Talking to Felix Lepoutre is like taking a glimpse into the future. He was part of the founding team of Seats2Meet, when the 2500 square meter co-working space in Utrecht first opened its doors in 2007 and most of its first visitors walked around the place with a question mark above their heads. We can work here, all day, ánd enjoy a free healthy lunch, freshly made by this cool guy here in the open kitchen? And all you guys want in return, is for us to have an open mind? Nowadays Lepoutre is in charge of Meetberlage, a Seats2meet.com in Amsterdam. Serendipity is key to its success, he says. “It’s all about meeting new people and having relevant unexpected encounters.”
Serendipity is the key. How does that work?
The way we’ve been organising ourselves since the era of industrialisation is not working anymore. We don’t need traditional factory labour anymore, smart technology has changed the whole playing field, and access to knowledge is changing our entire playing field. It’s not only happening in factories, we see organisational structures changing everywhere, in education, in transport, healthcare. The rules of the game are changing rapidly. A lot of organisations are now asking themselves, what is our role?
If these organisations and corporates want an active role in the new game, they need to start creating value in a different way than by merely making products and selling them with the best margins. They need to connect with people and start creating value together with them.
For an idea to be successful, you now need a large ecosystem of people. You need a lot of connections. The more people, the better. The smarter the network, the better. When a lot of smart people exchange knowledge and expertise around an idea, there will be a lot of unexpected relevant meetings, a lot of relevant connections. The idea will then gain a mesh of people with shared ownership, because all these connected people have given their input. Then you’ll see that both the group and the idea itself strengthen.
Relevance is very important here. You need to be relevant and create relevant connections where people can join, participate, meet and connect.
Bee Collective: Swarm Solutions aims to give these participants shared ownership in a Pop Up Company. What do you think about this idea?
We definitely need a new model of shared ownership. And it needs to be different than the new eco-systems of shared services such as Über and AirBnB. A lot of these platforms are still being built on traditional financing structures. They are small companies with large amounts of users and they are being overvalued by the old economic system.
What we need and what we see emerging are Decentralised Collective Organisations such as Assembly.com and Quirky.com, which realize products in collaboration with large amounts of people. People can be part of a core team, or sign in on a specific task. The products are made with stakeholders, not shareholders. They attract people who believe in the core team and its products and who want to be part of it.
And how should we organise this profit sharing according to you?
Most initiatives nowadays work with coins. Matan Fields from La’zooz talks about that. (For even more detail check the comments of the pin).
Let’s say you issue 100.000 coins to realise an idea. Then you define all the tasks that need to be made and divide the coins according to the amount of work or skill that is needed to finish the task. For example, a task could be ‘looking for financial resources’. Or ‘building a website’. For each task you can earn a certain amount of coins. Everyone can have a say in the valuation of the tasks and the core team has a larger say.
The coins correspond with ownership. So when I have earned 10.000 coins of the full 100.000, I’ll have 10% of ownership and will earn 10% of the profits that are made.
This is still work in progress for me. I haven’t given it my full thought yet and I haven’t come across an organisation yet which works like this. This ownership should be dynamic - the more work you put in the bigger the ownership - and should keep in mind economic rules such as inflation, re-valuation and dilution when new coins have to be created. Matan has a model for this, and it is being tested right now.
The Bee-Collective: Swarm Solutions event would be the first then! When would the event be a success to you?
It would be a success when a swarm of independent professionals, entrepreneurs, students, you name it -, together with a large corporate, would establish a new business entity where this shared ownership and this new ownership can be tested. That we can show to the world, look we’ve created this new type of organisation, all of these people from the swarm are involved, they are part of a new business entity, they all profit, ánd it’s good for everybody, you, me, the corporate world, society, everybody. I want to show to the world that this works, as we’ve been showing with Seats2meet.com as inspired by Society3.0.