Subject: Software model and Participation model
Date: 1999/04/23
Author: Todd Boyle <>
My mail system and newsreader have accumulated the names of
a couple of dozen people like you guys, who could change
the world by designing a simple, practical and standards-
based accounting system that enables people to
  A.  identify and use a standard XML DTD for sending/
  receiving invoices. 
  B.  identify and use a standard Items List such as the national
  bar codes registries, industry repositories, EDI repositories,
  Or, we could create a product ID repository ourselves, for users
  of our software, or articulate a model for ubiquitous shared items
  lists for small business.  At least the data entry would only
  have to be done once.  whew.
  Our software would then be able to increment/decrement inventory
  counts for all participants in that product ID, forever, automatically.
  C.  identify and use a standard customer/vendor entities list.
  We might simply key in on the DUNS numbering system, or establish
  a monster IMAP4 directory for users of our software.
  Our software would then be able to automatically keep current addresses,
  URLs etc. for all participants in these Entity IDs, forever, automatically.
  The ground would be laid for credit histories, automatic AP/AR
  reconciliations, automatic payments and vast functionality within
  this Entity list.
RECEIVE BILLS, BLAHH BLAHH  --you've heard my rap before.
So let's think about
  * what it would take to work effectively online, on subject
    matter which is highly complex and evolving.  I believe
    that with some effort we can grow the skills for online
    collaboration, successfully, for extended periods of years.
    We could use HTML, NNTP and Email or we could use Notes.
    Commercial groupware has some nice advantages in security,
    and the support for various intellectual/ administrative
    capabilities.  Great minds have built these groupware,
    so that we can grow an extended brain.  Let's talk about it.
  * what form of business contract it would take for everybody
    in the venture to be paid appropriately, and to ensure
    accountability and productive contributions by members.
    Here, we will have to break new ground and I propose, for
    the web ledger design project, an LLC be established to
    hold title to all of our intellectual property, and that
    some kind of an engine be started to meter out shares in
    the LLC.  Each share would be envisioned as worth around $1.
    Nothing should move until we have top-quality legal and
    financial framework that will survive entries, departures,
    and challenges from any person or group.
    The venture would be designed from day one, to create
    incentives for valuable software and intellectual property,
    and NOTHING ELSE.  No office buildings, cars, staffs.
    Members might get allocations of shares from day one based
    on some formula (to be discussed).  The formulae might be
    changed literally daily.  Each member must login daily to
    either ratify or contest the allocations of the previous day.
    For example if some fuck-up was getting shares and enough
    people wanted them cut out of the deal, the whole payoff
    scheme would grind to a halt until something was done about
    it by either reducing share allocations to the person, or 'firing'
    or overruling the vote of the protestors on that issue.  Clearly
    things couldn't get very far off track, for very long, under such
    a system.  We need something that either works or it blows up,
    and gets fixed immediately.
    As initial formula I suggest that members should get share
    allocations by contributing material to the LLC in draft
    staging areas.  You post your ideas or your code into the
    draft area.  After you get general approval, and cut out
    the unnecessary content, your material is rendered into XML
    and migrated to the knowledge bank or into the code bank.
    At that time you might receive shares in the LLC as a
    function of three factors:
      1.  your rank from 1 to 100 on quality and brilliance etc.  
        (people will get promotions, or join or quit just like  
          in the real world)
      2.  some coefficient for type of content (software code=100,
          payable as alpha 30 beta 30 final 40?) or rigorous legal
          or software spec, help files, other difficult text=40, 
          general discussion or management =10 etc. to be determined)
      3.  some metric on size of content, number of words etc.
      For members who do online support, marketing and other activities
      we would have to talk about Shares for Timesheets, Commission
      Shares for new customer sales etc.
      We would also have to talk about a new form of financial
      interaction on cash items.  Without a mechanism for cost
      sharing and income allocations, we'd be paralyzed.
      I suggest everybody will have a subsidiary ledger within
      the General Ledger of the LLC.  This mechanism would enable
      us to post allocations of income and expense to and from
      members.  For example, having near-realtime information
      on expense reimbursements would support a process of approval
      or rejection by members.  You will watch your cash gauge move
      up and down to reflect the income and expense of the activities
      you are a member of, within the LLC.
      This would be a good foundation for the web ledger itself. It
      would be an immediately saleable product as software or as
      a GL Dialtone service by the penny.  Software developers and other
      professionals would love this-- and it doesn't even require
      hard programming around inventory or payroll.  It is easy
      This kind of subsidiary ledger architecture enables anybody
      with a payroll service, or online storefront etc. to provide
      services outside the LLC but settle within the LLC.  For example,
      it enables micro-payments, given adequate security, if a bank
      were a member or a member were a bank.)
Again perhaps I have drunk too much expresso this morning, but let's
adjust our tool set and move into the new century with something
more common sense.  The whole commercial and cognitive space
has changed so much in the last few years.
Lets create something more comfortable, more flexible, yet more productive.
Lets create something less hierarchical, less dominant/submissive
and yet, more accountable.
Lets create something having current income, and greater capital appreciation
yet less taxable.
And don't forget that you have no choice, because the people who have the
skills and interests to complement yours and create this great enterprise
are not located in the same building any more.
You cannot find your tribe, because it doesn't live in the same village any more.
We're scattered to the corners of the earth. 
* Todd F. Boyle CPA
* International Accounting Services LLC
* 9745-128th Av NE, Kirkland WA 98033      (425) 827-3107