Operational Strategy

(Caroline Savery) #1

OPERATIONAL STRATEGY

Cosmos’ operational strategy is largely informed by self-generating co-creative processes requiring the engagement of its members reflexively on Cosmos’ own development (as reflected in Cosmos’ “Leveling Up” leaderboard criteria set for each phase, and as enabled by “Praxis Process.”)

Note: categories here derived & adapted from a general purpose business plan template.

Leveling Up: Criteria for Next Level Development

Initial “Baby” Scale (i.e. Level 1)

What would it take to reach an appropriate early scale for the Cosmos system to “be viable?” What is a minimum viable structure? Here is the core developers’ current best guess at what Cosmos needs (though this is very much open to engagement by community members!)

  • Sufficient participatory feedback systems. The workflows around users and employees defining issues and desired enhancements, taking collective action, etc. needs to be in place, clear/communicated, and in operation.

    • E.g.: if issue discussion happens on forum, but project management and “epic story” arrangement takes place on Taiga, how do they interface? If in a forum discussion there emerges changes to that issue’s definition, recommended approach, deadline, responsibility-holder, etc. as a result of the discussion, how does that get “entered” into Taiga or data updated in Taiga? This ties in with how much training members/users get on interfacing with Cosmos.
  • Better virtual conversational spaces. Forum has limitations. we should build out our live conversations capacity.

  • More co-creation through improved coordination/collaboration tools. Group scheduling by app and a “public calendar”–like a cultural center.

  • Clarity on how to self-resource and compensate essential developmental work that adds value in Cosmos. Sorting out our processes that enable intensifying engagement and reward from members—e.g. Litcoin, opportunities and needs listings, processes of transparent co-development of critical capacities, “task/gig” internal structures and tools ala SMart, etc.

  • Publishing platform developed for greater capacities like:

    • Better shared guidelines. Members participate in informing and designing, structuring (protocols) for “hang-outs” and opening up a forum for “spaces you want to manifest”

    • Better onboarding and training. Key roles and community practices would be in place to support new member integration.

What is our “good enough” threshold for each of the above?

Next (Intermediary) Phase of Growth (i.e. Level 2)

TBD…

Ultimate Growth: “Mature and Thriving” Scale (I.e. Level :infinity: )

See: Weird Big Hairy Audacious Goal, other visionary content re: Cosmos’ aspirations at its realized scale.

Operational Needs

for this Uniquely Complex and Sensitive Organization…

At any level of development (of the viable system), though dimensional capacity would shift between scales, we need the following.

People equipped to perform key roles supporting Cosmos ’ structural integrity at the technological, economic, and community systems dimensions. Such indispensible roles would include:

  • Platform developers
  • Analysts
  • Customer service/support
  • Facilitators, moderators, mediators, conflict resolution
  • Therapists, coaches
  • Researchers, topic experts
  • Marketers
  • Technical assistance, producers, consultants (skilled in various creative production methods)

Etc.

Capital commensurate with need to hire many, train many, and pay well for the fulfillment of roles on a consensual “flex work” basis. As a cooperative organization focused on serving people’s needs, we buck the trend of automation by prioritizing the hiring and paying of people to do essential work for one another. Specifically, we see our purpose being fulfilled in part to the extent that we can provide meaningful employment that helps develops our members’ skills, experience, training— and paycheck. Creative forms of capital and equity may help accommodate this need.

Sophisticated operational and governance rules and protocols. (Meaning: lots of human attention paid to designing, iterating and evaluating the algorithms!) How do we hold people accountable to shared agreements? How do we recognize and reward capacity-building efforts? How do we enable appropriate levels of transparency and participation? How do handle emergent development, that is, how do we “OK” moving forward on something while lacking even specific pieces being in place? What does “good enough” mean when defining these rules/controls systems?
Systems level: How do we compensate people who work for Cosmos? What are we paying for? Litcoin as mechanism in the game: what are the common agreements/rules of the game, and consequences for breaking rules? What is the role of “generation coin” and “void coin” in amplifying or canceling one another’s contributions?
Cosmos members can, will, and should engage on such questions, using their innate intelligence to investigate concerns and opportunities using their senses (including the intuitive “inner sense” of where things are heading or what wants to have happen.) Through discursive, dialogic processes, members (in various roles) would cause-to-emerge algorithms, norms, or “best practices” that integrate with Cosmos’ core principles and purpose and drive increased capacity. It is from these rules or “code” that operations have sufficient structure to grow and advance.

Sophisticated licensing, royalties and equity rules. In lieu of being able to capture endless capital to highly compensate the world’s most cutting-edge thinkers in developing edgy, world-shifting tools and technologies for the Cosmosphere, Cosmos can offer potentially-lucrative options for royalties (to people investing significantly in something’s creation) dependent upon the actual future performance of said somethings. On the principle that investment in-the-now should be tied to benefits in-the-future, especially because the future is uncertain. This would involve non-exclusive licensing, equity ownership (royalties) in bits of Cosmos code, etc.

Distributed, decentralized power to develop the platform. We adopt the utmost in ethical employment and business practices and take it a step further—letting non-essential business initiatives (“enhancements”) be completed or left undone according to the confluence of finance and talent. That is: members inform the prioritization (in terms of financing and “making salient”) of specific initiatives—they also comprise the labor accountable for completing the work. If either talent or collective demand is lacking, the project will not be authorized. See: Praxis Process.

Sophisticated and multi-layered feedback systems for collecting, processing and acting on feedback. Whenever possible, Cosmos will define objective standards by which project work will be measured; additionally, Cosmos will support two-way flows of feedback, from users/Cosmos to workers, and from workers to users/Cosmos. As a cooperative in the “stewardship” model, those who perform the work take accountability for the quality and thoroughness of the work.

Management Strategy

Building a sophisticated leaderboard interface (see: Leveling Up and Leaderboards) would enable transparent evaluation capacity by the membership (through analysis and dialogue) on matters of Cosmos’ performance across a range of criteria/vectors. Members in various roles (from the “general member,” to specialized/expert members in related capacities, to heavily-involved [like, quasi-executive] members) will have the opportunity and the duty to analyze, consult, and make strategic informed choices regarding recommendations for augmentation of Cosmos—which then must be broadly reinforced/validated by the consent of the membership.

Constitutional (or universal governing) algorithms would be programmed in response to data and feedback gleaned through recent experiences and conversations, and would iteratively “control for” the spectrum of possible user experiences and choices. Whereas, members’ distributed, autonomous use of Playbook process templates can serve to illuminate “desire lines,” or unconscious-level meta-behavioral patterns across all users, that may be interpreted to illustrate a kind of “organic interest vectors,” which can further inform Cosmos’ coordinated, collective direction & movement as a whole.

As the system matures and capacities are grown (see: Leveling Up), gradually, more executive power would be handed over to the distributed membership. As this dimension grew, management would occur through distributed means and dialogic/restorative structures, enabling members to broadly participate in adjusting key (constitutional) algorithms, based on the available information, and through mechanisms like voting.

Until then, a trust-vetted group of heavily-involved contributors (I.e. the “quasi-executive” role members) would hold the trust and responsibility to “manage” Cosmos’ development, mainly through influencing and interacting with particular, development-oriented, strong feedback loops that drive focused action. See: Corealizers group, Syndicate of Inception, Council, etc. The executive team’s ethics and mandate is to integrate collective genius, not promote their individual agendas. Processes and discourses of executive-role members are transparent, and their works are always subject to feedback.

To develop appropriately to the “now and the next,” COSMOS requires sophisticated mechanisms for gleaning the intelligence embedded in the community. This may look like technological workflows —such as ritual weekly surveys targeted to all or sub-sections of membership, AI or member-participatory “extraction” of “sensed bits” into praxis-based conversational areas, etc.—OR social workflows , such as people being in roles that are focused on facilitating input from broad membership about Cosmos’ development (ala ambassadors), or “official” (formally entrusted) centralized committees whose role is to perform governance tasks. Since circles or “clusters” (that is, natural groupings and conversations on the basis of shared interest) will emergently be happening, what empowers those circles with the ability to act on behalf of others? I.e. how does a group become officially entrusted to perform tasks that represent other members? Or, how are such organic structures reflexively authorized or validated by the membership? Perhaps this is where Cointribute comes in, in the ability to vest one’s coin in another person to “vote” on one’s behalf?

Key Personnel

This section is TBC by the participants tagged here (and, this doc being a wiki, any can add a tag).

@madrush. Marco V Morelli. M’s priorities:

M’s role:

M’s capacity:

M’s purpose

@care_save Caroline Savery. Caroline’s priorities: Organizational development & the design of systems including technologies of the social, platform & economic types. Transformative, transfigurative, transmutational writing.

C’s role: Chief Executive Coordinator? Generally leading initiatives to develop Cosmos and garner resources toward Cosmos’ aims.

C’s capacity: In flux… generally highly committed, and if her work toward Cosmos could “make ends meet,” she’d be committed sans restrictions.

C’s purpose: Reflexively, Cosmos is a platform wherein Caroline has received opportunity to realize her productive aspirations in ways not knowingly available elsewhere on the planet or the web. This community has already potentiated profound capabilities in her, and will likely continue to do so as the systems continue a growth/maturation process.

@douggins

@Geoffrey_Edwards

@johnnydavis54

@DurwinFoster

@ZacharyFeder

ATTENTION: Please edit this page to update your current self-directed role, priorities, capacities, etc. Please also tag others who you know, think or suspect might have a key role to play in Cosmos’ overall development. This is JUST a start initiated by me (@care_save).

External Advisors

Cosmos would love to establish a “wisdom council” (see more on this here).

Building out this list of desired people (and naming the needed skills, capacities, and talents) will be an ongoing effort, in parallel with developing our partnership documents and agenda.

Some initial candidates include:

(@care_save 's list — and only noting people who are NOT an integral part of Cosmos at all yet:)

  • Jason Wiener, cooperative enterprise lawyer

  • Nathan Schneider and the #platformcooperativism community more broadly

  • Magenta, developer of Bloom Network, a regenerative platform for human connections toward resilient futures

Other Employees

Although we acknowledge that serving one’s community on a “volunteer” basis can often involve intrinsic rewards, we don’t want anyone to volunteer out of an extractive sense of duty without adequate rewards. We want playmates and we want to recognize people for their contributions.

As much as possible, Cosmos will source its workers and compensate them fairly entirely from its cooperative economic systems—i.e., internally. We envision a mass, distributed web of trained members and a platform framework allowing for the emergence of a diverse panoply of “work”: from task-oriented, “gig”-style opportunities to meaningful, long-term, situated productive roles … members would have a breadth of financial-income and productive-labor generating opportunities provided by Cosmos AND by one another (see: Marketplace).

For more, see: Worker members under Member Types.

Job Descriptions

Here are some preliminary roles that we’ll need to “hire” for. We may initially engage people to perform these tasks or assume these roles on the basis of a token “recognition” currency in the early stages of gameplay, with full disclosure that the token tracking of contributions may or may not translate into future economic value due to the unstable nature of early stage systems experimentation at the platform level.

Note: this list is not comprehensive, and is subject to iteration. Roles (or, essential productive capacities) should be extrapolated from systems’ needs to be in healthy balance.

  1. Community guides. Perform customer service functions, onboarding, “helping people make the most of the conversations & spaces.” (This may not be a trained role so much as a distributed community norms-level practice… see Cosmopods.)
  2. Moderators. Investigate claims of plagiarism, inappropriate/hateful content, abuse, etc.
  3. Monitors. Reviewing our reports, incl. Financials, to ensure accuracy and integrity. Also: analysts who can derive interpretations of the data, and even recommendations.
  4. Mediators. Provide dispute resolution.
  5. Developers. All types of techie & pm roles.

X. Trainers. Helping anybody play the above roles successfully (“wearing the hat”).

Y. Admin. For book clubs, forums, website, ops, marketing.

Z. Communications, Branding & Marketing.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS OF COSMOS’ PRODUCTIVE TEAMS:

● MEMBERSHIP RELATIONSHIPS/MANAGEMENT

○ Review intake forms to recruit/cultivate for talent

○ Communicate/onboarding with new members

● LEAD ACTIVITIES

○ Hold regular meetings on calendar, “convene”

○ Organize their committees & activities

■ Podcast network

■ Journal

■ Org. dev.

■ LitCoin

■ Turning our ethics into policies & standards

● MARKETING & OUTREACH

○ Marketing/branding

○ Media production

○ Messaging

● FUNDRAISING (aside from member recruitment)

ETC.

Hiring Strategy

Only members are eligible for employment in Cosmos. For more on the subjects in this section, see Labor Structure.

Some of Cosmos’ wonderful early contributors have been forced to “pull away” from Cosmos due to needing to attend to their need for, and lack of, monetary income. There is thus an asymmetry (or even, a fundamental inequity) requiring those who give to Cosmos at this early stage being willing and able to take on the risk of obtaining no income or other meaningful compensation for their work (besides invisible “equity” in the system—see: Marco, Caroline, etc.).

Philosophically: Time is the ultimate currency–those with more of it will have more of their ideas/selves embedded in the ultimate product/process. Time is the medium through which any self-actualization process occurs—including how participants invest in Cosmos’ self-actualization. This is a fundamental fact of reality.

We aim to pay attention to what people can do well, and aim to optimize their time so we and they both get more out of it! This is true at the systems level, wrt dashboard, focused spaces, and goal-striving. But also true in how we’d construct a relationship with workers—how is this mutually serving your talents & time?

As a general ethic, we should strive for opportunities to gain efficiency in the worker relationship, and to turn those efficiencies at the technological systems level into higher pay for less work among our human workers. One way of gaining efficiencies, (and indeed, this might valuable enough of a function that Cosmos resources it as a dedicated worker role or AI capacity) is by “stacking” priorities and proposals—making connections where there is confluence between needs and yields, or where merging requests or issues makes sense due to a common underpinning architecture of those needs/issues. Whereas a traditional business might seek to maximize efficiency for the purpose of conserving capital (and thus maximizing profits), Cosmos’ ethic is focused not on hoarding but on the abundant circulation of currency—so, efficiencies gained will circulate back as value to the members in their roles as workers and/or in their role as producers (creative members) or consumers (sustainer members) in the form of patronage. We’re concerned with increasing economic health and wealth of our members so that they can enjoy an improved work/art/life balance.

We of course want to encourage our members to set up direct, creative peer-to-peer relationships (e.g. trade, barter, and sales). On the other hand, we acknowledge (although we’d hope this would be minimized within Cosmos) that freelancing and gigging can leave people open to being taken advantage of, and it’s not ideal in a lot of ways. Cosmos may mitigate this by collaborating/partnering with its members on turning their offerings into Cosmos-integrated “plug-ins,” thus effectively stabilizing and standardizing the offering and commanding more regulated and fair prices as a result. See: Plug-ins Strategy, Plug-ins and Projects, etc. To give an illustration of how this might play out: on the “general peer marketplace,” you might find a reputable person willing to provide consulting on a creative production and who is charging a low price. You might also find a comparable “technical assistance package” as a Plug-in on Cosmos, which includes consulting as well as other tools and features, and is more pricey. The member chooses the option that best suits them—and of course, can change their minds later!

As a general ethic, Cosmos strives to empower its members to achieve “enoughness.” It asks each of its members “what they need” to attain a healthy work/life/art balance. This is toward flipping the script of capitalist constructs—in Cosmos, people do not serve capital, but rather capital serves people. We will strive to accommodate people individually, asking: What do you need, in the form of financial capital, in order to thrive in this function/role? What do you need to do what you need to do? As much as is feasible, we will prioritize the members’ self-actualization as a human being over the role or task—but not to the point that it compromises Cosmos’ actualization. This may manifest as differences in requested or offered pay rates between individuals in the same or similar roles. However, such capacity must be strictly calibrated to Cosmos’ overall wealth, strength, and wealth-optimizing mechanisms (algorithms), and any financial choices obligating Cosmos should be subject to audit by the membership, transparently.

Regarding how we compensate members, along the lines of “enoughness” and work/life/art balance, we will consider compensating people for the job done , not by the hour . Especially with regard to task-based or “gig” style work. For tasks that are not requiring of training (or require minimal training)–if it takes you 2 hours or 20 hours, as long as the work is done, people are happy, you brought it forth, then you’ll be duly compensated. Of course, if that is not an efficient means of income for you, that should be raised as an issue, contemplated and worked through.

Ultimately, naming Cosmos’ needs (see Praxis Process), turning those into job/role openings, marketing those opportunities, and engaging people in those roles looks like a conversation. It’s not a machine, and people are not cogs in that machine. Some people might do volunteer work because their sense of organic reward for their contributions (e.g. gains in social capital, knowledge, or spiritual capital) is “enough” to them . Additionally, accumulating Litcoin (which is how most or all members would be paid) and keeping it as LitCoin (I.e., not cashing it out for dollars) may be viewed by an individual as being more desirable than having money. Again, Cosmos encourages a diverse, broad view on what has value and what is capital in the system.

As much as we can divorce “time” from “money,” and liberate our creative members into the capacity to do what they need to do—whatever that looks like—that’s Cosmos’ ethic. We would widely distribute the bits of what needs to get accomplished—like in a computer processor—but we’d need strong synthesizing capacities on the organizational executive team & systems level in order to understand, measure and assess what is happening for/within the organization at any given moment—and thus make resource-efficient decisions. This is an iterative process distributed in Conversational capacities in Cosmos (see: Spaces of Exchange, Conversations & Gathering Zones, Projects & Plug-ins, and Marketplace.)

Skills & Experience

TBD - role/function dependent.

Hours & Pay

TBD - role/function dependent.

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