Our very own Kid Mercury has built a learning community (and game) called Fredsquare. The following is a guest post he has written to introduce all of you to it. I hope you'll visit Fredsquare, play the game, and learn a bit about startups too.
I am sure the Kid will love to get your feedback on Fredsquare in the comments too.
FredSquare is an application I’ve hacked together for the AVC community. Its mission statement is to help startups learn. Here’s how it works:
Articles and videos from around the web that help startups learn are imported the site.
Comments on AVC tagged #fs are also imported. If you’re leaving a comment that you think helps advance the FredSquare mission – help startups learn – please feel free to tag it #fs.
Imported content, #fs tagged comments, and original content contributed by FredSquare members is curated and organized to create FredSquare University. I like to think of it as “Wikipedia for startups”: an encyclopedia-style reference source that we can use to continue learning, so that we can build the best startups possible.
Those with the Bouncer Badge are responsible for curating content and building FredSquare University. (Currently this is just me, though hopefully we can grow to more Bouncers in time when it is warranted). The more content of yours that Bouncers add to our University, the more Badges you’ll earn. Each Badge is assigned a numerical value, and the sum of your Badges is your FredScore. Boosting your FredScore will unlock privileges as our game develops (right to launch your own storefront and accept FredBucks, discounts on other stores, etc – but all that comes later, once the community has some more engagement).
Slide Deck (for publishing a slide deck)
Video Pitch (for creating a video pitch)
Engaged Users (for reaching 10,000+ authentic registered members)
Disruptive Strategy (for having a strategy that fits the framework of disruptive theory
While building an educational resource is the paramount goal, effectively serving our mission goes beyond creating an encyclopedia – for learning is an interactive endeavor, and we humans tend to learn most by doing. And so, the game mechanics of FredSquare also reward founders for building their startup. Here are some Badges founders can earn for engaging in activities that most startups need to do to as part of their path towards sustainable success:
for a full list of badges.
Remember that earning Badges boosts one’s FredScore. As our game develops, I’d like for FredScore to serve as a reputation metric of sorts. I hope that it can be used to identify startups getting traction that may be worthy of investment – either via crowdsourcing, should the legislative environment allow that, or by bringing qualified startups to the attention of accredited investors – like Fred. I believe that FredScore, in conjunction with private groups and discussion forums on FredSquare, will provide us with a richer environment for startups to network with each other -- and thus to learn how to build great startups by doing the work involved.
Money, Governance, and Copyright
The creation and management of FredSquare is part of my larger objective of building learning-centric communities with game mechanics for blog stars that will include a P2P economy (i.e. users buy and sell with each other using Fredbucks – sellers must have a high enough FredScore). InformedTrades is a more developed prototype if you are looking for another example. Anyway, as game operator, I will impose a tax on all transactions once our economy develops, and will retain a portion of revenue via virtual goods and affiliate marketing. The goal is to share the majority of revenue with the community via FredBucks (which, in time, will be able to redeemed for a variety services that help startups grow – i.e. hosting, video production, web design, outsourced software development, etc), as well as with Fred’s favorite charity, Donor’s Choose. At present there are just banners on FredSquare, and 100% of all banner revenue is being donated to Donor’s Choose. A large percentage of virtual gift revenue will be donated to Donor’s Choose as well.
Fred appears to be down with giving me leeway to run this. But while I’m running things, if Fred tells me to do or not do something, I will obey, so long as the order does not violate any law imposed by the US Federal government or the state of Florida, USA. The goal is certainly to channel the brand of Fred and the spirit he has engendered here. I find it extremely unlikely this will be a cause for concern but I do find it worthwhile to clarify as much as possible at the outset.
All original content published on FredSquare is CC-BY licensed. Consistent with the spirit of Fred, FredSquare operates on that side of the business model debate pertaining to copyright, under the belief that such a policy will generate the most opportunity for all. If you do not find this agreeable, publishing original content on FredSquare or tagging your comments on AVC with #fs may not be for you.
Anyway, the first step is to build the community and get an economy going, then we can all argue about sharing money later. :)
By now the time has come for me to end this introduction to FredSquare, and for you to make a choice: you can ignore this blog post and tell yourself that there is no hope for society; government sucks, corporations suck, the economy sucks, most startups fail, your mom doesn’t love you, etc. Or you can enlist as a citizen of FredSquare, share your knowledge and build your startup, and be a part of creating the startup utopia that sets us free.