I am replying to your request for more background information.
You might say, I’ve had two lives. I was an entrepreneur who started a menswear retail store at 21. In 1990, after ten years of profitable business, I moved to NYC. The internet was just rolling out to the mainstream. Being in NYC and loving new ideas, I developed a 200-page business plan for what was termed a “consumer network.” I enlisted a Stanford-trained engineer, developed a legal team that provided $500k of seed capital, and raised an additional $12 million in a second raise.
The project was named YouNetwork. In simple terms, it was an online buyers club (I beg to disagree, but people need analogies). We built the system from the ground up. Aside from products from over 200 vendors, it had a referral network with member profiles, in-network value tracking (YouNetValue) that rewarded members with rebates for purchasing, recommending, and recruiting (in the “invite a friend” sense). My vision for YouNetwork specifically was an aggregation of purchasing power that allowed the members of the network to negotiate prices, consolidate purchases, and hold accountable corporate sellers.
YouNetwork successfully registered with the SEC for a “free share” offering. It is still the only company to file with the commission for such an offering. https://sec.report/CIK/0001078306 . The plan had a launch target for the second quarter of 1998, but the egotistical Stanford-trained engineer took his sweet time while working on other paid gigs. We didn’t launch until the fourth quarter of 1999 and, of course, the collapse followed within months. Due again to the egotistical Stanford-trained engineer, we turned down $50 million in VC money because he didn’t want to dilute his holding. So, sa la vie millions.
Although it was a corporation with investment level shareholders, the intent was always to create a people-powered network for consumer products.
After the crash In 2000, I moved into the Chelsea Hotel on West 23rd Street and, in Dadaist fashion, declared myself an Artist.
In 2009 I moved to Austin and in 2012 moved into a residential cooperative near the Univ of Texas Campus. I became involved in the governance of the coop and expanded my cooperative footprint to active membership in the Austin Cooperative Business Board. I proposed a constitutional convention to update what I believed were outdated modes and structures. After nine months we tested the new constitution at the residential coop. It was a temporary success until, as is always the case in coop houses, a few members threw a wrench into the process. The coop house was mainly post-college people in their early-mid twenties that just wanted to party.
I realized that the project needed people that were committed to building a new paradigm for human cooperation and moved on. I set the project aside until I could find a better way to move forward. I’ve been living on my own writing waiting for the best time to launch the project again.
This is just a brief summary of my pertinent experience. Obviously, I have a much more expansive life beyond what I’ve shared here. Thansks, DonJon.