Smartup Zero

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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. 

Right now everybody has access to everything the internet has to offer.

Right now everybody has access to everything the internet has to offer.

Onlive is a platform between the Online and Offline world to connect people with their communities.

Onlive is a platform between the Online and Offline world to connect people with their communities.

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:

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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 e-sport exposition organisation



Onlive is about creating, using, collecting and sharing cards. A Card is how users experience s specific functionality in a group. A card represents a piece of data, which can be handled by a Plugin.


The stage

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.



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.

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. 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.

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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:


Collective ownership

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 0,01 percent.


Collective craftsmanship

A Smartup has a workforce. If you are a member of a Smartup you be part of that workforce. All money being raised through crowdfunding is available for the workforce.


Collective governance

If you are a member of a Smartup you have voting rights. Important decisions are being made democratically in a general forum. That

I think Onlive is the perfect technology to test this theory. It 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 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 the immediate world and people around us. 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. 

You can see Smartup Zero also as a job vacancy. I want you to come to work with me on an exciting technology. For that reason, I created 10 insights (almost like job criteria) for you to find out quickly if this is something for you. If you can identify yourself with the insights you most likely will be fit for Smartup duty and won't waste your time with this long and extensive essay.

Or read the essay right here: