The Rise of the Cloud Corporation

We live at a unique time in human history at the end of the Industrial Age and the beginning of the Information Age. With this change in the times has come a dramatic shift in the balance of power—information, a commodity once guarded by and empowering the few, is now readily accessible to all, enabling the flattening of the world as Thomas Friedman has described. But what we have witnessed so far is only the beginning. While information has empowered the masses, only recently have the masses begun to realize their power. We’ve seen how technologies such as Facebook and Twitter have enabled the liberation of Egypt and Tunisia, with possibly more successful revolutions to follow.

But the balance of power is not only shifting in the political arena—it is shifting in the business world as well. Industries once dominated by the few are now the domain of many. Take how blogs have emerged as a powerful force rivaling conventional media. I believe we will see similar transformations across industries. As more and more people begin to realize their power, what I ultimately envision is a world of entrepreneurs. A world where everyone believes in their ability to provide for themselves and to add value to society, without the corporation as their steward.

This transformation does not need to take place at the expense of the corporation, but certainly of the corporation as we know it today. As we have seen software gradually transition to the “Cloud,” where applications are hosted over the internet rather than maintained by individual users, I believe we will see the emergence of the Cloud Corporation, where corporations do not necessarily control all of the assets creating value, but they instead organize and manage resources from disparate sources. Like Cloud technologies, the Cloud Corporation would not have to maintain its people in a traditional sense of a salary and benefits, but would utilize the services that they provide as individual entrepreneurs. In such a world, everyone is a free agent, a freelancer, a subcontractor, an entrepreneur.

Such a system would provide immense value both to individuals and to corporations. Individuals gain the freedom and economic benefit of running their own business, while corporations gain the freedom of not having to maintain employees over the long term in order to utilize their services. This also creates an incentive system where individuals must create value for their businesses to survive, and where the work they do is more directly tied to their economic prosperity. In such a system, individuals are likely to produce greater value, which benefits the individual, benefits the company that utilizes their services, and benefits society as a whole as the combined effect of many individuals performing at a higher level will result in greater macroeconomic prosperity.

The key to making this new world a reality is to empower the masses and make people realize the great things they are capable of. And the key to that is Education.

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Money is Time

The old adage tells us that “Time is money,” and at the surface this seems to make sense.  We spend our time at work to earn money.  Compound interest makes our money grow over time.  But then again what exactly is money?

Money is currency.

What does this mean?  This means that money is the universally accepted means by which we trade goods and services.  It is a symbolic representation of the value we would otherwise convey in bartering these goods and services.  It’s only a representation of value, not value itself.

So where does the value come from?  Labor.  It takes work to produce TVs, food, cars, and houses.  It takes work to clean someone’s teeth, repair their refrigerator, or massage their tired feet.  It takes time to do this work—your time as you go to work each day to produce some of these goods and services.

It also takes a certain amount of skill.  Your doctor attended years of med school.  The singer of your favorite band has spent countless hours practicing and perfecting his art.  The engineer who designed the power plant that powers your home has put considerable effort into obtaining the certifications and technical knowledge needed to design that plant.  Skills take time and effort to develop, and this time and effort is factored into how we value the goods and services that people produce.

The goods, services, and information produced by society are all produced through the expenditure of time.  It is time, not money, that is the ultimate measure of value—money is merely a surrogate. So it appears that the old adage has got it backwards. Money, in fact, is time.

Time is the most precious commodity of our lives.  It is the root of all value, yet few of us are very effective at managing this scarce and precious resource to get more of what we want out of life, myself included.  It is astounding that we are not taught from a very early age how to focus time toward our vision of a perfect world to make that world a reality.

Think if we could double the amount of value each person can produce in their lifetime—economic, social, spiritual, artistic, environmental value.  Think how that would send the quality of life on Earth soaring to new heights.  If we change how people harness the power of time, we will change the world.

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The Vision

What is your utopia?  If you could build your perfect world, what would it look like?

My vision is a world where everyone has the resources and freedom to shape their world the way they see fit.  I imagine us all as gods shaping the air before us like clay—stretching and molding a world that makes us truly happy.

But to build this world we need to know what makes us happy.  We need to have a vision.

What is it that you want more of out of life?  What are the commodities that you value?

Is it money and material comfort?  Is it time with the people you love most?  Perhaps it’s creative expression, or self-actualization.  Maybe it’s enjoyment of the arts or nature.  Giving to others is another commodity that many of us value.  Most of us want and need several of these things, in varying amounts, to be happy.

Whatever it is, in order to get more of it you need to identify it.

Now you have it in your mind.  Let that image burn in your thoughts.  Feel that fire focus your efforts, your abilities, and your resources through the lens of discipline to project your world upon reality.

I imagine us all this way—directing and shaping  the transient rivers of time, wealth, and love to form a world whose beauty we each hold in our mind.  Everyone has this potential, and with your help I want to unlock the secrets of human potential, so that we can each build our utopia.

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