Why Start ShopO Right Now?
Actually, the genesis of ShopO was back in 2011 when the Arab Spring showed that it was possible for a small group of people to crystallize consensus, coordinate collaborations and change the world.
This paradigm-shifting event of a largely peaceful and highly efficient "Rock Candy Revolution" provided everyone with a real world example of what Jane McGonigal had predicted two years earlier. Specifically, she said in 2009 in her "Reality is Broken" TED talk that "gamers" could help to save the real world by harnessing the skills for online cooperation that millions of them had been honing in their quests to save virtual worlds.
Jane's TED talk in 2009 inspired the following TEDxMonterey talk in 2011:
The Rock Candy Revolution showed that a small team of men and women could harness the power of people to influence the behavior of the friends, family, neighbors and co-workers near them in such a way that an exponential growing but still controlled reaction could take place for the direct benefit of the people involved and for society in general.
So, having seen the power of e-commerce over the years to create wealth, we thought that if we could give 15+ million women around the world the ability to earn money every day by selling products to 100+ of their closest connections that we could create a system for doing good on a global scale without constantly having to recreate the infrastructure in which ideas and products spread to the furthest reaches of the world.
ShopO's BIG IDEA is attracting BIG PARTNERS
In essence, ShopO is based on an unofficial "joint venture" between:
- UPS == world's first Global Logistics Graph
- Western Union == world's first Global Remittance Graph
- Facebook == world's first Global Social Graph
Our goal is to combine the capabilities of these three giants into a the world's first Global Influence Graph (GIG) and build a suite of killer apps on top of it, such as:
- ShopO Address == an app offering 4.5 billion US address to anyone with a cellphone
- ShopO Circles == a cross-border shopping service powered by women for their friends
- ShopO Academy == an online training site for ShopO Circle Leaders and others
A Little History
In 2010, Facebook’s Social Graph provided virtual sharing connections for 800 million friends around the globe.
The Social Graph Keeps Growing...
As of 2017, over 1.8 billion Facebook friends are now sending and receiving trillions of packets of virtual information across every border without even thinking about it, but none of this sharing involves shipping physical products.
But not everyone has easy or equal access to US products.
So while US merchants are happy to ship bookoo boxes to Betty in Boston when she buys online with her BankAmericard, most of them don’t want to bother changing their sites to begin serving Bethina in Bengaluru who has no bank account and can only buy in person with Indian Rupees.
The ShopO Address app == 15 million new non-US shoppers for US merchants.
ShopO Address solves Bethina’s “lack of access” by giving her a “virtual home” in the US and a US-savvy concierge who can help her order and consolidate her packages before trans-shipping them to India.
The ShopO Circles app == 1.5 billion new non-US buyers for US merchants.
ShopO Circles is the next step in improving this process by allowing women to earn money as Circle Leaders who recruit and shop for Circle Members who are typically friends, neighbors and co-workers.
The ShopO Circles app empowers women to become ShopO-wners.
After starting with Circle in one location in India, there are now ShopO Circles popping up anywhere there are folks who want easier access to the products available in the US.
What's in it for UPS to partner with ShopO?
UPS invested in and allied with ShopO in order to increase their number of cross-border shipments. Achieving this goal requires linking the Facebook Social Graph and the UPS Logistics Graph to invent the ShopO Influence Graph™, which connects Merchant Offers to ShopO Circle Leaders and Members, and thereby facilitating US product purchases by non-US buyers.
What's in it for Western Union to partner with ShopO?
Western Union is not currently a partner of ShopO. However, their network of 500,000+ agents would benefit from helping to identify the ShopO Circle Leaders that will be operating in their locales because this ShopO Zone Trustee role will be financially rewarding in the form of finders' fees and socially in the form of helping to increase the well-being of the neighborhood and the wealth of the Circle Leader.
Here is one picture showing the 12,000+ cities that have at least one WU agent to give you a sense of how many feet on the street WU represents:
What's in it for Facebook to partner with ShopO?
Facebook is not currently a partner of ShopO. However, their network of 1.5+ billion users around the world would benefit from being given a ShopO Address and joining a ShopO Circle because it would make them almost as valuable to US merchants as US customers. This would lead to windfall of increased ad revenue to Facebook because ad rates go up when more merchants compete for the same valuable consumers
In essence, the massive growth of ShopO is the best way for Facebook to causes its most wealthy advertisers to want to reach the 1.5 billion non-US residents on Facebook who are effectively ignored.
The answer to the "Why Now?" question is that the combination of UPS, Western Union, Facebook and the ubiquity of smart-phones means that ShopO's Global Influence Graph can be the seed crystal into a super-saturated solution of entrepreneurs looking for the opportunities that will match their talents and dreams.