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Transparency and 21st Century Transaction Systems

I started out trying to improve consumer processes and interactions. This entailed connecting the dots between what was already out there in a consumer friendly and easy to adopt manner.

It was pointless without connecting the financial dots because that was literally where the money was in the process. Hence the transaction system, which could have been piggy-backed on credit cards but the costs were ridiculously high and the reliability was disappearing as fast as the fraudsters with the card-holders' money. It was also just too tedious for the customer. I had simple as a priority, make it ridiculously simple.

Done.

Then just as I was about to blitz the landscape with revolutionary ways to interact, pay, advertise, and do a lot of everyday things (which would also have saved a lot of people a lot of money) the financial system decides to go all kooky. It just became a crazy casino where all the gamblers could print money. Value adding disappeared and value extraction became the norm. Of course it eventually realised it was feeding on itself but denied it until the inescapable collapse.

A collapse cause by lack of transparency obscuring our collective views that we were running on bulldung and fart gas.

A few smelled it, as I have written before, but few good men spoke up.

The transparency issue came to the fore. As I predicted. What I have realised through the observation of our collapsing economies is that it is all about transparency and information. And now I realise that what I conceived could in fact be the answer to much of the economy's ills.

I will boldy and without apology say that it would be vastly more efficient, cost, time, energy, natural resources. I have come to realise that isn't the key benefit of what I envisaged.

The real benefit is in the information - the transparency. Imagine the efficiencies which can be gained if we know what is being consumed (bought) everywhere all the time - in real time. Not secret. Open to all - searchable.

If advertisers could see how many people bought or added an item to their shopping list during their advert and knew even which store they would collect it from. If at any moment you could see where levi's were selling the most, or tomatoes or whatever - everything.

What if every order from a store or website could safely fly through the ether in plain text happily revealing it's substance to anyone interested - and the consumer didn't care one little bit?

Imagine a completely transparent consumer supply chain. Real time knowledge of every single product you produce selling anywhere on the planet 24/7.

Consumer sentiment instantly. Supply and demand eagerly revealed, consumption monitored.

What if investors could track orange juice consumption by the litre - globally?

It seems to me that would leave some room for some real value adding. Understanding, responding to and satisfying demand in a real-time world. Knowing the instant your product left a store and needed to be re-stocked, without the store-owner having to press a key. Supply chain management - advertising integrated directly into production and supply, responding to each-other in a glorious dance of efficiency.

All that is missing is the mechanism to relieve the consumer of the worry (insecurities and privacy issues) and the effort. Make it easy and safe and they won't care who knows that 'someone' bought a pair of Levi's in the Pentagon Mall for $39.95. The ad guy who put the local Levi's ad to air sure would like to know and to be able to measure the effectiveness of advertising in real time that creates vast opportunity for brands to increase the effectiveness of advertising. Measure.

I see other possibilities in the supply chain area too, providing a way for small producers to sell their product directly to customers and be delivering product to where those buyers will go and get them, supermarkets that they know, for the most part, already have specific buyers heading in to buy them. (Buyers who are happy to be reminded where necessary) Knowing in advance what is going to sell in the supermarket or store tomorrow through the broadcast and internet advertising tonight.

I also see a way for brands to put their stock in stores and be paid literally by the item - as it sells, instantly. It would make sending that next truckload out to restock a low risk exercise. It might relieve the need for corporations to carry so much of the cost of the product for the full sales cycle. It would reduce the risk in production, reduce the need for operating capital whilst allowing for flexible product placement with retailers. Safe in the knowledge that as it leaves the store you get paid. Faster.

That's my idea of a 21st century transaction system (really just a glimpse), in case anyone wondered. There's a little more to it than a mobile, as you can see. It's rather nice to contemplate and I do look forward to sharing the elegant simplicity which powers the possibilities.

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