Rambling Business Proposal for Project Cairo

If you’ve never heard of Project Cairo, go find out about it here: http://www.reddit.com/r/ProjectCairo/

TLDR: Revitalize the economy in Cairo, Il by starting an underground business network that manufactures and sells merchandise for the war on stupid; the employees keep half the profit, and the other half is used to build live-in eco offices around the world and The People’s Pyramid in Cairo, Illinois.

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Proposed Plan for Project Cairo:

Project Cairo needs a mission statement. Generally, everyone agrees that the goal should be to revitalize the economy in Cairo, Illinois. That’s vague, but it’s enough to get us started.

The question now is, how do you revitalize an economy? You revitalize an economy by creating and/or improving businesses models . When you create and improve businesses in an economy you create more jobs, better jobs, more efficient processes of doing business, more connections in the business network, more options for customers, better products,  lower cost of goods, and all of that adds up to a better quality of life for everyone.

When you have a bad business model in your economy, everyone suffers. Look outside of Cairo, Egypt. The pyramids of Giza are  a lasting testament to the power of a faulty economic model. How much money was sunk into building the pyramids?  How many resources were wasted building the pyramids? How much human potential was lost because the common people were made into slaves to build toys for the rich? What if all the money that had been put into the pyramids had been put into training those slaves to be creative problem solvers? Imagine how far that investment in human potential would have changed the course of history. We could be living on private floating islands  using Star Treck level technology. Instead we invested that money into building really big piles or rock to look at.

We’re making the same mistake again, except this time it might be worse. Instead of devoting our economy to building mountains of rock we’re devoting our economy to building mountains of trash.  This is how you succeed at business right now: Start a company making as cheap a product as possible. Pay your workers as little as possible and work them as long and as hard as possible. Manipulate them. Sell your product for as much as you possibly can to as many people as possible. Manipulate your customers into making poor cost/benefit analysis about the value of your product.Ensure that your customer will have to replace your product as often as possible. Get your customer dependent on your product and then raise the price on them as much as possible. In a nutshell, the secret formula to economic success under the current business model is to screw everyone as hard as possible for as long as possible; mercy is for the weak and the dead.

So we’re working long  hours for little pay. What little money we do make we get screwed out of every time to buy or sell anything ourselves. We’re broke, our appliances are broke, we’re stockpiling broken plastic plates , tin cans, grocery bags and cereal boxes. We’re not building anything that will last a generation much less as long as the pyramids have been around. We’re running out of fuel, we’re running out of fresh water, we’re running out of land, we’re getting better and better weapons, and the only solution the people in power keep coming up with to fix everything is to do more of what we’ve been doing, but do it harder, longer, meaner. (*citation needed)

Cairo, Illinois is a sign of the times and of times to come if we keep doing what we’ve been doing. Cairo, Illinois is on it’s way to becoming Barter Town from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. That post apocalyptic ghosttown wasteland is going to come sooner rather than later if the only solution we apply to our problems is to keep doing what we’ve been doing longer, harder, meaner.

But what can we do better? How can any one person make a difference in the world? The same way the pyramids were built: by organizing people into logical groups and disseminating information throughout the group to orchestrate simultaneous action of the group. The pharaoh was basically the CEO of Egypt Pyramid Corp. And if the pharaoh could organize a massive group of people to stack rocks  without the advantage of a college degree and free online tools, then a group of dedicated nerds with a big enough social network could build anything…if they could just organize people into groups to work towards a common goal. In fact, nerds  regularly use internet tools to simultaneously orchestrate the actions of hundreds of geographically isolated individuals to complete the extremely complicated task of slaying dragons.    A MMORPG guild master is basically the CEO of “Dragon Slaying Corp.”

If the Egyptians can build pyramids and gamers can slay dragons then Redditors should be able to organize themselves into groups with the purpose of creating goods and services to sell. If we can create and operate a network of garage-based product designers, manufacturers, sellers and transporters then we can create a profit flow. If we can create a profit flow then we can save money and build an office. If we can build an office we can build it in Cairo, Illinois. If we can build an office in Cairo, Illinois then we can build a live-in offices the size of the pyramids in Giza but look like something out of Star Trek. It might take 130 yeas, but it would be a testament to the world what a bunch of slackers, gamers, stoners and hipsters can accomplish. People would come from all over the world to see the People’s Pyramid, and with that much office space we could operate a global underground business network from there.

But this still leaves the question, “What could Project Cairo sell to make all this money?”It could sell anything within the power of its members to create. The only way to know what Project Cairo could sell is to organize its members into groups and see what their skills are. Then we could pair people up with other people who need and lack their skills. We  can make a game out of it.

Here’s what you need to do to play :
1. Sign up on the game site.
2. Create your profile.
3. Connect with a compatible team. You will have lots to choose from.
4. Use the tools provided by the site to design and manufacture a product.
5. Sell that product through craigslist, ebay, trademe, etc.
6. Profit.

Each team can build whatever it wants, but it should meet one stipulation. You see, we wouldn’t want a team to manufacture cigarettes or automatic weapons. Civilizations rise and fall by the tools they create. When they create atomic bombs they reap atomic craters. When they create fiber optics  they reap communication. When they create stupid they reap stupid. When they create smart they reap smart. We’re should learn from the past and choose to create products that in some way facilitate  the self-actualization of the end user.

Once Project Cairo sells their goods where will the money go? Why not just let everyone keep the money they earn. As long as they’re producing, selling and buying they’re stimulating the economy, which will eventually trickle down to Cairo. The site can always accept donations, and it wouldn’t have to be dependent on them if it has a dedicated product line that it produces and sells itself to pay the bills and build live-in eco offices in Cairo and elsewhere.

How long will it take to make enough money to buy property, lay the first brick, build the first live-in eco office condo or finish the entire pyramid? That’s up to the people who play the game. The more people who join, the better the products they make, the faster they sell them and the more people who find creative ways to help fund  building giant live-in eco offices, the faster the project will move. But no project moves forward on excuses and naysaying. So with action in mind, let’s talk about the steps to completing this project:

1. Build the beta test site. That’s done. It’s at: http://projectcairo.mmoguildsites.com/.

2. Test the site and improve it. We need 3+ volunteers to run a test business from the site so we can work out all the kinks in the system.  Eventually we’ll need a n idealistic programmer with some free time on their hands to build up the platform.
3. Once the test business is operating successfully, generating a steady growing income and has a stable platform to host other businesses in, open it up to the public.
4. Limit company growth so we don’t bite off more than we can chew. We take our time and keep a pace we can handle.
5. As the company makes more money it builds offices wherever the people who funded them want their live in offices to be. When 150 offices have been built we start directing money towards building the People’s Pyramid.
6. We build the pyramid in a way that we can occupy and use it while it’s being built. So once we start building it people can start living and working in it.
7. Build more People’s Pyramids, and customize all of them creatively.
8. Escape the rat race and live happily, freely and with dignity.
9. Pass something good on to our children and leave a positive word  in the history books wherever our generation is mentioned.

In order to move forwards with the beta testing phase we need a product for the test company to sell . The game has already defined what the first product we need to sell is: the game board. You can’t play the game if you don’t have a game-board and the pieces.

The object of the game is to start a business. So the board is designed to help you do that. It walks you through all the steps of starting a business by having you play several different boards that we sell the our customers who are also our players.

The game will have multiple boards you can play. One  board is a map with a compass. It teaches you how to ask questions and solve problems.

Another board walks you through the steps of product design.

Another board teaches you how to make cost/benefit analysis.

Another board walks you through how to have a meeting.

Eventually the guild should build a 3D version of the site. How many nerds would it take to build a virtual office similar to a MMORPG version of Tron meets Farmville meets Facebook? The game would be designed to walk you through the steps of running a successful business just like NPCs walking you through how to play a new character on an MMORPG. Then once you master the fundamentals you can play the game for real, and the way you play the game is to participate in an online business partnership, and the money you win is real.

Another board will be the physical live in eco-office some of the virtual companies will build (including the People’s Pyramid). These boards walk you through the stages of your life. The primary focus of its design is to help its players grow up to fulfill their full potential as every player determines for themselves. Yes, you can design buildings like that.

Looking forward and more philosophically, the entire universe is a game board. We’re the only pieces who get to redesign the board as well as themselves. What pieces could an organization of 1 million people create to leave as a testament to their existence? What pieces are we creating? And why? Why are we creating mountains of garbage and atomic craters as our existential testament?  If we can work together to build a pyramid then we can work together to build a space ship or a universal free online school covering every subject professionally. We have the technology to build the future today, but we’re still living in the past. Why?

Let’s not do that. Let’s not be stupid. Let’s do something smart. Let’s design a product range of abstract boards that help people navigate through life intelligently. Let’s be war profiteers in the war on stupid. Let’s extend our product range to designing faux war posters and merchandise against the war on stupid. Let’s encourage people to be smart. Let’s make being smart better than cool. Let’s make it the norm. Let’s make a lot of money doing it and share the money equally, and build a pyramid for the people in Cairo, Illinois.

That’s what I’ve got so far. It’s just something to think about.

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