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#THE BRAVE MANIFESTO Kindness, Compassion and Urgency
[TL;DR: Brave is a mobile app for local, urgent acts of kindness. It’s an app first and will be developed into a platform in due course. It’s open-source in every sense: the tech, design, focus, ownership and direction will all be determined by the community that grows up around it. Anybody will be able to invest in the organization and to donate to a crowdfunding campaign; once it launches you will get shares as a reward for using the app. We want input and feedback from you - please join the community at www.brave.ly]
##What is Brave?
###A mobile app for urgent acts of kindness
At Brave we are building a community of people around the principles of being kind, of doing good, of helping the person next to you – the app will allow you to offer and ask for help or assistance.
We're starting with a mobile app. It is centered around urgency and location – you can help anybody who is nearby - neighbours, co-workers, strangers walking by, friends and family. When they send an alert that they need assistance now, or see a situation where immediate help is required - you will have an opportunity to give that help.
They are getting help from someone who is already there: you.
No act of kindness is too small - the proverbial cup of sugar, getting a ride, borrowing a bike pump - or too large - giving CPR, putting out a fire, preventing a physical attack.
We are building a platform for all acts of kindness, centered around the core principles of urgency and proximity: people nearby that need help Here & Now.
Isn't that the kind of world you want to live in, to help create? Isn't this an idea you'd like to share? The app is very much still in development, and so is the community. We don’t have a timeline for release but members of the community will be the first to know - and will get access to a very much work-in-process version to help with feedback before we release it to the general public.
##A Platform of, by and for…
“Give it away give it away give it away now…” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Imagine if every time you used Facebook you automatically got rewarded with shares (equity) in Facebook itself. Post a news item, get one share, send a message, get another, have a post go viral? Lots of shares. And imagine those shares could either be sold back to Facebook at a price that was published daily, or they could be sold to a third party, just like on the stock market.
In other words – Facebook continues to make money because you’re using it, but you get to participate in the value that you are directly contributing to them. You would even have a say in how the company is run, how much executives are paid...
What has that got to do with anything?
Apps are fun, but generally considered trivial. But that is their power - a simple app has the power to change the world by shifting our behaviour ever so slightly.
Beneath the Brave app we will also build a platform so that others can build their own apps, hardware devices or anything they can imagine - all of which will have access to the network and be able to summon help from each other. Enabling people to tap into the kindness community for all sorts of unique use cases and applications.
And who will own the app, who will own the platform? You will.
Our platform is going to be owned by the people who use it, the people who build it, the people who help it to grow.
Every time you use it, you will get a share (actually, probably a digital token linked to a micro-share - there's a lot of stuff still to be worked out - did I mention that we need your help?) Every time you upvote the actions of someone else on the platform you will get a share (and so will they). This will all happen in real-time and you will be able to hold on to your shares for capital appreciation or for income (dividends) or you can sell them; either back to the company (redeeming the shares) or to a third party.
##Why Give It Away?
Because the value of the platform will be determined by the number of users that participate on it. The more it is used, the more valuable it is and the more options we will have to ensure the community is sustainable – we are trying to directly align those interests with the interests of the users.
We believe in the platform cooperativism model and are looking at various tools (the blockchain, fairshares, holacracy, backfeed and more) to try and ensure that the Brave organization empowers that vision. We will write about platform coops separately to explain them in more detail but the long and short of it is a digital cooperative taken up a level: the organization is owned not just by the workers and members but by all stakeholders, and their level of ownership is dynamic - it changes according to their level of engagement.
Therefore, a community that can drive revenue due to the size of its network is now able to give it away at scale; and that revenue can go directly to the users. (OMG!)
##Why Acts of Kindness
It is so frustrating that we can get and pay for a taxi or a pizza within a few minutes just using our phones but if we need help, emergency or just in general, we’re pretty much stuck in the 80’s. (Not for lack of trying - there are lots of great groups working on this problem.)
I believe fundamentally that people want to do good but rarely get the opportunity to do so. Most opportunities are either so daunting as to be unfeasible, so small as to feel meaningless, or the degree of impact or the right action to take is confusing.
As a kid I thought that if everybody in the world just looked out for the few people immediately around them,then the whole world would be fine. And now we can build a tool to empower each person to choose to do that.
At the same time there are approximately 7 million people who die of heart attacks outside hospitals every year. About 40% of those could be non-fatal if the victims received critical care within the first 4 minutes. No matter how fast your ambulance is, there’s not much chance that it’s going to get there in 4 minutes, so your best bet is still finding a human to give you CPR. (And while drones with defibrillators are cool, a human is still required to activate it and it won’t help if the drone can’t find you. If you don’t think this is a problem because you live in the US, you really need to watch John Oliver’s piece on 911.)
We are still, for the most part, using telephones to request emergency assistance while we use our phones to instantly send our GPS and stored data to our taxis, telling them who we are and whether or not we’re a good tipper. There are lots of people working on the next generation of emergency response but we can move everything forward by a decade overnight with a simple app if we choose to.
It struck me that my love of random acts of kindness and my passion to launch a personal emergency app were two sides of the same coin. Both require people to be willing to help a stranger, and to be willing to call on a stranger when in need.
The dream is that use of these features would not only save lives but bring communities and neighbourhoods closer; it could make people - strangers - feel a greater sense of connection and empathy and increase our sense of responsibility to those around us.
##Crowd-funding, Crowd-investing, Crowd-sourcing, Crowd-governance and Transparency
We intend to launch a crowdfunding campaign to fund both the technological development and the legal legwork necessary to move this forward.
The simple functionality of the app itself is already being developed but we will need help and guidance from the community to move forward.
Further on we'll need help to build the platform so that others can adapt the core functionality for their own unique use cases (more below).
And lastly, we're building a normal app but intend to migrate certain functionality onto blockchain based systems in due course - we'll need plenty of help with that too.
In addition to crowdfunding, we will seek investment from the crowd in exchange for shares (extra detail: probably digital tokens exchangeable for shares in the future, rather than shares itself).
We need your knowledge, thoughts, experience and feedback for all of this and will be regularly asking the community for input, feedback and critiques on all aspects.
In order to determine what steps the community wants we will roll out a governance platform as soon as it’s feasible to do so.
Users will own, control and determine the direction of the organisation.
All code, internal documents, emails, financials, everything will be publicly available for scrutiny and discussion - Radical Transparency is the goal.
##Brave as a Platform
The intention is to build the Brave app and then build an underlying platform so that, for example, the next hardware alert product could be built with minimal coding (preferably none).
The quid pro quo being that you have to allow emergency alerts to populate between all apps/systems – so if your product has an app or website, any emergency alerts on any other product must be allowed to generate an alert on yours. (The same would be true for alert apps with unique use cases - minors, animals etc.)
##Shares (or Tokens) for All Contributors
An important consideration to all of this is that there are other ways to earn shares but it will all be maintained under the same rubric - no preferential treatment for certain investors.
As someone working on this full-time every day, I will get a certain number of shares for my work on the project. As more of you come into the community and contribute time and effort as developers, designers, ambassadors, marketers, content producers and even direct employees you will also get shares for your work (in addition to salaries where appropriate – all of which will be made public.)
Investors of any size will all be treated equally and will be entitled to the same returns.
##Money – Please Explain How You Will Make Money
A confession: there is an over-arching assumption being made here that with a sufficiently large network we, as a community, will have many choices of how to monetize (as well as many minds motivated to both imagine new ways to do so and to engage with paying customers).
And without such a network, no elements of this system will work at all... So there is a chicken and egg situation at play.
We are initially approaching organisations that have altruism and kindness as core values - we are trying to identify a good fit that would be willing to test the mobile app for us to see if it improves engagement with their values.
The regular businesses that we will be approaching at a later stage are personal health assistants (home-care nurses and other caregivers), residential and commercial communities (that want to be able to monitor requests and alerts over time and place as well as have the ability to communicate in a discrete fashion to their residents), schools and security companies.
There are a number of very successful businesses that operate in the alert sector already. Their fees are relatively high (in the region of $100 per user per month) and I understand that a lot of that is driven by fixed costs for standalone devices and networks, rather than high margins.
Our service would enable everyone to access a lot of that functionality for free. Both existing and new service providers could scale up with enterprise features (web platforms, dashboards, metadata reporting) and once the platform version is available, they could build white label versions or their own unique apps, add-on functionality or physical devices that tap into the platform infrastructure.
My personal motivation is essentially to build something of lasting value with intrinsic meaning for the world at large. I hope it will be financially sustainable but I’m not trying to build a multi-billion-dollar company that will make a few people incredibly wealthy.
I'm driven by the vision of platform cooperativism, sharing the value with everyone who helps to build it and a world of radical collaboration and sharing.
Can we increase the kindness in the world while making all members of the community a little safer, more collaborative and even wealthier?
We want to build an organization that will make it easy to be kind. An organization that transfers its value right back to all the participants in the community. We want to grow community. And we want to shine a light, set an example for the kind of organization that can be built today - using readily available technology and organizational structures.
##Get in Touch
We would love to hear your thoughts, comments and criticisms of this. You can reach me at any of the places below and suggest edits to this document here on GitHub.