1. Tom Crowl
    January 1, 2012 @ 9:56 pm

    Money’s role in politics is a critical problem… too much is needed and scaling issues distort balance of influence.

    But the basic that underlies that… the fundamental issue is: How do you better balance the forces that influence decision makers?

    And that’s the core question whether its government, corporate management or a group of hunter-gatherers.

    Some are suggesting banning political contribution altogether.

    An attractive idea… but basic drives are not circumvented by such laws. Look to Prohibition and the Drug Wars for a lesson on simplistic solutions.

    Similarly here the design of your approach to solution requires a bit of subtlety and thinking outside of the box. Regulation and transparency are certainly needed (along with overturning Citizen’s United and ending Corporate personhood)…

    But outright bans are not only a sure failure but will produce undesirable side effects…

    Banning it will only push corruption farther underground and leave you no way to respond.

    And while removing corporate dominance of the process is needed… so long as the citizenry remain locked outside of the day-to-day business of governance a void will remain to be filled by narrower interests.

    Self-government requires both an involved citizenry and mechanisms to combat the natural drives of those in power at any given time to inhibit that involvement (see Gerrymandering for a illustrative example).

    I’m convinced there’s a healthier political landscape that CAN be built.

    One (but not the only) element of that needed landscape is the facilitation of your more frequent and meaningful participation in the legislative lobbying process.

    The Pooled-User-Determined Account Network* addresses BOTH problems.

    *There’s a little more to it but think of it like a sort of online cash card enabling certain specialized transactions (and others) especially in politics and other speech-related areas.

    I get email solicitations all the time about supporting this bill or opposing another…

    What if I could click a button on that email or website and give just 25 cents towards some goal I support?… securely and easily?

    This is very doable! (and patented)

    This simple capability is a fundamentally necessary component for scaling representative government.

    Avoid simplistic solutions… try thinking! Money is a store of ‘decision rights’ in its very roots. You won’t change that by pretending you can avoid that fundamental.

    Liberate the networked political micro-contribution. Its really about YOU joining the political landscape. Frankly, proper scaling of influence demands it.

    Could a one-click, secure ‘micro’ contribution make a difference? (25 cents a couple of times a week times 150 million voters equals over $7 Billion per 2/year election cycle… and BTW, other characteristics of this suggested (and needed) neutral network drastically reduce costs while expanding localization potential.

    Frankly this concept needs to be a part of the meta-political discussion.


  2. Tom Crowl
    January 2, 2012 @ 10:09 am

    I’d welcome the opportunity to answer any questions or concerns.

    I’m convinced this is a fundamentally needed tool and would hope for your organizations involvement and/or support.

    Here’s a copy of a portion of an email sent to a VC (venture capitalist) I’m to meet with after the Holidays:

    (while I consider this a public utility that leads to a vital ‘virtual’ public platform for civic engagement… it’ll be a long wait if I expect the powers-that-be to put it together… hence it must be self-sustaining and able to attract investment)

    -copy starts-

    Dear _____,

    I’m assuming you already have some understanding of the basic mechanism behind the Pooled-User-Determined-Account but I’ll be happy to answer any questions…. i.e. a sort of online-based cash card making possible a simple, one-click microtransaction(and importantly not only a microtransaction)… especially in the political area (but again importantly not only in the political area).

    These are transactions not now feasible. And it is this (patented) capability that stands at the root of what I suggest is a very valuable (and perhaps inevitable) network.

    (note: With your experience you may be familiar with Clay Shirky’s well considered arguments concerning why he believes Internet micropayments haven’t and won’t gain traction. His arguments are good… but DON’T apply in this context which I’ll also explain if interested)

    I believe its a reasonable expectation that with this capability in place as a neutral utility that sooner-or-later… and for any of a number of possible motives (which I’ll be happy to expand upon)… almost everyone… or at least a very significant percentage… will at some time decide to utilize this account and this network for those dedicated purposes… (and its a capability which will not be available elsewhere).

    Bootstrapping it into existence is obviously a critical question and a central part of the discussion, but from a strict business standpoint I suppose the first question must be: Is it a network or a capability worth building at all?

    First… I believe this leads to a large and importantly… a persistent user-base.
    And because the system can handle other transactions as well I believe it can anchor the user to the system for other Internet transactions.

    This alone makes the patented capability a very valuable commodity… even were it only offered in a licensing situation to an existing pay system that wants to stabilize and enlarge its base of users.

    But while to be considered… this is not the optimal configuration.

    I believe that by orienting itself in its inception as a dedicated account for political and charitable contribution… that a ‘donor network’ can be catalyzed that will capture a significant portion of the charity and campaign services sector (especially in auditing, tax, regulatory compliance, FEC reporting, data-mining and various technical services)… and that it can further capture a significant part of the corporate/charity sponsorship market.

    This network then becomes THE target for a multitude of interests that want to reach it.

    These aren’t the only potential monetization sources but I believe form a strong core.

    There’s another hook which I believe is important… and while at first I suppose it could seem like a negative for an investor… I believe is actually an advantage.

    I’d like to see… from the beginning… and under some suitable formulation… a plan whereby the User-base essentially “owns” 50% of the enterprise with a possible pre-designed exit strategy for founding investors upon maturation of the network via buyout by the user-base. I understand this may be a bit unusual but I think it can cement both the catalyzation of the network and help secure monetization. And, for the excessively ambitious… lead to an ability to undercut other paysystems by taking its monetization OUT of the transaction itself… and so come to dominate the entire Internet transaction landscape. (Might as well think big!)

    Can we do breakfast? (If I’m a fool I’d best hear it soon and would appreciate the feedback).

    P.S. Should the public finance of all or part of elections be considered… it’s best implemented via this network to be dispersed to viable candidates directly via citizens’ individual preferences.

    -end of copy-

    Its been a struggle out here (lost home via foreclosure which is quite a story) and currently living in my sister and brother-in-law’s living room. Fortunately they believe in the concept… as have so many (especially the poor) of the politically active that I’ve had the chance to speak to.

    I very much need a chance for this to get a bit of air!


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    August 12, 2012 @ 6:42 pm

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