Colony

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= "Colony.io makes it easy for people all over the world to build companies together online": "Colony is a social collaboration platform for distributed organisations. Users can start projects online and build a workforce to help make them a reality".

URL = http://colony.io/


Description

"The hierarchical company is outdated. It is inefficient at scale and is incompatible with the kinds of distributed, scalable organisations the internet should allow.

Colony provides a new approach: a software platform for web and mobile which enables peer-to-peer organisations by providing structure and discipline.

Talent is highly distributed, yet opportunity is highly centralised.

Many people would like to start or work on startups, and though starting up is easier than ever, there are still significant barriers to entry.

Consequently, the passion, talent, and energy these people might otherwise commit to commercial projects are often channeled into online communities, free open source software projects and other hobbies.

Colony is a social collaboration platform for distributed organisations. Users can start projects online and build a workforce to help make them a reality.

Because it aligns the incentives of the workforce around being productive, it is possible for people anywhere in the world to work on a project without the need for hierarchical management.

The platform incentivises users to compete to be the most skilled and productive workers by distributing cryptoequity in proportion to the value of each user’s contribution.

The platform automates the project management process, aggregating the collective intelligence of the workforce in suggesting tasks, making decisions, assigning tasks to the best candidates and providing feedback on people’s work.

Every aspect of the platform employs game mechanics and behavioural design to ensure a compelling experience which encourages repeat engagement."


Discussion

Tiberius Brastaviceanu:

"They don't seem to address issues related to the material part of economic activity. For example, if a colony's mission is to provide solutions in the form of material goods, like Sensorica with sensors and electronic systems, the IT infrastructure needs to be able to treat shared physical spaces (the Sensorica lab in our case), equipment, and materials. FOAM is a protocol for proof of location that can be used in material assets management, to assess that something is there now, it is in use by agent x, with required credentials and reputation, and will be moves to another location, ... Economic processes in the context of a colony that processes material stuff goes beyond planning, tasks, bounties on tasks, decision making, allocation of tallent/skills to tasks, redistribution of benefits... it must deal also with the materials that go into completing these tasks.

There is a strong form of centralization introduced by the "Common Colony". Members of this central colony, with a lot of power over the development of the protocol as well as over the code of all colonies formed on this platform, are individuals that hold CLNY, a central cryptocurrency, mather of all the other cryptocurrencies created by all the other hosted colonies. I suppose that the people who are developing Colony will hold the majority of these CLNYs. The problem I have with this that the ownership of CLNY currency doesn't seem to follow the same meritocracy that governs individual colonies. In other words, by being part of the creation of Colony you earn your CLNY's, which will give you immutable influence over the ecosystem. I might be wrong, but my first impression is that the creators of Colony are securing a long standing influence over the ecosystem which is only based on being there first do do the heavy lifting in the beginning. Nothing wrong with wanting to cash out your pioneering work. But I don't think that this kind of attitude leads to highly adaptable and long lasting organisations. Those who have power usually want to maintain it, even it that means reducing the potential of the entire organisation.

We need to distinguish here between the power of the initial development team, which is gradually transfered to the Common Colony, and the permanent power of the Common Colony. Those in the initial team who have full control at the beginning over the platform will hold CLNY's and will remain influencial in the Common Colony after the initial development team has transfered all its influence to the Common Colony.


I am philosophicaly opposed to the idea that the creator of some thing should be able to exert an influence on that thing and extract rent from it for life. Usually these creators do a bad job taking care or their creations to maximize good for society. They better go back to the "creating" job, they are creators, and let their creations take a life of their own, be forked, improved, mixed with other things, etc, to maximize impact on society. Society should take care of creators in other ways, so that they don't need to design their creations with mechanisms built in to insure paybacks for life.

So not everything that is built on Ethereum is decentralized and meritocratic. Systems can be designed so that some people maintain a permanent position of influence and permanent rent extracting schemes can be implemented. Moreover, even if the platform is open source it doesn't mean that it comes without traps.

It seems to be still largely culturally acceptable for initiators to carve for themselves longlasting positions of influence, power and economic benefits. People seem to think that it is justified, it seems to be morally acceptable. This is part of the traditional entrepreneurship culture, cult and mantra. We prize entrepreneurs who built empires and became billionaires. We treat them like saints, a la Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. And any young entrepreneur is dreaming about creating the next big thing and get super rich. And that's the problem... The purpose of these entrepreneurs has become to get rich and popular, rather than solving problems for society.

But I predict this culture to collapse, because as these platforms get more and more open, since they cannot scale otherwise in the new p2p environment, others will rapidly copy and remix systems like Colony. In the end, efficient organisations will win, and those are not the ones that have an influencial core made of a small group of the same initial people, who will try to preserve their personal interests. They may have a core, some form of hierarchy, but with a high vertical mobility based on merit.

Back to the technical stuff about Colony, it would be much more interesting to see a decay function applied to CLNY's and a CLNY button up creation scheme, meaning that good activity and performance at the hosted colony level can provide participants with new CLNY's allowing them to work their way up to the Common Colony and increase their influence on the entire ecosystem. This way the whole system is driven by the most successful colonies, the ones that have figured out how best to run their bussiness, being the true interface with the real world. These programmers who initiated the platform but who most of the time have little experience with the real world application of the platform, will get their paychecks but their dividends and influence will diminish in time, to let the users take more control of further development, based on their precious real world experience with the le tool and based on how they think the tool can help them more.

I also find their "token economy" overly engineered. There are a lot of implicit assumptions in there that might be flat wrong. Reading it, I was comparing with our ideas from Sensorica and some of their design choices seem to be arbitrary or based on superficial experience. I suppose they have to start somewhere... and they are probably trying to create something simple to start and adapt it as they go, as the first colonies get established to provide feedback for further changes. But if the starting point is way off it might even be a non starter. Do they have a real community feeding them information on their starting point? " (G+ comments March 2018)