I post here in search of answers to one of the main practical problems we all face.
We have resource requirements which we have to meet in order to get anything done. I notice there are plenty of ideas on this forum and discussion about many topics but what is missing is the practical discussion of how to actually get started.
How will any of these ideas be implemented without resources? How much does development cost for each of these ideas? Who wants to crunch the numbers to determine that?
Objective #1 should be to figure out how to fundraise or crowdfund the necessary resources to finally allow us to work on projects we are discussing.
There is currently no money to pay for development. Everything which happens is in our spare time and if we have no spare time it just doesn’t happen.
It may cost $500,000 to build a DApp on the cheap. How can we raise $500,000?
Should there be an umbrella organization which does all the fundraising and then that entity shares resources with every project connected to it? Should every project have it’s own fundraising campaign? What are the legal ways of structuring it?
Technologically you can do a lot of it easily. You can use a shared wallet so you no longer need a bank account to accept donations in cryptocurrency for project development. But you may require a legal structure so that serious institutions can feel good about giving large donations to a decentralized organization.
Until someone solves this primary pragmatic problem we will not be able to properly implement any of the ideas discussed or attempt to solve any of the problems we discuss.
Welcome to the Social Future Forum, Darklight. You are quite right to point out the our current situation is quite unsatisfactory regarding our potential to turn our ideas into reality. I don’t see lacking funding as main problem, though. A lot of the ideas here could be turned into viable business ideas which one could use to start a company and hopefully get some initial funding from crowd funding sites. Granted, this may be difficult, so we’d need a good strategy for this approach, or even a whole bundle of possible strategies.
Money is not everything. I think it’s much more important to get the right people to work with great dedicated effort on a project. Sure, money would help a lot with that, but it’s neither an absolute requirement, nor does it absolve us from the requirement to have a good plan in the first place. My view is that the best path forward is to combine community centered voluntary open source development with organisations that get funds from various sources and can turn these funds into products and services effectively.
In any case, I see getting funding as secondary or even tertiary step. At the very beginning, there needs to be an idea. Then we need people who decide to work on this idea, so that it becomes an active project. Then, this project team needs some kind of grand plan how to turn this idea into reality. The approach taken doesn’t need to be in any way conventional, but it should be effective. Only if the plan actually requires significant funding, it is necessary to think about that issue in detail.
In other words: You are asking some of the right questions, but at a too early stage. Why is it too early, you may ask. Well, even if someone handed you $1,000,000, what exactly would you do with that right now? How would you distribute that money? What would you buy with that?
Without resources we humans cannot survive. In absence of free resources we must seek at least enough resources to survive. Viable business isn’t really an approach which is possible without some sort of crowd fund and many projects are entirely software (such as DApps) that only need donated funds to get built.
In the United States crowd funding is illegal so the same approaches cannot be taken for US Citizens as is taken in Europe. The solutions put forward have to be aware of the fact that some people are in less friendly jurisdictions. At the same time we have to either pay people money or provide for all the living expenses such as food, shelter, working space, of the developers who are expected to be dedicated to these projects.
If we do not raise funding then only people who are already wealthy or college students living on loans will have the time to work on this stuff. If that is the case we should start looking for volunteers who are in a high enough social class to spend time on it.
While I respect your position and understand why you see funding as a secondary step I would say we already are on the secondary step. We seem to have plenty of people who are passionate about ideas, who are passionate about working on projects, with the only thing missing seeming to be the actual funding necessary to build and engineer.
While I do not know the plan for the Social Future Forum or why you perceive it to be too early I will respect your opinion.
I wasn’t aware about the complications with crowd funding in the United States. Looks like nasty overregulation that was pushed through by big businesses who fear the competition that is created crowd funding.
If it’s really so bad, then you would need to use more conventional forms of funding in the US. Meaning a good business plan and money from banks – a very tough route for trying to implement unconventional ideas, but not completely hopeless. An alternative could be to navigate around the legal restrictions on crowd funding and try to do it anyway.
In the light of these problems, I see volunteer work as more promising route, at least for the beginning. If you have a small group of volunteers and they create something amazing, the project will get more attention and will have it much easier to attract funding. It’s a bootstrapping process really. Of course, we need a good strategy for attracting volunteers. But that will probably depend on the idea in question that is to be turned into a viable project.
Ok, so you think we are already at this secondary step. Let me tell you the reasons why I disagree. I have been a member of Zero State almost from the very beginning and we have come close to getting a base for funding. We also had a nice structure for managing different projects, but it wasn’t used the way it was intended. Basically, people have not participated enough. And then something went wrong in our ingenious plan to acquire funding and the plan basically collapsed. I wasn’t greatly involved in that, so I don’t know a lot of the details.
What we would have needed for success would be a very active, very dedicated, and very sane community. We were lacking mostly in activity, but also the other points were suboptimal.
What I want to do with the Social Future Forum is to turn it into a futuristic project community incubator that creates the basics for projects to even get to the point where funding actually can make sense. In my opinion, we are too far away from that point. Your reluctance to answer my question how to spend the money we might somehow acquire just strengthens my interpretation. I’d like you to prove me wrong, if you can.
We need to see what truth we have, doing a poll over what popular ideas people are interested on the forum, then we need to see if people would dedicate time to it, and then we need to go straight to action and create a framework of action.
PS: I now see the need to monetize some ideas, either as a first step for the project or with a side project, because we DO live in a capitalist economy. To get things done, we need people and resources, and those take money in our society.
It really depends on which project. If you’re talking about DAVS then we need to hire programmers. DAVS isn’t the sort of project which could be done right if done completely as a volunteer effort but at best perhaps a rough prototype can be produced.
There are several people currently involved with the DAVS project. Each of those people should be paid something so that they can dedicate more time to the project. $1 million dollars for DAVS would be enough to create something amazing but would it match the vision we have for DAVS?
I can help design DAVS as a DApp but I also know the task of programming it is going to take quite a lot of man hours. Once DAVS is set up appropriately then it would not be me who you would ask what the money would be spent on but instead there would be a process of consensus where the team would acquire feedback from ZS to determine what the priorities are. I don’t want to determine or set priorities for the project but instead prefer if the partcipants direct the flow of resources. I believe instead of top down dictatorial style leadership we should have emergent bottom up “processes” which direct participation.
An example of a project which is directed by the community consensus process right now would be Bitshares. In the Bitshares community there is a project called Moonstone which is currently asking for funding. Bitsapphire is a group that formed to run the main forum just as you are doing but they now want to build an app (Moonstone) for the benefit of the Bitshares community. They made a proposal on the forum: https://bitsharestalk.org/index.php?topic=14274.0
The way they want to go about it is by issuiing a “user issued asset” on the Bitshares platform. They’ll gift that asset to the community at a rate of 1.15 UIA tokens per $1 to all who donate. From here they’ll build the app and release the code under the MIT license and when the app makes it’s profit then they will buy back the 1.15 "user issued assets"tokens per dollar. This means every donor has an opportunity to get their money back plus 15% if the project is a success.
If we receive resources for DAVS then the ZS community would in essence be making a donation to benefit future growth and development of the ZS community. If the ZS community thinks DAVS is a good idea and would like to see it exist then we can make it but I don’t think DAVS can be funded through the commercial route of asking a bank because it’s clearly a ZS community specific project.
As for the history of ZS I’m definitely aware of it. I’ve seen some stuff go down myself and while I don’t know the details of what happened there was a dramatic change in ZS over the past few years. I saw as you saw that a lot could go wrong and there is a lot of disorder/discord but I also think we can improve the situation with DApps. I think DApps can dramatically improve participation.
My reasoning being that if people have both hope and a plan they’ll have something to work toward. You mentioned that we need a very active, very dedicated, and very sane community and I agree on those points. I think if we had better tools we could definitely have a more active and dedicated community. Whether or not the community would be considered “sane” I cannot really answer but if I had to give input on that I would say that reputation and the ability to process information/events as a community may also be augmented by software. If certain bits of information are false, untrue, propaganda, etc, to a certain extent we don’t really control the signal to noise ratio in our community.
But we can create tools which can help us to filter out the noise and something such as Canonizer is an example. We can have tools which allow us to separate fact from fiction in most cases. We need consensus building tools and we need good filtering.
People mention the open source community to claim that an all volunteer army can accomplish a lot. GNU Hurd is the all volunteer effort and who do you know who uses that kernel? https://www.gnu.org/software/hurd/hurd.html
Linux and “Open Source” were the for profit cousins of the GNU project. Linux was developed by people working for various different companies such as SUSE, Redhat, IBM, and more. These companies made money selling services around Linux because Linux was so difficult to use that companies had to pay other companies to deal with it.
That model in my opinion is not and was not sustainable in the long term. We can say now that Google, IBM, and a bunch of other big companies have co-opted Linux that it was a success but to be honest we should not repeat the mistakes made by the Linux community by using a model which isn’t self-sustaining.
The Bitshares/Bitcoin/Blockchain model is the open source model with the advantage of being self sustaining as long as a community of people remain interested in it. A DApp should be similar in that it should be self sustaining and self funding as long as a community of people are interested in it. Technically this can be built, and it’s just a matter of whether or not Zerostate would like to have a go at building itself into a decentralized autonomous community with DApps.
We can make polls (see http://forum.sfmeta.net/t/how-to-create-polls/98), but at this stage they would probably not be very valuable, because our community is still quite small. I’d say we should prioritize increasing the size of the community first, so that we can both have meaningful poll results and enough people to facilitate some actual project work.
That’s all very interesting what you say there. What’s the current status of the DAVS project? What is it supposed to be able to do when it’s finished?
How would it be able to sustain itself financially when it’s ready? How disruptive would it be? Would there be synergy with other stuff?
I ask because I would personally prefer to put money into the Quantified Prestige project when I have money and once my health allows for sustained active participation in the development of the reputation economy system. QP would be provided as self-hosted software, as software as a service, and as DApp. Financing could come from operating a community platform on which organisations can pay for advertisement space. And by selling expertise/consulting in how to establish local Quantified Prestige networks successfully. Also, later on by getting reputation for developing the system. Quantified Prestige would be pretty disruptive, because it would enable new business models that weren’t viable before, because we simply had no real reputation economy before.
OK, please correct me in a short phrase if I’m wrong, but your aim seems to be a software for a self-sustaining economy. Include that it somehow rewards its developers, and yes, it can be done, and it’s attractive.
Going further, I would agree if it complies some points, among which are:
Considers real work and personal efforts.
Avoids to benefit the status quo and pre-established capital. Dirty businesses included.
Is not just another way to gamble through investing.
Has safeguards against manipulation, intrigue and deceit. I’ve seen too much defamation in favor of dirty businesses.
I can help solving the conceptual problems if the project worths, but I don’t see the world prepared for this. Nevertheless, if this has enough immediate economical benefits to spend time on it, I might spend time on it. Is the only way I would be involved in a project like this, right now when I have so much to do, and to be honest, it might be the reason other people would join too.
" Mark Larkento We can use any model we want but it seems obvious that to get anything more than a prototype we will need to hire talented programmers."
“I think we are really smart people. I think we are talented. I think we can complete the task of designing DAVS and creating a successful prototype if we work together. I doubt we can do more than a prototype with these resources.”
"A prototype would not implement all the features. It might only consist of a mockup interface with maybe one or two example features. The code would not be good enough that it can be used for anything serious except to show people “Look at what ZS DAVS could be if you fund development”.
“I think most of our effort would have to go toward the pitch video and explanation videos explaining how DAVS revolutionizes how humans organize, communicate, reach consensus, and how it can help ZS as a whole. That video might be something we could do fairly cheap but it has to be well done and professional looking.”
“DAVS will also need a website of some sort. Right now we only have Facebook, no website, no forum, no codebase to look at. So I do agree with you that we probably need to have at least a launch page with some videos on it similar to Basicincome.co or Moonstone.io.”
“After we do launch then one of us will have to present the prototype to the wider community if we successfully make it. Maybe Amon or someone who is well respected and known can take on the ambassador role while the remaining of us are supporting cast.”
“I don’t want to do it because I don’t want the project to be held back by my perceived “lack of credibility”. I know with these things you want to put the most credible person and respected in the role of presenting it. Of course if not Amon we can probably vote to see who would do that or maybe by that time I could have enough credibility myself.”
“For now let’s not bother Amon with it because he has a lot to focus on with the Transhumanist Party. Once we have a launch page, some prototype code, and some explainer videos, that is when we can bring it to Amon’s attention in my opinion.”
You should note that the purpose of the Social Future Metanet is to support fledgling projects such as this in their early stages, so DAVS could first find a home here. There’s this forum, a wiki, and a blog you can use as you desire. And I would suggest creating a Slack team for collaborating on the DAVS project. Slack turned out to work rather well for the team that created the latest Transpolitica book “Anticipating tomorrow’s politics”.
My stance is that when key participants have resistance to discussion outside of Facebook, then they are no key participants. It’s hard to get things done on Facebook. And that’s a slight understatement, actually.
The key value in using Slack is to actually make conservations searchable. Trying to do the same with Facebook or instant messaging apps is rather hopeless. Also, Slack can create better coherence for specific work teams.
We have started with building a Bio-dome here in Umeå. First part of that is now completed. We did that in cooperation with another organisation and we got grants form the local government. The next phase will see the insides done and then we have something that can generate income.
Form my experience, what I see is that things tend to go very slowly. We have very little to show after 10 years but then that should be expected. Slow to start but gaining momentum as we go. However, people tend to want instant action and give up if something doesn’t have in the next 5 minutes! (bit of an over exaggeration but you get the idea). Getting something done is about keeping people focused and motivated for a long time.
Dirty business stab you in the back. I fear this kind of lottery mindset will give us problem, for example many suspect some governments actually use TOR to make sockpuppets. I know that this is hurtful to talk about and it may lead to a flammable discussion, so I wish that any project would at least give me the choice over how to use the technology, so I can at least decide with who to get involved with.
On the part of the DAVS project, I presume is the best move is to make its basic form useful for multiple purposes, first making a root for other kind of projects. Is what I get after thinking a bit on who may get involved, and knowing we all want different projects.
I guess you could start making a blockchain technology on which to build over other things.