entire economy. To build an alternate economy is to seize the opportunity of a generation.

Reprinted at bpinetwork.org


Is Ello worth joining? Well, it doesn't solve the 3 fundamental problems with social media.

Does anyone feel the way I do about social media? It seems there is something fundamentally and obviously wrong with all of today's social media sites. Ello, the anti-advertising, stripped-down new "alternative to Facebook", is unfortunately no exception. I will go through the 3 fundamental problems in great detail. I will then describe an entirely new, different, and better type of social media site.

I should have fallen in love with Ello. I really wanted to. I despise all forms of advertising, so Ello's charter as a Public Benefit Corporation inspired me to the extent that I am founding my venture with a similar anti-advertising charter. But as I was saying, I don't love Ello because it doesn't solve the 3 fundamental problems of today's social media sites.

Ello, Facebook, Tumblr, Myspace, and all of the rest of the social media sites are fundamentally flawed. They no longer serve any useful function, and are obsolete, for the following specific reasons:

Fundamental Problem #1:  Social media contributes to information overload by providing a massive amount of irrelevant information. This makes us feel physically ill.

When I logged-on to Ello, I had to start with nothing and nobody. I immediately realized the enormous amount of work ahead of me. Obviously I would need to make some friends, otherwise nobody would care about what I have to say. So then I tried really hard to force myself to care about what other people were posting. I browsed around and did some searches. The truth is, a lot of the content I saw was pretty good. These are clearly smart, talented people who are embracing their passions. The problem is, their passions aren't my passions and I don't really care about these random strangers enough to pay them proper attention. It occurred to me that these same, random strangers weren't likely to care about my posts either (regardless of how brilliant and worthwhile I believe my thoughts to be!). 

Now that the Web 2.0 novelty is ancient history, I no longer have the time or energy to care about meeting someone who I will never know in real life, who I will never work with, and with whom I will never create anything. What I want isn't the same thing as what those people want. My life has no connection to theirs and we are essentially not compatible. How is it going to help either of us to know each other? Why would I want to see the paintings of a random Italian artist? Why would I want to listen to the music of an unknown band who's music is in a genre I don't like? Why would I want to read someone's thoughts on a new gadget, when I simply don't care about new gadgets at this very moment? After a short time on Ello, I felt as though I didn't belong and, worse yet, I started to get physically sickened from the endless stream of irrelevant content. It wasn't as bad as advertising, but I felt the same way I do on Facebook.

So what instincts or needs drove me to Ello to begin with? Here's what I do care about: 1) raising capital for my start-up, 2) finding an appreciative audience for my music, and 3) finding an audience for my blog. Those are the things that give my life meaning and purpose, outside of my family and real-world friends. I know that I need to meet new people, which should presumably be the point of social networking websites, right? 

Unfortunately, Ello doesn't help me. Instead, in order to look "popular", I'm supposed to pretend to care about a lot of people who I don't feel anything for. Then they can, in turn, pretend to care about me. We can pretend that we both have an audience but, in truth, we don't have a real audience. Even if we did, we don't actually feel anything about each other or care. Using today's social media sites is like trying to scratch an itch and being left with an even greater itch. It is a cycle in which we are left tired, empty, and frustrated while we make no progress in our lives.

Fundamental Problem #2: There is no real mechanism to meet new people in order to form a solid, mutually-beneficial relationship.

Today's social media, including Ello, is really only useful if your intention is to stay in contact and keep up-to-date about happenings in the lives of your real-world friends. Outside of that, there is no systematic, usable mechanism to connect us to the people who we should know who we currently do not know.

Fundamental Problem #3: Social media leads to stagnation and inaction in our lives.

We all have a limited amount of time on this planet and energy in our days. How shall we use it? Here are some pretty good ideas:

  • Sharing beautiful moments with real people
  • Accomplishing our goals and dreams
  • Working toward something, creating something, solving a problem, or earning money so that we can, in turn, do something that excites us
  • Learning something that excites us
  • Experiencing something that excites us
  • Taking care of loved ones and maintaining our closest relationships
  • Feeling pleasure and experiencing real beauty that we can touch and feel
  • Experiencing human emotions with others, face-to-face
  • Relaxing in a way that brings us closer to the present moment and improves our overall well-being and sense of peace

We aren't doing any of these things on social media websites. Instead, we channel our time and energy into a black hole that gives us little in return. Sure, we may stay more updated on what's going on in our friend's lives, but even that is done in a way that is disconnected from the true value of those relationships. 

  Ello

Above: random cats, bracelets, art, and irrelevant stuff that gives me a headache on Ello

So, after a short time on Ello, I signed off (far more exhausted than I was when I signed on after having accomplished nothing at all). I started thinking about the whole concept of social networking. What kinds of people do I actually need to meet to do the things I actually want to do? 

Interest 1: I want to raise funding for my start-up so we can launch the People Economy.

Who do I need to meet? angel investors, wealthy individuals who have an interest in the social good, people who are involved in the venture capital community.

I need a social networking site that connects me only to those people while skipping right past the brilliant Italian artists, other musicians, as well as the other entrepreneurs. Likewise, those investors need to meet me because this idea is brilliant, we will change the world, and they will make a fortune. They want to meet me but, today, they have no way of finding me. Instead, we all have to resort to a lot of email spam, social media games, blogging tricks, and other gimmicks if we hope to meet the right people. The whole system is inefficient and we can do better.

Interest 2: I want to reach an audience for my band's music.

Who do I need to meet: music bloggers, album reviewers, music podcast producers, concert bookers, etc.

Likewise, these people need a simple, elegant way to skim through all of the new albums coming out in a particular genre and region, for example. We need a way to connect to each other while avoiding the headaches.

Interest 3: All of that other stuff I wrote about doing stuff that improves our lives and excites us.

Who I need to meet: people who want the same things and are willing to meet new people and do something about it.

What we need is a way to connect two people based on their compatible wants -- a way to meet the right people! That connection should then be tied directly to an action. In just seconds, we should be able to get in touch with all of the people we need to meet to move our real lives forward and to make our lives better. We should be willing to work with these people, meet these people, and establish mutually-beneficial real-world relationships. We need to network with people only when doing so excites us...only when doing so is compatible with what we actually want!

The good news is that there actually is a way to meet new people, work together, meet, and carry on with our lives in just the way I'm describing. Unfortunately, Ello isn't it.


If there was a Revolution, who would lead it?

Who is going to lead the Revolution? Yes, I mean a real Revolution. Do we want a better society with a new economic system? Do we want a system that lets us govern our lives by something other than today's corporate, governmental, and organizational systems of corrupt domination and power? If so, who would we look to as leaders of that kind of Revolution?

Would it be the anti-capitalist, hippie, intellectual protesters? I doubt it. They understand the world's problems well indeed, but their clever words and provocation are not the solution. For the most part, they get stuck on the problems and don't seem to do anything to solve them.

Who else is going to do it? Politicians? Come on. They serve the status quo to an extent that no real change is possible. Forget about it.

We need a group of creative people whose function is not to serve the established institutions of power; yet who possess the skills and the capabilities to get something done. If anybody is going to change the world, it will be this guy: the self-motivated, problem-solving, action-driven entrepreneur with a brilliant idea.   

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With all of the technology available to us, we are a new breed of entrepreneur who is capable of achieving anything. We are the change agents in the modern world and it is up to us to create something better. We are inventors who can build an alternate system to make everyone better off, happier, and more free.

We need to go further than merely on carving out some small niche market where we, individually, can thrive. Let's think bigger because the world needs us. Today's economic system is slowly destroying the world, just as it fails to serve human nature. Human potential remains dramatically under-developed. Our interests, skills, passions, and abilities are ignored just as our free time and life experiences are unnecessarily limited...and for what purpose? Anything is better than what we are doing today. A new future must be invented, built, and intelligently implemented. Let's do it for the greater good and on our own benevolent terms.

The concept of "invention" is not something that should be limited to conventional products and services. Let's broaden the concept in order to realize that everything about our daily lives is an invention. Our present form of money was once an invention. Corporate law was also invented by way of a legal system led by individuals who represent a specific set of values. Likewise, our generally-accepted doctrine of blind economic growth and profit at all costs...the whole concept was once a new idea, an invention. Even beyond the economic realm, we allow outdated ideas about relationships to dictate the way we love and connect with others. There is no reason to believe that there is anything inevitable about the status quo. Radical change and Revolution is the inevitability.

We entrepreneurs (who also happen to be radical thinkers, content producers, entertainers, inventors, and leaders)....we are the answer. Launching another niche, luxury business to fulfill a profitable customer need is great. But it would be much more profitable and worthwhile if we were to, instead, launch another economic system. We can create a new way to structure economic and social relationships between people. We can create and use our own currency. Nothing stops us from offering a tangible, user-friendly way for people to gradually, peacefully shift to another paradigm by simply ignoring today's systems of power, corruption, and control.

We are far from perfect, but it is time for us to realize that we are better than today's world leaders. We are the people who have what it takes to launch a Revolution. We need to think bigger and commit to creating a better world...and we need to do it in a peaceful way.

The Revolution will be an excellent customer experience! 


Free Work

Charlie Hoehn has come up with a great idea called "free work". This is a radical new approach to start anyone down the path of building the career they want, and the life they want, while doing what they want to do.  

I wish I had thought of this at the start of my career. Instead, I followed the conventional path and wasted years of my life in corporate misery. I finally found the courage to break free, but it just wasn't necessary to wait.  

In his TEDx session, Charlie talks about how frustrating the traditional job search actually is. Searching for a "normal job" is the first step down a path toward creating a life you absolutely do not want. 10 years later, you find yourself in an industry you did not choose, surrounded by people you did not choose to be with, doing a job that does not tap into any of your true interests or talents. This is the conventional path that we are told to accept, but there are other ways.

What I find most interesting about Charlie is how he struggled with, and then ultimately found himself overcome by, his gut-feelings and intuition. His decision seems to have come from a place of feeling backed into a corner. Oftentimes, extraordinary accomplishments come not from our exceptional talents or capabilities, but from panic and desperation. 

Faced with options that makes us feel sick inside, too many of us try to cope. We turn to anti-depressants and we lie to ourselves because we can see no other options. But thee are options. There are endless options in life and infinite solutions to every problem.  Free work is one.  Enjoy the video.


Contentedness and social networking

I've been thinking a lot over the past few days about the idea of contentedness.  Since the rise of Facebook and the overwhelming popularity of social media, I wonder sometimes the extent to which our lives are affected by being constantly "plugged-in" to each other.

I remember, not many years ago, feeling much more isolated.  If I was busy with a hobby, reading a book, taking a trip...it never crossed my mind what all of my friends would think.  But a scary thought occurred to me the other day: if I do something now which, for whatever reason, is not posted on Facebook, is not written about on my blog, or does not end up in the podcast...do I feel as if that activity has equal value?  Scary thought. 

More specifically, I'm wondering to what extent we "social-networkers" are even starting to unintentionally filter our behavior based on this.  If I spend a day reading a book or hiking a mountain, only nobody knows about it or cares, am I just as content?  Do I end up choosing not to do things which unplug me from the network and have no relation to the network?  Am I trying too hard to somehow validate what I do, what I think, and who I am externally?

Maybe we'll talk about that next week in the Podcast (haha, I'm sure you see the irony in this).  By the way, there won't be a podcast this week.  We just felt like taking a week off. 

The next revolution is the "personal revolution"

There is no longer a way for us to fight the system directly. The system is designed to crush all those who directly oppose it. We have to find ways to "opt out".

Opt out from the commercial media
Opt out from debt
Opt out from consumerism
Opt out from conformist thinking and conformist behaviors
Opt out from sucking up the earth's resources for no good reason at all
Opt out from our sense of self importance and our sense that we can single-handedly change the world

Opt in to being the unique genetic mutations that we truly are
Opt in to authentic human relationships
Opt in to all of life's beauty and pleasure
Opt in to great music, art, films
Opt in to a great sex life
Opt in to travel
Opt in to new ideas
Opt in to life
Opt in to being you

If enough of us do that, the revolution will have happened before the establishment even notices.


The wall of perception

The music.  It's begging, pleading, screaming, enticing us to feel better...to escape the cage of our worried minds which are filled with cries of loneliness, sick with too much information, swimming in fear and self-doubt.  The sights, sounds, tastes, sensations, ideas...all surrounding us at all moments...we lack nothing but the ability to perceive and receive.

Could anyone have imagined?  After we have torn down all the old walls...censorship, social pressures, national borders, taboos, traditions...we would find that one insurmountable wall remains: the invisible wall that surrounds each of us.  This isn't a wall that filters the garbage emanating from us, but filters all that comes toward is.  It is lack of perception...small-mindedness...failure to see and to hear.  It is the sound of the voices in our heads drowning out a world rich with sounds, colors, ideas, pleasures, and sensation.

We have achieved a world in which anything is possible but nothing really happens.  What is real exists only in our isolated minds...which is to say it doesn't exist at all.  Because, in reality, nothing can be real if we cannot allow ourselves to forget ourselves...to be tickled by that which comes from another!  Everybody is talking but nobody's listening.  It is the last wall standing...the great bottleneck.

And why?  Because we all want attention.  We want to receive the gift, not give it!  We reach out to the world selfishly, with such a loud and obnoxious tone like "LOOK AT ME!!!!"  And in so doing, we forget that we all want the same thing.

So the language of attention-seeking needs to become the language of perception.  We need to reach out to others in a way that satisfies their needs...to write songs and books not about how great I am, but about what you feel...to walk down the street not hoping somebody smiles at me, but to smile at another...to say that which we all feel but have never said.

It is also important to realize that to be perceived is not necessarily to be heard, noticed, understood.  To feel perceived is also to hear a song that speaks to you, to read a novel that says what you've always felt, to see a painting which reminds you of your childhood, a beautiful woman who reminds you of your dreams, a smile which reminds you we're all the same.  Perception is two-way and cannot be any other way. 

So listen to people, get some new music, read a new novel or poet or philosopher, go to that obscure art exhibit, find stuff that speaks to you and soak it up in silence.  But don't waste your time with the language of attention-seeking (mainstream music, TV, preachers, and ideologues).  You will only remain frustrated and alone.

How can you be perceived if nobody is listening?  How can you expect perception if you aren't listening?

 

The Infobeing Manifesto: an alternate system

<p><p><p>The Infobeing Manifesto: creating an altern</p></p></p>

It’s one thing to talk about all of the overwhelming problems the world is facing, its another thing to fight the powers who are causing these problems, but what is needed is a real, feasible, and powerful alternative.

We humans are inherently neither good nor evil; but are to be judged by the consequences of our actions.  We are all subject to the laws of evolution that govern all aspects of life on earth.  While we are spiritually bound by our shared human experience, concern for with what is right for the species and for the planet is secondary to the instinctual drive to ensure our own survival and that of our families. 

We are all subject to the laws of evolution that govern every aspect of life on earth. While the fundamental forces of evolution within the earth’s biosphere (the realm in which biological life exists) are inescapable, humans also exist within and are capable of altering natural ecosystems. In addition, we simultaneously exist within and are capable of both creating and altering man-made ecosystems, which are generally referred to simply as “systems”. While these man-made systems are not necessarily biological, they too are governed by the laws of evolution. These systems include the workplace, financial markets, industries, governments, militaries, cultures, religions, sports leagues, and social movements. All of these systems are created and shaped by humans with specific purposes and intentions.

Because of our power to create and shape systems, there is a need to judge which of these creations are healthy and which are not. Through what lens can we judge whether a system is good? Because we will always be dependent upon natural ecosystems and a healthy biosphere, we must consider the extent to which man-made systems promote not only social justice and individual survival, but also the long-term survival of our species. So systems can be judged both by the results they produce for each of us and within the context of the impact they have on the biosphere.

With these guidelines, it is easy to incriminate today’s most powerful institutions and the systems they uphold. But incrimination alone too often only gets us ridiculed or ignored by society. While we are all spiritually connected by that which makes us human, our concern for with what is right for our species and for the planet seems to be secondary to the instinctual drive to ensure our own immediate survival and that of our families. To merely offer criticism does nothing to help others survive and therefore it doesn’t often motivate fundamental change. Fundamental change will only happen when we begin creating alternative systems that 1) help individuals meet their immediate needs for survival, and 2) have no negative long-term impact on the biosphere upon which we depend for long-term survival.

We all depend upon functioning systems for survival. In order to survive and thrive within any system, it is necessary to believe in and remain loyal to that system. And so for loyal members of a system, that system’s propaganda – biased points of view that enforce adherence to that system – understandably can supersede critical thought. It could even be argued that it is the more practical individual who shuns truth for the improved likelihood of short-term survival.

Resistance movements, focused on stopping destructive systems, have seen only limited success – perhaps mainly in cases where a critical mass of members subsequently opt-out of a system (thus weakening it), or the rule-makers decide to change the rules in order to achieve more desirable results. But when there is no viable opportunity for members to opt-out (a legal system or economy), and where the rule-makers are currently achieving the results that they believe are desirable to themselves, little success is seen through resistance alone. This is why something even more desirable than the status quo needs to be created, and it can be done.

In contemplating an alternate system, it is also important to understand that systems do not exist in isolation. In nature, ecosystems exist within, and depend upon, the larger landscape. The same is true with man-made systems. So, for a system to be sustainable, a natural condition is that it must be based in reality – compatible with the larger landscape upon which it depends. For example, when the rules of a social system conflict with the national legal landscape, that system should be considered less good and desirable because it is less likely to survive. An alternate system must be compatible with the larger landscape (or strong enough to overtake it).

To summarize, humans exist within many competing and overlapping man-made systems and natural ecosystems. But if the purpose of man-made systems is to enable humans to survive within the biosphere, systems are wrong to the extent that they destroy life directly or destroy the biosphere upon which all life depends.

Resistance is important, but the real solution is to create a better system that everyone to thrive without destroying the biosphere upon which we all depend for our long-term survival.  So let’s go beyond resistance and open the door to an alternative, better system.  With today’s relatively cheap and powerful communication technologies, we intelligent humans have never before been in a better position to do so.

The Infobeing Revolution

When people are given an opportunity to join a highly-functional, healthy system that provides superior benefits, they are more likely to opt-out of destructive, dysfunctional ones. Imagine a strong, sustainable system that 1) removes many of the dependencies people have on destructive systems, 2) enables members to thrive within a sustainable social framework and economy, and 3) works to peacefully change external, destructive systems.

Imagine a system that ties members together through the Internet, providing a reward structure compatible with the following goals:

- Members are given the tools they need to survive and thrive within the natural ecosystem,
- No harm is done to life,
- Focus on overall quality of life vs. materialism,
- Open to everyone, regardless of other affiliations or traits,
- A meritocracy of equal and unlimited opportunities providing fair rewards for all members,
- A reward system to incent behaviors that  benefit others,
- Focus on continual personal and community development.

This system could be designed by and maintained by a group of loosely affiliated founders working strategically toward the delivery of the various components needed. This group of founders would consciously work together to create rules and technologies to support the goals outlined above.

Ideas alone are not enough.  This movement needs to be grounded on something tangible. 

What is needed is a “virtual society” that exists both within and outside of existing societies. We won’t stop fighting the corruption and inauthentic culture around us, but we’ll do so within a strong, inter-connected community where we belong and in which we have removed some of our dependencies on the institutions we oppose.

Let’s explore some of the possible characteristics of such a system. In order to make our members less dependent upon flawed systems, a technology platform is needed that provides everyone with unlimited opportunities and appropriate incentives to grow and achieve an improved quality of life. Using this platform, everyone would be able to contribute their unique skills and interests to the benefit of the larger community. Doing so would result in tangible financial rewards and provide opportunities for a rich social life within a vibrant and healthy community.

While this network would be constantly expanding and improving, all of the necessary technology is already accessible, in fact much o fit is free (open source), today. But today the individual parts are not functioning as a system, only as disconnected parts. What is lacking is a group of individuals to piece it all together in the right way and to establish the right rules...then to spread the concept far and wide.

The idea is to enable everyone to effortlessly connect with all the right people in order to maximize their value to the community. Need 5 people to help you complete a software development contract? Send out a message, quickly assemble a team, and get right to work. Need 3 guys to help you move? No problem. Want to clean up a park and get paid for it? We could provide this opportunity. Want to get paid for the valuable service of feeding the homeless? Not a problem. When a system is set up to reward healthier behaviors, those behaviors become the norm and the revolution is complete.

A key component of this system would be the incentive structure. We should consider a point system to promote the right kinds of behavior. Members could earn points by helping others or doing positive work within the community. One way to look at it is that doing favors for others buys you the ability to ask for favors later. This system is much like the age old model of the “barter economy”, but it is more efficient because, through the point system, a favor done for one person can be returned by a different person…so everyone is free to maximize their value to the society by doing what they are good at and interested in. Aside from transactions between members, points might be granted to members for performing good deeds (like cleaning up a park or registering voters).

Yet even with such a point system, there is still a need to buy food and shelter in the physical world (which probably couldn’t be purchased with points). So an auction might be set up where individuals sell points they’ve earned (using market forces to set a point exchange rate). Some people would rather buy points than earn them (in order to purchase services or labor from network members) and, because valuable transactions within this system are based on points, there would be a demand to purchase these points.

In order to ensure that work performed by network members is consistent with the values and goals of the community, a rating system could be set up to hold everyone accountable. Each transaction that happens within the network might be subject to a community rating. Individuals, by way of their association with projects and transactions, might be subject to a “Green Compliance” rating. We could set up a list of criteria and allow anybody to review and rate transactions. So, for example, John might give Jane a ride to the next town in his H2 Hummer and, while he negotiated 10 points for the favor, he might later receive a Green Compliance rating of only 1. These ratings would reduce his payout, effectively discouraging him from driving a Hummer. Of course the individuals busily rating transactions would get points for doing so…performing the valuable role of encouraging responsible and beneficial behaviors (holding others accountable isn’t currently rewarded in today's Capitalist system).

The realization of this idea is the start of a new society, with virtual citizens from around the world, with its own economic (point) system, its own democratic governance and laws, and its own way of providing members with the opportunity to earn a living and achieve a more desirable lifestyle.  It fills in the gaps created by real-world governments.

While the above section lays out a vision of what this network would look like, along with a few simple examples, the first step is to establish a network of founders. At this time, we could use founders with the following skills: Web Development, Linux / Open Source Portal software development, Java Developers, Economics and Law (to devise a feasible and legal point system if possible), PR, Marketing, Sales / Business Development, and many more.

If we are going to change the world we have to proactively create alternative, healthy systems. This is just one example. Instead of waiting around for change to come from the establishment, we can be smarter than the establishment and put our skills to use. Doing so will be rewarding, but will also be a significant challenge to the “founders” of this network. It will involve constant negotiation and strategizing, disagreement and arguing, but time is running out and this sort of thing needs to be done.