Anybody want to help create (and work at) a place like Valve, but for everything and way better?


#1

I don’t know how many of you guys were around back when Valve’s employee handbook went viral, but here’s a quick blast from the past!

And the actual handbook. . .

So, a few of us have been bouncing around ideas and want to make something like that, but more complete (think a bunch of networked Google islands), and that can encompass any aspect of life that can be embodied inside a corporation (which is pretty much everything)

We also wanted to design something that would save the planet (because it’s where we keep all our stuff) and generally do a lot of good in the world, but do it in a way that was realistic based on how the world currently works and how resources are currently distributed. Here’s a quick draft (way shorter than Valve’s!)

Awesome Incorporated: Employee/Citizen/Owner’s Handbook

EDIT: I split out the creation of ‘seeds’ (sort of a heavily customized intentional community that’s collectively serves as both a source of possible expansion and/or fills a direct business need) into it’s own guide here

Also, there’s a more story-based version that uses Dr. Who as a literary mechanism and hits on a few of the other world-helping long-term benefits here. .

We want a lot more fingers in this because it’s a big idea and ideas like that deserve it, and we’re NOT proud people.

We’re especially looking for people who can help market, pitch, prettify, help with other media, share, improve, support. . umm, just about everything, right?

But if we get this right then everybody who wants it can get a job offer that blows Valve away, and we’ll all be first in line.

-Will

(Also, probably not the best category, but also not the worst, there doesn’t seem to be a good forum category for this)


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#2

Some specifically useful things I can think of right off the bat.

  • Writing/proofreading help
  • Help putting together some options for my last set of minor quibbles organizing groups that are using different sorts of voting systems
  • It gets a bit wonky when some are heavily consensus focused or a few other potentially unusual but effective approaches
  • Prettifying/rewriting skill
  • The handbook idea’s nifty, but there are a lot of other ways to present this
  • Pitching/connecting/contacting
  • I’m spearheading this and honestly have had a rough couple of years after losing my beloved. I’m probably not the best person to actually pitch this
  • Organizing
  • I in particular benefit from being herded somewhat
  • Leading
  • We could use somebody (or several somebodies) who’d happily be a figurehead, just so they’re on the same page
  • Supplementary documentation
  • We potentially have quite a bit because we’re talking whole life solutions and multiple options at every step, that’s a lot of ground to cover
  • Coming up with clever seed ideas
  • we know we have to start somewhat generic, but eventually if a group wants to form that does genetic research on velvet worms, blogs about strange animals, play Dragon poker on Thursdays, CAH on Mondays, and destroy watermelons with overpowered slingshots on the weekends, always dress in cosplay, and get to wear cooler gear based on how well they grind at genetic analysis then we WANT that option to exist!

There’s probably a lot more, but I figured it’d help to get specifics out there.

This belongs in the hands of a lot of people now that it’s got the framework nice and tight. My personal hope is that by the time you guys are done with it I won’t even recognize the bits I contributed because it’s all that much better. If I’m really lucky I’ve handed this off and I just get to tag along being amazed at you guys.

Oh, and @awjt, @AliceWeir, @Kimmo, @Ignatius, @Twelve_Twelve, @Sll, @miasm and whoever else was around then. This is fundamentally the same thing as the Coopernation idea, but tweaked to cover all the other bases and designed to happen now and quickly rather than wait for people focused on the cause, however noble that may be.


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#3

This idea deserves more time and attention than I can give it just now, but I will revisit it late this weekend.


#4

Thanks sir!

Any help is greatly appreciated, and yes. . . it deserves more than just lil’ me and a few good friends. :wink:


#5

Do you want direct edits or comments on the pages themselves?

Also - random thought. Much of this reads like a crowd-sourced project promo. Might be worth taking a good hard look at using crowd-sourcing as a model - both as external and internal models for acquiring resources, choosing specific projects proposals, and distribution of resources internally once acquired. Put it this way - if GitHub is the ultimate model for developing and managing crowd-sourced open projects, then indiegogo is probably the ultimate model for resource acquisition and distribution.


#6

Completely agreed!

I am NOT an organizer, and also as mentioned am not really psychologically suited for a figurehead type role, so part of the hope is we collect a core group of interested people to help with those parts. I’m really the last person who should be responsible for this, it’s way too good for a moderately traumatized sort like myself!

That’s part of why I’m here. I’ve done most of what I’m good at, now we need people who are good at a few other things The fact that I also feel strongly that this idea SHOULD be crowdsourced heavily is just gravy. :smile:

Edit-wise, I got your mail and will do a few updates later today, feel free to post thoughts and such here since that way it’s easy to see if I totally missed a subject area in my attempt to turn this thing from hundreds of pages into a dozen or so!


#7

I love this idea, and did from the beginning. I want to help!!! I don’t know what part yet.

My thoughts are to think about this very close to home. What are the hallmarks of capitalism on the INDIVIDUAL level where people would benefit most if that old system went away and got replaced by something better? Food? Health? Buying gas? Buying essential stuff? Buying nonessential stuff? Childcare? Having fun? Buying a house? Banking? Cars? Dentistry? Caskets? That kind of stuff, very in-your-face stuff that we, as individuals have to deal with.

I do not mean the big, oh our government spies on us and is so corrupt that we need to dismantle the big powers, but how are we going to get the money to do that? yadda yadda. That is also a valid fight, but, personally, I’d much rather start at the individual level. And that’s for one reason.

If we find a focus (or two or three if they are really good… but probably not more than three…) and if that focus is at the personal level… say consuming something, as an example, then we stand a chance to succeed at using capitalism to devour itself and then remake itself into a better, more sustainable system. Because we’ve presented people with a choice. One choice is traditional old school corporate nation… the choice we are giving is a product of the new school coopernation.

By all of that, I mean that we can crowdsource to develop it. But also offer, commercially, that thing, or those few things that people can choose alternatively instead of the ones currently available, assuming the thing or service that we sell is in some way better than the commercial alternatives. It does not even have to be for dollars.

It could be groceries, but in exchange for the groceries, labor at some task is performed at a rate equal to the groceries, or some other function or good exchanged for the groceries. So, people can expend $100 a week at the HEB, or they can work 6 hours and eat for “free”. Just one idea. There are thousands of ways it could go.

Point is, to think closer to where it hits home, and less pie-in-the-sky.

Those are my thoughts.


#8

Totally in agreement, actually! I’m just not sure how much to put in the handbook itself, there’s a bit of a dance there, since TL;DR is NEVER far away!

I have a few ideas on some for the closer to home bit. . . okay, hundreds of them. We’ve got a dozen individually marketable ideas to make money and an almost disturbing number of ways to enhance our lives in the process.

What I’m not sure is where to start. I wonder if this is a multi-pronged marketing thing or if it’s best just not to get into details until we’re pitching to somebody specific, since we all care about such different things. Same goes for investors, a wealthy actor might find the idea of living in a Papparazi-free zone amazingly appealing, while others may not.

That is VERY much part of the plan!

I wasn’t thinking groceries, but only because was deliberately avoiding going places that tend to be associated with less profitable routes (if we try to sell an investor on this and our business plan is organic coffee then we’re not going to make any progress).

Instead I was thinking more along the lines of MAKEable technology that fills a known void, higher quality lower cost solutions to expensive products, that sort of thing.

So, there’s always the ‘rear-projection DJ table turned into a standing workstation/gaming station’ idea, which is low cost to produce with a small amount of equipment but really hard to do alone as a one-off. Similarly there are ideas like better integrateable products (modular phones like Phonebloks, that sort of thing). In fact the idea of gobbling up a kickstarter and merging them with us has come up and is probably a huge business opportunity in itself, no?

I could probably use some help putting together a section along those lines! A bunch of examples in various industries, and how they’d improve our own lives, that sort of thing.

Also, the Data Visulization/Game engine idea? When you start talking business use and the private/public partnership that one’s actually probably a massive cash cow.

Thanks!


#9

K - got it as to proposed edits.

Also agreed as to the idea of picking off 2 or 3 really promising product ideas.

Thought - awjt’s idea of relating the model to actual subsistence needs is a good one. Not necessarily in the literal sense of actually entering the grocery domain, but in terms of early test-case scenario. Bartering systems are ancient. Their success in modern times? Not so much. Grocery co-ops have been around a good while, too. But not so much with the global/free choice thing.

And yet, there does need to be a way to tie the production end of the initial works to how it directly impacts the lives of those involved. It’s an experimental concept, and so needs to be tested out in real as it goes along, to work out the inevitable glitches. And, it needs some meaningful metrics, so we could see how it was coming along. (Dollars alone don’t really do that very well. How many times have you heard how ‘Joe Average’ was doing - but you’re Joe Average, and it bears no resemblance you your actual quality of life?) Thus, a more basic metric. Of food, clothing, and shelter, the only one that doesn’t vary too much is food. Either you ate, or you did not.

Not sure of a best approach on this, exactly - just that it needs to be part of arriving at any actual success.

And - what about 3-d printing as a preference method? It’s whole objective was intended to be sustainability and independence.

Or, I have a rough draft of a modular shoe design which would allow infinite variations on a basic platform (pun cool, but not intentional). That allows for base-design-once, customize-many.

Even if not that method or that product in particular, modularization has a distinct advantage in that it allows loads of latitude to both produces and customers alike. At it’s most success-prone, it is used for a product everybody needs and uses anyway. So, yes. Something basic - phones, shoes, place to sit, place to keep your stuff, toothbrushes, etc. Basic things, done better.


#11

Here’s a thought.

What if we came up with a small number of very diverse ‘seed’ ideas that demonstrate a properly complex-but-awesome approach that would really work well. I think if we’re really good about this we can answer a lot of questions with examples.

For example, I’m thinking there’s something on the Game Engine/Data Analytics/Data Exploration/Data Visualization/Procedural gaming/CUDA processing side of things, and that covers some aspects of life, and we could add more components to that, with them all sharing a few similar passions and really tying together a scenario where people can help us all by having fun.

Similarly, we could do something that’s more ‘green’, one that is very much a ‘back to the earth’ thing, and we could use that approach to hit on different ways groups could interact (some could be fairly independent, others would mingle a lot) and how much variety each could contain. We could also use that to demonstrate some basic resource distribution by either demanding less from or providing bonus resources to communities that greatly lower their footprint/operational cost (in a ‘drop a vague thing you don’t want for a specific thing you do’ way when possible. Like ‘I trade my lawn for a tree in exchange for a jellyfish tank because I really like jellyfish and never needed a lawn’)

So if we take a multi-disciplinary approach we can kind of demonstrate a lot of things at once, right? We could even make a little database/site with all of the and keep percolating the best ones to the top!

We could also put in a timeline somewhere, so some are ‘starter’ options and some we could show as options once we gain a certain critical mass.

That seem like it has potential? We could also use that to get some decluttering in on the handbook, right?


#12

You are George Lucas and I claim my five pounds.


#13

Okay, that’s not a bad idea, I can take a stab at it later, but that’s not really my super power (I think I’ve done a bit of a job getting something so big down to a few pages, but that’s a different skillset).

Anybody else have any ideas? I could use some help offsetting my weakness there!

That being said, the whole pitch is for
a) people who are willing to listen to more than a sentence or two (elevator pitch at a bare minimum, right?)
and
b) people who are generally more easily motivated to read a few pages in response to something that from the title would have to incorporate a lot of aspects of life.

So I’m not sure how much we want to overtune for those who we’re not trying to appeal to. Not saying it’s not helpful (it is!) but with something this generally expansive I’d think we’d want to weigh the risk of being more effective broadly but being less effective once an investor looks at it (similarly, many topics that are associated with failed ventures are barely being mentioned despite them being very important to many people who’d be otherwise interested)

But hey, I’m all for looking at options!


#19

Awwwww, hell. Name me one gig - just ONE, where the marketing guys even bothered to ask first?

That, alone…


#21

She means that this wasn’t created by marketing people.

THIS is the attempt to GET marketing people.

The one time you shouldn’t complain about somebody struggling to get a message out in a marketable form is when they’re saying they’re looking for precisely that, true?

I thought I was fairly clear that I was trying to get a lot of information in a very small package and that I wasn’t a marketing person. If a few pages is a lot for you that’s totally cool, in fact I’d say it’d be very rude of me to expect you to read something you don’t want to!

I was focused more on those who’d get the general gist of things right off or be intrigued enough to read a dozen pages without it being an uncomfortable experience for them. Why in the world would anybody expect you to be a well motivated contributor if it’s just not what you’d rather do with your time?

Right?


#22

Saying, it’s not a fully-formed anything yet, but an organizational concept that has started at the incredibly unusual and interesting point of a marketing document/employee handbook all rolled into one - a collaborative creative effort aimed at how to do things better and enjoy them more instead of just doing what was done before.

Nobody has all the answers yet, because nobody even knows what all the questions are, yet.


#23

This is still good, because I think we’ve already gained a bit more focus, right?

(with ‘we’ being 'anybody who wants to help at any point)

And I’m REALLY keen now on the idea of getting some good diverse examples out there, not of the worldminers but of seeds. I’ll definitely be trying to do something there, if anybody else wants to take a shot at that it’d be great!

In fact, I’ll do one that incorporates a bunch of elements. . . something like. .

  • First Product
    -Data Visualization tools created using 3-D game technology
  • Healthcare as first industry
  • Mutual Hobbies/appreciations
  • Collaborative Writing
  • Pen & Paper RPGs
  • Computer Games
  • Art
  • Quirks
  • Ukulele championships
  • Loves ‘True Facts’ videos
  • Secondary products
  • Procedural game generation
  • Collaborative interactive graphic novels of gaming experiences
    -Uses kickstarter type system to allow fans to contribute items, events, twists, and other creations to be incorporated in the experience for the world to see
  • Inventions/impovements
  • Fancy gaming table goodness
  • Living Arrangements
  • Former ‘Executive Suite’ hotel, heavily modified and a with newly attached makerspace

So, we kind of create something that we could easily find a few hundred people to go full bore on (especially in THIS economy) and illustrate both an economically sustaining starting product but also how having lots of really specific dreams can be a good thing . . not just because people deserve options but also because we create more opportunities for people to completely blow up the work/life balance, especially since that’s when people are at their most productive!

Anybody want to stake a stab maybe at something greener? Or a group that’s more nomadic?


#24

Just as an aside, the linked article came out last month, showing that indiegogo has to date raised $40 million for various projects. I can’t help but think that, properly presented, That and/or kickstarter should possibly be considered as funding sources when the time comes.

That does not deny the possibility of its use as a model for later expansions or for internal uses. Because, the kind of people who will fund a crowdsourced project are generally the kind I think you’re looking for anyway. They are generous. New ideas excite them, and they are willing to support them personally. Kill two or three birds with the same stone?

http://www.mercatorius.com/news/crowd-funding-pioneer-indiegogo-raises-40-million/


#25

That’s a really good thought!

I can’t think of any reason why that wouldn’t work, there are lots of things that bring out the ‘Take my money!’ in people, and there’s no reason we can’t be using that too, or even designing kickstarter type projects around the psychology that gets people to contribute to them, right?

After all, Star Citizen is almost at 40 million all on it’s lonesome!

I’m going to try to tweak something in with the sample seed I was working on, but I bet we can hit that from a couple of directions too. I can incorporate something that uses people’s desire to have their names and inputs on things, that’ll fit in great!


#26

That’s amazing! Star Citizen like an incredible project.

I can see a potential for this running off the rails a bit, unless the difference between creating change in the real world and the enthusiasm for creating virtual worlds is make absolutely clear.

Valve is an amazing example - but that is specifically a software company. To build software, it doesn’t matter where you physically live. That can all be done from anywhere already, so any need to create any physical communities takes a backseat to the business aims. (Not that that’s a bad thing in the least - it just may not be condusive to supporting skin life goals.)

You keep listing this type of project as the central beginning project, and I’m not clear if that’s because it’s the one that has your name all over it, or because Valve, Star World, etc. have simply formed the default examples. It is attractive to many, many people! But, many of those people are gamers who merely like to inhabit those virtual worlds - often more than this one. Can’t say I blame them, either, a lot of the time. But that pull is almost the antithesis of making change out here where the skin is. And I mean that less in terms of money than in terms of people who prefer virtual escapes vs. people who either like both or want t change this world specifically. See where the confusion can arise?

Could you clarify that part for me from your own pov?


#27

I’m actually looking at the middle option. :smile:

The gamers just come up because they overlap with the IT and creative crowds heavily and that’s where a lot of these opportunities come from.

The idea is that each ‘Seed’ is a functional society in itself as much as is possible, so by adding variety and customization we’re just going from ‘generic, boring’ solutions to ones that appeal to less people, but appeal to those people a whole lot more.

I’m watching for mindsets that would naturally be VERY creative with that, because since we’re talking such small groups of people they can REALLY customize the world around them. You only need to find 42 who are into the same idea, and we’ve got 7 billion.

Gamers, DIYers, Sci-fi/fantasy buffs and the like are groups that we can generally get some optimism from in these arenas, and they’re often building little worlds in their own heads and quickly adapt to virtual ones designed by others. We want them to be thinking about all sorts of possible worlds because we want them to be turning those fantasies real. Virtual worlds are just a testing platform for that, a bridge.

What we want is for them to form little groups that are both productive AND appealing and that can expand to form more groups. We don’t want them to change the outside world, but to change their world so much that a bunch of people from the outside want to join and help.

Having a variety of groups gives us a few starting points, so if we set up a seed that’s also very eco-Intentional Community friendly then that could appeal and get a lot out of them, and the more specific options we create within the more they could expand as well.

So. . think of us like a bunch of balloons. We want to expand by absorbing all the people that want to join and not even TRY to influence the outside world if we can avoid it, we just want to invite as many people to join as possible. The more of us there are the more we can control our own supply chain and the less people have to worry about traffic jams, assholes, starving, and getting blown up all the time.

It’s an easy sell once we get going. recruitment will NOT be a problem! , We just need to start setting up some diverse seeds, which brings us back to getting resources and getting a business pitch together. (or alternate path to the same place)

So in a nutshell, the gamers aren’t a necessary focus, but they’re a really useful group to be targeting for the first few campuses.