Imps Incentives

One of our revolutionary strategies relates to incentives. Modern American business theory identifies various stakeholders, including owners (investors), employees, and customers. Typically it is said the aim of management should be to maximize return to investors. More liberal pundits suppose a business also has some measure of social responsibility (thus society at large is a stakeholder). Thus in addition to the conventional wisdom that managers must obey the law, some say there is also an obligation to refrain from unethical behavior, even if legal. On such a sophisticated view, it might be thought a business should refrain from lobbying to embed a loophole in the laws to gain a profitable advantage.

As a zero overhead organization, we want to escape the regulatory burden associated with employment by avoiding, insofar as feasible, having employees. When possible, we prefer not to pay people for work, but rather to view contributors as investors of time, who, like investors of money, are entitled to a share of future net revenue.

Similarly, customers, users of the services we provide, contribute to the success of our enterprise, if only by giving it traction, demonstrating its appeal. Successful social media ventures have repeatedly shown the value of a substantial and growing user base, typically monetized by motivating investment based on faith that enthusiastic users can somehow be translated into revenue. Thus, a case might be made for rewarding "customers" as well as investors of time and money. Of course, in a more traditional business, customers contribute money and are rewarded with products or services. Our users are rewarded with services, but perhaps their contribution should also be rewarded more in the way investors are rewarded.

Thus, although various contributors to the enterprise can be categorized and treated differently, there is no need to stick with traditional ways of distributing various rewards. Instead, we can envision a general principle according to which all contributors should benefit by sharing in the success of the enterprise. This approach implements the fundamental idea of ultryism (discussed in Argon Desaki's Report from Earth). Contributors of all sorts should do well by doing good, and a fundamental strategic principal of the YouSA and of the Imps is that the venture should devise an effective way to turn this particular dream into a reality.

Clearly the extent of reward should be related to the extent of contribution. But it should also be related to the timing of the contribution. Just as early employees (or founders) of traditional startups are rewarded with more stock options, earlier contributors here should expect a greater reward to compensate for the greater risk taken.

The details of how this should be implemented remain to be devised, another factor increasing risk for early contributors. But it should be clear from the outset that our intent is to implement such a system, and thus that to the extent this venture succeeds, it will provide benefits to participants correlated to the magnitude and timing of their contributions.

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