Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My Healthcare Plan

On July 26th of this year after pondering healthcare for some time I produced the following tweet:

My healthcare plan: Preventive Care--everybody, Core Care--insurables, Expected Care--not easily insured, Elder Care--quality of life at end

Here is a post explaining in detail the plan, which is tiered:

1. Preventive Care--the value of free preventive care for everyone is one of the least debated critical elements to a solid healthcare plan. The tweet notes that everyone is included.

2. Core Care--Health insurance companies get a lot of heat for trying to only insure healthy people when from their perspective that makes sense for profit, which is a huge issue which has created a lot of pain and misery.

This plan suggests that you can turn a negative around and see healthcare companies as being adept at figuring out people who are likely, or "expected" to get ill at some point, so that they can get help NOW, while allowing health insurers to still be for profit when it comes to the healthy, who would make up the Core Care tier.

So they are the insurables--those who are currently in healthcare plans now. For them, little would change except preventive care would now be guaranteed free.

3. Expected Care--Here those selected out as likely to become ill or who are currently ill who no longer are easily insurable under normal plans are now in a government paid for plan that is third-party administered by the health insurers.

So everyone gets the same health insurers, but those who are part of the Expected Care tier are third-party administered and the government pays for their care.

They pay premiums to the federal government, not the health insurer. If you're in Expected Care you get a bill from the federal government, not the health insurer.

Health insurance companies are then rewarded for figuring out which people are likely to get sick later and properly placing them in Expected Care because the government pays, and we're all benefited as they can get proper care as soon as possible. The health insurers now become part of the first line of defense for detecting those who need help!

But whether you're in Core Care or Expected Care you carry the same insurer's card and the only difference is with payment: If you are Core Care and get ill, your insurer pays. If you are Expected Care and get ill, the government pays.

4. Elder Care--Is the final tier handling issues specific to the elderly with an emphasis on quality of life at end. It is also a government paid tier.


One critical feature of this healthcare plan is that it rewards health insurance companies for being businesses by putting their strengths to public good. For instance, an obese smoker with a history of hypertension in his family might find himself put in Expected Care, which could be a wake-up call in and of itself. But it also means he is at risk, and healthcare workers can focus on the specifics of that risk simply by noting into which tier he has been placed by the experts who need to get it right to survive.

If healthcare companies do a great job, then their profits come from the healthy--by them remaining healthy. Those with underlying conditions are not discriminated against, and have the same health insurance carriers, who for them are third-party administrators, with payment for claims coming from the government.

Some might still worry about discrimination against those ill or likely to get ill, but it has a built in protection.

To understand the beauty of this plan imagine healthcare insurers put all the people who are sick or likely to get sick into Core Care, and all the people who are healthy into Expected Care, then what happens?

They pay to their coverage limits at a much higher rate, while the government pays at a much lower rate as its Expected Care population remains healthier than expected, so there is a natural check-and-balance built into the system, rewarding for-profit companies for proper selection and punishing them financially for getting it wrong.

And that is the expansion of the 140 characters from the original tweet. It is exactly 140 characters as I needed every character I could use to get an entire healthcare plan in there.

James Harris

Sunday, June 14, 2009

RealNetworks against the MPAA

Link above goes to:

Quote from the Source:
Real says Hollywood is a cartel, trying to kill DMCA Fair Use
May. 18, 2009 (8:11 am) By: Rick Hodgin

The ongoing legal battle between a group of Hollywood movie studios and RealNetworks stepped up a notch. RealNetworks filed a countersuit against the DVD Copy Control Association (CCA) and all major movie movie studios claiming abusive use of power....

The story here is amazing as it's hard to comprehend exactly why there is such a battle in this area, and I like the article I'm linking to, as it puzzles over the same issue and ultimately offers some conspiracy theories.

I know, I know, people tend to dismiss conspiracies, but what if they DO exist?

I have a personal interest here myself as I produced an idea I call Digital Media Equipment Self-Encryption or DMESE for short, and introduced it on one of my other blogs near the end of January 2007.

I gave it away as open source and have since discussed it on that blog and on this one, including a post which addresses a concern I've seen mentioned in press reports about the ongoing court battle, which I called completing DMESE.

Now that post was back in early July 2007, and handles the issue by having the system ask for the DVD that was copied, again, after some period of time like 30 days to try and ensure that the DVD was purchased by the user and not borrowed.

So nearly two years ago I had a solution out on the web that answers the objection I've seen reported as the main plank of the case against RealNetworks with its copying software, which I should mention has a component that is shared with my DMESE which is that the copy is encrypted, which is where the "self-encryption" part of DMESE comes into the equation.

I'm not saying that RealNetworks used DMESE (as if they did they'd need to attribute the idea to me as that's what open source means, free, but say where you got it from) and it's a simple enough notion that I don't think that is an issue.

But consider a massive court battle costing millions of dollars and involving such massive use of resources for a problem I feel confident I solved, almost two years ago.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

But would anyone pay?

I've been promoting this idea of actually paying for content, like a really good news article, after you read it, as only then do you know that it's worth paying for, and I think a natural issue with the idea is, would the average person pay?

And I think the simple answer is, no. But this idea is not for average people.

I call it Pay Back Value, and it's simply acting on the web like one would at a high end restaurant--you consume first, then you pay.

However, there are two types of people in the world: those who would pay without threat of punishment, and those who would run out of restaurants without paying all the time if there were no such threat.

The ease of distribution on the Internet means that you can market to the first set, and not worry as much about the second as unlike with a restaurant where the food has a higher reproduction cost, on the Internet, there is little cost in reproduction (production costs remain high!!!) so limited loss from the theft!

Electronic distribution and reproduction is cheap--buying, preparing and cooking food is not.

Still you can get a herd problem where even people who want to pay, feel stupid about paying if there is a perception that no one else is paying or that most are not, so the idea actually gives you the ability to identify people who deliberately steal value, and credit cards can help explain how it works.

You get a credit card, right? But what if you have no intention of ever paying?

When will the credit card company know?

Ans. When they send that first bill and you don't pay it.

What if you pay part of it, or pay for a while just to build up credit and then quit paying?

Isn't that reason for credit card companies to never issue credit cards?

What are they thinking!!!

Similarly to credit cards, you let people sign up for something that gives them content without them incurring upfront cost, on the expectation that they will pay for what they value, and if they don't pay, you find out after some time, like a couple of months.

Then you can stop giving them the content.

I like using the New York Times as an example, as last time I checked they have people sign up now to see articles on the Web, but you can see them for free with no ability to pay later.

Say they institute this concept. People can PBV--pay back value. Like there's a PBV button on the bottom of the page after the news article or column, you can hit that button and pay a dime or something, or if it didn't seem worth it to you, move on.

No payment, no penalty.

Hypothetically as I have no idea what the numbers would be (but psychologists should be interested!!!) they find that 20% of their users pay back more value than if they bought the physical paper and do this month after month, 40% pay back regularly--I know I said above the average would not pay but these are Times readers!!! I'm assuming a higher class of people--and 10% pay intermittently, while 30% do not pay at all.

At their discretion they can block members of the 30% who do not pay from their site, for instance, if someone is reading article after article, day after day, and giving nothing in return, they might simply cut that user off.

Also they can look at the content people across the board are clicking on and buying or not buying, and using regularly paying users as a benchmark for the real value of the paper--kind of a mark to market with content--get an accounting of their losses from theft of content without paying.

For the first time, they can get a real monetary number compiling losses, and have the ability to weed out people who will not pay, and they can reward that top 20% who regularly pay, so most importantly, they regain the ability to reward their best customers.

Quite simply, only then does the Times become a business again.

Free is not a business model.

I have no doubt that paying later will eventually dominate the Web as it's how we do most of our buying in the real world. We rarely if ever pay upfront without being able to thoroughly check for quality.

So the remarkable thing is that the Internet is backwards!!! It's not that the Internet was so advanced that money doesn't work any more.

It's that it's a laggard to how people actually do most of their buying in the real world.

James Harris

Saturday, May 23, 2009

About the Zamboni Brand Ice-Resurfacing Machine

Link above goes to: The New York Times

Quote from the Source:
As Economy Stumbles, the Zamboni Glides On
Published: May 23, 2009
The form, function and sales output of the Zamboni ice-resurfacing machine have barely changed in decades.

Good article. I learned a lot that I didn't know and it was rather heartening. A nice positive read to try and balance out so much doom and gloom lately.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Questioning with money

Link above goes to: The New York Times

Quote from the Source:
Time for a New Strategy?
Published: May 21, 2009
The definition of diversification is evolving as hard-hit investors rethink traditional approaches to take advantage of shorter-term opportunities.

Speed and liquidity. I'm no expert and I'm not rich, as I feel I'm at least for the moment solidly middle-class, but it just seems to me that when information shoots around the planet so fast it's harder to get away with bad bets.

Markets are punishing dumb moves when before you could get away with them as long as you were a big player or got a herd following you but today's market casually punishes entire countries.

It's a whole new world.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A promise to pay

If you start to wonder what is money, one of the first things that comes up is that it is a medium of exchange, and that it is a better system than barter which is what people had before money.

But that is only part of the story, as there is another way to exchange value besides money and barter, and understanding that very familiar way can bring back an understanding of what money is, in an intuitive way.

And I think that's important as like the U.S. abandoned the gold standard years ago so that the U.S. dollar appeared to be backed by nothing (it's not), money itself has become disconnected in many people's minds from its symbolic nature.

Money has little if any intrinsic value, so most of its value is extrinsic--given to it by others--and it has to do with a promise to pay.

Understanding the symbol of what money covers is a lot like understanding how in algebra x is just a variable, so you can have equations like x+y=z, but you can change the symbol, and have a+b=c.

To get a grasp of the underlying thing that money is a symbol for, consider the other means of value exchange besides money or barter, which is giving and receiving favors.

Seem too simple? How about an example then, as if you have a significant other, consider asking that person to do you a favor and make you a cup of coffee.

Now someone without someone to ask a favor of a cup of coffee, can, if there is a coffee shop nearby, go and buy a cup of coffee--exchange money for the value.

So asking for favors is a way of exchanging value which is actually closer to money than barter, as often when you ask a favor there is an expectation that you will return it, at some point. Whereas with barter, there is an immediate exchange of value for value: like a shoemaker exchanging his shoes for, say an egg laying chicken.

He gives the shoes--he gets the chicken.

You ask a favor, you rely on the memory of the person who gives the favor. And they rely on yours. It is a promise to pay back the favor, later.

You hand them money, they get to use the money for something they want, later.

But people can forget favors, or ask for them, even repeatedly, with no intentions of ever paying back!!! The system is flawed by the need for good memories, and trust.

In contrast, rather than ask a neighbor say, for the favor of a cup of coffee, you can pay for the value of a cup from, say Starbucks, or Peets, or some other coffee shop, and get it, without further owing anything at all.

The abstract value of the favor that is remembered in one case is captured by the money in another. The money is like the encapsulation of a favor: a symbol of that value exchange, which now brings me to our modern Web.

To the extent that there is an exchange of value on the web, it can be said to be by all the means above: barter, favors, and money.

People can exchange attention for information, like barter. Or can pay for goods on the Internet directly by money. Or they can do favors.

The problem for modern companies operating on the Internet is not acknowledging the possibility of a promise to pay, so that often there is simply no way to pay.

For instance, let's say I write something that you think has value. You might say I did you a favor, unless I just wanted you to read it, so I just wanted attention, so you paid already, do I know? Well you could comment, but should you have to comment? And is that really giving back value?

But what if I had ads (I don't) then if the ads paid from your attention then I'd be paid by the people who run the ads through someone else, like Google, and that would do it, right?

Well people who pay for ads pay for them if you buy something from them! As they are paying for the ads either from purchases you and people like you make or the promise to pay that is part of the system of ads, for instance, we watch television ads and enough people go buy the stuff to pay for the television programs.

So if enough people don't go buy the things in the ads, then there is no way for a payment to come from the people who would like to sell things.

So I did you a favor.

Let's go back if that seems wrong: if I write something and you see value in it, then maybe you can comment or if I had ads you could click on ads, but if those things aren't available then I did you a favor: transfered value with none in return.

But is there a promise to pay? And I'd say, no. So then, is it really a favor?

Was there an exchange of value? Yes. You read something that to you had value.

Was there a return of value in exchange? No.

So you get a value gap, which I also call a promise to pay, which in our big wide world is something that helped push money as a symbol of value, as you can ask favors of your friends or spouse--like a cup of coffee--but asking favors of strangers is often called begging.

Friends return favors and hopefully you would to your spouse as well, in more ways than simply say, making a return cup of coffee!

But strangers can't be expected to return favors, as, well, how do you even know what to give in return?

Imagine you go to a strange house to some people you don't know, knock on the door, and ask for a favor of a cup of coffee? Even if they wanted to (and weren't scared of you begging at their door) and gave you a cup of coffee, how could you return that favor really?

Bring them back a cup of coffee later? Offer to mow their lawn later? Something else...?

There really is no way. It's unlikely that you have anything of value to them--extrinsic value--to pay for the disruption of a strange person knocking at their door and asking for a cup of coffee! There is no way to pay them back. Best thing is not to bug them in the first place!

We don't ask favors from strangers normally, but somehow there is this massive and very enticing system called the Web, or the Internet, or the World Wide Web, or whatever where we end up forced to have favors from strangers just about every time we use it.

The biggest mistake that Web companies like Google, or Yahoo! or any number of other companies make, and the mistake people like me make in putting out content as freely as we do is that we are doing others a favor without giving them a way to do anything in return, and in reality, there really isn't any favor they can give in return that would work!!!

Money isn't a necessary evil. It is a symbol. It is a way to exchange value.

Without an ability to pay, on the web people can often not give value back, no matter how much they'd wish. There simply is no way.

You routinely use alternatives to exchange value when you do someone a favor, or receive one in return, where there, the "money" you might say, is your memory and theirs. The value is held in memory, held in trust.

But favors entail a promise to pay, but web companies often don't give you the ability to pay, so a value gap hangs...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Innovation potential of PBV concept

A little while back I introduced an idea I call Pay Back Value, or PBV for short, which gives the Web one more pay model--pay after.

May seem strange but you do that all the time, like at restaurants or the barber.

What would you do if your barber asked you to pay upfront? Why do people think that's the only way to pay on the web?

It's kind of bizarre in a way that people do!!!

Do you know of any other way to pay on the web but upfront? It's even worse with subscriptions as you're paying upfront well in advance!!!

For a newspaper with a subscription you pay for papers not even created yet.

But there is this other way to pay that we use all the time.

Now I'm going to expand the concept with an innovation to it, which is to have a PBV corporation, and have PBV votes.

So there could be this mega corporation called, and you sign up to it, and it gives website owners the option of putting a PBV button on their site, with a link beneath it explaining that PBV is just a way to pay after you consume, like at a restaurant.

So, maybe you'd have 25 cents, below which is a PBV button, below which is a link that might say: "What is PBV?"

The PBV value is set by the website owner, though the PBV corporation may suggest prices, or give continual guidance on proper price given demand.

But what if PBV really takes off and some website that doesn't have it, wants it?

Well assuming a PBV base of members are setup--people who have signed up for PBV, which requires they give a way to pay like a credit card--why not give them the option to vote on whether or not the website should be included?

So a potential website might get a "PBV Test" button, where PBV users could vote as to whether or not they see value in the site itself and might actually pay at it, and if the site, say, didn't get 2/3 saying they might, then it'd be rejected for membership in the PBV network.

Hmmm...that also gives the option of letting PBV members vote on sites currently in the PBV network, but wait! That's dumb. They're already voting if they are paying, so each pay is a vote. But if revenue suddenly dropped at a site, it could end up with a "PBV Test" button (in the terms of agreement in the contract with the PBV corporation), and PBV users could then vote it out of the network, or let it stay.

Wow. Lots of options for users here! The PBV corporation would, of course, give users access to a report showing their expenditures, on what sites, etc. which could even break things down in various ways to give them insight into their own web valuing behavior.

Web site owners might really be surprised by something like PBV as well, as what if you have TONS of visitors by traditional measures, but find out from PBV that most don't think your site has content worth paying for? Another site with far fewer visitors might make much more money from PBV, while advertising would only give pennies.

It could be a quality differentiator on the web.

I increasingly believe that hypothetical company will be here some day.

After all, there is a pay model that many people use every day that is not on the web for some bizarre reason which is to pay after.

Here's a weird tidbit to leave you with: you buy a newspaper upfront, right?

Can you imagine having to pay, say, $1000 US to walk into a grocery store, and be able to fill one grocery cart with whatever you wanted, paying upfront there as well?

Oh, $1000 too much? What if they said, $100, but you have to walk past all these signs with ads on them?

Ever consider that the pay upfront with ads model is actually kind of strange?

Would you pay $100 upfront to walk into a grocery store and fill one cart?

What I call PBV is simply more like what you actually do: go into the store, take possession of what you want, and pay after, not before.

James Harris

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Paying for value not a new idea

Paying for value is not the new idea.

The new idea was paying upfront, by which I mean, you purchase something before you check it out, or even see it, like if you have a newspaper subscription--you're paying for newspapers that haven't even been printed yet!

People do not do that normally. They get a haircut and then pay. Usually order their food, eat it, and then pay, unless it's fast food. Even at the grocery store, you get possession of your food first, in your grocery cart, and later you pay.

ONLY with novel items or very well-known products, like fast food, do we pay upfront. Can you imagine giving the grocery store people a list of foods that you plan on buying, paying first and then going into the store to collect your items?

But you buy a newspaper in that way. Or you may have a subscription to cable television in that way, paying before you can check out for quality first.

It may be hard to see a newspaper as a novel item, but behavior says it is, as news was not a commodity, until maybe with the Internet.

Somehow the Internet has turned news into less of a novel item so most people refuse to pay upfront, and they don't see it as a known commodity--where you don't worry as much about quality like with fast food--so they can't be convinced to pay upfront.

And We, the people, are right! Buying upfront on television for so many years gave us a lot of crappy TV!!! People decried the quality problems but entertainment executives had a lot of power in being able to choose what could be watched, because people would buy with their attention anyway. And we got a lot of crap, but kept watching that novel thing called a television for years. But now, increasingly we won't. So television revenues can be predicted to crash.

My guess is that what is happening to the newspaper industry is the canary in a mine, and that a very rapid collapse in revenue can occur for the television industry, and it could be the next industry asking for a bail-out.

Buying behavior is not that complicated: novel items can become wanted before being checked out so people pay upfront. Newspapers, television and some other things were novel enough that executives in those industries got spoiled by the power to choose for people who would still buy. Today somehow the Internet has reverted people back to normal buying behavior, so they wish to carefully pick and choose--and pay later.

However, industry executives who had a lot of power don't want to give that up, and they don't trust the public, so unlike, say, a high end restaurant owner who trusts you to pay for your meal so doesn't make you pay first, executives in media are claiming that either you pay upfront--as you cannot be trusted--or the content must be paid for by advertising, and then they don't let you pay any other way.

Their power will be gone. The return to old buying behaviors will make crappy popular television shows a thing of the past, as it will force change, but no surprise, people who had lots of power in the old system can't seem to figure out the simple solution that your barber knows--pay after.

Could it be they fear the loss of that power? That industry executives will cling to it as long as they can even if newspapers go down in flames and later television stations begin to follow?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Unfortunate reality, pay models on the web

I've had something of a dismal time recognizing that I've stumbled across the unfortunate pay realities of our world wide web:

1. Pay upfront--the preferred model when you don't trust the customer, which seems to only work best for porn. There is so much crap on the web that people mostly refuse to pay web only things upfront.

2. Don't pay at all, rely on advertising--the alternate model since people in general refuse to pay upfront. But web behavior is not passive like television watching behavior. People routinely ignore ads, so the people who put up ads, don't pay for the full cost of content. But even in television ad behavior is changing as technology in the form of DVR's give people the ability to zip past ads.

3. Pay after--what I call Pay Back Value, which is the model used by high end restaurants which allow people to eat first, then pay. Problem is, no one is offering it on the web to my knowledge, but I did just come up with it a couple of weeks ago!

You may think there are other pay options but my analysis is there are none, except if you wish, completely free, like this blog, where there is no payment at all, and no payment option.

The advertising model may have been something of a fluke anyway, as it is dying in its home territories as people go from being like zombies passively absorbing content to actively choosing content, which is devastating business models across the board albeit some slower than others.

My analysis is that if the news and entertainment world does not figure out how to do option 3. it will slowly starve to death, imploding upon itself--industry by industry.

First up is the newspaper industry, but television and radio will follow.

Industry behemoths are in denial though, and the public doesn't understand what it will lose until it's gone, so we may watch some of these industries die before they accept the inevitable.

Answers are not enough. People have to choose to accept them, as failure is an option.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Value for value

So as I discussed in a previous post money is a way to abstract value, which was a great invention to take people beyond barter, where, for instance, a shoemaker would need to find someone who needed his shoes who had something he wanted in exchange.

Money abstracts value allowing the shoemaker to instead sell his shoes, and trade the money for something he values later on: value for value.

So all money really does is shift the value for value exchange in time because the money has no intrinsic value. It is a symbol of value.

The Web has, however, revealed a weird situation where companies are giving value, like news for instance, and not receiving commensurate value in return, where the perception has been that people will not pay for value, which defies thousands of years of human history!

The subtle answer then is that on the Web people are refusing to pay for something before they see value, which is something that actually occurs in other areas, and I have a story, from years ago when I lived in the Atlanta metro area.

I was at a restaurant having a meal, when I noticed a couple who had ordered a full meal and finished eating it, just get up and walk out the door without paying!!! They had noticed that the one server--it was a slow period--had gone to the back of the restaurant for something, and they just took off--they stole value.

They stole the meal.

I think some people might suppose that most people would steal value on the Web! But most of us I think would not get up and leave just because there were no servers watching. I don't think most people only pay for meals at restaurants because someone is watching over them.

But all restaurants do not force you to pay upfront.

Some do. Fast food restaurants get your money upfront.

The experiment on the Web with pay was like with fast food, but with fast food you generally know what you're going to get, and it's more of a commodity. With the Web people didn't know if they'd value what they were getting.

You still don't. I don't know if I'll value information I receive on the Web until after I get it, but then I have no option to pay for it, so the Pay Back Value concept is just giving the Web something that is already available in other areas.

Advertising doesn't work well on the web. The television model worked with a passive audience for a long time, but it is facing change as well as people with DVR's fast forward through commercials!

If no solution is found then value is being given for less value or nothing in return, which breaks the value for value principle.

Collapsing business models are the result, and we're seeing that now with newspapers, but will see that grow into other areas as time progresses.

Value for value is the very principle behind money.

It cannot be escaped.

James Harris

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Understanding Pay Back Value concept

Last Tuesday I introduced an idea that is meant to be a solution to a surprising problem that has emerged with the Internet, which is the extreme difficulty some people, like me, have had finding remuneration, or compensation for efforts that seem to generate value based on interest.

In order to come to my solution I went all the way back to the very definition of money itself and worked outwards from there using The New York Times as an example company for how the Pay Back Value concept works.

Now with several days to think about it, I'm more impressed with how natural a solution it is, and with how it brings back what you might call traditional values to Internet interactions, so I'd like to talk about how that occurs.

For instance I noted that with Pay Back Value or PBV for short, a reader gets to PBV after reading, say, a column by Gail Collins, and doing so would eventually charge, say 25 cents to their PBV account.

The reader gets to pay back value for an article where they recognized value after reading, or simply go on their way, giving nothing, but the Times would record when they DO pay back value and after a year, you might get a report and be surprised to find what your interests are based on what you paid for, showing what you truly valued!

Columns could have their own box office in a sense, which is the total PBV given to them, providing a real-time measure of a columnist's appeal. Newspapers could get important feedback on topics that readers are actually interested in, and the approach in a way is simply a la carte buying of the newspaper, which is the way things must work on the Internet as people have already shown they will not just blanket buy contents of an entire paper on the Web, which is why newspapers are giving away valuable information for free now.

But that is against the concept of money--giving away value for free--and it's breaking the newspapers, endangering the very value that people seek, so innovation here is driven by necessity. Advertising is not enough. That old system worked with the more captive audiences of television and radio, but the Internet is an active audience.

People routinely go past ads barely noticing them. (I know I do.)

But another value emerges with this system--people would have to sign up for the PBV, and don't have to pay if they do not see value, and they get the information for free still.

So what if they don't pay?

Not ever giving PBV says you don't see value.

If you never see value, then why are you reading day after day?

If in 6 months time a person never sees value but is clicking on article after article, and reading daily then they are stealing value.

You can now, suddenly and wonderfully, identify theft, like you can in the real world.

The action of reading does not show value in what is read, but coming back again and again to gain content, is a clear indication of seeing value!!!

Rarely or never paying is a contradiction, showing--theft.

I have little doubt that the PBV concept will eventually take over because of the value it gives companies and creative producers like myself, and the reality that it restores proper balance by giving value back to creative producers for value they have given, while giving information consumers, freedom of choice to pick value as they see it.

If that is true then PBV may be as big for the Internet as the invention of money itself was with past technologies, like shoemaking.

Of course the test of any innovation is whether it gets picked up in the real world, so now with the idea pushed forward, the question is, will it grab hold?

James Harris

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Recommending Doctor's Diaries on Nova

Link above goes to: profile on Dr. Cheryl Dorsey

Quote from the Source:
NOVA: Do you see a common thread between why you went into medicine and what you are doing now?

Cheryl Dorsey: I went into medicine because I wanted to help people and to be of service. Even though I don't practice medicine now, I think I still do those things.

Many of my colleagues who work with patients heal one person at a time or one family at a time, and that's incredibly important work. I just felt that I needed to choose another path, and that maybe my highest purpose was working on a more systemic and community level.

[Editor's note: The nonprofit foundation that Cheryl now leads, Echoing Green, provides grants to young entrepreneurs launching enterprises to bring about positive social change.]...

The quote is just the beginning of the page linked to above with an interview with Dr. Cheryl Dorsey, who is one of seven doctors profiled from the early days in medical school to later on in their lives in a truly remarkable series that offers perspective like no other into a field that is of massive importance in all our lives:

Doctors' Diaries on Nova at

Watching the series is I think an extraordinary opportunity to feel good about the effort with which we live our lives as human beings, within the context of the bigger picture of why all our lives are often so challenging.

Ultimately I think the series is an excellent portrayal of the human condition through the lives of just some of the people we often count on the most.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pay Back Value remuneration concept

My previous post talking about money is a continuation of my concerns about what I've also called the Internet money conundrum--how do you make money on the Internet?

By going to the base of what money is, and considering how our current system must be inefficient I began to realize a concept that might be more, and my example company in explaining it is one of my favorite news organizations--The New York Times.

Despite being a premier information source that arguably gives great value, the Times has faced declining revenue!!! That is an apparent paradox in many ways.

After all, money is a medium of exchange, abstracting value for use at some future time versus barter where you traded immediately: The New York Times continues to give great value in terms of information and the Internet allows more people not fewer to experience that value with a cheaper distribution system, yet the conundrum is in declining revenue in the face of that greater value and wider distribution of value.

So what gives?

In analyzing the problem considering my own usage I've noted that I'm a far more regular reader of the New York Times than I was before it was available on the Web, and I'm not willing to pay for a subscription not because I don't value the newspaper, but because I don't want all the content a subscription would give. I want a la carte, but I also refuse to pay for an article before I've read it!!!

However, I feel a sense of value, often, from articles after I've read them, and before you go, no way, this idea can't be to pay later, consider music and songs.

Would you buy a song unheard? If you had to pay for music without ever hearing it first, would you? Maybe if you were a major fan willing to pick up any music that came from your favored artist, but most people wouldn't.

In fact, I know that I will often buy a song after having heard it dozens or more times, and some songs that I like I'll hear often on the radio or see music videos and never buy them at all, and just not own them (and not download them illegally either).

Back to newspapers--simple reality is that I pick and choose what I read, recognizing value after I've read it, like how I recognize that I like a song, after I've heard it!

So now to the concept--what if after I read a New York Times article that I liked, I saw a PBV button at the bottom, with 25 cents listed as its value?

Click it, and 25 cents is applied to the PBV account. The Pay Back Value account.

When the value of that account reaches $1 U.S. then my credit card is automatically charged.

I am purchasing the articles in that The New York Times will maintain a database of such articles that I've paid back value for, and may give me search information about my choices--for instance I may find that Gail Collins is my favorite columnist based on PBV, or that I tend to see value in articles about apple orchards.

I know, an immediate objection is, what if people just don't pay?

Well, they're not paying now! But I think some people, like myself, DO see value in the articles being read but having seen that only after reading, simply are lost with no option to pay back that value.

Money is a medium of exchange. Certainly one system of exchanging value for goods and services has dominated but the Internet is revealing faults with the old ways, as providers of significantly valuable services and products, like The New York Times, face declining revenue--a contradiction.

The music industry already has something like my Pay Back Value concept, where you get to hear a song--often many times--before you purchase it, possibly the solution to the "Internet money conundrum" is to follow that business model more closely.

The idea given above is open source, which means free, but not without attribution!!!

That is, you have to reference back to the source. I'd like to note that out of curiosity I checked to see if anyone had, and when I checked, that domain was available.

So why not get it myself and try to sell this idea?

Well, it's just an idea--who knows if it will work?

There are any number of upfront costs and issues to deal with in getting it out there in the real world, and I have experience with how difficult it can be.

Besides, I have LOTS of ideas, but little progress in getting value for those ideas, so for me, the recognition could be worth a lot of money. A LOT of money.

And, I'd love the chance to pay back value myself!!!

I will not subscribe to The New York Times because the full newspaper has more information than I want, and I will not pay upfront for articles before I read them--they may suck!!!

But I would be willing to make a payment, which is nominal for legal reasons (think about it) after I read an article and see value in that article, as I repeat again, money is a medium of exchange. We exchange it to pass value between each other, abstracting that value to be used at a time of one's choosing. I'd like to give The New York Times value back, for them to use at their choosing, for particular articles from which I gain value.

James Harris

A medium of exchange

People have learned that money is a more efficient way to exchange goods and services than barter. For instance, if you are a shoemaker, and feel like making some shoes, after you've made them, under a barter system, now you must go find someone who has something you want, who needs shoes, and your shoes at that.

Money abstracts your efforts, allowing you to get value to hold for later, and find what you want when you want.

Money in and of itself has no intrinsic value.

The United States dollar, used around the world as a valued medium of exchange, is itself made from waste products.

The money system has worked well for humanity but lately something strange has happened--in a world with more goods and more services than ever before, many people seem to increasingly work more for less!

How is that possible?

The simplest explanation is that some people are accruing money somehow without themselves actually doing anything of value. That is, they are not providing commensurate goods and services at the level of the symbol they hold which claims they did.

So they are committing a fraud.

The problem the world is facing though is that the system is not efficient at figuring out this fraud, so in a world where people are far more effective at using resources, where talents are at a far greater level than before, and where technologies allow great economies of scale, many live in uncertainty, and face significant hardships because they do not have enough money.

Money was an invention.

One has to wonder, is there yet another invention to take us to yet another level?

Yet another way to abstract the exchange of goods and services that solves the problems that now plague our world systems?

If so, such an invention could revolutionize our world revealing the people who really work, versus the people who just work the system--to the collective harm of us all.

James Harris

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Credit card basics

Link above goes to: The New York Times

Quote from the source:
Credit Scores: What You Need to Know
Published: January 6, 2009
You may not have checked your credit score lately, but there’s a good chance someone else has.

Excellent article that I think really covers the must-know basics of having and using a credit card.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Social reality and alcohol's importance

Link above goes to: Wikipedia, article on alcoholic beverage

An idea suddenly occurred to me for why drinking alcoholic beverages has continued to be so important to social realities--from meeting new people to diplomatic events.

And it's so obvious that I'm not saying it's new or not well-known but that I'm emphasizing it to myself as it is so huge, which is, social reality is that people lie about themselves, and present cloaks on their own inner selves because they sense there is something inside that is not to be presented publicly if possible, for whatever reason that might be.

And alcohol is useful for stripping such cloaks away.

Drink with a person and they tend to talk more, but if they get quieter then you learned something about them.

If they talk more, they are more likely to let slip ideas and opinions they might otherwise hold in check.

And if they refuse to drink, for whatever reason, you learn something as well.

Social drinking reveals information about people no matter what, whether they want it to, or not, even when they do not engage in it.

No wonder it has remained and I have no doubt it will remain as long as there is a need to hide things about yourself from other people, and for them to try and find out more about you, whether you want them to, or not.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Quick recovery, but at what cost?

Link above goes to: The New York Times

Quote from the source:

Some Forecasters See a Fast Economic Recovery
Published: January 3, 2009
Many economists are heading into the new year declaring that the worst may soon be over. Others are pessimistic.

I'm willing to go out on a limb and predict a very rapid economic recovery with the U.S. returning to growth in the second quarter.

Any reasoning behind that?

Well I'm no expert but as they are so terrible anyway, I don't feel bad about putting in my opinion, which is that money still wants to move to the U.S. and with so much information available--yup, I'm blaming the Internet--there will be huge growth from seemingly unlikely sources fueling a bunch of mini-booms, cumulative impact being, growth.

But then I expect a return to negative in the third quarter as no one sees this coming (but me) so there will be yet another adjustment.

Um, if I'm right, I get nothing really, which is what I get if I'm wrong, but could maybe some people start calling for the tossing out of these "experts" who are never right, either on the upside or the downside?

WHY, oh why, please tell me why, do these people get paid so well for being so terribly wrong all the time? Can someone answer me that basic question?

They are literally paid to fail.