This is one of my most treasured songs and I found it whilst having a skype chat explaining “Dawn Music”. So Pat Metheny thank you!
We have to get from content ownership to ideas and understanding of community.
From institutions to networks
Today GrowVC (for whom I work as Head of Vision), announces some interesting developments to their platform.
- New visual outlook and improved usability
- It is free to create and publish investor and start-up profile
- Members can invest 100% of the micro-investment membership fee, you can buy $100 membership and invest that $100
- Grow VC iPhone app.
Though I think there is a bigger story to share. And that is of the idea that GrowVC represents an evolution how start-ups are funded. There is a growing recognition of a dysfunctionality within our money supply system, and that applies as much to venture financing as it does to banking.
But money supply cannot be separated from the trilemma of our current age – which is, when faced with increasing complexity we face three interlinked questions,  organisational,  social  economic. How can we organise better? How can we make for a fairer world? What does economic production and commercial markets look like when faced with institutional failure? The fact is, when faced with this reality people are learning to get what they need from each other.
At GrowVC we asked ourselves the following questions, who has the right to invest? Who has the right to be an entrepreneur? Where does knowledge reside in what to invest in and what not? What is risk and what is not? We came to the view that the Human Operating System we are currently co-creating in which networked communications becomes the connective tissue by which we can re-organise and create and co-create in entirely different ways could equally be applied to investing. We believed that everyone could be and should be investing in start-ups. And why not?
Banks and banking seem very high risk to me at the moment, pension funds are unsustainable, yet we spend extraordinary sums of money persuading people to play the lottery every week, and tell the ordinary Joe and Josephine that investing is not for them? Why? If we reflect on the banking crisis that nearly was a global catastrophe of even more epic proportions, we understand the dysfunctional nature of banks and banking. In the light of some of the greatest austerity cuts in the UK it is clear that ‘too big to fail’ has failed. People’s livelihoods, retirement funds have been wiped out – yet the finance and banking industries are still consumed by their own mythology – a form of myopia which prevents its from comprehending its own excess. And of course it comes down to power – who has it and who does not. I am not saying “away with the banks”, but what I am saying there exists other highly viable models, which should become part of the financial eco-system.
People embrace what they create, we know that identity, belonging and accountability are forged when we participate in the creation and building of things. My belief is that the idea of democratising investing could offer real long term value for society. Better wealth distribution, an acceleration and increase in the number of companies funded, a different type of engagement with investors and shareholders that could become the checks and balances that our society so desperately needs (News of the World and News International or Lehman Brothers spring to mind). And a new organisational model – lighter, sustainable, adaptive. The default setting is human, inclusive, participatory, open. Representative of a new moral economy. And, Maybe you are an investor, an entrepreneur and a worker all at the same time.
So my advice is become an entrepreneur, become an investor, seek alternative models which are relevant for the world we live in today. As the artist Wassily Kandinsky once said, “every work of art is a child of its time.” And GrowVC is a child of its time.
A thought provoking film All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace is a three part BBC documentary series by filmmaker Adam Curtis, well known for other documentaries including The Trap and The Power of Nightmares.
In this episode Curtis tracks the effects of Ayn Rand‘s ideas on American financial markets, particularly via the influence on Alan Greenspan. Ayn Rand was born in Russia and moved to America in 1928 and worked for Cecil B. DeMille, where she got some of the plot for what became The Fountainhead from this period. Later she moved to New York, and set up a reading group called The Collective where they considered her work. On advice from a friend, Greenspan (then a logical positivist) joined The Collective.
When published, although critically savaged, Rand’s Objectivist ideas were popular and came to heavily infiltrate California, particularly Silicon Valley. The computer utopian belief (Californian Ideology) that computer networks could measure, control and self-stabilise societies, without hierarchical political control, and that people could become ‘Randian heroes’, only working for their own happiness, became more widespread.
The programme concludes that, indeed the ideology has not led to people being Randian heroes but in fact trapped them into a rigid system of control from which they are unable to escape.
My keynote that I gave at the Mobile Marketing Association conference this morning. Thank you Michael and Rebecca for  inviting me  looking after me so well.
The presentation dealt with this idea: That mobile communications does not have to be a tactical endeavor, it can be a deep strategic one enabling companies to run leaner, to reach audiences in new and novel ways, to redefine a company organizationally, and create new markets with new revenues. In ‘creating assets and access in the intention economy’ I challenged our thinking in how mobile communications plays the key role in this rapidly evolving story.
I came across this company Moving Brands today and thought – amazing. For the speakers of the American language, ‘awesome’
And the presentation of an evolving idea around what a brand for London might look like, inspiring.
It seems in a short time we have gone from a linear world (simple) to a non-linear world (complex), In the Techno-Human Condition Braden Allenby and Daniel Sarewitz explore what it means to be human in an era of incomprehensible technological complexity and change. They argue that if we are to have any prospect of managing that complexity, we will need to escape the shackles of current assumptions about rationality, progress, and certainty, even as we maintain a commitment to fundamental human values.
This sounds like a fascinating proposition, and its interesting as there is no doubt in my mind that there is a dawning realisation now of that growing complexity, especially when we see whole systems strain under the pressure of a complex world. As they were designed and built for a different world that was less complex. For example this post (The democratisation of financial capital) explores the issues of what is happening to the financial system currently. There is also something we are developing which you might call a Human Operating System, where networked communication media is the ‘connective tissue’ of society. In fact non-linear networks offer us new ways to make and create things.
I am also interested in how we deal now with uncertainty, ambiguity and complexity, as we are going to need some sort of navigational guide to get us from here to there. How do we design for a complex world? Here is a brief introduction.
Existing models of crowd behaviour treat moving masses of humanity as though they were fluids. This works, up to a point. But it often fails to predict the changes that happen as a crowd’s density increases and its movement becomes chaotic.
Apparently marching soldiers will automatically break step on a suspension bridge – and over the last 5 years or so I have been fascinated by all sorts of participatory cultures – here is a selection of posts that explores such a fascinating and increasingly important area of investigation