Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category

This blog post was written about 6 months ago and never published, while searching through old word documents I found it and felt it was the right time to publish it considering that Tara’s book is coming out April 21st. I have not read the book yet but for what I’ve read and conversed (specially on twitter) with Tara i must recommend this book as a must read for anyone interested in communities and social capital (which should be all of us).


With Tara Hunt’s book coming out soon (update: The Book is Already Out) , the social networks gaining users by millions every month and with communities becoming more close than ever, I thought it was accurate to mention some of the ancient forms of Whuffie and how they worked compared to now. Whuffie worked in the past, in some cultures is working right now and will definitely keep working in the future. The intention of this post is to show that The Whuffie factor has been key in some ancient systems and that it will be key in the coming years of this evolving system. Many other authors including Francis Fukuyama, Thomas Friendman and swedish Funksters Jonas Ridderstrale and Kjell Nordstrom predicted a change was coming. Today, brains are more important than capital, because brains attract it and therefore relationships between brains will lead to the creation of new things. Whuffie will be the currency that tells us with who we can collaborate and who can collaborate with us.

Today Whuffie is being defined as: 

“The sum of the reputation, influence, bridging capital and bonding capital, access to ideas and talent, access to resources, potential access to further resources, saved up favors, accomplishments (resumes, awards, articles, etc.) and the Whuffie of those who you have relationships with.”(Tara Hunt)

 I think it’s time to welcome this new phase of the economy with a little bit of background history on how it was and how we are going back to a similar organization.The Reputation based economy has been the goal, but we don’t realize that many of the ancient cultures worked with similar systems. Today we have the Internet to help us accelerate the process, and maybe an iPhone app will count how many Whuffie you have.The Incas were one of those cultures. They lived in the Andes for about 200 years until they were conquered by Fransisco Pizarro around 1535. But, their culture comes from way before as the Inca Empire was formed by various smaller cultures that were conquered by a big culture based in the Cuzco area. Their economic system was based in reciprocity and redistribution of goods. 

How the Incas built Whuffie

Inca’s organized themselves in families or ayllus. These were considered the unit in which the reciprocity system was based. A family will perform some activity in benefit of another and then this beneficiary  family will owe them the same amount of time and effort. This system was based only in time and effort and not in products or “stuff”. With “stuff ” I mean corn, potatoes, pottery or artifacts. Today that will be iPhones, cars and computers. The exchange of products was part of the redistribution system and this was done with the emperor or Inca. Since the Inca didn’t work because of his Holy condition all the people will give some work to the Inca and the product of this work was the Inca’s contribution to the system. Once all the contributions were done they were redistributed according to the amounts given by each family. But, also the Inca didn’t worked because he was busy organizing and running the system, so politicians get this benefit as long as they make the system work. And I mean actually work! People will decide what is good or bad for them by giving good or bad reputation to the work of the other person. Politicians or lawmakers could be elected by the amount of Whuffie they had. In fact, this was not present in Inca society but it could be a great development.

So basically with the Inca economic system you had only as you worked for. There was no “riches” or capital as all of this was owned either by the state or the whole family. So if you worked better and faster and for longer you will have more people owe you some work. And when you needed something a person with the right skills from the beneficiary family will do it for you. (Isn’t that perfect I paint your wall and you help me plant my potatoes or give me some advice).

The Incas had no currency, they just had this very rudimentary instrument to record numbers which may have been hours worked by some family in favor of another or hours worked in favor of the Inca. So this was the currency.(There is still not certainty about this theory). This is where the Whuffie Counter iPhone app will kick in.

Now, we are in a economic system that is being ruled by whuffie. Whuffie is not the main currency yet, but it is taking an important place, specially in highly connected communities where people collaborate with each other every day. Your reputation is based on your accomplishments, so if you are a very good video editor or marketing specialist people will call you for you to use this skills on their favor (provided they did the same effort by putting their talents work for you). This will be reciprocity explained the Incas had. You  perform one hour in a Talk and then all the people benefiting with it will owe you an hour,or a fraction of an hour, of any other job you may need (like painting your house or taking the dog for a walk). Your Whuffie is based on how much you can contribute with other people and to the community in general. 

There is one more thing that Whuffie is and that was present in the Inca economy.Each family, according to the position of their land and the resources they had, produced a different product or had different tools to perform certain jobs. This will be the “access to resources, potential access to further resources”, you will be know as a rich family if you had many members. Since the unit was worked hours the more sons and daughters you had the most hours of work you could offer and the most work you could get done for you by others. Accumulated favors where the ones that permitted you to ask for help in building a house or a farm, so you accumulated them for when you needed them and you could achieve a bigger project. Today opposite to having lot’s of family members you will need to have lot’s of skills and many areas of expertise, or one good area where you can be excellent. For example, you need to be a marketing specialist, a good public speaker, a technology adviser, a good writer, etc. This many ways guarantee that you can build whuffie fast and at all times. 

The Next Economy or the Whuffie Based Economy

Cory Doctorow came with this idea of a “future” civilization working with Whuffie (again). Well, this was no future, in fact seems we are getting back to the basic form of economy the Incas used. Of course that there are lots of differences. The Incas were not exposed to 500 years of capitalist development as we have been and today, to get any kind of good you need to have money available either as cash or in your bank account. Unless you have some Whuffie (the reputation part) and companies will give you products to try so you can refer them to your numerous contacts. For services, sometimes you need the money and sometimes Whuffie will be more than enough. (Though i may be wrong here and you could use Whuffie to get some products too).

Reciprocity then it’s just like the Incas with only one difference. In the Inca’s time you could accumulate more “whuffie” or “inca whuffie” if you had a numerous family. But in today’s individualized society you rely on your talent, know-how and contacts (mainly in the form of having resources available). So today to have more Whuffie you need to perform a valuable service or job, know some scarce skill or be able to put together a non-easy to do combination of resources. Or as stated lines above have multiple skills.

So the conclusion is that we are going back to a old system that worked really well for the people in it. Since the Incas had many wars all the conquered cultures were forced to accept the system and, hence, lost some of their properties at first, but once integrated to the system the populations inside had peace between them and had plenty of resources to survive. Right now if you are talented, helpful, intelligent and have accomplished lots you are one of the Rich persons (talking in Inca terms). And right now we don’t need wars to get more people in the system, the idea that whuffie is necessary will make people look for way to integrate and collaborate.

Punishment.

Nowadays in this Whuffie system if you don’t give back a favor or if you lose your reputation because of receiving money to promote something that you don’t believe in. The punishment is that no one will listen to you or make you any kind of favor so you can “cash out” your Whuffie.  In the Inca’s time you were expelled from the  family and this meant that you where automatically poor because you only had your work to give and that was returned to you, if anybody needed that. Usually people wouldn’t take work from a single person because the things he was able to perform were limited.

Motivation

In Doctorow’s definition of Whuffie he says that it is the source of motivation to do work for others so you can receive back the same amount of effort. This motivation is for making only work that helps the community and that is really useful, since the community is the one that rates it as good or bad. This is a high improvement to the capitalism ubber älles system that was reining mainly in the 20th century. The reason is that for example we feel that transgenic foods or abusive use of petrol are bad we will rate the makers of this products as bad, and they will have no Whuffie so they will not be motivated to create this harmful products. In the Inca economy you needed to do what others asked for, so if there was a consensus on the harmfulness of certain activity it would be not performed in the community. This characteristic of the Whuffie and Inca systems is very important because if we were going to live in a Whuffie system any form of illegal activity will be avoided because it will reduce your reputation and you will not have access to any other service or product you may need.

However nowadays in this money based economy we still have people producing this harmful products and services because there is no community to stop them and because people accept what is imposed by big corporations because they still have the image of “power” or the need for their products. Gladly communities are beginning to understand that corporations and governments have Whuffie too and they are making protests or stop consuming products they believe are harmful for their healths (mental and physical) or the planet. There are lot’s of sustainable organic food associations making increasing sales with socially responsible products that assure the well being of the producers in developing countries.

Doctorow’s idea of a future civilization are not that crazy, we are heading there and in some cultures we come from them. Now we need to adapt them to a global status and that may take time. But, Whuffie will be king, maybe not immediately, but remember Tara Hunt’s words “it is getting harder to eat without it”.

This means that maybe the Whuffie economy is the real deal. Maybe humans were made to work in a Whuffie economy and if we seek in pure capitalist theory a perfect market should be working on Whuffie because money is no longer a motivation since all companies make no profit at all. Authors such as Kjell Nordstrom and Jonas Ridderstrale said Karl Marx was right, that finally the power was going to the people, but in other form and with other process. I think Whuffie supports this theory since we’ve seen the Incas working in a culture where there was trade without people being richer or poorer than others. They had larger families so they could offer and get more work done, but they also had to feed more people. Talking about nowadays we see that suddenly people are becoming the main key in competition as resources are becoming “plain vanilla” the only thing left is Know-How, creativity and contacts and finally companies lose power to the people forming them. So that is the revolution of the working class. But if we are going to live in a Whuffie economy we should start teaming up in communities (like the ayllu of the Incas) in order to get the best experience out of it.

And then this communities will get richer in comparison with the ones that are not collaborating. The new Whuffie system will be based on the impact you make in the world.

So what does this means: Whether you are a business or a person you need to start serving the community and caring about them, because that is the only way you will succeed and built the components that will raise your Whuffie and if you do good to people, they will do good to you.

The Whuffie definition was extracted from a post by Tara Hunt and some of the concepts from Cory Doctorow’s book.

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I’ve always wanted to make my own business and in fact I’ve tried many businesses before. From selling cookies and cakes at school to doing my own business consulting firm. Then i finally opened my eyes to my passion, the Internet and how it brings people together. I’ve got to know many great persons over this last months since my “return to the net”. I’ve never should have left the internet in the first place, because business i wanted to do was here bringing solutions to people. 

I want to do a startup too and so far I have some ideas, but i will also like to contribute with other startups around the world. So this is my chance to give a tiny bit of help to a friend I’ve made around social media sites and that i hope i meet in person some day soon.  Calley Nye better known as SiliconCalley is trying to fund her startup with a great idea Start me Up. She want’s to raise 25,000 dollars to create the prototype of her site to pursue further fundings. Her start up is called DashBuzz and i can’t tell much about it only that it will solve the problem of having to administer many social media sites. This is a problem we’ve all had. The idea is simple:

  • We have a limited amount of time
  • We have plenty social media sites
  • We lose time updating all sites separately or,
  • We fail to update or be in some sites. 
Having known those facts i think this startup has a lot of future and i hope to learn more of it really soon. 
Calley wan’t the blogsphere and the twitterverse to fund the first part of this project. She is asking for a favor and she is planning on returning it. Remember Whuffie …if you build it up you can “cash” it later. For more details go here.
There is a donation button on her site and you can donate there or ask her more questions about it. Please Donate it’s a good cause and she says many people won’t fund a non-technical  first time start up fo. I say that’s wrong we can fund her startup. Finally I’m also a non-technical startup founder in the making. But the thing you need to notice is the desire burning in you when you do a new business and that fire that keeps you going every single day until you achieve your goals, just to set up new ones and keep going.
I want to help Calley and though I don’t have a paying Job right now I will look for ways of helping her because i believe that this project will actually help me and many others to manage social media in a more smart and efficient way. 
So please Help Calley and help this new Social Media Start Up Funding. If we all put a little bit a huge difference can be made. And as a side effect we challenge the old funding model with a more social one.
Making businesses is the best thing to do, for me it’s just what makes me go everyday.
J.J

Yesterday I was participating in a study about Piracy and I was asked my thoughts on it.   So i had to think what i think about Piracy and Free Software. Here are some thoughts.

I think that the model of making software and charging a fee for it is actually not going to work for much longer. People are either using free tools or downloading the software from the p2p services and getting them. Comapnies have been trying to fight piracy a lot and until know they have failed bigly. For sure they’ve scared some people with lawsuits, but they aren’t stopping the main community. I don’t think sharing files is wrong, it’s just a new way of doing things. Companies can chose to go with change or to just stay with the old system. I believe since the old system is a comfort zone they will fight to stay there. 

Some Examples and Business Model ideas

Gladly we can see examples like Google or Zoho that enable people to use productivity suites (like microsoft Office) for free and makes it really easy to collaborate and share on-line which adds a lot of value to the production of documents.  Google Docs is what i usually use for creating word documents or spreadsheets. It is easier to make papers on-line where all the students collaborating with me can help at the same time without being physically on the same place. 

So as you can see by the example above there are some alternatives to piracy. Another one is ad-supported software that you can use freely and be subject to some sort of advertisments or sponsors. Finally, we have free software as an alternative to the “traditional” software business. Free software is simple, people create it and make the code (the actual programming) free  so people can work on it and make it better while they make sure the access to that software is free for all. 

In conclusion, I think that companies need to find a new business model to try and embrace the new way of sharing. People will continue to share software and other types of files on-line  amd there should be many ways to benefit from that instead of defending a model that is becoming obsolete. Of course that piracy is not good, but companies need to understand that there are another ways of monetizing software than direct sales. 

Since some people buy only what they like, extended trial periods could be a good alternative for people to try software and then pay some money for it. Another choice could be software rental (a fee for time of use). Or Ad supported programs (I mean small ads not spamming with ads like old p2p clients used to do). Or anything else. 

It’s time to get creative. These are a few ideas, if you have more please share them on the comments.

Haven’t updated my Blog in a week or so. That’s the Bad Blogger Syndrome that gets in us from time to time. A few things have been going in my mind distracting me from BRKOPP, it looks that finally our projects are taking off and we should end up the break time. 

As you may know BRKOPP is a operation that emerged from me and my partners deciding to take a break to think of ideas for a traditional business. By Traditional I actually mean some sort of boring business that we didn’t love. So we decided to do what we loved, which is tech industry, social media, relationships and making other people’s lifes easier. So we took this Break from that to think on projects we loved. Looks like finally we have a few ideas to start and we are trying to make them come out as fast as we can. 

Break will never end in the sense it was concieved, because we will never go back to the traditional model we were trying to follow. But break time will be over because it’s time to start working in making our ideas real.

I’m working with my long time school friend and partner in business Samuel. I’m also gathering a team of people to work with that will love to embrace the web as new way of getting things done. The web is indeed the tool that has changed our lifes.

On the other hand, as much as I believe in my projects i want also to help in other people’s projects so I have applied to a job on a internet companie hoping to learn and give as much as i can and make it a huge experience. 

 

But enough of my projects. You’ll see them soon. Probably in a couple of weeks. 

 

Today I bought some amazing Cinammon Rolls from a friend that is making them! They were amazingly good! I think i’ve just discovered the new dessert for when i have lunch at work. Specially because i love em. So knowing that i love food way to much i have decided to take cooking lessons to see if i can become the closest i can to a cheff.  Have you ever wondered why we love sugar so much? and as we grow up we tend to like other kinds of foods than sweets. It’s very interesting! I need to ask about it to someone. So if you know please post.

 

Well its a  Wednesday night and I need to keep reading Rebooting America which is a nice book of essays you can download for free or buy if you like it! I’m doing both.

My Wish List

Today I made my Tech Wish List:

1. Mac Pro : Double 3.0 Xeon 32 GB of Ram(Just cause it’s a wishlist) and a Nvidia Quadro 

2. MacBook Pro: 2.6 GHZ 15″  with 4GB 

3. Dell Displays (3 24″, 2 for the MPro and one for the MBpro)

4. A Drobo Second Generation with 4 TB Hard Drives for my videos

5. A Server for my home (Probably Running Ubuntu Server)

6. A  Flip Mino

7. A Canon Vixia HF 11 (Or a Red One, the Red One gets the priority)

8. A set of lights 

9. A mixer with lot’s of types of microphones. Including 3 clip microphones for the tapings.

10. Asus gaming laptop 

11. A 16 GB iPhone 

12. A  Canon Digital Photo Camera

13. PS3, Wii (so i can finally return the one i have at home), and a 52″ Display

14. Lot’s of Ikea furniture to put all my new tech.

So those are the 14 items i want. I will Include a Tesla Roadster, but that is other kind of Tech. 

I will also add a Job at a Startup and a Startup itself so i can have the money to pay for electricity bills.

Mainstream Apps

I was just watching lot’s of videos by many interesting people that rule new media and web 2.0. Specially Gary Vaynerchuk, Zadi Diaz, Jason Calacanis and Kevin Rose. They all agree on one point, the potential of the web is still enourmous, because not even 1% of the population are using the killer apps. 

Ok maybe more than 1% of the poulation are using it, but the truth is that it’s a minority using Twitter, FriendFeed, mint.com and watching On-line shows. Many average people use You Tube to watch short videos, funny videos or just trailers, they use e-mail to communicate and some of them have blogs.  But, the truth is that many of the really useful and collabortive apps that are out there on the market are still not used in a “Myspace” style. 

Myspace and Facebook are probably the most succesful social networks because they managed to get in the mainstream. Garay Vaynerchuk said: “Imagine when Oprah starts using twitter”. That shows the huge potential twitter and other sites have if they manage to get in to the majority of the population. I am pretty sure that Paris Hilton and Megan Fox will have close to 1 million followers if they were on twitter and with that many people will find other people and get the benefits of being part of the that community of users.

But all these cool apps aren’t mainstream yet and some seem to have trouble to get many users even inside the early adopters market. I think the main problem is that people still don’t see the benefits of using this sites. It’s crazy to say that because the benefits of these sites are in front of our faces. My personal experience is that I got a job via Twitter from a person I wouldn’t have known if i wasn’t using twitter at all. And at first it seemed normal but now I’m thrilled at the idea that I got a job using a site like Twitter. Twitter rocks, but i also got to learn lot’s of things and meet cool people that i can help and people that help me with my projects. Continue Reading »