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Secrets to making money on FanBox

Product Launch: The New Photo Album It's no secret that you all have been going absolutely crazy -- uploading so many new photos!! The website is so much more colorful and beautiful! It's really fun surfing around and checking out all the, seriously, AMAZING photos all over the site! Well, to keep up with you, the FanBox engineers have built a new photo album to help you show off all these great photos! And now, they have just finished importing all your old photos into the new photo album... ... and the new photo album is live!   Power Users:  You get acess first.  Please enjoy it -- and report any issues to your Success Coach -- and they will submit a ticket to the engineers. Everyone else: Please give the Power Users, Success Coaches and FanBox engineers a chance to work together to remove any bugs or issues for you.       After they bless it, the new photo album will be open for you.               (My best guess: One week)   To access the new album, simply click any photo in the feed:                    To return to the feed, click the X at the top right:         From any photo, click the photo album name to access the album:         Of course you can always visit anyone's photos from their profile:         Notice the 3 main sections at the top:              Rather than walk you through it all, I'll let you do it for yourself so you have more fun. However, one item you don't want to miss: When you roll over your photos with your mouse, you illuminate certain features -- such as the Highlight feature:                   Click the Star (*) to highlight that photo:             Now, when your fans and friends visit your photos, that photo will be highlighted (enlarged) for their viewing pleasure. Also notice the little pencil icon. Click it to illuminate more features:           By changing the date of any photo, you can change the order of photos in your album. Please play with all the features -- and let us know what you think. As you can see, photos are continuing to become a growing part of the FanBox experience.   Any questions? I'm here for you.

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The History of FanBox

The History of FanBox.com  Many people have asked how FanBox was started; by whom; and what are the motivations of the FanBox team. Using this blog, I will do my best to bring you the FanBox story - by interviewing FanBox employees - both current and past employees.  If you work (or previously worked) at FanBox, please send me your stories, photos or videos -- and I will do my best to assemble them into their correct chapter. As I progress, I will continually add more chapters over the coming weeks and months -- and go back to edit previous chapters -- until we have the full story of the Good, the Bad, and Everything In-Between.       The Beginning   FanBox was started here in a 3-bedroom condo (apartment #402) in San Diego, California:   It was started in a residential condo (instead of an office building) because the company had no money and wanted to keep the costs very, very low. Everyone knew that if they wanted to eventually be able to give money back to the community users and their chosen charitable causes, they would need to keep the company private and out of the control of profit-seeking investors. This condo was owned by one of the employees, so they didn't have to pay rent.     The company had no money, and could pay no salaries or give employees any benefits -- for years. Here's Greg, who departed a company called mp3.com to take on the company's marketing responsibilities:     Amanda was one of the very first engineers, and quickly got a reputation as someone who could do technical magic:   Amanda, like the other FanBox engineers, was amazingly talented and intelligent. FanBox was an extremely difficult place to work if you were not simply the best at what you did, because -- due to the lack of resources -- you had to figure out how to get a lot done each day -- usually as much as what 5 or even 10 "normal" engineers could accomplish in a day. Every single person that lasted more than a short period of time at FanBox, had at least the following three (3) things in common: 1) They were extremely intelligent, and world-class excellent at their craft.  For example, Amanda had previously achieved a perfect SAT Score (ZERO wrong answers) -- it was discovered years into her employment at FanBox -- a fact that she had not volunteered up herself. In another chapter, I will detail some of the technologies that these same people invented -- some of which are things that you are using today -- each and every day -- not just on FanBox but virtually everywhere on the Web.   When I get to writing that chapter, you will be amazed that you didn't already know that many of the things that you use every day (on Facebook, Yahoo, Google and other web sites) were actually invented by FanBox employees -- and to prove it, the United States Patent Office recently awarded a series of official patents to FanBox for these inventions. I promise to add another chapter (post), titled "FanBox Inventions", soon.     2) They were extremely confident in their capabilities, and believed that they not only could but had a responsibility to do something really big with their lives. To survive under those difficult conditions (for more than a short period of time) they simply had to be driven by a higher purpose. FanBox's mission provided them that exact purpose. I will detail that purpose for you in the next chapter (post) of this blog. When you're going after a BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal), you are put to the test daily and you are constantly working under severe stress and pressure. To add to that, your friends, family and loved ones are constantly and openly questioning your judgment -- for working double-long days -- for zero pay -- when you could easily be bringing home $100,000 or more per year. So, one big part of the challenge was silencing "the noise from the naysayers", many of which went out of their way on a daily basis to remind you that this mission has never been accomplished before; that you were crazy for attempting it; and that the sooner you stopped wasting your life chasing this mission, the better off you would be.  To be able to stay focused and achieve the near-miracles that you needed to accomplish almost daily -- often needing to literally invent groundbreaking technologies seemingly out of thin-air to accomplish a task -- despite all the difficulties, mental obstacles, and challenges you faced -- you simply needed to be operating at a higher level of purpose than most people.   3) They were down-to-earth and humble. At FanBox, there's simply no room for arrogance or self-promoting. When your brain is focused fully on a big purpose and you see a path towards that purpose, you simply don't care about short-term gratification, flashiness, big talkers, showing off or being full of yourself. Under those difficult conditions, they were simply trying to keep their minds focused on the positive and make it through to the next day -- without breaking an important piece of software or having a nervous breakdown themselves -- knowing that the other amazing people -- that were also making huge sacrifices like they were -- were counting on them to come through with their piece of the complex puzzle.   Arrogant people were humbled very quickly by the sheer weight of the challenges they faced starting on Day 1 of their employment, and after just a week or two at FanBox either became quite down-to-earth under the weight of their challenges --- or rapidly quit and/or disappeared. The survivors - the ones that were still around for a year or more after they started -- all shared the same characteristics of being amongst the best in the industry at their profession and skills; were noticeably similar in their deep humility; and shared the same sense of purpose and belief that they were going to succeed in helping make the world a better place.                       ------------   Little by little, word got out to the local community about FanBox and its mission. Many people applied to work at the company -- ALL FOR NO PAY -- but for a chance to make a difference. Here's one of the bedrooms at the condo:   The kitchen was in bad shape:   The bathroom was in bad shape too:   But somehow, people didn't seem to care. People left Yahoo to work at FanBox. They left Microsoft, Qualcomm, Price Waterhouse, and Genentech. They left Creative Labs, College Club and Google. People came from all over the state of California to work at "The Condo" -- leaving their $100,000 to $300,000 per year annual salaries -- knowing full well that there was no paycheck; the working space was cramped and tight; and that work days were very long: The typical day started before 8am and didn't end until after Midnight -- six (6) and sometimes seven (7) days a week.   Every night, the engineers took turns making sure the web site stayed up during the night, so people often took a nap under their desks during the night:   Monitors on the kitchen shelf showed important stats and numbers; flashing when a computer or server went down or was having an issue:     Due to the lack of space, interviews only happened in the fire escape stairwell, so everyone hoped it didn't rain (but sometimes it rained and interviewees got wet):     Company meetings had to happen outside. When the weather was good, the beach made for a soft place to sit and a fun place to meet:   There was only enough room in the condo for 35 employees, so to bring on a new employee (with a desparetely-needed skill) someone had to be asked to leave. This was particularly hard because everyone worked very hard, for long hours and no pay, so asking someone to leave the company was one of the most difficult things to do. The 35th person had to put a piece of glass on the sink in the bathroom, and get his/her work done from there:       Eventually, the product began to come together, and the company started to generate revenues. An important day: Here's everyone showing off their very first "Paycheck" -- $100 for each employee. By now, many of the employees had been working for no pay and under these conditions for 2 or 3 years:     Those paychecks grew by $100 a month, until eventually everyone had a normal -- but small -- monthly paycheck.   One day, the city of San Diego discovered that the company was operating a business in this residential area, and put a "Cease and Desist" (order to vacate the premises) on the condo door -- ordering the business to leave in 24 hours. The company would be forced to shut down, as it had no money to secure an office. Coincidentally, that very same day -- only 3 hours after the notice from the city, the company received, in the mail, an unexpected check (for $20,000) from Sony Corporation -- paid in advance for advertising -- making it possible for the company to pay the deposit for an office ($19,975). This coincidence continues to puzzle everyone, as the company had never made a penny from advertising before this, and had not served even one advertisement for Sony (or any other company, for that matter) and had only asked Sony (and been rejected) for an ad sale many months before. ----------------- The very next day, everyone stopped what they were doing and helped move desks, computers and everything else to the new office:   Notice the "SMS.ac" stickers and logo on the office door. SMS.ac is the official (corporate) name for FanBox. The company now had the office space it needed to grow beyond 35 employees:   And it grew quickly - even though paychecks were still at only a few hundred dollars per month per employee -- about 10% of their "market rates".   Here, the company is celebrating an important product launch:   In this photo, Pradeep Menon, the company's first head of product, is standing in the front with a white shirt and his hand crossing his chest. Earlier this year (2011) "dEEp" -- as they all called him --  slipped and fell, banged his head, and passed away within a few hours -- at the young age of 31. His funeral was a chance for everyone to get together to honor him and his accomplishments; and also remind each other of how short life is and how quickly it can be taken away; and how important relationships become between people that set out to do something challenging and difficult together. ----------------- As the company grew, it stayed focused on its mission, and although typical work hours still averaged around 16 hours a day, everyone often took the opportunity to have a laugh with their comrades. Most people that have worked at FanBox can claim that some of their very best friends, to this day, are people that they met at FanBox and shared the same "brain-expanding, learning, goal-chasing, hard-working, fun, challenging, tiring, purpose-driven, emotional, difficult, exhilarating, scary, high-acheiving, growth-filled, sleep-deprived" experience. Here's some of the FanBox staff taking a moment to have some fun at the holiday gift exchange party:     In the next chapter, let's explore what it was that motivated the employees of FanBox to take on those challenges -- and sacrifice as much as they did: The purpose and reason behind FanBox.     >> Next Chapter >>

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MOVING FORWARD: The road ahead

Announcement: The end of the FanBox "Closed Alpha" stage   Hello FanBoxers! It’s been almost two years since you heard from me. If you remember, I created a series of posts, starting with this one, that would ultimately lead to handing over control of the company to our users (you). Then, we launched our first presidential election – and you voted for our first democratically-elected President. I promised that after you chose your new leader, I would silence myself to ensure that the new person could do the very best job he or she could, without the old leader hanging around and stopping the wheels of progress or the will of the people from becoming a reality. You elected Brian Woosley, and more recently, you elected Martin Binnington, as the leader (President) of the FanBox community and company. Thanks to the incredible hard work of all the FanBox Success Coaches, the alpha users (you) and the employees--mostly under Brian’s leadership over the nearly two years since you elected him -- we have some important news to announce today.   The FanBox experiment is coming to its end As you know, FanBox was started in order to find a way to help create opportunities, which we hope would eventually help uplift many millions of people out of poverty.  As a reminder, today half the world’s population still lives on $2 or less per day.  Our mission:  To empower people, by enabling opportunity, hope and influence. Our goal: To help half the world’s population (4 billion people) earn an average of $25/day by the year 2025. It’s been a long road, and we have tried many different things, many of which worked well, and some of which failed to create the desired results. Through all these trials and tribulations, many of you stayed with us, through thick and thin, through the successes as well as the failures. A few people joined us, and despite our warnings, they hoped to get rich quick on FanBox and of course when that didn’t happen, screamed loudly about their experience and departed. We all wished them the best. But for the most part, everyone stuck to the experiment, patiently adding their ideas, optimism and energy to the experiment – hoping for the best but not getting too disappointed when certain hopes and goals didn’t materialize quickly or at all. I can report to you that here, at the FanBox headquarters, the engineers and staff have been feverishly working around the clock to build your ideas into reality, and everyone here continues to work overtime, for very low salaries (on average, just over minimum wage – the least allowable by law in California).  Like you, the team here, under Brian (and now Martin’s) leadership, has kept the faith and stayed focused – working hard to stay positive as well as super-focused on getting the results the experiment demands and deserves. (Did you know? When Brian and Martin each saw firsthand how little all the FanBox employees earn, both voluntarily cut out the majority of their own salaries – to match the low salaries of everyone else?) As a result of your (alpha users, Success Coaches and employees’) hard work and patience, today we are excited to announce the next stage of the FanBox experiment – which we are calling “empowr”.    Building a new economy As soon as Brian became President, he got to work asking you what you liked and what you disliked about FanBox, and every month he has continued to ask you the same questions.    The results of that monthly questionnaire are shown to the employees each month, and then everyone’s work is prioritized based on that feedback.  Then, under Brian’s leadership, we started research on who the world’s smartest economists are, that could bring us the very best knowledge that could help us do a better job in building the FanBox economy.  We reached out to those people around the world, and after those top experts learned about the FanBox experiment and did their own research about it, most of them got excited and interested in investing their own limited time, energy and resources into the FanBox experiment! Today, we have brought together a few dozen of the world’s leading economists, from the top universities around the world.  Our engineers have been meeting with them, and by combining massive amounts (hundreds of terabytes) of data from the FanBox experiment, with these thinkers’ vast knowledge of economics, I am excited to report that we have spent the last nearly two years rebuilding virtually all of the FanBox algorithms and code from the ground up, to create a whole new and improved economy.   Building a new political system The process of attracting some of the world’s top economists, and bringing their knowledge into the FanBox system went so well, that we decided to also do research as to who some of the world’s very best thinkers and practitioners are, in the area of political science.  We wanted to see if they, too, would be interested in adding their knowledge to the FanBox experiment. Specifically, we wanted to rethink and improve the FanBox political system.  Of course we know that we want FanBox to continue to be a democracy – so that FanBox is always answering to its community – because that’s our mission - working to improve the users’ lives (instead of the lives of just the shareholders, which is how almost all corporations operate). So, the main question we would want to ask the world’s experts on political science is:  Knowing what we now know – that most of the world’s democracies have gotten themselves into big trouble, and have become controlled by powerful people, companies and special interests -- instead of being controlled by the people, which is what was originally intended… … knowing what we now know - if we have a chance to do it again – what would we do differently?   What would a Democracy 2.0 look like? I’m happy to tell you that not only were these top thinkers happy to answer such questions –this is the stuff they think and research about and teach every day – but they actually decided to take away from their busy schedules to travel to the FanBox headquarters in California to meet with us. Since then, we have had countless discussions with them, and they have been very gracious with their time and ideas. As a result, one of the very top universities in the world – Yale University – has volunteered to use their staff and resources – to help write our new constitution – in partnership with other political science experts from many of the other top universities, such as Harvard University, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Duke University, U.C. Berkeley – just to name a few.   But the process will NOT just be driven by experts In the democratic fashion and ideals of FanBox – drafting our constitution will also be opened up to you, our citizens, as well as the FanBox employees. In the coming weeks, the process will be opened up to you, so you can provide your thoughts, wishes and desires for what the new constitution will contain.  What will the powers of the president be? What will the powers of the users (citizens) be? How about the employees? How will profits be distributed to the citizens? These are just some of the unlimited options for discussion that will be opened up for your comments and thoughts. Then, after you’ve had a chance to speak your mind, the researchers at Yale University will go to work, combining all your thoughts into one document, ready to be made official.   Making history This will be the very first crowdsourced constitution of a global social network, so it’s only fitting that our final work will happen in the very building (in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) where the founding fathers of the constitution of the United States met to finalize the American constitution in 1787 – which today is the oldest constitution that is still in use currently. That’s right!  We have been invited to use the American Independence Hall for our efforts, which they graciously offered to us when they heard about the FanBox experiment. This room is also known as the Assembly Room of the Pennsylvania State House, which is also the same place the Amercian Declaration of Independence (another important historical document) was signed. We will be inviting some members of the community to join us there, to witness the event. More on that later. You can learn more about everything I have said above – on the new website: http://www.empowr.com By the way, do you want to learn more about any constitution in the world – including the constitution of your country? One of the world’s experts on constitutions -- a member of the FanBox / empowr advisory committee -- has done all that research, and with some money from Google, has built an incredible website where you can compare and contrast all the constitutions of world – including the constitution of your own country:  https://www.constituteproject.org/   Moving Forward: The Next Stage of the FanBox Revolution   The Closed Alpha Stage (FanBox.com) Knowing full well the difficulty in building a platform capable of empowering people to earn $25/day, we purposefully limited the number of users who could join the platform many years ago.  We set the limit to 100,000 users, and as some people became dormant (inactive) we allowed current users to invite some friends to replace them – never allowing the total usership to exceed 100,000. We needed to limit the number of users for many reasons, especially cash flow – but also to ensure we had fewer people joining that were not interested in our mission but only interested in making as much money as possible for themselves.  There is nothing wrong with people that just want to make a lot of money and nothing else, but we knew we had a lot more work ahead of us to create that level of opportunity for everyone, so we needed to limit membership to people that really understood that joining FanBox at that early stage would require a lot of patience and a big desire to help people.  Similarly, working as an employee at FanBox has required potential employees to understand that FanBox pays the least of any company they could work at, because we want to provide as much cash as possible to our users, so if they’re not here primarily for the mission, they are in the wrong place. As a user in this Closed Alpha Stage, you’ve all experienced the failures and successes as the platform constantly evolved with features and functionalities changing on a regular basis. It is your patience and support that enabled us to improve the platform to where it is today. And everything is going to continue to improve. The potential for us to achieve our mission is getting closer than ever before. As a result, it is time to take this experiment to the next level with the launch of empowr.com.   Introducing: The Open Alpha Stage (empowr.com) Very soon, the doors will be closing on the FanBox experiment, and each of you will become founding members of empowr: the world’s first democratic social economy. As discussed, on empowr, the economic algorithms have been recoded from the ground up, with the help of our many economics advisors.  Many issues that have existed on FanBox have been improved; the site looks and feels more clean and intuitive, and the ability for you to earn and achieve personal success is getting simpler than ever before. Personally, having witnessed all the good things that Brian accomplished in his Presidency, I am very much looking forward to all the great results that Martin will achieve, with the new product. In two upcoming posts, one from Brian and another from Martin, you will learn all about empowr – and exactly how the new site will be different than FanBox.   You’ll also learn about the timing, and how/when you will be able to automatically import your FanBox account (relationships, balance, profile, ads, blogs – everything) into the empowr economy. Of course, in the beginning, only you (current FanBox users) will be able to join empowr.com.  We anticipate that, like all new software, there will be some bugs and some things won’t be perfect – so when you point those things out to us, we will immediately work on fixing them. Then, only after you tell us that everything is working correctly, we’ll start letting in new citizens. Once the number of citizens reaches 1 million, we will once again close membership so together we can patiently work to improve everything before opening it again, in the next stage – the beta stage – which will likely open up to 10 million users. Now, it is time for all of us to take a moment to thank each other, for the patience and perseverance that each of you have shown, as we all did our part to improve the platform inch by inch, milestone by milestone – and prepare it for this next stage.  So THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU from everyone here at the FanBox offices -- for your incredible selflessness, sacrifices, belief in us and our mission.  We are so very humbled by how you have supported us and stood by us, despite our failures and shortcomings.  Without you and the selfless way you have given us everything, this experiment would not have been able to get to this stage, obviously.  You are as much an owner of this company as any of us. Therefore, to further thank you for all your sacrifices and hard work –we have been working with our corporate attorneys to provide each of you, with ownership (shares) in the empowr corporation – shares that you will be able to cash out if and when empowr goes public (meaning its shares become publicly traded in the stock exchange) something we hope will happen in mid-to-late 2016. This process is very unconventional because of the securities laws of the United States – which is why this has never legally happened in the U.S. with a private company.  But like everything else about FanBox, together we don’t easily take “no” for an answer -- only as a challenge -- and we have therefore challenged our lawyers to find a legal way to make it happen. After months of work on their part, we are now optimistic that we will have good news for you on that front… stay tuned for more information on this topic (updates on this topic will be sent to you personally, through your empowr inbox) within the coming weeks.  You can learn all about the next stage of the FanBox experiment here:  www.empowr.com Stay tuned for more information through a blog post from Brian within the next 24 hours, followed by another from Martin. Very truly yours, JC 

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Community Announcements

Early (big) news for 2020 Hello empowrians, Normally I wait until around January 1st to talk about the new year ahead of us, but this year we have some big, very important and timely announcements that we wanted to bring to your attention as soon as possible. Getting right to it, our three (3) big announcements are: 1.  Marketing plan ready for launch: Thanks to a tremendous amount of hard work this year -- A MASSIVE EFFORT -- by more than 200 people in our community, we’ve finally successfully identified all the details for our marketing approach for getting to critical mass globally in 2020, and are now – FINALLY --moving forward with our big, global marketing push! More details below. 2.  Now hiring Vice Presidents:  In order to launch and expand everywhere, we are hiring Vice Presidents for cities around the world to lead and manage operations in their city. As we promised we would, we are giving our best citizens who have worked hard for this mission and community for so very long, the first shot at those positions! More details below. 3.  The empowr alpha site will be taken down in 30 days from now, to make way for beta and global launch:  To pay for our massive global launch, we must cut all costs substantially. That means that we must reduce our computer server costs by 75%, by shutting down the alpha empowr site on Jan 5, 2020 in preparation for the beta launch. Let’s get into details on all three items now.   1.  Marketing plan ready for launch As you may remember, the last time we spoke (much earlier this year) I mentioned that it would likely be months before we chatted again, as our team on this end – with the help of many of our amazing community members -- was about to go deep – very deep -- into a project to try a LOT of different approaches to solve our last remaining big challenge. That last big challenge related to the marketing of the platform, and how to attract a lot of new users (citizens) to the platform very quickly – without getting and spending investor capital. As a reminder, together we’ve built just about all the technology it takes to deliver on our vision of giving the world a democratic social economy. But the technology by itself has much less – even little – value until it has a ‘critical mass’ of people using it. Does this make sense? To illustrate my point, let me use an example. For our example, think of a platform like the ride-sharing app Uber. No matter how good their technology is, unless there are enough drivers in your area, the platform would have virtually no value to passengers in your area... ... and until there are enough passengers in your area, the platform would have little to no value to drivers in your area. There is a magical point at which there are “enough” drivers or passengers in an area to make it work. That point is called ‘critical mass’. So, until critical mass is reached, the Uber platform has little (or even no) value, regardless of how great their innovations and technology are. Which means every new person that uses Uber, will not be satisfied because they won’t be able to get a ride (if they are a passenger)... ... or they won’t be able to earn (if they are a driver)... ... and they will likely leave the app and never return again after their horrible (low value) experience. As you can see, Uber (or Facebook, or Amazon, or most such companies including empowr) have two (2) challenges:  1.  First, they must build the technology and platform. 2.  And second, they must find a way to achieve a ‘critical mass’ of users very quickly, otherwise their platform has little to no value to anyone. In the case of Uber, Facebook and Amazon, all three of them solved their critical mass challenge by raising many billions of dollars in investment capital from investors... ... which they then spent on advertising to attract a lot of people to their platform quickly (at the same time) so that, magically, they would have a lot of (a ‘critical mass’ of) users arriving at their platform at the same time. In the case of empowr, together this community accurately predicted that, in the future, the world would desperately need a platform where people could communicate and earn – an economy – but that didn’t need to deliver growing quarterly profits to investors.  We’ve discussed how, thanks to the ‘network effect’, big Wall Street funded companies would arise that would dominate entire global industries.  They would become economies all onto themselves. And since these tech giant economies must deliver a growing amount of profits each quarter to their (Wall Street investor) shareholders, they would eventually damage society as those profits must be extracted away from the people they serve. Indeed, we have seen all 3 of the companies I mention above, act in ways that are making it clear that they are harmful for society, but have little choice because if they don’t deliver more and more profits to their investors every 90 days, their stock will crash, their employees will leave and their management team will be fired: Uber’s trials and tribulations are well-documented; Amazon is becoming quite famous for how little it pays its employees, and of course Facebook has lost all trust from everyone (Silicon Valley, media and even most of its own users) involved, since it has become clear that they are a morally bankrupt company that will do whatever it takes to survive even if it means breaking democracy around the world with their fake news and echo chambers that are dividing society, and with their continual user privacy violations that it has needed to do, in order to generate profits for its shareholders. As a result, this community decided that we would take the more difficult road, and attempt to build our platform without taking any money from investors. Indeed, we generated 250 Million U.S. Dollars and were successful in using that capital to build all the technology needed to deliver an economy to the world. Here's a partial list of the things we successfully figured out, through a lot of hard work, trial and error together: 1.     Social network that (unlike Facebook) doesn’t create echo chambers 2.     Full economy platform – first of its kind to combine social, marketplace, and currency – which is what Facebook is still trying and struggling to bring to market 3.     Sharing of everything (Watch video) to attack the climate crisis 4.     The software, know-how and techniques to crowdsource all work with our Success Coaches (now called Guides) so that we don’t need to hire tens of thousands of employees, like Facebook does a.     Responsible for education, marketplace and social network moderation, dispute management, Customer service 5.     Paying users for their usage: Posting, sharing and communications, while beating fraudsters, in order to attack global income inequality 6.     Generated diverse revenue streams – while not selling ads, users’ data or their privacy to corporations: a.     Transaction revenue b.     Subscription revenue c.     Advertising revenue (only to community members not corporations) d.     Cryptocurrency revenue   As many of you know, NONE of the above was easy, or went right the first time. Together, we dreamed, we built, we failed, and we kept picking ourselves back up and we kept working at it until it finally came together. And of course we did all of that without giving up on our mission and selling the community out – we’re still at it -- and continue to not take a single penny from profit-seeking investors. And, as it turns out, together we were right: As we predicted, the Internet has made it easy for people with a lot of money, to monopolize entire global industries, sending inequality to new heights. As an example of how bad it has gotten, now 26 individual people own as much wealth as the bottom half of humanity (4 billion people).                   Also as we predicted together, people are being squeezed economically and they are rising up everywhere, shaking democratic institutions to their core, demanding change. But that change is not coming, as the combination of the Internet and big capital is not slowing down and will eventually drive 99% of the income and wealth into the hands of the richest top 1%. We are also right that the most powerful companies on the planet would attempt to bring together the very thing we’ve been working on (an economy based on cryptocurrency). If you haven’t noticed, Facebook has been working on bringing cryptocurrency into its platform so it can become an economy. That is exactly what the world does NOT need at this point: An economy of 3 billion people that’s set up to extract money (IE: suck out profits) away from the community of people it pretends to serve, accelerating the economic haves/have nots (master/slave) class that’s already rapidly forming globally.   Again, to be clear, we were right with a lot of things, but none of it came easy to most of us: Our community members, Success Coaches and employees have all experienced differing levels of personal difficulty in keeping the faith and staying focused. Each of us, needed to decide for ourselves, if we could find the energy and optimism -- and funds -- to stay with the program and keep moving forward. Of course many of our amazing community members could not hang on and ultimately had to quit empowr to go find a way to provide for their families. And yet many of us hung in there, despite the immense difficulties, and managed to keep our chins up and find the optimism, not matter how hard that was to do at times. And some of us were even able to help others in the community, that were having the hardest time keeping optimistic, to find the light and hope. And so, on this end, here at the company headquarters, in 2019 we went deep into a project to see if we could find a way to get the platform to critical mass, WITHOUT taking money from investors. As some of you know very well (since you were working hand-in-hand with us on some or all of it) we tried many different marketing approaches. Without big marketing dollars to spend, this surely has been a gigantic challenge and quite difficult to solve. But after trying nearly 30 very different approaches, we now believe we have the optimal set of answers, approaches and tactics. Without revealing too much to our competitors, the answer is that we break the problem down to smaller pieces, and start with micro-communities. In other words, instead of trying to bring new citizens into the platform when there are not a lot of people around them (locally, where they live) yet.... ... we start by targeting very specific, smaller communities of people, that are the most likely to: A.  Understand and believe in our mission B.  Be open-minded to trying new things C.  And most importantly, immediately benefit from our offerings The idea was that, somehow, if we can identify smaller, local communities that are the most likely to meet those three (3) criteria... ... and are able to reach them and bring in many of them into the platform quickly... ... then they will find value in the platform and stay engaged. Then, from there, and with their help – and with their knowledge and experience with our platform, we can start expanding and reaching out to the adjacent communities and people... ... and start bringing them into the platform too... ... until nearly the whole world is utilizing our platform.   The ideal market So, which local community is most likely to benefit from our offerings, be open minded, and believe in our mission? Students Think about it for a moment.  Students (in particular college and university students): ·      Could use some extra income while they are in school, benefitting from earning from posting and sharing ·      It is hard for them to work ‘normal jobs’ given that they need flexible work schedules because their class schedules are constantly changing every academic semester. That schedule flexibility is exactly what our platform offers. ·      Many of them do not have cars, and it is hard for them to physically get to a job location. Again, that location flexibility is a benefit our platform offers. ·      They are young and will be on this planet for at least another half century, and therefore have shown to be the most motivated to ensure the planet is in good shape (and therefore are most likely to value our Sharing of Everything effort). ·      They are the most optimistic and idealistic – able to believe in big ideas and missions -- as life has not beaten them down as much as it has beaten down many older people. This ability to stay optimistic and hopeful is what defines most of you; without it you wouldn’t still be reading this. ·      They still believe in a sense of fairness, and are more motivated to see a world where inequality is getting better, not worse ·      They are the most capable and willing to learn and try new things – like our platform -- and less likely to get stuck in their old ways as much as older people are ·      They often live within small distances of their campus – sometimes ten thousand, twenty thousand or even more of them living within just a kilometer or mile of each other... ... which makes for a great ‘local’ (as in, close proximity to each other) community to get the most value out of our platform: o   With the our Sharing of Everything approach, as well as simple selling and delivering of products and services, a close geographic proximity to each other also means offering services becomes viable (near-impossible to do most services if the buyer and seller live far apart)... o   ...  and delivering products to each other is quite possible and even easy to do without having to pay for shipping Ideal target market:  College and university students After trying many different approaches during the course of 2019, we have slowly but surely become more and more convinced that the college market is the best way to reach a critical mass of citizens, at a local level. And therefore, we have been working on a comprehensive plan to target the college market in cities around the world, that includes everything we’ve built plus: ·      Local merchants around campuses o   Students will be able to use their mobile phone to pay merchants with their earnings from posting content, along with other earnings ·      And due to the local nature (close proximity of customers to each other): o   Earning by Transporting (finally!) o   Services and of course Sharing (as opposed to Selling) products Rather than take everyone’s time here, in this blog post, discussing all the details of our marketing launch, we’ll share it with our new city Vice Presidents – who are the people that will be leading and managing each city’s college campuses, students, merchants and Guides. For a list of the incredible community members that contributed to this massive effort, go to the bottom of this post.   2.  Now hiring Vice Presidents Each city will need a leader, to work with the local universities, students, Guides and merchants. Naturally, for their work, Vice Presidents will earn a % of all the revenue that their students and merchants earn. This VP role is looking like the very best opportunity to earn that we’ve had in our history. Our process of training Vice Presidents will get started in the coming days, so that immediately after the New Year rolls around (in just 30 days from now) they’ll be able to start working and earning. To apply for the Vice President position for your city, go here.  I know you have many questions, including: What are the Vice President’s responsibilities? Will I have support? How do I know what to do? What kind of merchants can I bring in? How much can each VP earn? Are there any limits? How much time will this take? Who can be a Vice President? We will answer all of those questions for you; rather than go into all those details here, simply take a few seconds to raise your hand to indicate your interest, and we’ll answer all of that. Thanks to all the hard work and incredible focus and persistence, the empowr community has figured out what it takes to arrive at critical mass quickly and without taking any funds from investors. Those steps with now be detailed for Vice Presidents. Our first step together will be to show you the exact steps you need to do, to bring your city into critical mass. To indicate your interest and find out all the details, simply fill out this quick form.   3.  We must now take down the alpha site to cut costs and make way for our global beta launch:  The monthly cost of keeping the empowr alpha system’s computer servers up and running is approximately $100,000 USD. Up to now, all such costs have been paid by our community of citizens, Guides (success coaches) and employees. In order to have the resources to pay for the global launch, we must cut that cost. Since we know everyone has already more than done their part, instead of asking the community for donations that total up to $100,000 per month, we think it makes more sense to take the alpha site down, in preparation for the beta launch and marketing push. The empowr alpha site will be taken down in 31 days from now -- on January 5th, 2020.  When that happens: A.  The empowr product will become inaccessible. B.  Everyone’s data will be gone forever, unfortunately, since the storage of the data makes up a lot of the monthly cost. That means that, when the beta site is launched, everyone will need to start with a fresh new account. To be clear, your coins that are on the blockchain will be fine and won’t be affected; but your empowr balance will be inaccessible until the beta site is launched unfortunately, since it lives in the empowr site and cloud. When the beta site is launched, your alpha coin balance will appear in the new beta site. When the beta site is launched in January, the monthly cost of hosting our servers will be much lower because all the data will be gone. In order to give everyone some time to back up any blogs, photos or other content they have, we are giving the community 31 days before taking down the alpha site. So please, take some time over the holidays to back up any amazing blogs and other items that you think you will later miss.   Imagine critical mass Just think of all the benefits that will come once the new platform is up and running and the marketing process has begun: ·      A wider variety of people in the community and things in the marketplace (merchants, services and product sharing) ·      More people transacting o   = more liquidity on the exchange §  = more buying and selling ·      = more cash outs for everyone An empowr platform with critical mass is not something any of us at empowr have ever experienced. (Again, as an example, an Uber with critical mass has little value; but an Uber at critical mass has immense value).  Just imagine the empowr experience after we surpass critical mass soon. Our process of training Vice Presidents will get started soon, so that immediately after the New Year rolls around (in only 30 days from now) they’ll be able to start working and earning. Again, to apply to be the leader (Vice President) for your city, simply let us know of your interest here.    2020 is only 3 weeks away! With the big, and very difficult 2019 ‘research year’ finally behind us now, 2020 promises to be our most exciting year yet.  (And there will be a few surprises that I am not at liberty to speak about quite yet, to ensure that our competition doesn’t hear about it). Personally, I cannot tell you how incredibly excited I am to finally be back to working with everyone on the product, making it faster, bug-free and adding all the features you’ve been asking for, speaking with you more often, and charging forward together again... ... like we did together for so many years before we all got sucked into this last big challenge.   A huge thank you to some very special people A big THANKS again to everyone that worked hard in the efforts to figure out how to achieve critical mass without investor capital. It was a long and difficult process, but together we did it.   Here are those superstars – sorted in alphabetical order. Thank you!!!                   Please accept my sincere apologies if I accidentally forgot to include you on the list.  Yours truly, JC   &nbs

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JC is back

JC is back. Hello empowr citizens, My name is JC and I was the original community organizer here at empowr, before the initial empowr presidential election. I am an employee of empowr and work closely with the empowr engineers. As you can gleam from my previous posts, I went silent for a while, to ensure I didn’t overshadow our democratically elected presidents. In the recent days, it seems like there has been a need for someone to step up and bring some clarity to a number of issues, so I will be posting again temporarily. I’m thinking about posting around four (4) high level categories: 1.      1. Short-term earning tricks and techniques for you 2.      2. Long-term strategies for you 3.      3. Addressing rumors that might be circulating    4.      4. New product and feature announcements   As a result of this journey, I promise that  A) you will learn a lot; B) empowr will learn a lot from you; and C) together we will fine-tune and improve our products, invent new products and bring them to you, and accelerate our approach to accomplishing the empowr mission.     My approach to blogging As a blogger, I take my commitment to my readers seriously, therefore: 1.  Useless comments:  I will be deleting all useless comments – such as “Thanks for sharing”, “Good post” and other such useless garbage that make it harder for readers to engage in the conversation.  (Imagine if you’re trying to have a meeting with some friends, and some idiot keeps interrupting your discussion with “Thanks for talking” and “Nice”. Very annoying and takes away from your ability to focus and achieve results).   2.  Unrelated comments:  I’ll also be deleting comments that don’t relate to the topic of the blog post.  Example: If the post is about “Power User subscriptions” or “Ad Credits” and you decide to ask or discuss some other topic in your comment, I’ll be deleting your comment. (That includes any personal identifying info. I am not taking over the responsibilities of your success coach. If you have issues, ask your current success coach or get a different one).   3.  Stay constructive. If you’re not smart enough or you don’t care enough to engage in a discussion, and your only desire is to call empowr a scam, your comment will be deleted. I might even block you from joining any of my conversations and posts.   (Look - I have no problem with constructive criticism –  in fact that’s how we’ll learn together, and improve both your skills and the empowr products together.  But if you’re only here to be destructive, you have no place being in an Open Alpha phase project like empowr is right now, and therefore you will be ejected from the conversation and maybe even the site. On the other hand, if you’ve got constructive criticism, don’t hold back – things may get heated but we’ll end up better as a result).   OK, now that you understand my commitment and approach… ... before I get started, I’d like to hear from you… …. what topics would you like to hear about and/or discuss?   Yours sincerely, JC

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What’s the point of empowr? Is there really a need

What’s the point of empowr? Is there really a need? Thanks again for your ideas and thoughts regarding the new Pay Later (Stay Optimized) option. More new features are on the way The empowr engineering team is working feverishly, developing in parallel a number of new initiatives that will be launched in the coming days and weeks. I am EAGER to open up the discussion about those new topics, but as discussed in the last post, we first must ensure everyone is here, at empowr, for the right reasons. The issue that we need to address immediately, is that thousands of people have joined empowr in recent months… … and despite the sizeable number of educational assets empowr has made available (all sorts of videos, a book, success coaches, etc.) some of these fine new empowr citizens still seem have no idea what empowr is here to do, and why it exists… … and perhaps some of them see empowr any nothing but a place to make them some short-term cash.   As a result, it is near-impossible to have a constructive discussion together about many of the new things that are about to launch… … if many of us are not sure why empowr exists… …  or worst – if they have an inaccurate understanding of what empowr has been developed to do for them.                                               -----------------    So before we discuss all the new features and initiatives on the way, let's discuss….    What’s the point of empowr? Is there really a need? All you need to do, is turn on the news these days, and you’ll be reminded that some big changes are happening in our world – and it’s not clear that it’s for the better. People everywhere have a growing sense that the world appears to be headed to a very different, and likely much darker place. In the United States, Donald Trump has shocked the world with his ascendency, given the constant stream of garbage coming out of his mouth that would have ended every presidential candidate’s bid in previous election cycles. Upon investigation, the reason that large groups of people seem to believe in him, is that they are feeling insecure economically. More on that in a moment. In Great Britain, last week the people voted to leave the European Union. Again, just like with the U.S. example, when you dig deeper, the main reason you will uncover is economic. Like the message from Trump, the fears being expressed were about “outsiders” and “immigrants” stealing their jobs and economic power. It’s important to note that the United States and the United Kingdom are two of the countries that have recovered fairly decently, relatively speaking, from the 2008 global financial meltdown. Most other countries have not quite done as well yet, and their economies are doing worst than the U.S. and U.K. economies. The bottom line is that there are a couple of forces at work… … and those two forces are, unfortunately, bringing with them significant upheaval, and… poverty… … economic inequality… …  and insecurity about the future.   What is causing this poverty, economic inequality and insecurity? The changes – and widespread poverty – are being caused by two big and unstoppable forces: 1.  Globalization Globalization is where someone in, say, America or Europe, as an example, who is accustomed to earning $25/hour to $40/hour… ... loses his/her job because it’s now very easy to give that job to someone in China or Vietnam who is willing to do the same job for $1/hour to 2/hour. In the above example, if you live outside America, you might say, who cares what happens in America? You should care, because it WILL affect you too, as I’ll explain in a moment. As the jobs move away rapidly, the people losing their jobs hardly have an opportunity to notice what’s happening, and have no time to retool / reeducate themselves. The changes happen so fast that schools, governments and society have little ability to react, if at all. Everyone is left feeling overwhelmed. And many are feeling angry.   2. Automation Automation is where jobs are replaced by software, or robots. This is happening around us very quickly. For example: When Skype (with only a few hundred employees) is all that’s left of millions of jobs that once supported long distance telephone companies around the world…. Or when Walmart, using smart centralized “big data” wipes out millions of mom and pop shops… … only to have Amazon do the same to Walmart... Or when digital music, distributed over the web, decimates the entire global music industry… … or e-books wipe out bookstores around the world… … or millions of travel agents have been replaced by a few dozen travel websites… … you get the picture.  Software and automation are wiping out jobs. 20 years ago, if you predicted these changes would happen this quickly, you would have been laughed out of the room. But wait. It’s only about to get worse, as the pace accelerates. The rate of change is increasing. In the next few years, the effects of automation will be felt in even bigger ways.  Need an example? Let’s take a look at the #1 most popular job in many countries around the world (the job that more people do than any other type of job)  -- the U.S. included:  The number one type of job is driving a vehicle.  Truck drivers, bus drivers, taxi drivers etc.  As you probably know, self-driving automated (driver-less) cars are on the way. Massive competition is underway between all the car companies in addition to the tech giants such as Google, Apple, Uber, etc. In the next decade, most drivers will be replaced by self-driving vehicles. In fact, it’s easy to predict that, soon after self-driving cars become the norm, in many/most parts of the world, it will slowly but surely become illegal for humans to drive a car on public roads…. …  because humans, unlike computers, don’t have hundreds or thousands of sensors like computers can have -- noticing every little movement on the road and talking to all other computerized vehicles in the vicinity at the same time. It will simply be too dangerous to have humans driving on those same roads.  Did you know that motor vehicle accidents is now the #1 leading cause of death for young people globally.  Source: The World Health Organization Road traffic injuries is the number 1 cause of adolescent deaths globally, and the second largest cause of illness and disability for them. Humans will not be able to compete with the safety that automated cars can provide; so driving on most public roads will likely eventually become illegal around the world, in an attempt to drive down road traffic injuries and death. If you look at most of the other top type of jobs, it’s getting easier to see the same pattern: Most other jobs too, will be wiped out by automation. It takes very little imagination to see that eventually most job, from doctors to waiters to teachers to factory workers…. … will be replaced by more efficient, harder working, cheaper and more effective software applications and robots.   Great wealth will be (and IS already being) generated The companies that bring these technologies to the world will create massive wealth for their founders, major shareholders and a few key employees. But for everyone else, these technologies will wipe out their jobs; they and their labor will simply no longer be needed. The result will be unemployment like we have likely never, ever witnessed before – not even in the greatest of depressions. In the past, when technology replaced workers, the workers eventually found new jobs. For example, when new technology (such as tractors, fertilizer, etc.) pushed workers out of the farms, those folks moved on to all the new factories that new technology was enabling. But this time, automation is coming to everything so quickly that the world will hardly be recognizable in just ten or so years.   Summary: Globalization and Automation are about to usher in a new era of unemployment, poverty and inequality. The effects of widespread and sudden poverty As if poverty wasn’t a big enough problem by itself, it (poverty) creates another massive problem -- a problem even more damaging than widespread poverty -- which we will discuss in an upcoming post.   In the meantime, we would all love to hear your thoughts… … on the effects of globalization and automation in your country…. … and related topics.   Please remember that, as discussed recently:    1.  I will delete all unrelated comments; and that    2.  Readers are NOT visiting this blog post to discuss any specific issues that you or your account are experiencing. Please post your random and/or unrelated thoughts somewhre else, like in your own blog post, and reach out to your success coach to address any account-related issues.

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Democracy NOW