Monday, July 18, 2016

Building a Community

At some stage I would like to start a company. I have been plotting for years with some friends. The name of this company has shifted from 'Happiness Inc' to 'Savour Centre' to 'Muse'. The name doesn't really matter, nor does the company. What I am interested in is how we go about community building.

150 People
There is a magic number below which a group of people can know each other, and know how the others know each other. This reduced size also means Tacit Knowledge can be shared. Tacit Knowledge is the stuff we know, but don't necessarily even know we know. Tacit Knowledge is the stuff that can't be explained other than through interaction. We can learn from each other by spending time with each other. Tacit Knowledge is the reason honesty isn't about telling the truth in words, it is about spending time with people. 

Sustainable Community Wealth Fund 
I would like this company to be able to pay everyone a Universal Basic Income. This income would be independent of whether they showed up at work. It would have no strings. It would be for life. I would like the company to be able to build up a fund to be able to support this independently of any other activity. Like a Sovereign Wealth Fund. This fund would act as a muse for the ideas that get generated. The company would be free from thinking only about ideas that can be monetised. Someone's job may then be to visit people in Retirement Homes. Someone else may work as a sport's coach in poorer communities. A UBI would free members of the community to lift their eyes from living hand to mouth.

We tend to end up working largely with people with similar skill sets. There may be some variety, but only where those are seen as complementary to each other in pursuit of a very narrow shared goal. I would like this company to be able to break down the obstacles the people in it have to understanding other people in the world. It should be diverse enough to open paths of communication between different world views. The hiring process at most companies is a filter, trying to find 'the best of the best'. This type of hiring process reinforces the walls between us. I would want to build a community that helps us see each other.

Relationship Focused
Most of our grand plans have unintended consequences. The world is too complicated for us to understand in any other way than our own chosen story. If we can be micro-ambitious, and work on the relationships between any two random people, I believe we can tap into the tacit knowledge we have. If interactions encourage creativity, reward creativity and constrain activity that doesn't benefit both people - the knock on effect to the broader community can only be positive. I believe the big problems will solve themselves if we focus on creating more friendships.

'Utopia for Realists' talks about a 15 hour work week. Some people would still work 60-100 hours even if they didn't have to. They love their jobs. My concern is that sometimes work becomes a default and we lose perspective about the other things that matter. We become defined by our jobs. We become seduced by our success. I would want to see a company that enhances the other aspects of peoples lives. That supports and strengthens other relationships. I like to see work as a catalyst for life.

Building Communities = Building Meaning

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