Become an ally
Blitzscaling in the Time of Covid.
or: how to stop a virus from getting you to go viral
Over the last 3 plus years we, Citizen Shareholders, have gamed out hundreds, probably thousands, of scenarios as we developed the combination of product, business model, corporate structure, and messaging to not merely create a successful proof of concept, but a roadmap for a Unicorn.
Not one of those scenarios included a global pandemic. But here we are, in the fall of 2020, about to rise above the parapet for the first time. In some ways one can argue, particularly when speaking with potential investors, that Covid has created an environment that is more open to change, a new normal which we see Citizen Shareholders as part of. As we like to put it “complacency has left the building”, by which we mean the idea that everything is just going to work itself out as we carry on as normal is not just no longer tenable, it wasn’t before, but it is now patently absurd.
What has changed, and not wholly for the better, is the investment environment, and the recruitment environment. The two are not unconnected, a supply of cash is usually a requirement for increasing one’s team! In terms of raising investment, we have a plan that, in addition to the traditional routes, involves us asking donors for investment and investors for donations. It’s early days, but, thanks to our unusual structure – our for-profit fintech electoral mechanism, working with an independent, not-for-profit electoral commission – is looking very promising.
On the recruitment front we are adopting a different strategy. As fintechs go, we have a very strong ‘Why’ – changing the behavior of the corporations that dominate our planet. As our founder likes to say, “We are not just another sushi delivery service”. Not that we have anything against sushi delivery, we just recognize that in the same way that we will be able to get people to sign up as they seek to change the world, a subset of this group will be willing to help us achieve critical mass.
In a sense we have been utilising this resource since we started, for example, we have never paid any of our advisory board. With Covid causing a lot of highly talented people to be stuck at home with time on their hands we have expanded this strategy and, in the spirit of transparency, we felt it would be a good thing to write it down, as both a reference and to make it easier for people to challenge (the ability to challenge is part of our culture, as is KINDD working and, tautologically, our Culture deck.
Allies: This is the most common level at which people help. This can only ever involve things that are exclusively in the public domain and that we neither make, nor require, any intellectual property claims on. This could be a list of twitter handles of potential Trusted Third Party, the top 10 holdings of all the equity containing retail funds in Portugal, creating a filter so that people can take selfies of themselves as suffragettes outside the SEC in Washington DC, or any other building they think relevant (come the end of social distancing and they may be organising little get-togethers outside the actual buildings). It could be making a tiktok video for the ‘Supercharge Your Granny’ campaign aimed at getting 10 year olds so that they encourage their elders to signup to CitizenShareholders.
Those that do well at this, may, and we stress may, be asked to work on projects that are not yet, and may never be, in the public domain.These positions are rewarded in Sweat Equity. Currently they get 3 times their hourly rate in Series A equity, which is equivalent to getting a 66.6% discount on an unsecured convertible note.
The following level is getting paid actual cash on a contract basis, which most people are already familiar with, and the final level is becoming an employee. Given the changes in hiring in the UK, where we are currently based, the difference between the two may become a little blurred when it comes to divvying up the employee equity pool. We already have allies from over a dozen different countries on three different continents, and we don’t see why the UK Government’s decision not to tax the benefits accrued to overseas workers should preclude those workers from sharing the fruits of their labor.
So in brief, allies are free to help us and can find the tasks on citizenshareholders.org/allies citizenshareholders.com/allies. We may, repeat may, invite allies to work for sweat equity as a pathway to becoming a contractor and then an employee.
One element of putting all of this on the public domain is to manage expectations. Most people will never move beyond allies, particularly as the number of allies grows. Post series A, the sweat equity element will disappear, but we envisage the allies as our go-to talent pool for firing, though we will, eventually, inevitably hire from outside of this pool.
Which brings us to recruitment agencies…
If there are any recruitment agencies that are willing to work for sweat equity you really should get in touch, if you are not, you really shouldn’t.
Our founder, Paul Cannon, has scheduled a weekly Zoom call for new allies. If you’re up for it please visit the citienshareholders.org/allies