My name is Peter and I have a startup where I own ONE share.
One share in a platform I’ve been working for free about 20–40 hours a week for the last year.
One share in which I routinely put in my own cash (earned in the other 10–30 hours a week doing paying gigs).
One share in a startup that I will never get rich from, even if it becomes a billion dollar enterprise (which is quite possible).
Why would anyone in their right mind do such a thing?
The answer is quite simple.
I want to actually change the world.
Not the superficial, hollow, Silicon Valley version where a few geeky founders create a clever app that gets adopted feverishly by early adopters, rakes in VC cash, goes viral with use and then is deftly, insidiously morphed into a shadow of its former self as the money men start making decisions that it’s time to “monetize” a now-vast enterprise that had no business model to begin with.
This is the Silicon Valley version of changing the world and it’s totally void of meaning or purpose, while doing something quite treacherous… empowering the giant wealth-sucking vacuum that has been systematically draining the lower and middle classes of their ability to survive, creating economic imbalances previously undreamed of, even in the days of Pharaoh.
How does this happen?
It’s quite simple.
There are six basic steps:
- A genius geek has an idea about a new way of connecting people. He — as the phenomenon is predominantly male, but not entirely–sees a new opportunity to build bridges between disconnected groups of people and usually doesn’t have any idea how this new app will make money. Often it doesn’t even matter, because the novel way people become connected is so exciting that no one really cares at first.
- The new platform grows dramatically, as people freak out over this novel new way of staying connected and (often) entertained.
- A curious beast enters the equation… the Venture Capitalist (VC). This person (also usually a man, or group of men) sees the possibility of money accompanying all of the natural, organic transactions happening between those hundreds of thousands or often millions of people.
- Money is dumped in by the bucket loads.
- Then the change comes. A change in which interruptions in the flow of natural, organic exchanges between people occurs… interruptions that either involve advertising or the storage and reselling of terabytes worth of personal data about the people doing the exchanges.
- The geeky founder(s) get mind-numbingly rich. But so do the VCs.
And therein lies the disturbing reality of how tech startups are fueling the largest redistribution of wealth the world has ever seen… for while the founder geek usually only makes hundreds of millions from his novel new way of connecting people, the VCs who inevitably fuel his startup’s growth are playing this game with MANY startups. They have their hands in lots of pots and the wealth being generated is mind-boggling. It’s so vast that the average person can’t even begin to fathom the power and opportunity being generated by such a relatively small group of individuals.
Put another way, something very dark is happening in the global economy… we’ve gone from 388 to 62 in just five years.
What do those numbers represent?
The amount of wealth held by a group of individuals compared to the bottom half of humanity.
It’s worth repeating.
Five years ago 388 people held the same amount of wealth as the bottom half of humanity.
Now it’s 62.
Think about that for a moment.
Are you on a bus or subway right now?
Sitting in a cafe?
At home over breakfast?
Ask yourself… could you fit 62 people into the space you’re in right now?
Sure, I haven’t done a year long research project determining the causal link between Silicon Valley profits and the growth of wealth among the top .01% (or perhaps even .001%) but it’s kind of irrelevant, because one thing is unmistakably clear… tech startups are massive wealth-creating schemes that concentrate ownership into very few hands.
And thereby we come back to my opening statement.
My name is Peter and I have a startup where I own one share.
If you sign up (as a musician, indie label or music fan) you will also have one share.
This startup could easily become a billion dollar company. We’ve done the research, we’ve done the math. The possibility is real.
But instead of creating yet another wealth-sucking vacuum that inevitably sells out its user base to fuel its growth, we’re building a cooperative where everyone that participates can share in making decisions and share in the profits.
It’s called a platform cooperative and there are quite a few projects emerging that are operating with the same model.
You could join us, support one of the other ones or even start your own if you have a great idea and know some programmers.
Then gradually, over time we can start to reverse those numbers. Suck the wealth back down so it’s shared across a more diverse spectrum of humanity. And maybe, just maybe, make a totally new world where everyone wins instead of a ridiculously small group of people.
A small group of people that could fit in the room you’re sitting in.