Friday, December 18, 2009

Transparency in a company...

As we launch what we hope to be a new model for media and doing work on the articles of incorporation and bylaws for SeThInk a great deal of discussion has been devoted to the concept of 'transparency'. I was reading some stuff on Wiki and found these two pages of interest:

1 - Corporate transparency is a form of radical transparency: The construct removing all barriers to —and facilitating of— free and easy public access to corporate, political and personal information and the laws, rules, social connivance and processes that facilitate and protect those individuals and corporations who freely join, develop and embellish the process. The goal of radical transparency is:

1. Complete personal and corporate transparency.

2. The health, safety, and well being of individuals, neighborhoods, communities, institutions, governments and social support systems that subscribe.

3. The protection of the natural environment.

4. The dynamic development of the social assumptions, laws, and conviviance that construct the radical transparency paradigm.

The idea of radical transparency is diametrically opposite—though not opposed and often synced to the ultimate goals of those of privacy advocates. Central is the idea of free access to "personal" information. But melded to that element is the idea of private ownership of that publicly accessible information. The information can not be used freely to enhance economic or political profit or to harm or use the participant.

For two examples:

1. John Smith lives at 555 Main Street, Anytown, USA and his phone # is 555-1234. He is also diabetic. If you wanted to use that information to advertise your business or service, John Smith has the right to charge you for the right to solicit him. You do not have the right to send him mail, or phone him or in other ways use that information for profit freely.

2. John Smith is also an undocumented British citizen who distributes cocaine in his neighborhood and generated $44,000.00 in income for himself last year. INS, IRS, and law enforcement could not use that public accessible information to prosecute him, collect taxes, deport him, interrogate him, or in any way diminish his quality of life.

To imagine how this might work:
Suppose all claimed publicly accessible information were considered both "creative works of pure fiction" and "intellectual property" upon which those making it available, either the individual (hence "radical") or corporation ("traditional") had full copyright/trademark/patent/intellectual property protection and ownership. In this way radical disclosure would extend and expand to individuals the protections currently extended and enjoyed by corporations, their boards and officers.

After reading that I scratched my head a bit and clicked on the 'radical transparency' link that was on the page and read.....

2. - Radical transparency is a management approach in which (ideally) all decision making is carried out publicly.
Draft documents, arguments for and against a proposal, the decisions about the decision making process itself, and final decisions are all publicly accessible and remain publicly archived. Exceptions to full transparency typically include data related to personal privacy, security, and passwords or keys necessary for access required to carry out publicly negotiated decisions.

Technical actions perceived to be controversial or political are considered to lack legitimacy until a clear, radically transparent decision has been made concerning them.
Radical transparency is much more transparent than accountability.

It requires decision making to be transparent right from the beginning of the decision making process, while accountability is a process of verifying the quality of decisions or actions after they have been taken.

This difference implies that while accountability generally implements some sort of punishment mechanism against individuals or institutions judged to have taken poor quality decisions or actions, after those decisions have been taken or actions carried out, radical transparency encourages corrections and improvements to decisions to be made long before poor quality decisions have the chance to be enacted. Hence, radical transparency potentially helps avoid the need for punishment mechanisms.

The potential of radical transparency to allow corrections and improvements to decision making is likely to be higher when the decision making method is either a consensus decision making method or a democratic decision making method. However, even when the decision making method is authoritarian (unilateral), radical transparency may still encourage the decision maker to make better decisions.


When I think about the kind of transparency I would like to see SeThInk Media model I imagine posting monthly earning reports, where the money went, and how that money was spent by those it went to. Is that radical?

I thought it would be entertaining:
"Hey - we got to by new horse troughs with our share of the flow."
"We managed to pay our rent this month from ours"
"We bought our children some new clothes and paid off our vet bill"

You can see what I mean. I think people started hiding their earnings and how they spent it because somewhere in the growth of the flow there was a ridiculous surplus that started to be squandered in meaningless ways - and that is a tragic ending for good energy flow. So people starting hiding because in reality they never even had a long term vision of how they would direct that kind of flow so when it happened they simply flushed it.

The culture of people whom SeThInk Media intends to serve and those whom SeThInk intends to employ are vibrating at a different level - not the level that 'denounces' wealth and sees money as 'the root of all evil' though. SeThInk Media understands that money=energy and energy=money and this company is being founded to channel energy and money into long term vision, planning, building a sustainable infrastructure for our future. And for this to manifest then the company is going to have to be a portal for a huge amount of money/energy.

I want this company to be transparent - so people can see clearly how they too can begin to take steps towards long term planning and building regenerative and sustainable community where they are and become proudly transparent.

What do you think?


Friday, December 11, 2009

Website Launched

It sat for many moons with a 'under construction' status and we are stoked to have it up. It always feels like giving birth to a cyber-baby and just like any biological baby these web-babies take constant nourishment and care.
We decided to not have a drop-down navbar because we wanted the site to have a 'spherical' look - we imagine that as the company grows we will have to figure something else out but for now we like the custom look. So the journey begins here...SeThInk Media is going to experiment with the concept of 'corporate transparency' so we recommend subscribing to this blog because we are going to be logging this companies development in ways that are completely 'outside of the box'. It is late as I type so I am off to sleep - so I will begin the official "President's Log" in my next post.

In Spherical Solidarity
Daniel Cavallaro

President SeThInk Media