Yale Grad, recovering banker, startup starter. This summer I am helping to raise $1mm for Parkinson disease by climbing the highest mountain in each of the lower 48 states, traveling 14,000 miles in 3 months. Get involved here: http://www2.michaeljfox.org/site/TR/Athletic/General?sid=1070&type=fr_informational&pg=informational&fr_id=1440
Hi All - Sorry I was away and am just now catching up on all of the comments and the progress of the idea, good job!
A few thoughts, a suggestion, and a question - hope it's not too lengthy!
1) I quite like Trevor's idea to standardize the currency into hours - it gets rid of prices for labor which is an additional level of unneeded complexity in my opinion. Plus, a society that values hours of labor differently (i.e. an hour of software engineering > manual labor) likely already operates using institutional currency.
2) Currency adoption/exchange risk. I.e. who is the end user of Community Coin? Is it traded in for USD? If so, who pays USD for Community Coin, and now that they own Community Coin what can they do with it? Or, is it traded for more labor? One of the biggest hurdles I see is this: getting people to want to earn Community Coin. In the mocks above, there are companies like Mastercard, Safeway, and Virgin Airways willing to do an exchange of services for Community Coin. I don't see that happening, unless somehow they can monetize Community Coin.
3) Marketplace risk. This idea not only depends on the creation of credit/currency, but is also dependent on a functioning marketplace where this currency can be used - network effects, liquidity, supplier sign-up etc. Marketplaces are HARD to build. As a mental model, whenever I analyze marketplaces I refer to this awesome blog post: http://abovethecrowd.com/2012/11/13/all-markets-are-not-created-equal-10-factors-to-consider-when-evaluating-digital-marketplaces/
These three insights brought forward a couple suggestions I'd like to make for Community Coin. As always, the best way to describe suggestions is via examples:
10 laborers in a community without readily available currency and with smartphones earn 1 hour of credit by creating their 'community profile' describing their trades/skills and the type of labor they can contribute to the community. The market functions like this: Bob, an existing platform member, can trade his 1hr for 1hr of work from Sally - Sally now has now has 2hrs that she can trade for labor. When the job/trade is complete, Bob and Sally rate each other etc. I think it is a necessary and important step to identify communities that need this and to ask if this solves a latent work issue.
It's tough trying to design something for a community where you're not present - design researchers spend months in communities observing and gathering qualitative data before they make solution/design suggestions. I'm having trouble identifying a community where smartphones exist and there is no formal currency - which seem to be two non-starters for this idea. This touches on the feasibility tenant of HCD.
> "The latent and unrealized work and value-creation capacity of communities due to the inability of actors within the community to pay for work or value-creation with institutional currency is immense."
This is a sentence from the Community Coin idea page - I think specifically identifying examples where this problem exists will give us a lot of insight and help push this idea forward. One way I like to think about good ideas is where are people 'hacking' together similar solutions. Is there a community that trades seashells for labor hours somehow? What community has this problem, and how big is the problem? Can we measure it?
I think this reverse engineering could provide a lot of insight - it also jives well with HCD tenants of desirability, feasibility, and viability. However, before we can address any of these issues (like do we use an iOS app or a pencil and paper logging system), we need to identify who we are designing for.
Thanks for your feedback. I do agree that you can't just have Professional athletes sit in a high school auditorium, talk finance, and expect something to happen... it needs to be something more than that. The speech would represent a catalyzing event to set off a school sponsored education series. I am still not 100% sure on how effective this would be, but I do think the think the dynamic between 'NFL Rookie : NFL Vet' vs. 'high school athlete : NFL Vet' is much different.
Also re "Broke"... I'm fortunate to have played with multiple athletes who are currently in the NFL and have talked to them extensively about this issue - the problem is that you can't have a "Merrill Lynch Personal Wealth Management Vice President" tell someone who has never had money what to do with it now... they don't respect him... they have no idea what he's going to be doing with their money, and the athlete needs to pay him 2%! Rarely does this gain the trust of the athlete and lead him to make better financial decisions... maybe this is something we should try to tackle? Somehow find a way to immerse one culturally to emphasize with these athletes and lead them to better financial decisions. Perhaps via college teammates/buddies who decided on 'sports marketing and finance' majors in college (thanks to your suggestion). I don't want to go into length about the controversial educational situations high caliber college athletes find themselves in, but wouldn't it make sense that if you're on a Division 1 football team - you major in sports marketing and finance?
Thanks again Chris B.
I'm not really sure what is the best way to go about editing this post because there are a few great ideas going. Do I (as the post manager) make the final decision to change accordingly to get this idea pushed to the next round? (also not directed at you Chris B., just a general question).
Hi Trevor - that is interesting, it is one way to get the program started. Perhaps it could continue as a pay-it-forward program where it eventually has the ability to trickle down to high school athletes? Or how do you imagine it continuing from that point? I just wonder if that adds too much execution risk by adding another piece to the puzzle.
This also would change our subject quite substantially to begin and we'd have to ask the question - are new professional athletes at risk of spending their income in need financial empowerment the most?