Topic started by Bala Pillai (@ roosevelt.sydneywerks.com.au) on Tue Dec 31 21:50:23 .
All times in EST +10:30 for IST.
Q: What does Bala Pillai do?
A: He evolves and invents self-sustaining mind ecosystems (aka mind colonies). He's been doing this since 1995 for shared-ethos groups in Asia off online mind communities, mailing lists, forums, print/TV and ground locations
Q: What are mind colonies?
A: Think of them as parallel to ant colonies. Or as ageographical villages.
Q: I am tunnel-visioned. Can you dissect "mind colonies" for me?
A: Mind colonies are trust and spirit-rich, self-sustaining, cross-media networked mind cooperatives for shared-ethos groups, where full-time connectors catalyse minds in a mind grid to learn, work, play and complement each other. Where the catalysing currency is card-based exchange guaranteed multilateral barter.
Q: Is it hard to sell mind colonies?
A: No. Because they create jobs and income opportunities. They bring and A-Z of small and medium service and product providors, who are first of all human minds (eg Ryzers) together. They bring those who want jobs and income opportunities in the Knowledge Era with those who can train or apprentice them into them in a community way. They develop societies. And because they are self-sustaining.
They are in line with where the world is going, i.e. grid computing, web services architecture, convergence, outsourcing, offshore moves, more wanting jobs that grow their passion than jobs to merely pay bills, lots more Open standards including business processes standards to enable small businesses to interconnect with each other on a global services grid. They are like the Linux movement on steroids with non-geeks being the majority
Q: How do mind colonies make money?
A: (a) Similar to how credit card companies do. just more, because a deeper set of services are provided. When someone buys a product or service from a fellow mind for $100, they are charged $110 in their account with the cooperative, and the seller gets $90. The $20 goes towards all the trust, matching, clearing, camaraderie building and digital-era societal/cultural services the cooperative conceives, organises and provides mostly through third party service providors or by member firms. (b) after introductory periods, membership fees and selected user-pay services to members (c) from larger companies for providing targetted audiences to them - these companies are pre-approved by the membership (an evolution of how the Olympics business model works)
Q: What's the biggest challenge then?
A: (a) Buying. You would think common sense is common right? Wrong! You would think that if ants have no problems with food and shelter, Mankind with minds should have less problems with food and shelter right? Wrong! Getting the attention of service providors to grasp this, in a "30 seconds of CNN attention mesmerised" world and to synchronize them together is the biggest challenge. So if you can complement me in speeding up our buying of these services, we can launch full-fledged mind colonies (given the acumen and wisdom gathered since 1995 and before and the extendible beach-head of minds in our existing colonies) in no time. (b) Communicating
Q: What are the most important imperatives in making mind colonies work?
A: (a) Shared-ethos (Common Purpose is *not* enough). Spirit. Passionate Catalysts. Legitimacy/transparency. Trust. Customer intimacy. Chutzpah. A Complementing Mindset. Commitment.
(b) Grasping that 90% of the value of a person today is the sum of:-
i) how he uses his mind *plus*
ii) how great he is at building actionable relationships
(Notice none of these appear in the balance sheets of companies -- does that give you a clue for why the hardware+software+accountants driven dot com bomb happened and can recur unless the underlying metrics are perceived and fixed? And therefore greater opportunities for the earlier foresightful birds who can see where the value in an Acumen/Knowledge/Networked Minds era springs from?)
Q: Do you have a vision for mind colonies? And where they will head?
A: Yes. Lots and lots of detail that needs to be compiled better. The essay "Ecosystems Thinking For the Minds Ecosystem" below essences it.
Q: How can I complement?
A: Complement by mind colonies-enabling your service. Complement by providing your service to our members. Complement by grasping, communicating, organising and structuring. Get usual returns and by learning, relationship building and from the cooperative (shares/income). Or get returns by being part of a consortium that provides turnkey mind colony establishment and operation services to mind colony promoters. Just as turnkey township contractors provide services to township promoters. Or one of the many sub-responsibilities there are in any organisation, be it Genghiz Khan's army, Gandhi's movement or a company. Only committeds at this stage, please.
Ecosystems Thinking For The Minds Ecosystem
By Bala Pillai
"Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be."
-Kahlil Gibran, "A Handful of Sand on the Shore"
Imagine a world where each of us can telepathically find and match with our complements instantly. Any moment we have a want or a have. Call that point downstream, in the flowing river of our and our childrens' lives, "N". Work backwards, upstream, from N. What is N-1?, What is N-2? Let us say N-5= us being able to find and match our complements very quickly using the Internet and through minds that bridge the wired with the unwired.
What are the problems (for which there are rewards to those who solve them), that we have to address to reach N-5? Readiness to reveal our complementaries? Knowing what it is that we really want and have? Hierarchy of values dissonance? Semantic dissonance? Cognition dissonance? Valuation (of our respective traits and talents) dissonance? Distrust? Commitment (Unconditional love) dissonance? Ethos dissonance? Interfacing our minds with the tools, protocols and processes that find, search and bridge us with our complements?
How do we swim with the current more, in finding the metrics for the answers, as we head towards N-5?
If we have put Man on the Moon, can't we make it to N-5?
Can we try Ecosystems Thinking? Can we try "reverse engineering" Nature for clues?
Each of us can see only up to a certain big picture cause-effect level. To see cause-effect beyond that big picture level, one has to think and reflect deeply or be attentive and be able to ask questions of one who does. As well, one has to interact with unlike minds, for the very existence of greater pictures to be sparked.
Ecosystems thinking has us to look at some of the biggest pictures possible. The small picture-big picture continuum is best imagined by its representation, concentric spheres.
Concentric spheres in turn are best recalled by their two-dimensional equivalents, concentric circles -- yes, those reverberating circles you see when you throw a stone into a pond. You may see 20 concentric circles.
Average man only sees with his eyes and he tends to believe that his eyes cannot belie him. He is wrong. What you see is *not* the truth, though it may be. For example, if you understood a tree by what you see, you will understand wrongly, because you cannot see the photosynthesis process. Neither can you see the crown roots. The most important parts of the tree, are hidden to the naked eye.
Perhaps the single biggest reason for average man's misperception is him thinking that he is aware of his environment. To paraphrase mind and media genius, Marshall McLuhan, a fish is not aware of water. A man who loses his legs is more aware of steps than one with legs. We are *not* aware of our environment. We only become aware of our *last* environment, when either the environment or we change. And by environment we mean the whole range of our environments including family, societal, cultural, social, physical - the works.
If you trust your eyes fully, you are seeing the smallest concentric sphere. It will not occur to you that much of what happens in this concentric sphere, is caused by a sphere one size larger. And much of what happens in the one size larger sphere was caused by a sphere yet another size larger. This goes on and on.
Why is ecosystems thinking crucial today?
Let us take the Internet. It is really an emerging ecosystem of human minds that combines those on the Net and those off with wired to unwired human bridges.
It is working best where minds share a similar ethos -- where minds have comfortable references to build trust and relationships off on the path towards becoming aware of and acting on complementaries.
When the ecosystem is more complete, it will thrive lots more than it is thriving today. Some questions you may ask are:-
(a) Why is the ecosystem of minds on the Internet not working perfectly?
(b) What components are missing?
(c) What processes are missing?
(d) What components or processes are already there, but are not understood well or not accorded the priority they deserve?
The answers to these are best found in paralleling Nature's ecosystem to that of what the ecosystem of minds should have viz (a) to (d) when it is much closer to the completeness of Nature's ecosystem, than it is now.
For example, let us for argument sake, say that there are (i) 300 components and (ii) 200 processes in Nature's ecosystem. We know that one of the topmost processes in Nature is photosynthesis. Yet another topmost one is symbiosis.
Question: What are the equivalents of photosynthesis and symbiosis in the minds ecosystem? What are the hurdles to them forming? What returns are there if these hurdles are removed? What ingredients are needed to remove these hurdles and to forge these processes?
Why is photosynthesis important? It is at the bottom of the food chain. It is the process by which trees and plants obtain resources to start the whole food chain.
Now ask, what is the equivalent of photosynthesis in the ecosystem of minds on the Internet? What is the most significant source of resources for significant new Internet ventures? In the West, it is passionbits including Open Source and venture capital. How about your ethos' space?
What are the parallels to the other 300 components and 198 processes in Nature's ecosystem, in your minds ecosystem?
Would trust between participants be one? Would more intensive networking between minds be another? Would networking between complementary folks, as in Nature, make it more worthwhile? How can complementariness be revealed easier? Would a database of profiles that is shared by participants be a way?
Would a rating on each of the 6Rs be one?
[6Rs = resourcefulness, responsibility, responsiveness, reliability, rapport-building, risk-taking]
How do we rate the 6Rs? Can we experiment with some of the models currently used in psychological testing, while we find better ways?
Is interaction a precusor to trust building? How do we increase interaction? What are the key ingredients of interaction, that make it a precursor to trust building? Would the sense of "presence" when we see each other face-to-face, be one? How do we recreate this in the minds ecosystem? Can we go some way through the sense of presence in Instant Messaging and Webcams?
Of these which is of a higher priority than another? Why?
The prioritised and sequenced solving of all these needs are income opportunities for minds in your ethos space.
The unearthing of other whitespace, unfilled space in your minds ecosystem, will show up all the other opportunities.
And that comes from ecosystems thinking. That is why ecosystems thinking is important.
Ants have no problems with food and shelter. Should Mankind? (And ants don't have government, NGOs, universities, religion, media or bank accounts)
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Bala Pillai "Networking Minds in Halls Without Walls Since 1995" Founder, The Asia Pacific Internet Company
Founder, Malaysia.Net http://www.malaysia.net , Tamil.Net