Business Strategy (Summary)

(Caroline Savery) #1

Primary Strategy: Conversations as Generative Medium for Social and Intellectual Enrichment

Cosmos’ ultimate directive is to advance the self-actualization of all beings through it (Cosmos: a reflexive “skin” containing its constituent members’ dreams for themselves; a vehicle for the self-actualization of its members and its community as a whole.)*

COSMOS’ baseline strategy for accomplishing its directive is: foster enriching conversations and relationships. It does this fractally by providing:

  1. Well-made & well-caretaken spaces in which to discover, delve, discuss, experiment and collaborate actively on matters of concern or curiosity.
  2. A robust platform for creating new works (including reflexively, in fleshing out the vision of Cosmos itself through mutually-validated processes of creating new, additional features and enhancements/improvements). (Besides the platform), this mainly means engaging with participatory (or “two-way”) media (stories and conversations via the journal (writing), the forum (written conversation), the podcast channel (audio), with intent to expand into new media, mixed media, etc.),
  3. Tools, services and products supportive of creative incubation, production and distribution processes for user-made media
  4. Directed and developed by users’ stated needs & desires, via Plug-ins Model
  5. With platform-assisted optimization enabling users to assemble temporary teams (stratifications) of decentralized contributors to “push” certain proposals for change to fruition
  6. And a custom-built community culture conducive to generative experiences and vigorous collaborations.

There is no “they” in Cosmos. WE dream it and we do it, all. A collective ecstatic, creation. An artisan-crafted platform that proudly displays the handiwork of its codes, algorithms, formulas and their outcomes.

More on Cosmos’ Strategy

Business: Our cooperative business’ strategy is to enhance the capacities of individual, groups and communities to meaningfully participate in shaping their worlds—in/on Cosmos, and outside of Cosmos—through enabling virtuous, generative interactive loops and “weaves” based on mutual valorization in a co-created, co-owned, gamified structure. Cosmos’ platform and services are focused on equipping our members (comprised of visionaries, creatives, and their supporters [at various stages of self-development]) throughout their processes to sponsor, amplify, incubate, produce, publish, and promote their creative works [more broadly: to advance their creative and personal potential, no matter their stage of development or realization]. We ultimately dream of a diverse, complex, evolving spectrum or “ecosystem” of offerings and utilities for our member-users to autonomously engage with to best meet their needs, with new products, features and perks emerging from user engagement, and with users (and mindfulAI) engaged to coach one another on obtaining the optimal “use benefit” (or: niches) for the member-users’ purposes. This will involve building spaces, structures and conditions conducive to vibrant, diverse, regenerative exchanges (like through innovative conversational spaces, participatory and user-centered dashboards/interfaces, a marketplace, a virtual currency, etc.) The organization itself becomes a living, changeful process in the hands of our members—an autopoetic (self-making) meta-expression of our members’ activities in service to their highest purposes, linked together in a system where self-development and giving one’s “best” is the norm.

Our organizational strategy, in a nutshell, is to capture and regeneratively circulate people’s marginalized powers and capacities in the Cosmos system: so, those who are underemployed, unemployed, or miserably employed (with unused mental capacities and skills) can invest their energy and talents into the C* framework and be rewarded for it holistically.

Through employing a regenerative systems design, energy (e.g. human time & attention, capital, ideas, etc.) circulating in the system is intensified and propagated through gratifying exchanges. In a highly decentralized/power-distributed, open-ended and open-minded structure, creative works of high collaborative integrity are attainable, as in the innovative company (profiled in the book Collective Genius), Pixar.

Operational & Start-up Strategy: How do we integrate the three potentially contradicting design goals of: (1) providing a generative community/cultural soil , (2) providing a suite of platform-based tools and services and (3) delivering this in a format of a visionary cooperative enterprise ?

We align them in this way:

  1. Start with utilities and spaces in which our members can initiate, engage in, and form original ideas/projects/teams out of good conversations. We will let the community’s identity emerge organically through a process of “resonance,” rather than overclassifying who “belongs” upfront—that is, those who fit well with our ethics and norms will be inclined to stick around and thrive, those that don’t fit will leave or be removed. Yet Cosmos encourages affinity groups to form and diversify its spaces and membership (its core set of principles never constitute a uniform monolith, but are inherently flexible and interpretable!)

  2. Then, Cosmos will focus on iteratively innovating, testing, and providing relevant tools, products and services. In building out the platform, attention will be given to keeping the loop as short and expedient as possible between feedback committed and designs/structures implemented . Through the user’s attentional hub, i.e. their Dashboard, members may access portals to all of the following:

  • Status of user’s progress toward their goals,
  • Stimulating, consonant-to-dissonant media exposures,
  • Information about opportunities and events connected to their express goals or interests,
  • Time and attention management tools/settings,
  • and even Cosmos-related matters-of-concern (in a distributed governance/management model) are accessed/accessible in one channel. (See more in Dashboard.)
  1. We will make it clear that a DAO-type autopoeitic platform co-op is the goal and that we’re taking steps toward that, but we won’t frontload all co-op systems design and development work. Building on existing platform utilities, we would set up structures in which key conversations around further developing crucial platform & co-op aspects can take place with ease and blended into existing platform-usage patterns (see #2 bullet above). For the platform co-op to function well as such, it’s going to take time and significant ongoing inputs of effort, with that effort becoming gradually distributed (as the need for systems are sensed and supportive systems built) among the membership. Participation in the co-op, thus, is a meta objective, present at all scales, yet with the depth and options for members’ participation and benefit gradually growing.

Capital investments & flows: Per the cooperative model, as our members individually benefit, Cosmos benefits, too. Economically this is primarily facilitated through member dues (the entry fee, “price to play” the platform’s multi-beneficial games) and micro-commissions on exchanges taking place on the platform. Thus is Cosmos designed to benignly glean from the ongoing, bountiful exchanging facilitated by the platform. Too, being a marketing & distributing platform, Cosmos principally thrives on attentional capital and social capital—the more brilliant its members’ works, the more traction and financial capital Cosmos is able to access in outside markets. Because members own their data and benefit from their investments of attention into the platform, Cosmos inverts the extractive-addictive Facebook model by capturing and recirculating the wealth of attention flowing into the platform, instead of converting it into wealth accumulated by outside shareholders.

Partnership: Our broader partnership strategy is to relate to, enhance and integrate the essential innovations already emerging across the globe today—in part through offering a platform wherein the flow of resources and ideas follows more flexible, enlivening, and regenerative paths than what is available through “legacy systems” (i.e., status quo).

Membership growth & (in-tandem) platform development — toward maturity: Through providing valuable services and broadcasting rich media content, we expect that our membership will organically spread throughout our networks—likely beginning with the networks of the people currently at the center or who are heavily involved in starting up Cosmos. The “creative democracy” piece–platform, ownership, control, etc.–that’s not going to be the most resonant aspect with most people at first. It is important, however, as a context . As with companies who provide quality products and services but then can afford to price-up due to the “storytelling” attached to the business (like: they’re part of broader social movements, they’re making a beneficial impact in the world, etc.)… folks increasingly tend to spend more money to with a company whose values they align with, if that option is accessible to them. Thus, Cosmos will be transparent and upfront about its design objectives for the platform and the organization, but will let that be a “work in progress” even as it invites people in and begins providing tools, opportunities and services.

Until trust and workflows are established among the general user base to hand off various layers of control and influence on the platform (gradually, deliberately and transparently; see Gamification - Leveling Up), Cosmos would be stewarded by an intensively engaged, distributed, collaboratively self-governing (ala sociocracy or holocracy) working committee, supported by an elders council (which is tasked to hold the “vision of the whole”). In most or many cases, staffers’ roles will involve creating systems or processes for training and onboarding others—thus, handing off and distributing capacity to do said work becomes a key measure of success for any individual empowered in a work role. As discussed elsewhere (Leveling Up), as capacity is built and solidified, members gain more power and influence (balanced in a distributed, checks-and-balanced, way) to affect platform development. Thus the platform seems on a path, too, of self-actualization or autopoeisis—just as it fosters in its members.

Marketing: In terms of messaging: Cosmos (i.e. its brand & aesthetic) promotes dreaming of a future better suited to humanity’s affirmative potential and intelligence. We promote dreaming of better systems and structures for our online social media platforms. We promote visions of empowering everyone through thoughtful, experimental design; we promote putting creative and visionary people in leadership positions in society, etc. We attract people through a scintillating futurist orientation (that embraces more, not less, diversity and complexity) and that invites everybody to participate (if they commit to abiding mindfully by agreements designed to optimize for the freedom and self-determination of all).

Futurist, Humanist & Ecological Strategies as Differentiating Features in Cosmos’ Brand (see also: Business Model Canvas : Value Proposition)

“Liberating fringe/edge/marginal potential, latent in our socioeconomic structures today, into expressly regenerative, human-scale patterns of activity.”

Cosmos makes this ethical statement: that excess capital deserves further investment into life energy (living beings) to pursue their self-actualization (which process thereby frees up more energy and more future potential for life to thrive in diversity.) Entraining participants to contemplate and set boundaries of “enoughness” (which supports conditions of authentic human satisfaction, after all), surplus capital is treated as the fluid, catalyzing resource that it is. Through recirculating surplus earnings, members cooperatively enhance & expand one another’s creative influence in their lives & the world. This transforms the landscape.

By deconditioning greed, we create an abundant, vibrant, and autonomously-defined landscape of enough for all. By practicing enoughness, members not only take or request what they need, they also produce and offer what they need to to feel “complete” (autonomously defined by each individual). In this framework, a product or service’s value once more becomes tied to its actual value as perceived by peers. (In dramatic contrast to the anti-market [capital using products and services to create more of itself] and artificial [financial markets] behavior of money in global neocapitalism today.)

From an ethical standpoint, Cosmos believes people deserve resources to become their best, to realize their creative potential, because what ultimately matters is the quality and complexity of life. Thus can we transform the application of our life energy (our time, attention, and gifts), directing it towards self-actualization and mutual valorization, which pays out long-term, multi-capital “dividends” and an overall increase in positive life energy.

This alignment of purpose, at all levels (in other words: the integrity or fidelity or fractal-ness of the intentions and the shape of the thing) is partly what distinguishes Cosmos as a trustworthy endeavor. There is singularity clarity as to purpose that permeates the design and the choices (intentional actions) throughout—when Cosmos is at its best. And we expect resonant resources, ideas and people to flow toward and into this intention, through the flexible container of

Specifically, perhaps those of use who are most sensitive to other beings are the ones naturally most inclined to redistribute their power in this way. Because we are tuned in empathically to what other beings are feeling, and so we feel their dismay most acutely . With empathy (self-actualization and mutual valorization) at the core of our on-platform behaviors, we’d be safe with each other, safe to diverge and converge as needed, and to innovate new forms. This is an ecological (and dareisay, sustainable or indigenous [I.e. “suitable for inhabiting Earth”] orientation: that we are not only OK as we are , but we are encouraged to become our best selves so as to benefit all, mutually, holistically. Thus do we support the experimentation, innovation and embodiment of a planetary liveable (thrive-able) culture.

From the explicit results and implications of our ethical design and structures, Cosmos presents a radically refreshing alternative platform—designed for, by and of people, not capital, at its heart. This factor has the potential to attract a wide audience (which, marketing efforts to promote such messages would need to align with technological and sociocultural capacity to handle any infusions of interest and attention from the public).

**Key Docs Table of Contents**
(Durwin Foster) #2

Hello Caroline, I have raised the question of how to “track” contributions before with Marco, making reference to the Slicing Pie model, which used in a more traditional start-up context nevertheless addresses the issue of fairness regarding awarding equity for contributions in multiple forms. How might this happen for Cosmos, and how might the large contributions of you and Marco be “grandparented” into the system (and perhaps Johnny and others)? I raise this issue because i have experienced the personal hurt feelings that happen even among long-time meditators inclined to include “growing up” in their life practices, when the “money” question isn’t handled as well as possible. At the same time, there is resistance often to doing the “accounting work” because it requires a certain kind of detail orientation.

(Marco V Morelli) #3

What if we had someone who made it a project to methodically interview everyone who has been involved in Cosmos, and create an ‘account’ (literally, a story) of each person’s various contributions, big and small? They could also collect other information regarding needs, desires, circumstances, etc.

This person or team would work with individuals to get their story, while also inviting the community to give their feedback—for example, I might see something you’re contributing that you don’t even see. We could help fill out each other’s accounts.

We would have to include multiple perspectives, and try to give both a full and accurate (and essential—not a mere list of tasks accomplished or hours worked, but a qualitative summary as well) picture of what’s really been put into the overall project so far—an audit or mosaic of our individual and collective contributions.

Literally, this person or team would an ‘auditor’—who listens—and ‘accountant’—who tells the stories’. Once we got to a place where everyone felt clear and fairly represented in the report, we could talk about how, concretely, to grandfather and -mother all of us in to LitCoin or whatever other measures of value that define the various resources flows in Cosmos.

(john davis) #4

A few questions, Marco, as I am curious about this proposed project. I hope these questions are useful as I am trying to chunk it down to something that is actionable.

Everyone? How many persons is that? Can you make a list of everyone’s name and how to get in touch with them and when and where the interviews are to happen?

And is there anything else about methodically?

And person or team…what kind of person?..what kind of team?

And whereabouts is that community?

And what kind of feedback does that community need to give?

And when literally, is there anything else about literally?

Audit ( noun) an official inspection of an individual’s or organization’s accounts, typically by an independent body.

Is this the use of the word that you intend, Marco?

A mosaic is a piece of art or image made from the assembling of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials.

Mosaic…audit…what determines audit or mosaic?

And how will you know when everyone felt clear?

And how will you know when the Business Strategy is achieved?

And what is the first thing that needs to happen?

And then what happens?

(Durwin Foster) #5

I don’t see storytelling as capturing everything there is of accounting, since accounting includes that pesky 3rd person stuff :), unless you are including the objective domain in your definition of “story”.

I like this idea, though, and results (both linguistic and numerical) could be published in a new channel called “Theory of Money”, or something like that.

(Marco V Morelli) #6

I am deliberately fudging the distinction between “accounting” (as number crunching) and “accounting” (as storytelling)—of course because I think we need to do both.

Same with “auditing” (as fiduciary review) and “auditing” (as listening, attending to)—as in caveat auditor (listener, beware!)—becuase I feel that both sides are needed, even though in conventional speech, these terms, “accounting” and “auditing” are typically only thought of in terms of money. This is why I fudge them. Our language contains many more possibilities than we typically allow.

A “Theory of Money” channel sounds like a great idea to me. Could you say more about how you feel that could happen, Durwin?

(Marco V Morelli) #7

Thanks for your questions, Johnny.

I am thinking of people who have been active here on the forum, or contributed to the journal, or participated (more than once) in live events. I do have contact info for everyone through the forum. I imagine many people won’t be interested, but I would at least want to let them know that we recognized their contribution, and this is what we’re working on, etc.

It would probably not be practical to interview everyone, however. Maybe for the less involved people, or lurkers, we would only have a questionnaire.

There is probably a spreadsheet involved. There are some specific dimensions we are looking at, qualitative and quantitative. There is a sense, afterwards, that everyone who wanted their voice to be heard, has been heard.

Trusted, impartial (ideally)…someone(s) who are focused on process in service of emergent outcome…who are encouraging and supportive, and can translate between diverse points of view.

Here on the forum, and represented in the journal mainly.

It needs to reflect on whether the process feels honest, inclusive…and enjoyable too. I would prefer to see it as a recognition and celebration of everything everyone’s put in, than a way to divide things up primarily. If at some point we will be “slicing pie” I would want to grow the pie first.

I think we would have to ask…there should be some threshold of assent and no significant objections among the people who are engaged and following the process. It would emerge out of the conversations and specific threshold points, where a facilitator checks in with everyone before moving on.

There will be a sense of dynamic stability in the system—people will feel secure that their contributions are being recognized and received, and that they like where the whole thing is going. We will have enough money and access to resources not only to support workers financially on a basic level, but also do bigger things—produce films, publish books, develop technologies, host events…

We need to get all of these ideas out into the open and talk them through.

Crystallization of a vision & action plan; new members filling in and playing needed roles; interesting and exciting projects gain traction because suddenly there are the resources and capacities in the system to support them. People begin to notice that our collective is producing excellent work…that there are extraordinary individuals involved at every level…that it’s a place where big and small things are possible; and they start to catch on to how it all works, the method in the madness, which inspires further, wider developments and cultural shifts around how we value creative work and interact in community…

(john davis) #8

Thanks, Marco, and this is what is happening.

(Caroline Savery) #9

This conversation may be salient here. Cosmos' Core Identity & Value Proposition and Litcoin as Invitation - Design Feedback by Nate Savery