You Deserve The Credit

This is a personal post, by me, David Pinto, co-founder of Sqale. I’ve wanted to reward early-adopters with equity but modern legal conditions are debilitating as a startup. I’ve worked out a way of doing it. It doesn’t just reward early adopters, it awards everyone who participates.

Credit-Split

The next thing in the development pipeline is to upgrade credit-split. Currently, when a project or multiple-author product or product is supported, credits are split between the authors equally. If there are four users in the project, then the supported credits are split four ways equally. The upgrade is to hook up the SQ algorithm to the credit-split. This means that the support credits for a project are split according to the SQ values of the participants.

Quick review of SQ. SQ stands for Social Quotient. It is a social average. Like mean and median, but based on relative values. The relative values are Thanks that people within a project attribute to one another. The most thanked person should have the highest SQ because they have contributed the most — according to the individual attributions of each member. If people don’t think that the SQ is fair, they modify their individual thanks; each person is responsible for ensuring their thanks ratio (the ratio of thanks given to all members within the project) seems fair to them.

The SQ is the operational beginning of weighted democracy. It will feature not only in credit-split, but in governance. More of that another day. For now, it is equal rights on editing.

How does SQ fit into ‘equal’ sharing? Well, each person begins with SQ=1. The SQ average modifies this value based on thanks. Some people will end up with more than 1 and other people less than 1, all based on their gratitude evaluations. Each person ends up with more or less than an equal share, depending on how they gratitude is attributed. And this changes moment to moment whenever anyone thanks anyone else. It is fluid and contingent, and ultimately based on trust.

This is not the time or place to argue about the merit of SQ, only to indicate how it works. We’ve seen sci-fi versions of it, and normally these are less than ideal because… well, drama sells. Whether it works in real life situations remains to be seen. Perhaps it will only work with people who are working honestly and transparently? Perhaps it will resist the pitfalls of deceit and privacy that have emerged with traditional economics? Perhaps it will encourage culture shift and bring out the better aspects of human nature? We don’t know. Personally, I hope it will reflect my values and the people who I value.

Global SQ & Global Worth

The Global SQ average is given for everyone, regardless of which project they are involved in. The calculation is a little harder to pull off because there are multiple groups with their own thanking network; the technical term is ‘disconnected graph’. The averages are worked out for each network, and so when a person from one network thanks a person in another network, this combines them into one network and may lead to significant displacement of SQ. Imagine a million people in one network merging with another million, just by one person in one network thanking one person in the other. We will have to see if we have to compensate for such recalculations. The simple thing to remember is that the total number of people who participate equals total SQ. The SQ total = us all. It is quintessentially a calculation of resource allocation. The interesting thing about Global SQ is that it is for all kinds of thanks across across all projects and non-projects. How useful will the Global SQ be? In the beginning, not much, but perhaps as we continue, it might. It is with this expectation that I write this.

We shall build a function where a user can ‘share’ with everyone. The credits are split according to SQ. Let’s see how we will operationalise this, and you’ll see why these mechanisms will enable me to distribute the profits I receive for owning Sqale Ltd.

First, Global Worth. In the user’s balance, we will include a credit (and money equivalent) if all credits in SQ are summed up and distributed according to Global SQ. Andre may only ‘own’ 100 credits in their balance, but the Global Equivalent may show that Andre’s Global Worth is 9000 credits according to their Global SQ. Remember, Global SQ is a social average of thanks as attributed by those around Andre. He still only has 100 Credits in his balance, but if everyone was to give all their credits to ‘support everyone’, each person would end up with their Global Worth in their balance. At this stage, credits and SQ merge in function.

Second, Global Support. We build a button (or slider) to enable any user to distribute money according to Global SQ. The Global Support button will operate just like supporting a project, but this time the credits are split up and shared with everyone. A slider, on the other hand, is a setting which allows people to ‘donate’ part of their incoming credits towards Global Support automatically. So, when Andre ought to receive 100 credits because someone has supported one of the projects they contributed to, Andre may only receive 90 credits in his balance and 10 credits are directed towards Global Support, if the slider is placed at 10%. Andre could change their slider to 100% and this would mean all credits which come to Andre via support are directed to Global Support and thus distributed according to Global SQ.

The number of people and the total % of amount that is directing their incoming support towards Global Support gives us an indication of… something. I suspect it is how socially cohesive we are. My long-term view would be that this numeric, or something like it, might indicate how far we have travelled towards transforming our world from the traditional economy to the ‘gift economy’ which Sqale operates. It is not so much a social-mechanic number, but more an indication of the culture change. What would it mean, for example, when 80% of income support is distributed according to gratitude? It would say something about the fact we trust each other’s evaluations, and of course the SQ average which supports it. We have some way to go until achieving such a state, if indeed we manifest significant global numbers of participants.

You Deserve All The Credit

The idea of rewarding early-adopters is not a bribe or incentive. It is fair. Why? Because Sqale is just a tool. Yes, Andrew, Wendy, Jane and others have contributed towards creating the actual tool, but far more important are the people who use it. The technical specification is better than previous builds, but it still lags behind the kind of multi-billion dollar tech which FB, Instagram, Reddit, and others can produce for their users. The problem is less a technical one than a social one. Sqale is genuinely social media, it is not a platform for something else; we are not interested in selling anything to users, or playing political games. We are simply providing a calculator, a way of social accounting which may be fairer than commerce and stats. It is an alternative to banks, businesses, governments, charities, any kind of institution which is based on traditional economy. It is a new start, potentially, a new social contract. It is less an innovation and more a return to what we know already to be true, instinctively, what comes naturally like laws of fairness, equality, respect.

For any of these nice ideals to come about, for the tool to be used well, is through the use by our users. The early users will show the courage in sharing in a transparent way, and lead with sharing things they think are valuable. Content-creators will benefit directly. But what makes Sqale work is the action of sharing. And thanking. The users are what make Sqale work. Sqale may help us work together for a better world.

I wanted to share the following:

Number of UsersProfit from Sqale Ltd shares I promise to convert into Credits and Support Global SQ
100,000 users1%
1m users5%
10m users10%
100m users25%
1b users50% (my entire share)

Within traditional economics, the legal situation is hard to navigate especially in the early days of a start-up. Ownership is a nightmare. This is partly why Sqale has been created. All I can do is promise that I will distribute the above amounts to everyone. The function of Global Support we build now will allow me to do so. In fact, if things go really well, and Sqale proves to be more useful than traditional money altogether, there will be no point in keeping money derived from Sqale Ltd shares, and it will all be converted into credits. And if the SQ average reflects our social contributions, I’d like to think that all profit may be directed towards Global Support.

Of course, the shares in Sqale Ltd are next to worthless at the time I write this. Sqale is just a seed. It needs shoots and roots, then flowers and fruit. Only when Sqale bears social fruit will Sqale Ltd be worth anything. And, if Global Worth help us work together on the problems we all face, global problems, then it will be clear why I make the pledge I do now. Users make Sqale. You deserve all the Credit.