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Announcement: The end of the FanBox "Closed Alpha" stage
It’s been almost two years since you heard from me. If you remember, I created a series of posts, starting with this one, that would ultimately lead to handing over control of the company to our users (you).
Then, we launched our first presidential election – and you voted for our first democratically-elected President. I promised that after you chose your new leader, I would silence myself to ensure that the new person could do the very best job he or she could, without the old leader hanging around and stopping the wheels of progress or the will of the people from becoming a reality.
You elected Brian Woosley, and more recently, you elected Martin Binnington, as the leader (President) of the FanBox community and company.
Thanks to the incredible hard work of all the FanBox Success Coaches, the alpha users (you) and the employees--mostly under Brian’s leadership over the nearly two years since you elected him-- we have some important news to announce today.
The FanBox experiment is coming to its end
As you know, FanBox was started in order to find a way to help create opportunities, which we hope would eventually help uplift many millions of people out of poverty. As a reminder, today half the world’s population still lives on $2 or less per day.
Our mission: To empower people, by enabling opportunity, hope and influence.
Our goal: To help half the world’s population (4 billion people) earn an average of $25/day by the year 2025.
It’s been a long road, and we have tried many different things, many of which worked well, and some of which failed to create the desired results.
Through all these trials and tribulations, many of you stayed with us, through thick and thin, through the successes as well as the failures.
A few people joined us, and despite our warnings, they hoped to get rich quick on FanBox and of course when that didn’t happen, screamed loudly about their experience and departed. We all wished them the best.
But for the most part, everyone stuck to the experiment, patiently adding their ideas, optimism and energy to the experiment – hoping for the best but not getting too disappointed when certain hopes and goals didn’t materialize quickly or at all.
I can report to you that here, at the FanBox headquarters, the engineers and staff have been feverishly working around the clock to build your ideas into reality, and everyone here continues to work overtime, for very low salaries (on average, just over minimum wage – the least allowable by law in California). Like you, the team here, under Brian (and now Martin’s) leadership, has kept the faith and stayed focused – working hard to stay positive as well as super-focused on getting the results the experiment demands and deserves.
(Did you know? When Brian and Martin each saw firsthand how little all the FanBox employees earn, both voluntarily cut out the majority of their own salaries – to match the low salaries of everyone else?)
As a result of your (alpha users, Success Coaches and employees’) hard work and patience, today we are excited to announce the next stage of the FanBox experiment – which we are calling “empowr”.
Building a new economy
As soon as Brian became President, he got to work asking you what you liked and what you disliked about FanBox, and every month he has continued to ask you the same questions.
The results of that monthly questionnaire are shown to the employees each month, and then everyone’s work is prioritized based on that feedback.
Then, under Brian’s leadership, we started research on who the world’s smartest economists are, that could bring us the very best knowledge that could help us do a better job in building the FanBox economy.
We reached out to those people around the world, and after those top experts learned about the FanBox experiment and did their own research about it, most of them got excited and interested in investing their own limited time, energy and resources into the FanBox experiment!
Today, we have brought together a few dozen of the world’s leading economists, from the top universities around the world.
Our engineers have been meeting with them, and by combining massive amounts (hundreds of terabytes) of data from the FanBox experiment, with these thinkers’ vast knowledge of economics, I am excited to report that we have spent the last nearly two years rebuilding virtually all of the FanBox algorithms and code from the ground up, to create a whole new and improved economy.
Building a new political system
The process of attracting some of the world’s top economists, and bringing their knowledge into the FanBox system went so well, that we decided to also do research as to who some of the world’s very best thinkers and practitioners are, in the area of political science. We wanted to see if they, too, would be interested in adding their knowledge to the FanBox experiment.
Specifically, we wanted to rethink and improve the FanBox political system. Of course we know that we want FanBox to continue to be a democracy – so that FanBox is always answering to its community – because that’s our mission - working to improve the users’ lives (instead of the lives of just the shareholders, which is how almost all corporations operate).
So, the main question we would want to ask the world’s experts on political science is: Knowing what we now know – that most of the world’s democracies have gotten themselves into big trouble, and have become controlled by powerful people, companies and special interests -- instead of being controlled by the people, which is what was originally intended…
… knowing what we now know - if we have a chance to do it again – what would we do differently?
What would a Democracy 2.0 look like?
I’m happy to tell you that not only were these top thinkers happy to answer such questions –this is the stuff they think and research about and teach every day – but they actually decided to take away from their busy schedules to travel to the FanBox headquarters in California to meet with us.
Since then, we have had countless discussions with them, and they have been very gracious with their time and ideas.
As a result, one of the very top universities in the world – Yale University – has volunteered to use their staff and resources – to help write our new constitution – in partnership with other political science experts from many of the other top universities, such as Harvard University, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Duke University, U.C. Berkeley – just to name a few.
But the process will NOT just be driven by experts
In the democratic fashion and ideals of FanBox – drafting our constitution will also be opened up to you, our citizens, as well as the FanBox employees.
In the coming weeks, the process will be opened up to you, so you can provide your thoughts, wishes and desires for what the new constitution will contain.
These are just some of the unlimited options for discussion that will be opened up for your comments and thoughts.
Then, after you’ve had a chance to speak your mind, the researchers at Yale University will go to work, combining all your thoughts into one document, ready to be made official.
This will be the very first crowdsourced constitution of a global social network, so it’s only fitting that our final work will happen in the very building (in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) where the founding fathers of the constitution of the United States met to finalize the American constitution in 1787 – which today is the oldest constitution that is still in use currently.
That’s right! We have been invited to use the American Independence Hall for our efforts, which they graciously offered to us when they heard about the FanBox experiment. This room is also known as the Assembly Room of the Pennsylvania State House, which is also the same place the Amercian Declaration of Independence (another important historical document) was signed. We will be inviting some members of the community to join us there, to witness the event. More on that later.
You can learn more about everything I have said above – on the new website: http://www.empowr.com
By the way, do you want to learn more about any constitution in the world – including the constitution of your country?
One of the world’s experts on constitutions -- a member of the FanBox / empowr advisory committee -- has done all that research, and with some money from Google, has built an incredible website where you can compare and contrast all the constitutions of world – including the constitution of your own country: https://www.constituteproject.org/
Moving Forward: The Next Stage of the FanBox Revolution
The Closed Alpha Stage (FanBox.com)
Knowing full well the difficulty in building a platform capable of empowering people to earn $25/day, we purposefully limited the number of users who could join the platform many years ago.
We set the limit to 100,000 users, and as some people became dormant (inactive) we allowed current users to invite some friends to replace them – never allowing the total usership to exceed 100,000.
We needed to limit the number of users for many reasons, especially cash flow – but also to ensure we had fewer people joining that were not interested in our mission but only interested in making as much money as possible for themselves.
There is nothing wrong with people that just want to make a lot of money and nothing else, but we knew we had a lot more work ahead of us to create that level of opportunity for everyone, so we needed to limit membership to people that really understood that joining FanBox at that early stage would require a lot of patience and a big desire to help people.
Similarly, working as an employee at FanBox has required potential employees to understand that FanBox pays the least of any company they could work at, because we want to provide as much cash as possible to our users, so if they’re not here primarily for the mission, they are in the wrong place.
As a user in this Closed Alpha Stage, you’ve all experienced the failures and successes as the platform constantly evolved with features and functionalities changing on a regular basis. It is your patience and support that enabled us to improve the platform to where it is today.
And everything is going to continue to improve. The potential for us to achieve our mission is getting closer than ever before.
As a result, it is time to take this experiment to the next level with the launch of empowr.com.
Introducing: The Open Alpha Stage (empowr.com)
Very soon, the doors will be closing on the FanBox experiment, and each of you will become founding members of empowr: the world’s first democratic social economy.
As discussed, on empowr, the economic algorithms have been recoded from the ground up, with the help of our many economics advisors.
Many issues that have existed on FanBox have been improved; the site looks and feels more clean and intuitive, and the ability for you to earn and achieve personal success is getting simpler than ever before.
Personally, having witnessed all the good things that Brian accomplished in his Presidency, I am very much looking forward to all the great results that Martin will achieve, with the new product.
In two upcoming posts, one from Brian and another from Martin, you will learn all about empowr – and exactly how the new site will be different than FanBox.
You’ll also learn about the timing, and how/when you will be able to automatically import your FanBox account (relationships, balance, profile, ads, blogs – everything) into the empowr economy.
Of course, in the beginning, only you (current FanBox users) will be able to join empowr.com. We anticipate that, like all new software, there will be some bugs and some things won’t be perfect – so when you point those things out to us, we will immediately work on fixing them.
Then, only after you tell us that everything is working correctly, we’ll start letting in new citizens.
Once the number of citizens reaches 1 million, we will once again close membership so together we can patiently work to improve everything before opening it again, in the next stage – the beta stage – which will likely open up to 10 million users.
Now, it is time for all of us to take a moment to thank each other, for the patience and perseverance that each of you have shown, as we all did our part to improve the platform inch by inch, milestone by milestone – and prepare it for this next stage.
So THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU from everyone here at the FanBox offices -- for your incredible selflessness, sacrifices, belief in us and our mission. We are so very humbled by how you have supported us and stood by us, despite our failures and shortcomings.
Without you and the selfless way you have given us everything, this experiment would not have been able to get to this stage, obviously. You are as much an owner of this company as any of us.
Therefore, to further thank you for all your sacrifices and hard work –we have been working with our corporate attorneys to provide each of you, with ownership (shares) in the empowr corporation – shares that you will be able to cash out if and when empowr goes public (meaning its shares become publicly traded in the stock exchange) something we hope will happen in mid-to-late 2016.
This process is very unconventional because of the securities laws of the United States – which is why this has never legally happened in the U.S. with a private company.
But like everything else about FanBox, together we don’t easily take “no” for an answer -- only as a challenge -- and we have therefore challenged our lawyers to find a legal way to make it happen.
After months of work on their part, we are now optimistic that we will have good news for you on that front… stay tuned for more information on this topic (updates on this topic will be sent to you personally, through your empowr inbox) within the coming weeks.
You can learn all about the next stage of the FanBox experiment here: www.empowr.com
Stay tuned for more information through a blog post from Brian within the next 24 hours, followed by another from Martin.
Very truly yours,
Presidential Election: We need your input
It's been a while since I've posted -- as it has been important that I step aside from the spotlight to make room for the President you elected, Brian Woosley.
I did miss speaking with everyone, however! :)
If you remember, we decided that the first Presidential term would be 6 months -- to allow our new democracy to learn to crawl before it learns to walk.
(Very short term, I know. The next President's term should be 1 year, in my opinion, and then we can increase terms even further from there, if everything is going well).
Well, Brian has been President for exactly 4 months now -- which means his term is coming to an end in only 2 months.
This means that it is time for a new election -- as our charter calls for Presidents not being able to be reelected -- so that they can spend the entirety of their terms working for the members, instead of working on their reelection.
Question: Would you like to extend Brian's term by 6 months -- so that his term is one full year?
Or would you rather hold a new election, and elect a new President?
I guess the question really boils down to whether or not you feel he's doing a good job for you; or whether you think someone else will do a better job.
We need your feedback, because if you want a new election, we'll need to start the process for that very soon.
Please leave your thoughts, below.
And if you would rather communicate confidentially, feel free to send me an email.
Thanks in advance.
And the winner of the Presidential Election is...
The elections are over, and the FanBox community and company has itself a new President.
Congratulations to the winner Brian Woosley!
Here is Brian's acceptance video:
And congratulations to Manuela Alexuc, the runner-up.
She ran a clean campaign, and the FanBox employees were very impressed with her when they had the chance to meet her a few weeks ago.
Here is her message to you:
Brian's term starts on September 23.
I am sure he will do a great job at representing all FanBoxers, as he sets out to improve FanBox.
Please join me in congratulating Brian and wishing him good luck!
Polls are OPEN: Cast your final round vote!
Who do you choose to be the first community-elected President of the FanBox Corporation?
The polls are now open:
The winner will be announced in just a few days...
The FanBox Presidential Debate
You voted and selected the top 5 candidates to be FanBox's President.
Then, you voted again and selected the final two (2) candidates.
The final candidates (Manuela Alexuc and Brian Woosley) traveled to the FanBox offices -- to answer many of the questions you submitted.
FInal round voting starts in just 5 days.
Are you ready to cast your final vote and choose the new FanBox President?
To help you decide who to vote for, we video-taped the debate -- where the founding mothers ask the candidates your questions.
So watch the debate, think carefully about who will best serve you, then cast your final vote in 5 days from now.
Here's the debate:
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