At SxSW (South by Southwest Conference) Tom Brown, Bijoy, David Bluestein, and I (with other bootstrappers) announced the launch of the BootKarma system. BootKarma is a complementary currency system meant to allow bootstrapping entrepreneurs leverage their time, especially in the early stages of their venture where cash is short. Essentially this is a formalization of a barter system among bootstrapping entrepreneurs. Note that the yin and yang tags are incorrect- and should be reversed. What this napkin design shows is how a formalized currency (like the US dollar) is structured by hierarchy (therefor not allowing everyone to participate unless they already have dollars) while on the right side, we see a complementary currency that can include anyone in a community with skills to leverage.
This scan of this napkin in a way shows a high level of design of the currency… a complementary currency is about creating trust and recognizing the bartering that is going on among different members of the community- and allows the facility of trade between members of the community that might not know each other… the power of this is in comparison to a barter system that only allows bartering to happen between people that know each other well.
What I find particularly insightful on Tom Brown‘s part is his design of BootKarma in this post about complementary currency and the Wooly Mamoth:
However, the promise of interest on money creates an incentive for selfishness. School (Rushmore) further conditions us to be selfish and government approved media’s main function is to exploit that conditioned selfishness. It’s no surprise that we tend to forget about the value of the ancestral gift economy. (original post here)
Bootstrap Austin already is using Enterprise Teaming’s system for managing commitments that are made between individuals and each other… what this underlying currency system represents is the opportunity to scale this system to many, many other entrepreneurs that want to work together in building their companies.