Friday, December 25, 2009

A Quaker View

My ideas for philanthropic gaming, making casinos a funding source for worthy causes, is not so far off in the case of native American casinos, which have been committing receipts to youth programs, salmon habitat restoration, scholarships for tribal members. Given my Quaker affiliations and this sect's historical alliance with original Americans, I'm more of a regional casino booster than some of my Christian peers.

However, the CSN design is rather different from the traditional gambling casino's. It lets players exercise choice when committing funds through these computer systems and uses a portion of vendor profits (donated back to charity) as a funding source.

The traditional gambler is directing winnings to himself or herself, with losings going to the house (as house winnings). The socially responsible gamer is committing a vendor-provided payload to a worthy program and building a track record. The vendor receives various metrics regarding giving patterns, sharing glory with the players.

Well designed games have the potential to build brand loyalty and repeat patronage.

The Oregon Lottery is another example of funding going from bars and taverns across the land into state coffers. Players have no control over what happens to those funds, as they're considered "lost" (no longer under patron control).

As of 2009, many misanthropic gaming systems still serve as recruiting tools for purveyors of anti-social, violent lifestyles. The idea of using games as recruiting tools is worth keeping, even if we switch focus to philanthropic engineering.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Economic Theory

Left over from "artificial persons" days, when corporations worked for us, and not the other way around, the more profitable engines would plow surplus back into the community under the assets column of "building good will". These assets could offset some liabilities, thereby contributing to net worth.

One way of building good will was to simply donate to charity. Keeping good jobs available in a local community is another way to earn loyalty for one's brand. If a company earmarked some profit for charity, this could be claimed on tax forms as an alternative to government spending i.e. the artificial person could do its own earmarking.

Flash forward to the present day and you have ways to track nickles and dimes to the micro level. Charitable giving might be packaged to ride with a sale item as part of the payload, feeding a point of sale game system that encourages customer participation in charitable giving.

The company may pre-select targets in board meetings. Customers have a choice of games (as well as products) plus the option to let the charitable donation funnel to a default cause or charity.

Given this is turning into another description of the CSN business model, let's raise the objection that all of the above could be accomplished from the comfort of one's own dorm room i.e. purchasing on-line and getting to donate a portion of the profit to charity shouldn't require leaving one's chair (I've been getting that objection lately).

Answer: this is correct however it's not either/or. The CSN framework is suitable for use in a coffee shop setting, is geared for a kind of study hall environment (various degrees of freedom pertain, per other sketches). Some people are not looking for more time home alone and would welcome observing others at play.

Back to theory: we have "anonymous giving" in our model, however when it comes to building good will, both companies and individuals tend to want some way to make a link in the public mindset, thereby building brand loyalty and/or individual reputation. Having one's heroics as a game player on record is somewhat the athletic model, with sports champions role modeling their dedication to a walk and a talk.

Thanks to advances in record keeping, giving customers a way to scroll their play records for world-readable display is not an impossible undertaking, as it would have been just decades ago. These displays then become a part of the social networking currency, as parties seek each other out based on mutuality and/or complementary agendas and objectives. New companies form by this process.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Study Hall

This work/study track means plowing through the Laughing Horse collection at a high rate. It's an opportunity, a window. 4D Studios, connected in my own mind to the Portland Knowledge Lab (a collection, an archive, for more studios than just mine) has only so much time to compare notes.

Today it's The Times of Harvey Milk, the documentary, not the recent movie. I've seen this before but a long time ago and I forget where. Also Crisis, by ABC TV, about the breakdown of apartheid in Alabama under pressure from Kennedy brothers.

This latter has a lot of amazingly good and candid material, a testament to the professionalism of the film makers, who obviously had the trust of the an inner circle cast of political players, including the Alabama governor George Wallace.

The two students were perfect for their roles I thought. The guy's quip that he'd like to be governor someday as in "yes, I'm your worst nightmare" was good humored and smart (what I don't know right now is how long ABC kept this film in the can).

The former is of course a landmark, award winning film. The scene where people are smashing into a building while the sound track shouts "no more violence!" was worth a rewind and review.

My local time zone has become less important given the realities of Cyberia. Sometimes I need to be awake at the same time as someone in the Middle or Far East.

Math 2.0, using Web 2.0 tools, puts emphasis on synchronous, not just asynchronous communications.

Monday, December 7, 2009


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