Or read it in parts:
This is a comprehensive proposition. If you want to quickly find out if this is something for you, read the summary below and/or read the 10 statements that underpin the proposition.
Two years ago, we started working on a new type of social network. We called it ‘Onlive’. The social network was intended to be the antidote to the big technology companies that have been busy connecting us with the online world. We’d imagine a platform that does the opposite: one that connects us with our offline worlds. One that stimulates face to face human interaction, encourages dialogue and the exchange of ideas, right here on the streets of our communities. We were trying to create a social network between the online world and the offline world.
As the research progressed, we realized we were designing something more than a social network. We were designing an operating system (OS) for people to interact with their immediate physical world. An OS that connects you with the people, organizations, and technologies around you in real-time, offering relevant information and functionality for almost any conceivable situation. Our research project resulted in a prototype application for Android, a solid software architecture, a UX design and a thorough research report on our findings.
The concept in 4 images:
Onlive automatically forms relevant groups with people that share their physical contexts with each other. Groups are created and controlled by group hosts. Everybody who wants to offer their visitors information and functionality can become group host.
e.g: An office building can have different companies on each floor. Each company can have it’s own group
Every group has a stage. It’s the home page or timeline of the group.The stage is the central point for group members to see what a group has to offer them. On the stage are cards from other group members, organizations or machines.
e.g : the stage of a meeting room can contain cards from people that are inside that room but also from other devices inside that room.
Inside the groups you interact with Onlive Cards. People, organisations and things (smart devices) can publish cards in groups. You can use, make, share, save and edit cards. It’s a virtual object for making information and functionalities quickly recognisable and interchangeable within groups. A card represents a piece of locally stored data, which can be handled by a Plugin.
e.g. A card could hold my presentation about Smartup Zero. When shared in a group other people could experience my slide deck.
Plugins are web-apps, only not installed on individual phones but in groups. They allow group hosts to control what kind of information and functionality group-members can use. A card is a document, the plugin is the program that can create and edit the card.
e.g: a plugin that enables you to give slideshows on all smartphones of the people around you.
Now it is up to me to take this project to the next phase: creating a Minimal Viable Product (MVP), find the funding and set up a startup. The thing is, founding a startup might be considered the ‘logical’ next step, but is it the ‘best’ step? I think Onlive is something special and has the potential to offer counterweight against the dominance of traditional social networks. I believe Onlive can become a platform that can will help us organize the online world in manageable and easy to use cards and make them applicable for use in our communities, where they can be of value the most.
At the same time, I am growing more aware of the scientific call for a fundamental system change. A change that is critical if we want to protect the only planet we have. I am convinced Onlive can contribute to one of the thousands of solutions that are needed in that quest. Specifically by being a trustworthy technology that will support us creating and applying these solutions faster but also because the same scientists urge us to attack the global problems from a local level. The idea is that if we all fix our own communities, we together, fix the world. Onlive is a tool designed to connect with our own communities. However, to become that tool it has to become the best version of itself. Anything less would make it just another social network. I realized I could not just follow the normal startup trajectory to ensure that. I needed to create a different environment. One that maximizes the chance for Onlive to become a reliable, robust and trustworthy technology that purely serves the planet and humanity, and not the bank account of its shareholders.
That is why I designed a new type of organization that I call the Smartup. In a Smartup we can own, create and govern our technologies and operate completely autonomously, independently and be self-sustained. It creates and exploits, like any other company, a product or service, while providing jobs for people. However, a Smartup is run as a democratic society where people decide together what we make, how we make it and, above all, why we should make it. The goal of a Smartup is to nurture great ideas for a better future and allow them to become the best versions of themselves. By democratizing the process of owning, building and governing technologies, we can create products and services that are useful to people in their efforts protecting our planet and humanity.
The tree pillars of a Smartup:
If you are a member of a Smartup you are automatically an owner. All members have the same percentage of ownership. If a Smartup has 1000 members, everybody owns 0,10%.
A Smartup has a workplace. If you are a member of a Smartup you can be part of that workforce. All money being raised through crowdfunding is available for the workers inside the workplace.
All owners have the right and obligation to govern. Governance in a Smartup translates best to being a caretaker. It appeals to the responsibility you have as a Smartup owner.
I think Onlive is the perfect technology to test this hypothesis. It’s a well-researched idea about a new medium that wants people to use the online world to improve their own local world. I've set up operation Smartup Zero and am recruiting right now. I ask you to join me and be my co-pioneer, embrace the potential and work hard on realizing it. Let’s prove there is a different path. One that enables everyone of us to collectively be part of the solution, a channel for our energy, love and talent. Let's unlock the true potential of the internet by building our own operating system, unlocking not just the best of the online world, but reconnecting us to with our local communities. In my essay ‘Smartup Zero: a blueprint for disruption’ I’ll show you how this new OS will help us navigate through a blizzard of problems that undeniably are coming at us, if they are not already here.