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Integral theory view on social network service startups

Integral Theory, Ken Wilber, Startups, Systems Thinking, Human Computer Interaction, economics, HCI, user interfaces, social network, Interaction

Ivan Golod

on 5 December 2013

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Transcript of Integral theory view on social network service startups

Social Network Services
may be?
new interactions...
social network services
joy of profit
conscious synergy
new complexity
community meme
new user interfaces
http://ahead.com/#view/lilaspaces/main/welcome?scene=WHAT IS AHEAD*
(as math and computer science model)
real people
real objects
unspoken rules
cultural identity
group semiosphere
one level cut
holographic levels
Everybody knows what the social network is. Facebook, StudiVZ, Google+ etc. This is a system that gives us possibility to interconnect with other people.
Startups are newly created companies in a phase of development, often technology oriented (internet).
And what I want to discuss are the startups that use this social network component to provide new type of relations among customers. One of the most known company of this type in Germany is “Mitfahrzentrale” (Mitfahrgelegenheit). What is the evolutionary idea behind this project? We as private persons can help each other, so that everybody has a profit. But it was limited to a car travel (lift) that should be set up few days before. As the internet spreads into our daily life, into our phones (so we are always online) emerges new kind of possibilities. That’s why there is a new startup flinc.org , I would say it is like Mitfahrgelegenheit 2.0. Idea is the same, but the focus is on instant rides (with help of smartphone). For example, if you need to go to another part of the city, you inform system about that. And if another user of the system is nearby, he will be notified and can catch you up. It is more like taxi. Another way to use a car is to rent it and not only to lift someone. For that we have tamyca.de (Aachen) startup. The main problem, which emerges in this type of relations, is trust. How can I trust my car someone? By tamyca.de it was solved with the additional insurance.
Another old famous project is couchsurfing.org (since 1999). People all around the world share their houses (bed places) for travelers. At the moment this system has 9,085,052 member references.
But why only cars and bed places? In 20th century private household has not only a house and “a horse” ;) We have drills, snowboards, TVs and the whole home full of different stuff. May be someone would rent it? There are two startups, which use this field:
frents.com and gigalocal.de
Actually gigalocal.de is bigger, than only a rent service. The so-called mantra of this startup is “was wann wo du willst”. That means that they connect people, who want anything and them, who will do it for money. So we can imagine elderly people in situation, when they need some physical help (to nail a shelf). This would perfectly fit for this startup. In addition this startup focuses on the map (location), so you can find someone or something near your actual position.
The same ideas were used in the concept project for DHL, made by Dark Horse group:

Similar concepts are used in a russian project drugdrugu.ru:
"Friend to friend (rus. Drug Drugu) is a service which helps you to share your wishes
and abilities. Fulfill smb's wishes and find executors of yours... etc."
In the first quadrant we have subjective individual. Just try to feel what kind of emotions, intentions and other inner feelings awake the idea of ebay or other services?
joy of profit,
joy of optimized life,
change of the trust feeling: from being suspicious at first -> to the full trust, when you are satisfied with the quality,
esthetic desire of using beautiful smartphones and user interfaces (upper right quadrant).

This corresponds to the idea of Beauty (Hegel, Wilber). That means that the Beauty is created in the upper right quadrant, but estimated in upper left quadrant, by our inner subjective feeling.

But we have not only an emotional part. What about mentality?
Everybody who has used ebay:
knows how it works and what for
has so-called mental model
knows what are the rules of auctions
how to pay (paypal, transfer etc.)
how to evaluate the quality of the seller
and hundreds of other operations.
Upper left Quadrant (individual subjective)
Small Review of social Network Startups
Wilber defines second Quadrant as objective individual. Concerning social network services this are our body and individual material stuff that connects us to the system (lower right quadrant). It is exactly my area of specialization, namely Human-Computer-Interaction (HCI). HCI studies the intersection of such subjects as computer science and behavior sciences (anthropology, psychology, cognitive psychology).
As an example we try to find out what are the best ways to design the controls, information representations, etc. so the user feels convenient to use it, with less mistakes and less time he needs to perform an operation (Out -> controlling, In <- Perceiving). So HCI covers not only the upper right quadrant, but also tries to find relationships in the subjective world of the user (cognitive and mental models, cultural differences).

Last 20 years show the extreme development of this subject, as human life is more and more connected with computers and depends from them.

HCI contribution: new graphical user interfaces, new interactions

One of the main design methodologies in HCI is so called user-centered design - “ a modern, widely practiced design philosophy rooted in the idea that users must take center-stage in the design of any computer system.” That’s why I displayed the human body, which shows that the center of our study is a human and his abilities.
There are newly invented devices on the market, which open new possibilities for interactions. That is really important, that these devices are oriented on private consumers and cost less than 300$. Real innovations come with new ideas and a mass of people involved in the process of using and developing (lower quadrants).

Such devices are:

Epoc EMOTIV – EEG sensor for brain-computer interaction. Can be used as controlling device or to take feedback of electrical activity of a brain (emotions, facial expressions).

Kinect – depth camera sensor for xBox, which makes possible to track the human body in 3D.

But don't think that old user interfaces as keyboard and mouse will be replaced by newly developed.
The old ones have their advantages: tactile feedback of knobs (problem of touch displays), amrs are in horizontal lying position - no physical activity. In opposite big vertical touch displays has a "gorilla arm" problem - position of hand is uncomfortable and rapidly becomes painful.

DOS Windows, Macintosh Windows CE iOS, Android future operation systems
Terminals -> PCs, Macs -> PDAs (Palm) -> Post-desktop -> SIRI, Kinect, Epoc EMOTIV
Pocket PC Smartphones

Keyboard -> keyboard + mouse -> stylus + bad touch -> multi-touch -> speech + gesture + brain
Upper right Quadrant (individual objective)
Evolution of Computer
Example of a bad graphical user interface
From http://www.ssw.com.au/ssw/Standards/Rules/RulesToBetterinterfaces.aspx
Kinect vision add
Technology layers:
EPOC Emotiv add
In the preview I said already about the examples of current social network services and startups. This quadrant represents all material objects, mathematically and logically provable models needed for the functioning of the system used in this services. Considering gigalocal.de these are:
Lower right quadrant (collective objective, interobjective)
Servers of gigalocal.de, google and facebook
PCs, tablets, smartphones, networks, etc.
But there are some other subjects, which are more usefull in the first part of startup's life to increase the size of community (also lower left quadrant):

We want to stimulate not only each client individually but also to make a positive effect in intersubjective communication (lower left quadrant). For example viral adds:
“The ultimate goal of marketers interested in creating successful viral marketing programs is to create viral messages that appeal to individuals with high social networking potential (SNP) and that have a high probability of being presented and spread by these individuals and their competitors in their communications with others in a short period of time.”
So for a good viral company you need to study the subjective world of the focus group.

It is also notable, that we can observe two levels of integration:
www level - software integration of different services (APIs): facebook ID, google maps
community level - integration of people within one "virtual" system
JavaScript, php, html, css, xml, iOS, Android, Windows, OSX, Linux, etc.
Private objects to rent, cars, people themselves
Economics, money, money transfer, banks.
Advertizing, marketing
Considering social network startups in this quadrant we are talking about inner representation (values, attitude) and knowledge about corresponding startup within world’s community. With knowledge I mean the informational prevalence of a startup (logo, name, slogan, functions etc). We could speak about it as about an information meme. The examples of the biggest prevalence of memes are Facebook and Google.
There are non-verbal values and conventions between users. It is quite difficult to differentiate them between StudiVZ, Facebook, Google+, Vkontakte, etc. But if we compare them with linkedIn or XING, we see that the target audience and goals are different. Whereby the latter ones are more business-related networks.
In addition this quadrant is also critical concerning the popularity of a service. Engineers and Computer Scientists invent the devices and systems (right quadrants) and each person individually (upper left) would like to use it. But when nobody or less people (lower quadrants) use this service it doesn’t bring any utility for the new users. It is also known in economics as network effect.

It is notable, that new generations and new levels of integral and system thinking provide corresponding values. For example - “cybernetic” GOD. Understanding God as the last and the most complex level of the universe system.

From this point of view new social network services are evolution of people organizations and their idea has a positive effect on community opinion.

As we have seen each quadrant interrelate with other quadrants and influence their "successfulness" and quality. Some dependencies can be traced back to the effects in behavioral economics.
Lower left quadrant (collective subjective, intersubjective).
german language
german language
german language
mediasphere and semiosphere (german language)
Projects by RWTH Aachen
"In interacting with the environment, with others, and with the artifacts of technology, people form internal, mental models of themselves and of the things with which they are interacting. These models provide predictive and explanatory power for understanding the interaction."
-Norman (in Gentner & Stevens, 1983)
This work is the application of quadrants concept from integral theory.

I use references to Wikipedia because of their accessibility. Each reader can easily extend his knowledge in given theme. References to the books are more likely to be skipped over.

Please give me your comments. I want to build an understandable and useful information representation, which describes at least a part of the real world. ;) Your comments are feedback and they are useful for the corrections of the system.
Ivan Golod 2012
Some ideas about semiospere, sign and symbols:
german language
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