frequently asked questions
Q: "What are you?"
We are a small company, staffed with deeply-experienced activists, here to help communities reclaim their dignity on their terms.
We provide hands-on support and assistance, as well as a private-label software app.
Q: "What do you do?"
We provide a novel way for community impact organizations to secure a lucrative stream of recurring revenue that roots them in their community by explicitly sourcing and activating local leadership.
What kinds of "community impact organizations?"
Non-profits, churches, mutual aid networks, grassroots activists, indigenous communities, and neighborhood groups are some examples of the groups we normally work with.
Q: "How are we going to get our project funded?"
A: Introduce a marketplace that's exclusive to the community.
By using our app, the community impact organization keeps the transaction fees, which quickly adds up to thousands of dollars per month in passive revenue.
And our app would be deployed using the name of your community; we remain anonymous and behind the scenes, maintaining the code and providing regular updates.
In effect, your community gets its own eBay or Amazon, for instance: "The Choctaw App, exclusive to Choctaw Nation."
That way, your community gets the credit, and we do the heavy lifting, sourcing leadership from within your community and working to ensure you are successful.
Q: "Why would people use a marketplace that's exclusive to a community instead of just using Amazon or eBay?"
A: Because people prefer to do business with people they know, particularly if they are inside their community. They experience less fraud, and enjoy greater margins.
Also, Amazon and eBay keep the transaction fees (20% for Poshmark, 15% for Amazon, and 11% for eBay just for examples), which leaches money from your community, never to return.
Q: "What are the benefits of using your approach?"
Benefits to community impact organizations include:
Recurring revenue that can go towards payroll, operational expenses, program costs
Expanded and sustained community outreach
Benefits to sellers within the hyper-local marketplace include:
Access to additional income opportunities
Earn and learn assistance in launching a home-based micro-business
Benefits to buyers in the hyper-local marketplace include:
Lower costs, higher-quality products and services
The local touch: most people would prefer to do business with people they know, in their own community
Q: "Wait. Isn't this sort of thing going to take business from Amazon, eBay, and others?"
A: Yes. That's the point. Are you worried that Jeff Bezos might become poor?
Q: "Aren't you afraid that someone will come in and steal your business idea?"
A: No. That's also the point.
Q: "Wait. Why?"
A: We've structured the business in such a way that a competitor could only compete with us if they
helped community leaders earn more money, and
if they provided better human-to-human support to ensure their success.
Q: "Do you allow advertising in your marketplace app?"
A: No. As 89% equity owner of 214 Alpha Inc, I (Kent Dahlgren) won't allow it.
Paid advertising perverts perceived reality, and gives too much influence to those with an accumulation of hard capital, otherwise known as money.
Q: "So if you don't support advertising, how do people promote their listings in the marketplace app?"
A: The only way to elevate your marketplace listing is through earned reputation, which represents a spectrum of measures, in particular recognition of those who are atypically peaceful ("blessed are the peacemakers") and those who provide atypical service to their community ("...the least of my brethren").
Q: "So what are you doing with the data? Selling it like Facebook?"
A: No. I (Kent Dahlgren) will not allow it.
Our customer communities are entitled to data sovereignty, which means they become the stewards of their community data.
In fact, we source data stewards from within your community, and we train them to ensure they are successful.
Q: "Do you provide templates for helping a community become successful?"
A: Yes. That's to be provided through our benchmarking service, which will allow a community to load a template that helps them rapidly get up and running.
What are the templates? Data-driven policies representing the most effective and efficient forms of self-governance.
Q: "I don't get it."
A: Built into the services we provide are methods for increasing marketplace earnings.
In our model, these methods include "earn and learn" opportunities that help members of your community become producers, which is a fancy way of saying "small business owners that are producing something of value."
When consumers become producers, there's a statistical multiplier of about 3x to 5x in terms of marketplace revenue, particularly if the community embraces hyper-local and regenerative philosophies.
Q: "That sounds good, but I'm not sure I know how to do that."
A: That's ok. We'll teach you. It's part of our offering.
In fact, we are compiling wisdom on the topics into a recipe book we are calling the Anti-Fragile Playbook.
That way, you can source leadership from within your community, follow the examples of others just like you, and your community gets to claim credit for the successes.
Q: "But you said government."
A: No. I said governance; that's not necessarily the same thing.
Think about forms of corporate governance in the private sector: roles and responsibilities, access and permissions, policies and procedures, plus a voting function.
In all, your community marketplace will be offering "earn and learn" programs to your community, some of whom are low-income, and will be self-funding.
For that reason, you can formalize the whole project as a 501(c)(3) and skip paying taxes.
Q: "Wait, what? No taxes?"
A: Yes. That's the point.
Q: "Doesn't that hurt the government?"
A: It's not intended to. More critically, the government is already hurting, and they are unable to help more and more citizens.
This app is intended to help orchestrate collaborations between public (government), private (you), and faith-based institutions, if you so choose.
In that way, you are actually helping the government out, but on your terms.
That's basically why the IRS tax designation "501(c)(3)" was created in the first place, as an aside.
Q: "What about fraud, waste, abuse, and corruption?"
A: All agreements on our marketplace app are written to a form of ledger that is immutable and audited non-stop by everyone in the community.
It's automatic; just part of the design.
So if anyone tries to "cook the books," it sets off alarm bells across the entire community.
The transaction ledger is transparent, accountable, and easy to audit, designed from the ground-up to discourage fraud, waste, abuse, and corruption.
Q: "I wish I could become a customer. I don't have money."
A: We sign customers for $0 and we help y'all fundraise. That way, communities can say "we have an app," and that accelerates fundraising.
Within our model, and assuming the community is sufficiently motivated, the app marketplace begins paying for itself in six months, achieves break-even at nine months, and doubles the initial investment in a year.
Q: "This sounds like a pyramid scheme"
No, it doesn't.
It's the same precise model that's used by Amazon, eBay, Poshmark, and other online marketplaces, the difference being: our customers keep the fees, funding self-governance.
Q: "How do you make money from this?"
A: We keep 1% of the transactions, which goes towards human-based services that help source and support local leadership.
There's also an annual subscription, which covers maintenance of the app and supporting platform.
Q: "That doesn't sound like you're structured to earn very much money."
A: Yes. That's also the point.
There's such a thing as "enough," and the organization is staffed from the top down with those who have embraced a spirit of servant leadership and service to the community, with an explicit emphasis upon "the least of our brethren."
Q: "Sounds religious."
A: We're not, for what it's worth.
But what's wrong with wanting to serve the most vulnerable?
What's wrong with not being interested in becoming a billionaire?
What if the accumulation of wealth is a disease, particularly if it comes at the expense of the vulnerable?
Q: "Yeah, ok Kent. But seriously: how are you going to take this company public?"
A: I have no intentions of ever doing that.
Q: "So what are the plans for the company?"
A: Internally we operate on a framework that reconciles weekly execution to a five thousand year strategic plan.
Q: "Hahaha what? 5,000 years?"
A: Yes. Many of our client communities are indigenous and their traditions reach back twice that duration.
We believe it's responsible to invest in planning that assumes our current participation is of extreme limited duration.
Q: "I highly doubt there's going to be a mobile app in 5,000 years."
A: We agree. Most people forget that our most advanced technology is language, and it's through language that we define the parameters of our interactions.
That's why we have so warmly embraced a strategic collaboration with Future Story Lab, currently under the stewardship of the incredible Ruth Glendinning.
Q: "Ok, but wait. What will that look like, organizationally? 5,000 years? Really?"
A: The corporate entity will eventually be governed by a trust.
Q: "Who will be represented in the trust?"
A: Our customers, with an explicit emphasis upon the least of our brethren; it has been written into our organizational DNA.
Q: "What if you fail?"
A: When we'll get up and try again. That's the American way, no? Success does not exist in the absence of what some call failure.
As a skateboarder I learned that the reward one gains from becoming skilled is the privilege of rolling down the stairs backwards 70% of the time.
Because in some endeavors, a 30% success rate is pretty good, particularly if one has embraced an anti-fragile philosophy.
Q: "What's anti-fragile?"
A: An anti-fragile system is one that's distinguished from mere resiliency in that it becomes stronger under increased stress.
The worse things are, the stronger you become.
Relax: look beyond the frailty of our current institutions, and you'll see that humans have functioned in an anti-fragile manner for millennia.
Anti-fragility is how we survived, and within our model, we take you from surviving to thriving, on your terms.