Content - 20 minutes - About 5x as long as TED Talk - 5 Pages Long
Reframe: open source is not about free. It is about accelerated innovation - towards meaning and purpose. Jobs for everyone. This is busines. It's more efficient business for more people.
PowerPoint slides download, 110MB(movies don't play in OpenOffice Impress)
Speech with slide cues
File:Bioneers2012.odt - Bioneers 2012 script with slide cues
Hello, I'm Marcin and this is where I was born – my home town Poland. Many of my childhoood memories are those of Poland’s history. My grandfather was in the Polish underground in WWII derailing German trains, and my grandmother was in a concentration camp. My typical memories of that time – are frolicking in the playground - as any child would - - waiting in line for food as it was rationed - and tanks rolling down my streets - no - it wasn't a parade. These were times of Martial Law behind the iron curtain - a clear state of material scarcity. When I was 10, my family fled to America where our lives were transformed. I studied at Princeton - and University of Wisconsin earning a PhD in Plasma Physics. I never stopped thinking about the terrible things that happen when resources are scarce and people fight over opportunity.
These memories fuel my belief in Freedom. I believe that true freedom - the most essential type of freedom - starts with our individual ability to use natural resources to free ourselves from material constraints. Wherever material scarcity exists in the world, you find geopolitical hotspots, resource conflicts , unstable debilitating economies – you see impoverished isolated beings powerless to live the healthy lives that they desire. Isn’t it ironic that vast populations living in poverty are surrounded by the absolute abundance of natural resources - namely sunlight, rocks, plants, soil, water - from which all the wealth of the economy comes? What stands between a human being and what all of nature can produce is human created – or business made. Who in this village can access the money or even the place to buy a tractor to till the very soil they live on? Standard systems of capital, production and distribution - work only if they create and leverage artificial scarcity for profit - and this is the norm the world over.
So I believe we have a Big Challenge- in front of us: producing true freedom - by bypassing the artificial roadblocks of scarcity, to give as many people as possible access to know-how and the right tools so they can convert their environment’s abundant raw resources into personal good and freedom <slide-grains>. And I believe the answer to this planetary pickle - which has not been solved to date - is the Open Source Economy.
An Open Source Economy is where information flows freely and openly so everyone has access - at the most fundamental level - to the information - on how to process raw materials into the life stuff of modern civilization. Each person has a chance to get involved and provide improvements and innovations. And their new and improved information continues to flow openly and freely back into the common pool of human knowledge. Is it any wonder that Open Source is accelerating innovation in every corner of our lives? One brain at work quickly becomes 100 brains and then 1000’s of brains and then… fasten your seat belts.
Even though Open Source is happening right before our eyes, many people still behave in denial of the basic proposition - that increasing innovation starts with open collaboration. The patent system, trade secrets, and other forms of competitive waste stall innovation and our economic health. Did you know that last year, spending by Apple and Google on patents exceeded spending on research and development of new products.? But as Open Source picks up speed with the advent of the cloud, crowd collaboration and a ton of emerging open source platforms, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the Open Source Economy is the next economy. In the network infrastructure alone, Open Source Linux servers now dominate the marketplace and the Open Source Hardware Association aggregates an active DIY and Maker crowd working at warp speed. A business strategist friend of mine is asking me not whether open hardware will be a player, but told me that "it's only a matter of time before companies like Caterpillar, John Deere, and JCB in the UK, are fundamentally disrupted by the kind of access to equipment that our Open Source Ecology project is bringing.”
Actually the question is simpler than the debate whether open or proprietary will triumph. The real question is: do we want an efficient economy that accelerates innovation and creates a sustainable future for as many people as possible as fast as possible. I say yes! every day that I rise with the rooster on our farm.
8 years ago I started formulating the open source concept as an antidote to artificial scarcity . I started Open Source Ecology - a social enterprise.
How would an efficient enterprise operate?
It would operate locally and totally autonomously but freely utilize and share designs and knowledge globally It would accelerate innovation, produce efficiencies And decentralize natural resources, labor, and capital. It would solve problems the minute they arise. Due to is micro self- sufficient productivity It would be replicable, flexible, and affordable. It would give more back to the land than it would take out. And most importantly It would give us back time in our lives.
Hmmm. I was really excited by this model . I could imagine how a reduction in the scale of production from global to local would bring about the possibility of ending resource conflicts, poverty, and hunger. I could imagine a deeper effect on a personal level --- personal autonomy where we regain control of our lives, our communities, and our world. If our time is liberated - we would have time that we can use to care about the rest of the world. This follows Daniel Pink's notion that intrinsic motivation is about a type of autonomy that allows for the pursuit of mastery - consistent with higher purpose. When that happens inside of people - the politic shifts from money and power as key determinants of personal and political interaction- to ethics and wisdom as the next force.
Autonomy is a condition where the scale of enterprise - and the scale of a comprehensive economy - is reduced to the micro-scale - and that limit --- is the scale of any land parcel.
What is artificial material scarcity? When you really think about it, all of the wealth we enjoy today for a modern standard of living relies on rocks, soil, sunlight, plants, water. Those are all abundant. Yet the productive mechanism of society is what makes it scarce - artificially so.
So if we create the densest possible packing of productive information and technique onto the smallest operational scale - that would be the end of reliance on global systems - and it is made possible uniquely as a byproduct of the digital age. It is consistent with E.F. Schumacher's notion that societal organization breaks down when it reaches a certain scale. It is consistent with Gandhian economics, it is consistent with Buckminster Fuller's livingry as opposed to weaponry - and it is consistent with Martin Luther King's desire for governance based on law that transcends the law of man. This is because political and legal systems are built upon economies - and therefore resources - and a decent economy means decent governance. This is the case where Autonomy - defined as productivity with absolute efficiency and transparency - gives us freedom to pursue mastery - towards a higher purpose. Autonomy is what gives us the freedom to pursue ethics - where our cognitive surplus allows us to look farther beyond - than mere survival.
To start the ball rolling, I turned in my Plasma Physicists’ theoretical chalkboard for a tractor and a 30 acre farm in the middle of nowehere, Missouri - and i went to work.
Then My tractor broke. so I paid to get it repaired, then it broke again - and pretty soon – I was broke, too. I realized, that the truly effective, low cost tools that I needed to build a sustainable farm and community - didn't exist yet.
Ah Hah! Tools are essential.
That made arrive at the nuts and bolts of the open source economy. We're doing this by building the Global Village Construction Set - a set of the 50 industrial machines that it takes to build a small civilization with modern comforts. We take industry standards and convert them to simple, open source, modular, lifetime design counterparts - meeting or exceeding industry standards at a fraction of the cost.
More specifically – we build Open source machines at 5x lower cost wile embodying simplicity, modularity, and lifetime design that that make these machines 50x more cost effective over their entire life cycle.
Our means are Collaborative Production. Our business model is helping others replicate our enterprise. Our goal - is mutually assured abundance.
One feature is that the entire GVCS can be packed into a 40 foot shipping container. Then, this set can be deployed - even where there is no industrial economy - to create an entire modern economy - from raw land - where as few as 12 people can create a modern standard of living - from local resources - at 2 hours of work per day.
Don’t believe it? Seems impossible? It certainly flies in the face of how we live and what we think: working hard means we work a lifetime of long hours to secure the comforts of life. Or perhaps you can’t see yourself building a micro house or a brick press machine. Before you run away scared - you don't have to do this. But we will. Myself - and a dozen others - maybe someone in this room – I invite you to do this experiment for the world. The pioneers will trail blaze - and just the data point of possibility - will extend the index of human possibility – potentially to wide replication on the community scale.
Now I would like to turn to the physical reality of this. We started from raw land 6 years ago - and built our facility like this. 4000 sf fabrication facility - where we build tractors and compressed earth brick presses - with which we built this very facility. We also built a 3000 square foot house. We are optimizing production, such that an inexperienced team of 6, with leadership oversight, built a complete brick press in 4 days - and now we aim to do the same in 1 - exceeding the best of standardard industrial productivity. What does the transactional value of a complete brick press look like? So we are talking about netting $5k/day when the materials cost $4k and the sale price is $9k. Here we are getting our CNC torch table up and running, we built our own Ironworker machine as the core of custom fabrication metal cutting, our own hole puncher, heavy duty drill press, cold saw - CNC circuit mill - and we are becoming quite efficient. We aim to build a CEB living unit in a 2 day time frame - for a 12'x12' modular living units with double brick walls and straw insulation. We are trenching and digging with our tractor. We just got our open source dimensional sawmill for the first run, and we built other machines, like the microtractor, supersized string trimmer, trencher, hydraulic power unit, keyline plow, and soil pulverizer. We are just beginning, and we’re reminded everyday that we have a lot to learn. We know where we are going: and that is to the open source economy.
Here is our current plan:
First, we develop the remaining 50 GVCS tools. We upgrade our infrastructure over the coming year - including process, and standards - so that in 2014-15 - we undergo a rapid development phase to complete the entire set.
We attain $80k/month from a 4000 square foot flexible production facility via Collaborative Production - as a basic, replicable, operation.
The we Replicate those facilities like mad - which is the business development side.
We have to then teach people - our model is to scale to many facilities worldwide - by Creating the OSE Incubator - by building curriculum for immersion, 2-year training - to deploy the first full class of 12 Fellows. These OSE Distributive Enterprise Fellows follow the change model that education should include entrepreneurship.
Scale to 144 incubators worldwide - where each of these incubators also contain a significant research and development arm - such that a veritable, Open Source Product Development Pipeline is achieved - the mechanism for creating the Open Source Economy.
Then Replicate like McDonalds.
The basic change model is that ffficient, open source production yields 50x cost reduction of equipment over a lifetime - compared to industry standards.
The OSE brand - is absolutely responsible production.
Education model is that entrepreneurship is a force for change.
Our autonomous infrastructure allows for zero overhead operation.
So, a combination of efficient enterprise best practice - with entrepreneurship training - combined with autonomous operation implies wide scalability.
To make the Open Source Economy a reality - wee are building to scale. Our goal is Decentralized production - Decent Production - for short. This is not political ideology - just a business case for efficient enterprise where the traditional concept of scale becomes irrelevant. Our new concept of scale is to distribute economic power to others - our metric of success being independent replications after the GVCS is built.
This graph shows our history of prototyping starting in 2008 – note that in 2011, the first ever replication happened. Followed by 13 more this year. We are growing.
There is a social component to this - for optimizing global collaboration to generate design and adapt build-outs to many locations worldwide. We are using simple tools - based on wikis, Google Docs, and Sketchup. Plus other open source tools - which reduce the barriers to collaboration so that anyone can participate.
Our basic process starts with OSE Specifications - simple, modular, lifetime design, with design for fabrication. We focus on the modularity for quickness of development and build. Imagine a platform like Lego Blocks - where we build upon modules, which applies to structures - but this concept can also apply to electronics - where a good example of what we mean is Little Bits, an open source electronics education kit. We are doing the same for power electronics - induction furnaces, inverters, welders, and others.
We are using Collaborative Production - where our goal is to build a brick Press in one day with 8 people. We got down to 4 days the last time.
So where are we today? We are currently scaling our organization - regrouping and reorganizing to transition from vision to institution. We are building the team, creating strategy, structure, and process. And we are feeling the growing pains. We are recruiting remote designers and collaborators, full time on-site designers, and volunteers for dedicated project visits.
Our work is about regenerating the world around us. It's about cleaning up our own economies so we are not forced to steal from others - by producing within our own communities. We are scaling operations. I invite you to join us - especially if you are a skilled engineer or retired executive looking to make a difference in the world. See my TED talk if you haven't seen it, download a copy of the Civilization Starter Kit DVD v0.01 from our wiki, sign up as a True Fan to support us at $10/month. Talk to me - I need mentors, and my organization needs technical review, process development, operations, and strategy. Nobody said that building the open source civilization would be easy but with the right social process - it can be fun. We are testing the limits - of what we ALL can do - to make a better world. Thank you.