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