Joseph McKinney
October 29, 2019

Startup Society Manifesto

Full speech can be viewed on YouTube here 


Hello everyone. Can you you hear me alright? I’m incredibly excited that we are all here to talk about these ideas, to engage with them, and eventually, enact them. We operating far outside ourselves as individuals. So basically i'm going to frame the discussion for the next two days. 


In my talk, i’’m going to talk about the importance of startup societies, what the startup societies foundation does, and the reason we are having this conference. So, I think the best place to start is to first define what a startup society is.   A startup society is an experimental government located in a small geographic area. 


And to be honest, we made up a word. We made that word up to make people aware of the different experiments  around the world. To build a movement consciousness, a consciousness of society builders. It is purposely broad, because We are a coalition of methodology, not ideology. With that word we tied together people who seem so disparate but have shared obstacles. By giving them a common word, we create a common network to draw from. 


 But while the word itself is new, the concept is anything but. Civilizations all start as  Startup societies. The ancient Sumerian cities were experiments in agriculture, specialization, and organization never seen in hunter-gatherer societies. Venice was a city built on platforms by refugees of Germanic invasions and later became the center of the Italian renaissance. And today today, 100s of millions Chinese have been lifted out of poverty by the power of special economic zones. Shenzhen, the first special economic zone, was a sleepy fishing village of 30,000 people. And today, 30 years later, it now 18 million souls and the same GDP as Ireland, Portugal, or Vietnam. 


We are operating in a territory far beyond ourselves or even our era. And for every epoch, it needs a new understanding, a new movement, a new word.But Beyond the word’s purpose the word reflects the best aspects of business startups and why they are important. 


They are easy to exit, they are malleable to change,they are focused on data, they are personalized, and are focused on technology.  


Now on to the point that they are easy to exit. Standard government do not seem capable of addressing new problems. While startups everyday are addressing our needs and drastically lowering the cost of living. We need to apply the lessons of startups to governments to keep them accountable to the will of the people. And the key is making ease of exit to allow competition. 


Because standard governments are large, citizens are stuck there by default, creating a monopoly. In contrast,  startup societies are small thus easier to leave. If they do not treat their citizens correctly, they will lose them. As a consequence, they have an incentive to treat their citizens right. 


Now onto the point of being more malleable. Standard governments always have to deal with entrenched interests. There are so many bureaucracies and lobbying corporations that they do not make effective change. However, with a startup society, because of their small geography, and they are often new, they do not have to deal with as much entrenched interests. 


Startup Societies are also focused on data. Current day “social science” is not science. Proper science requires a large sample size, and with large, centralized states, we have less data points to draw from to make predictions. As a consequence, policymakers make policy in the dark with only remote knowledge that their designs will work in their particular circumstances.  But with startup societies, because they are small, decentralized (and hopefully many!) we will have much for data points to draw from, from much richer data and more accurately make policy.


They are also more personalized because they are localized.Standard governments tend to be in central locations in far off capitals, across large geographic territories governing many diverse people. Because information is so dispersed and they are so far removed their policies are often counterproductive. Local Government is  knowledgeable government. Because of their proximity with the people, they usually know their values, their language, and the economic standing the people and therefore can make better policies.  Because Startup Societies are small, local governance is the norm.


Startup Societies are technological. While  not all startup societies will be super focused on technology, Startup Societies can become bright future enclaves towards the technological singularity. Startup societies are small have to be competitive and as a consequence, they often turn to technology. Shenzhen is now called the “silicon valley of hardware” and Singapore is often seen as future city.  That’s why everyone keeps talking about “smart cities”, with state of the art infrastructure and transportation and often including talking of blockchain technology.


But startup societies will not true run on technology, they will have policies conducive to its creation. They can become enclaves of scientific inquiry that can freely experiment with artificial intelligence, blockchain tech, and biomedical research. 

Every era has had hubs of the future. We are building those centers. Consequently we could perhaps get rid of the scourge of disease, poverty, and perhaps even death itself. 


So the purpose of the The Startup Societies Foundation is to bring together society builders so we can generate best practices. Also, we talk to the public so we can empower them to join the movement and put pressure on public officials to spread them.,Startup Societies require a network to generate best practices because they have existed for thousands of years, exist now, and we do not need to operate in isolation. We do not have to constantly reinvent the wheel. 


So why are we having this conference. Ultimately, collaboration is built on trust and trust is begotten when we are in the same physical location. There is no replacement for seeing the whites in someone’s eyes. Social media cannot do that. And from that trust we will build relationships and From those relationships we build new societies.


We are entering a new era of politics. One of the frontier spirit in which we do not argue, we build! We bear the cost of our ideals and hold the responsibility to put them into action. This will be the hardest thing we'll ever do.Most political movements will not tell you that. Movements that try execute ideas without talking about the costs are a dangerous pied pipers. People’s lives are at stake. But there's a cost to  inaction, as well as action.  Without change, countries will die of starvation, disease and despotism. 


There are people in this world who see a world overlaid upon what we can touch. People with waking dream just out of reach. People with these phantoms are often tortured by their unreality.  But, the people in this room will do everything in their power to manifest them, make them tangible, practical, and beneficial to all. 


But we no longer have the luxury of waiting. If we do not make changes now, the world will stagnate. The levees are going to break. But with this method, we will not be swept away and we will ride the wave. This is not the beginning of the end. This is the end of the beginning. “The world you desire can be won, it is real, it is possible, it exists, it is yours.”


Everyone, I welcome you to the Startup Societies Summit. 


Further Reading

Don't argue. Build.

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