See Also: Business Strategy. “Liberating fringe/edge/marginal potential, latent in our socioeconomic structures today, into expressly regenerative, human-scale patterns of activity.”
In permaculture, there’s a fundamental conceptual tool used by every designer called a “problem-solution statement.” Permaculture acknowledges that whatever “problem” a designer may wish to address in a system, the solution is embedded IN the system already. It firmly situates the perception of problem and solution in the mind of the designer, and therefore also situates the responsibility for affecting change in the designer by cooperating with elements that are already there (or nearby) in a place (I.e. “working with what’s there.”)
In a natural landscape, a problem may be viewed as an imbalance (too much or too little of something… e.g. too little water means too much soil erosion and too little life). Yet the permaculture designer is encouraged to train her mind to perceive that the presence of “too much or too little” is an opportunity to use those conditions to bring about the desired state (for instance, planting certain species, growing nearby, that enjoy weak soil and can simultaneously help capture water and reduce erosion effects is a way to commit one small, doable act that affects all of the issues, thus galvanizing “what seems to want to happen” in the landscape.)
To make this a little less abstract, let’s apply it to Cosmos’ business strategy here. Cosmos recognizes that the present-day global neocapitalist economic order degrades sources of natural capital (i.e. living, intrinsic, relational value). It also profoundly fails and or at least grossly struggles to convert numinous forms of capital that people immanently possess (namely, our creative, spiritual, and intuitive powers) into financial capital, and so, simply ignores, neglects, or sometimes actively suppresses their presence (such as through the ubiquitous disdainful refrain, reflecting cultural values: “you can’t BE an artist [you can’t just BE how you are naturally]—how are you ever going to make money at that?”). Thus, embedded within our problems with today’s oppressive economic order, are the keys to its solution. That which the system overlooks or suppresses, if acknowledged and brought forth, will be the fuel enabling a transformation of conditions that could even, eventually, cause the oppressive (degrading) economic order to become obsolete. It’s all about what potentialities, that are already there, are we growing … yet the seeds of this revolution exist now, are plentiful, are piling up, festering, waiting for the fresh rains to liberate them from their shells.
Because people intrinsically want 1) to self-actualize, 2) to meaningfully interact & mesh with other people & beings, Cosmos meets deep needs (which may be crudely framed, using capitalist parlance, as a “market”) in a novel way: It supports people in doing what they REALLY deep down want to be doing. Cosmos has no agenda , and therefore no need of manipulating our customers’ emotions or sense of self in order to keep them hooked on our product. Rather, Cosmos has a purpose , and thus naturally attracts people who share that purpose; Cosmos thus becomes a vehicle of people’s authentic, individual and collective goals, a platform for meeting needs left unmet, as a design consequence, by the entire global neocapitalist socioeconomic order.
Both “orders” are really games of energy transformation. Cosmos just happens to be the regenerative one, the one that is closer to embodying a mirror for what living beings want to have happen.
Media products, channels, projects, etc. (hosted in Cosmos) will be “faces” that a specific individual first encounters. For example, a book club on A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History might be one person’s “gateway” to Cosmos; an insightful meme using an excerpt from a recent vivacious live virtual conversation on permaculture patterns & perspectives of distributed power might be another’s persons initial encounter; and the option to purchase some counseling time with his favorite intuitive/thought-leader might be yet another’s.
And they don’t have to see the full picture to support the one artist, one podcast, etc. Highly differentiated—that is, users can have very different experiences of what Cosmos has to offer; based on their own pursuit of needs they will have different trajectories. Generally, low-engagement users are treated as audience or “sustainer” members (depending on their level of member commitment), while/whereas high-engagement members are treated as “creative” members (and afforded more responsibilities and benefits).
A non-member can procure products or services sold by members autonomously on the platform without becoming a member , but those products may be marked up (even just by Cosmos attaching a higher commission fee) (too, applying for/joining membership will always be nudged/encouraged by Cosmos). Cosmos-provided core services & utilities (see Five Pillars), on the other hand, do require membership to avail oneself of.
Users can spend $$ on whoever/whatever they want.
They can’t spend LitCoin, though. That’s only for members. And that’s where the real fun is!
How does someone decide whether to become a “fan” or a “member”?
When clicking to support a favorite show, when making one’s payment, one can explore the option of “add Cosmos membership” and investigate that option further. It’s OK to remain a non-member, only there are more benefits and meaningful interactions to be had through membership.
As Cosmos adds functionality and departments, new markets would open to it. E.g. once its functions as a creative agency are basically in place, a new market (plus existing users’ conversions) is opened, with the customers becoming those individuals and groups with a need for that service. Thus not only the platform’s development, but also its own marketing/outreach strategies, will be iterative and adaptive as changes are affected. (As a cooperative business—very much in contrast to a capitalist business—it is the increased capacity and opportunity to fulfill people 's needs that drives business expansion and growth, not the use of goods and services to grow capital for capital’s own sake.)
A user can profoundly customize their experience–in this way, we encourage creative autonomy. Currently, some projects like the book clubs ( Readers Underground) and online journal ( Metapsychosis ) are being presented as part of the platform and constellation of services through Cosmos. However, the goal—as with the blogging utility, Theory of Everybody —is to cultivate users to act autonomously in the spaces and pursue activities of their own interests: e.g., lead their own topical conversations on forum or through video chat, start their own book or movie clubs, etc. In this sense, Cosmos’ platform is envisioned as a playground, upon which users can do much and many.
We offer guiding help and methods (like process templates in the “five pillars”) to enable effectual creative outputs. To facilitate members to “pull off” big works on our platform, process criteria/order-of-operations would be established in each stage of creative project fruition (incubation, production, publication, promotion, etc.) for users to use or customize to structure their initiatives. Cosmos’ community innovates “templates” that members can subsequently reuse and iterate/improve on to initialize, support, or complete their own creations. At this time, process workflows have indeed been articulated for broad functions of the platform (e.g. “generic production workflow,” “generic promotion workflow”) and for more granular activities (e.g. launching a feature writing/conversation/multimedia project [see Transmuting the Trumpocalypse ]; creating memes to promote Cosmos-originated media on social media, and running book clubs (see below).
From what we learn, we look to its diversity of applications–in other words, we immediately look to iterate and innovate on what works. Take for example, the putting-on of a book club. One thing we’ve learned over time is that it takes a lot of effort to put on a large book club, and only certain books can sustain a big audience. So, let’s investigate the potential for facilitating distributed book clubs, that do not need to happen simultaneously. All a user would need is 1, 3, 5, 10 people… and you can have multiple books going at the same time: community-driven. The result would be diversified offerings and media/content to attract new users to interface with Cosmos. Also, “putting on” conversations like this are functional to developing leadership skills (which is important as Cosmos requires a “leaderful” organization.)
As you can see in the above example, not only is flexibility prized but optimizing for distributed power and participation is an ongoing cultural practice in Cosmos.
The “game” of Cosmos (gamified platform) should be fun and compelling to play, and serves as the frame or container for a variety of other benefits. The main progression game (regarding progression of self-actualization [see Maslow’s theory]) is one that perhaps all sentient beings are concerned with. As a result, many people (comfortable enough with digital interfaces) should find the opportunity to play the game through the amplifying-framing of Cosmos beneficial—even if just for how Cosmos’ interface and spaces stimulate the individual to contemplate and interact with their goals for themselves as creative beings.Once on the site, the summary of generative (value proposition) options include:
- a high-quality user experience and user interface (Dashboard),
- creative/fun customization (Dials, custom spaces, and original gameplay “pathways”/desire lines resulting from process of goal attainment),
- internal currencies (doubling as a means of self-expression for positive impact [sustainer members]),
- process patterns/templates, social settings/focused groups, and tools/utilities conducive to the entire lifecycle of creative products [creative members]
- pportunities to perform meaningful work to one’s community (and get compensated for it [worker members])
- ample opportunities for generative exchanges (conversations, marketplace functionality, etc.),
- And the context of a supportive, vibrant community, and a co-created platform and co-owned economic system in which participation breeds ever greater benefits…
Cosmos strives to attract, retain, apply, and share in/glean from members ’ attention or life-energy on its paths through the system—in ways that generatively “feed back” for those members.
There will be a curve around users having to pay anything—even a nominal amount—for basic social media and community functions. This is because free and highly established platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. are widely known and adopted in format. Some education on Cosmos’ part may be required to ensure potential customers understand the value proposition of paying for a service that members own, control and benefit directly from. Although Facebook harnesses the capital to invest in user-gratifying (and also attention-coopting, addicting) platform innovations, there will always be a tension around how quality of an experience Facebook can provide. This is because legacy systems’ are designed not principally for the integrity/richness of community/social interactions, but in order to profit off of the user’s concentration and investment of attention into the channel [addiction model]). Facebook’s newsfeed and hosting are available free to users because advertisers are paying rent access to the users ’ attentional feeds. As some customers of legacy systems recognize the costs of that trade-off, Cosmos would attract some customers seeking a more human-centered, “boutique” experience–and as Cosmos is through-and-through designed to serve people’s holistic needs, there are bound to be some quality innovations that make the model more appealing to opt into (especially for a nominal cost that is actually an ownership stake, and which cost could be entirely offset by the benefits of economic participation on the site in a given timeframe). Part of the value proposition arises from charging money, however—people will understand themselves to be part of an intentional community and ownership stakeholders group because they are paying, which will increase their sense of investment in “playing” the gamified platform (for all it’s worth) and in seeing Cosmos succeed as a company.
Offerings on the site (e.g. marketplace, services, etc.) will be competitively constrained to equivalent offerings in the general economy. However, because once a member is inside Cosmos, there is a different economy (LitCoin) at play which abides by different motives and rules, it is possible that the offerings on the system will be more affordable OR command better prices—both of which benefit members, albeit in different manners (benefitting members-as-consumers vs. members-as-producers).
Because Cosmos is a highly diversified online platform co-op, one could frame “place” as the platform itself, or “place” as the community, cultural, and organizational context in which any activity on Cosmos occurs.
As a platform: perhaps the best metaphor for a user’s experience of Cosmos is as an autopoeitic amusement park . There are various rides to engage in, offering various degrees of community and solitude, divergent and convergent thought, etc. Once you’re inside the gates, it’s your choice how you want to navigate through the offerings (though there are supportive signs and staffers, of course). It’s an adventure of an experience. There’s even a magical token currency used to operate the rides and the games! The amusement park is forever under construction, because new rides are being built based on explicit and implicit demand from users (I.e., self-reported desires for new features and the “desire lines” indicating users natural pathways through the place). New rides are being built by users themselves (worker-members), who rotate between working on building new (and maintaining existing) rides, and going on the rides and playing the games, themselves. Therefore, the park is autopoeitic (“self-making”). For more on this metaphor of Cosmos-platform as amusement park, see PRAXIS PARK.
As a community/social and organizational context in which user activities occur:
People don 't want “just” services, nor do they have time for “just” community. Cosmos bridges purpose, people and products. Imagine engaging in meaningful community and accessing essential goods and services while being a co-owner of the system itself, resulting in you accruing benefits from the very process of your engaging. Thus Cosmos’ value proposition is that is a holistic needs-meeting machine.
ACTUAL user story issue: “About 1.5 years ago, I signed up for a podcasting course through Copyblogger. It cost $300 for a course on how to podcast. It had multiple modules, had a Facebook group, etc. I downloaded the audio and joined the FB group, which was really active. Dozens of posts every day. Talking with other people who’d signed up for the same course–there’s a specific service offering, instant community. People were posting about their podcasts, but none of them were of interest to me. I ended up losing interest in the product. I felt there was a need to integrate the identity piece and the community piece. I paid for the course, not the community, but I didn’t like the community, so I didn’t want to stay. A course keeps me coming back due to forming good, generative relationships.” Cosmos will seek to integrate the community/people and the productive benefits aspects.
Our experience with operating book clubs so far bears this premise out. The book clubs are where the idea for Cosmos all started. There were two hangouts every week for 16 weeks. We timed them because folks were phoning in from all over the world. Those experiences were very valuable for people. Especially with heady/complex topics, folks really benefited from that level of dialogue. Some just observed, but everyone reportedly found it valuable. It feels good to be in community, to be heard/to hear, to have our consciousness changed/transformed through dialogue. Our need for this is acute and dire, and yet is fully not being met by current economic market forces. Cosmos is a place, a marketplace of ideas and creative products and services, where those needs can be met.
Business differentiators. See also Business Model Canvas: Value Propositions.
Self-actualization oriented, self-owned & self-making platform: You want it, you got it, but you gotta invest in it (and each other) to get there! The growth of human consciousness and capital is woven into the whole fabric of this community enterprise, as is belonging/mutual validation.
We 're finding new ways through technology to create richer relationships. We partner with numerous cutting-edge and ethics-aligned technological platforms to realize the aspirations of this one.
We embrace complexity as a necessary condition for beings to have the space to find their “niche” (I.e. role to play in the economy of ideas and community of people).
The reason we’re different/exciting/etc. is:
We’re going to make a better community through applying our intelligence and creativity AND
That community is made up of people continuously actualizing their creative potentials (and being deeply gratified by the process) AND
The resulting energy is going to be directed towards transforming cognitive, cultural and social structures.
Our marketing and expansion strategy coincides with being seen as a distributed, diverse hub for realizing creative aims and for having spectacular, generative conversations. We plan to launch and incubate multiple series of superb conversations, bringing together different viewpoints on culturally-relevant topics. Those members who act as facilitators or conveners, who invite visionary or expert minds from across disciplines into conversation together (resulting in an extra generative exchange) may be compensated by the system in the form of user token contributions and even by Cosmos itself (if “the whole” prioritizes such behavior and thus incentivizes it.)
Membership spread mechanism: invitations. We are interested in establishing a member-invite system in which members earn (through their active participation) a perk of discounted memberships (or free trial period memberships) that they can extend to their peers, with an implicit or explicit agreement embedded in the perk that the inviting member would take some responsibility for “onboarding” their invitee on the platform. Just like you would make sure to introduce and socialize a person you were bringing as a guest to a party where they didn’t know anyone, members take some responsibility to ensure that their invitee is oriented and equipped to get the most out of their experience upon arriving. The inviting member also makes an implicit commitment to Cosmos to invite in the very best contributors (those with LOTS of artistic, cultural or other forms of capital to offer the platform) thus enriching the whole system. (We may establish an additional perk requiring short-term tracking and rewarding excellent outcomes of the invited-member’s participation to the inviting-member’s social or coin accounts. It is through such mechanisms—the “game”—that members enjoy various forms of perks for their engagement on the platform!)
Integrating/weaving outreach. Cosmos would probably undertake promotion of itself according to best practices (e.g., targeting advertising to its market clientele; promoting its standout creative products to target markets; leveraging channels [such as social media] best suited to reach its target clientele; incentivizing users to spread the word by word of mouth and personal invitations, etc.) A comprehensive marketing strategy has not yet been developed. However a major theme and strategy of Cosmos is about “generative & deep conversations.” How could we challenge conventional notions of marketing as a “one-way conversation” and experiment with methods of two-way conversation (in which Cosmos is in dialogue with its prospective members), while still using best practices from the field of marketing? For example: there is a potential to align individual-scale outreach & communications with partner-scale targeted outreach & communications, that would look something like this: “We became aware of you through _____. We are interested in integrating you/your work with our platform. Would you like to come into a conversation? We are curious to know: Who are you? What do seek? How can we support one another?” Thus humanizing the interaction, compared to using conventional but “extractive” techniques. To hold these conversations may take considerable resources (compared to mass marketing)—however, such capacity could potentially be distributed across users in Cosmos (see membership invitations, above).