Decentralization

“A man who is suspended looks the same as one who is standing, but the interplay of forces within him is nevertheless quite different, so that he can act quite differently than can a standing man.” – Wittgenstein

I first saw this many years ago as a young philosophy student and I have meditated on it ever since.  It is that while the outward appearance of things maybe the same, the motivating principle of a thing may cause it to have different powers.

Today I was walking down the street and thought of this in terms of decentralization, in particular, the company and protocol blockstack.  What is really the difference of using a centralized word processor, (google docs), vs a decentralized one, Graphite.  The way you use it is the same. But they are quite different.  The forces within are quite different.

How can the decentralized text editor act differently from the centralized text editor? Well no one can remove your documents. That is the easiest thing, but what else? What do you get from decentralization that gives you special powers beyond tail risk?  Maybe that is what the man of faith gets as well, protection of tail risk from burning in hell.

However, I think there is something more there, I just cannot put my finger on what that is.

Flowers and Music (or just flowers)

My new years resolution was to have more flowers in the house.  I felt that this would be a small thing that would make me happy and bring nature into my life, and make my apartment smell good.  Because I have no free time I decided to try the subscription service at bouqs. Bouqs sucks, They never delivered my flowers or they delivered them and they were stolen and now I need to report their fraud on my credit card ARG!

But how thrilled was I when walking down 5th and 21st I spotted a flower truck – Uprooted. First of all what a brilliant idea – a flower truck – you just drive around the city selling flowers. I was chatting with them, because I thought this was an absolutely brilliant idea. They generally park on the upper west side of manhattan because it is so residential. But now they are doing every thursday in the flatiron to get corporate customers.

This was so great. I even bought some flowers for my mother – who lives near the flatiron. Flowers are the best.

Decentralizing PAOM

Some asked me on slack today what my thoughts on decentralizing paom were.

I have had lots of thoughts on the matter and I figured I would include my thoughts here.

So for many years I have wanted to decentralize PAOM or decentralize parts of it. There are so many moving parts to PAOM (manufacturing, design, apparel development, marketing, online marketing, accounting/designer payments, discovery/curation, community development, various software systems) that if I could decentralize it and let experts work on each part and just be the glue, PAOM would be much more successful. Even right now I ruthlessly going through our product and I am cutting as much as possible that is not designer or manufacturing focused.

Let me split  this brain dump into a) long term impractical goals b)  blockchain paom c) blockstack paom.
a) long term completely insane impractical wish – i cannot even call it a goal because I feel like going to mars is more realistic:

A fully decentralized, just in time, local apparel manufacturing, with access to all manufacturing information to reduce cost of manufacturing overhead and production/inventory waste – block chain supply chain dream.  Think IoT powered optimization of supply chain with as close to zero marginal cost as possible for a manufactured good.
in this scenario you order a ‘paom’ piece, the piece goes to the local manufacturer (like your local kinkos or artisinal baker), and your garment is made with locally available goods, you know who designed the piece, made the piece, the mill that made the fabric- everyone is paid via smart contract.

All paom does is maybe supply the garment ‘pattern’ or perhaps the sample piece and the photoshoot, although this could be decentralized as well
b) Blockchain things I have wanted to do with PAOM for a while.
i) First off I want a way to remunerate all activity on the Paom (creating, selling, etc). this is more a crypto issue than a decentralization issue – but there it is – I am considering integrating Steem but everyone hates on Steem and I am not sure of the legal implications.
I think we need to get away from the notion of customers and merchants, buyers and sellers, we are all part of the same ecosystem. Amazon is successful because they have good product and low prices but because people buy from them.  I’m just saying it is not a one way street of money flowing into the seller’s wallet.

I am interested in ways to increase the velocity of money through a system (in this case the PAOM system) rather than hoarding money or extracting value.
ii) theoretically designers should own all their own product designs and analytics and all order and order changes should be public (but obfuscated) and immutable because unlike most marketplaces (like etsy), the designers do not know when a piece sells because they dont ever touch the finished good – again this may be a solution without a real problem – but its how the world should work.

c) blockstack paom
So my thought for blockstack is something i am now calling the tee shirt protocol.
Just like we have one login (thanks blockstack), we also have one address (or at least one list of addresses), we also have one size (or perhaps a few different sizes like some shirts i like to wear big some small). This is information that you should own, any shopping site you access should be able to just use the information that you have already entered once – this is the essence of the tee shirt protocol – it is decentralizing the core of shopping.

I create a tee shirt on my blockstack paom app. Here I keep all the design collateral, I pay some nominal fee for the blockstack tee url, I decided how many shirts I want to allow to be made, I even keep the garment pattern of the tee shirt and outsource it to whatever printer/manufacturer i want.

Someone sees the shirt, maybe i am selling it on blockstack open bazaar. This person can buy the tee shirt and manufacture it through any manufacturer they want, or they can buy the virtual tee shirt (the rights to the tee)
Should the blockstack ecosystem really take off – I should also own my order history of everything I have ordered on a blockstack, everything i have visitted or surfed. If there are marketing or curation apps I can decide what parts of my order history or search history i want to expose to the those algorithms

major stumbling block – I have been stymied a bit by setting up and testing against blockstack test network.

 

And there it ends… for now… I am waiting on the rest of the conversation to unfold