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Indie Time Bank

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Arowx, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. Arowx

    Arowx

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    Hi, there I've just bumped into the Zeitgeist Movement online and come across an interesting idea a Time Bank.

    The idea is if you don't have a lot of money but you have time you can join a Time Bank and put up work/help requests and apply to work/help other people.

    The currency is Time, so you work for an hour you have 1 hour to spend in your Time Bank account that you can use when you need help with something.

    So given that game development requires different skill sets do you think an Indie Time Bank would work?

    OK I've setup a site to try an Indie Game Development time bank:

    http://indiegamedev.comunitats.org/en/

    Still learning how the site works and setting up info but give it a look and let me know what you think?
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  2. TylerPerry

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    What about those who suck? say they spend 1 hour doing something someone better could do in a few minutes.
     
  3. npsf3000

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    Yeah, I do this all the time... it's called $$$
     
  4. Arowx

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    They would quickly go into debt and as long as the Time Banking system showed each users current Time balance and ideally a rating system time wasters would be easy to spot after a short period of time.
     
  5. Arowx

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    So you are exchanging time for money, but that limits you to the amount of money or debt you own.

    A Time Bank allows people with very little money but with skills and needs to use their skills and spend the commodity we all have and that is Time.

    Think about it no matter how much a person is paid, 1 hour of my time is equal to one hour of yours, time is universal and finite for us.

    Admittedly what Al can do in an hour may not be equal to Bob but that's the whole point of a Time Bank.

    If Al is better at something than Bob, Bob can employ Al saving him Time and then Al can use that Time to get something done that someone else can do better or faster than him.

    Once you start out doing Indie or Freelance work you know that 'time is money'.

    But without money can you buy time, with a Time Bank you can!
     
  6. npsf3000

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    Nope - it limits you to the amount of money that *other* people are willing to spend.

    As does cash.

    Maybe as a philosophical point fine, but in terms of the actual metrics used I'll have you find my time is extremely valuable. Go ask 100 random people how many of them have the skills I do?

    How exactly? If you've not banked any time... you're asking me to give you cash 'on faith' - which can be done without a time bank. If you have banked time, how does that differ from banked cash?

    ------

    A time bank may work, but first you really have to figure out what it's offering that the normal transaction systems don't.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  7. TylerPerry

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    And you Mr. Incredible will have the skills of these 100 people?
     
  8. npsf3000

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    Nope. But when the job is programming a server for your game, their time isn't worth as much as mine :)
     
  9. TylerPerry

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    What about when there a sergeon fixing your overworked fingers :D I think that in life everyone's time is worth the same it is simply finding situations were you can exploit peoples needs.

    IE if I sell wood and someone needs wood and I am the only one who sells wood people will pay me what ever I ask, in other words I exploit the need... I guess you exploit the need for server programming, but what if you find yourself in the situation were you need something like say those who made the computer you need sold it for $10,000 would you buy it(I guess if you make lots of money yes) and in a way they do exploit this, or if you need an operation then you can't say no so really they can charge you what ever you want I guess that is why surgeons are paid so much.

    (I don't think this is a bad thing but I suppose it would be ideal if everyone just directly paid for hours.)
     
  10. Arowx

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    But people are only willing to spend money if it saves them Time!

    That's great and you can sell those skills for cash and you can buy other peoples time with cash, but for the cash strapped indie start-up a Time Bank would allow them to help each other generate games. Think of it as a remote ongoing game Jam.


    OK for example lets say you provide 2 hours of work from someone that gives you 2 hours credits in the bank you can use to help you get something done, maybe something you don't like doing or are not very good at but it's 2 hours of work that can be done by someone else for you via the Time Bank.

    Yes you would need to put faith in the work of someone else being able to repay you that time, but that's 2 hours you can spend with your family or work on something else. Maybe it's just QA work that you can have someone else do while you continue to work on your game.

    It can only offer the skills and time of it's community but it allows for very low budget projects to get the help they need to get off the ground or stay out of the red and it can build a community and network.
     
  11. npsf3000

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    Or gains them time [aka cash], or fulfils some other need.


    It enables people with no money to work with other people with no money. This is *viable* situation in some circumstances - e.g. hobbiest - but has some major issues if you wish to make a living.


    But this can just as easily be done via cash or collaboration - what's the selling point?

    Fundamentally it enables unsuccessful people to work with unsuccessful people. Is that a successful model to follow?
     
  12. Arowx

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    OK think of it this way, a Time Bank would be a great way to get to know how good someone is at something without paying for their services.

    A way for new talent to be found and to open the way for further co-operation and networking of those talented skilled individuals.

    As well as the not so skilled to get together and collaborate and improve their skills.
     
  13. npsf3000

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    But is not the point of a Time Bank that you *are* paying? Just in time, not in cash?

    Only if you can convince talented skilled individuals that a Time Bank is a good way to transact.

    That's a better angle to approach - particularly for teens - though I'd argue it's fairly niche and not the aforementioned 'talented skilled individuals'.
     
  14. Arowx

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    @npsf3000 A Time Bank is not a replacement for normal financial transactions it's a new space to allow co-operation and networking to develop within a community.

    Think of it a bit like an asynchronous game Jam where talented individuals can come together and share their skills to make great games.
     
  15. FuzzyLuke

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    I like the idea. Maybe its got its flaws but worth a try?
     
  16. DallonF

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    The difference between a Time Bank and normal paid collaboration is mostly psychological, but that might be enough to be interesting. There's really no barrier to entry - just spend some time working on someone else's game and you get someone else to work on your game. I would probably use it because I love programming and am really bad at art.

    There are some challenges in practicality, though. It'd be really easy to get ripped off in a system like this. How do you know how long somebody actually spends on a task? How can you be sure you're picking the right person for a job?

    A similar, but maybe more practical, concept might be "game dating". It would be a service to "match" you with a person with a complementary skillset. Both of you would work on both of your games. This system wouldn't scale well to matches of three or more games - but of course, there's no requirement that there be only two people. Maybe you'd jump in on a project just to earn some "karma" points and make you more likely to be chosen in the future, or maybe you'd pool resources and "date" as a team working on one game.
    Actually I might work on that...
     
  17. imaginaryhuman

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    It sort of sounds like a good idea. It could work if there were honesty and trust involved.

    My input, not to say it's a good or bad idea, is that as employees, many people live inside a lifestyle of being paid for their time. Typically there is a flat hourly wage. Within that time span you are usually expected to do a given amount of work. If you do excellent work or relatively poor work, so long as you're within acceptable limits you get paid the same, unless you have a generous boss who recognizes and rewards your efforts.

    So anyway... the person who benefits from this model is the boss, because he/she gets you to put in average or outstanding work, work which may increase profits, work which may have long-lasting improvements to the bottom line, but your wage may not increase. So there is no `return` on your `investment` of time other than your flat wage. Once your hour of work time is `spent` it stops paying you back and is lost. In a way this is how the boss makes more money, paying you for your time rather than your performance or your effect on sales.

    After many years of being such an hourly employee with various companies, I've come to realize that being paid for my time does not scale at all well. To earn more I have to work more hours. That sucks. 40 hours is already too much time to be working every week. To be smarter at making money for myself, I would rather focus on looking at my time in terms of how I can use it to continually pay myself back over time. Ie I put in x fixed amount of time but I am compensated many times over for that effort, and in particular over the long term I should continue to be rewarded for that time. In that sense, the time I put in, say 1 hour, should be continually paid back to me over time - the work that I do in that 1 hour should keep `working for me`.

    If my efforts, my investments, are not `working for me`, then I am stuck in`working for them`... ie working for a boss, getting paid by the hour without significant bonuses or pay raises etc. So for me it's more interesting now to figure out how to invest my time to create little money-multiplying machines, investments, that can go to work for me and keep paying me back above and beyond the amount of time I put in. Otherwise if I am only paid for my time then my hands are extremely tied because my income is directly tied to ME. If you can take your SELF out of the equation and get paid not for your time but for the `potential` in your ideas, that is much better for you in the long term.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  18. Khyrid

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    I think the real difference is that you can't pay your rent with time credit.

    This could only work if the people requesting work put a time limit on the job. There would have to be guide lines, like a model of a pencil cannot be 100 hours. Then somebody with skills would browse what's being requested and what the allotted time is. If it's a 2 hour thing, the person making it should get 2 hrs of points for finishing it in under 2 hours. No point being penalized for working fast.

    This whole my time is equal to your time crap is not true in any way. It's a nice thought and that's all. A person who produces more in a short time obviously values their time more as they must practice and avoid wasting their time to get those skills, in every way their time is more valuable.

    p.s. @ imaginaryhuman; Break that paragraph up man. Nobody wants to read that, they'll have a seizure trying.
     
  19. Arowx

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    That will be up to the parties using the time bank.

    But I think time should be based on real time not some abstract scale, that way it's kept simple.
     
  20. Khyrid

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    What's simple about that? I have my friend or alt account request something and I spend 3 months working on it. The project is a blue colored box that rotates (6 quad polys). Now I take my 3 months time and request all kinds of advanced crisis 3 looking graphics from other people. They can crank out of the blood sweat and tears to make top notch work for me now.

    Because the system can be so easily abused and there is no easy way to prevent it, the idea is very complicated. Simplicity is illusive.
     
  21. Arowx

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    OK I've setup a site to try an Indie Game Development time bank:

    http://indiegamedev.comunitats.org/en/

    Still learning how the site works and setting up info but give it a look and let me know what you think?
     
  22. Arowx

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    The way it works is you set up an account and then add Haves, Needs and Projects.

    Haves: Skills Knowledge you can provide to the Indie Community via the Time Bank.

    Needs: Skills or Knowledge that you need to help you progress your projects.

    Projects: If you have a project you would like the Community to help you with please provide details here.

    Well it's early days but please spread the word even if you don't need the Time Bank you might know others that do.
     
  23. Myhijim

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    Cool idea,I would take place, if there were more people of course

    Joined, very annoying how everything is double written in French and English?

    Also, probably defeats the purpose, but this would make a very useful "paid"part too. Is suggest making a paid section? You take a percentage of profits? I think this could really take off.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  24. ronan-thibaudau

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    I'm on the side of "this is exactly like money, so it's redundant".
    Money is basically time exchange "with" each person's value already taken into account. Not everyone's time is equal which is proven by not everyone's pay being equal. Why go provide 1 hour and get 1 hour if you can work for an hour and buy 10 hours?
     
  25. Arowx

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    It's not a replacement for monetary transactions it's an additional option.

    And although skills differ, you have to understand that Time is a limited resource:

    24 hours a day 7 days a week 52 a year and about 70 years a life (on average).

    You can say that your hour is worth more than mine due to what you can produce in that hour, but you cannot say that your life is worth more than mine or anyone's.

    And as long as you can find people more productive and skilled at something than you then you both save time by trading.

    Then that will allow you to spend more time on your most profitable use of your time!
     
  26. Arowx

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    Thank you for joining.

    If you think of it as a networking hub there is nothing stopping you and your Time Bank client from making further arrangements.

    Also there are plenty of online systems where you can hire people to do jobs for money have a search.

    Cheers I hope it does.
     
  27. ronan-thibaudau

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    No really it just doesn't work, i can trade 1 hour of my time as a programmer to someone who'd spend 1 hour cleaning my house, i'm still better off paying someone 1 hour to clean and working 1 hour for 10 time that much. Everyone's time isn't of the same value, this has nothing to do with the value of life, but the value of people's time, and money represent exactly that, what your hourly value is, it's why there are "hourly rates" in many jobs, it's because it represents exactly what you're paid for, hours of your "time". There already is a X job time <=> money conversion, if you want to apply a time<=> time trading you need to apply this conversion at least on a per job basis (1 hour of job X = y hour of job Z) or it won't work, no one will trade valueable time for less valuable time, it simply makes no sense.

    Btw such stuff already exists, service trading where people do something for you and you do something for somone else based on a point trade system, but they don't use "time" as a currency, those systems allow people to pay points (which they got by working) for work, you decide the price, this works because someone cleaning will not ask for the same amount as someone writing an ERP
     
  28. Arowx

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    Did you pay for all of your knowledge or did you obtain some of it from free sources, people willing to share their knowledge and skills with others?
     
  29. ronan-thibaudau

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    I paid for most of it (books), and i really don't see what this changes at all? People offering things sharing willingly do it to share, not to trade, you're offering a "bad deal trade" here for the good ones and a "good deal trade" for the bad ones, so basically the more you suck, the better it is to go for your system, i just don't believe it will attract a very nice skill level pool of people.
     
  30. ViolentWolf

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    I like the idea to. Even AAA game company's have flaws. Look at how many big game company's going broke as of late. I think this could work in some way. You'll never know what works until you find out. Besides, financially getting a game into a made project will definitely turn someone or group broke if they ain't making the money back. Reasons for such small indie titles that innovate, but I don't necessarily see anyone reaching their potential of a jaw dropping game. Just innovative.
     
  31. KHopcraft

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    I really like this idea. I wonder if it would work if 1000's of people were to join in and participate. I bet if there was a way of making no one was taking advantage of the system, that it would work fairly well for most people.
     
  32. Arowx

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    Just like purchasing or buying work you will need to tread carefully and not commit too much of your time.

    Their is a Rating system built into the Time Bank, and your right only when a lot of people use the system with a variety of skills will a community arise.

    Ideally an indie game development time bank would be similar to a game Jam with people sharing and helping each other.

    There are Creative Commons licenses that can be applied to your work that can help ensure your contributions to a project are recognized.

    But no system is perfect and you should limit your time as genuine game developers probably only need small amounts of help and assistance and if they are learning and growing probably could benefit more from your knowledge, input and guidance than your work. Especially if you are highly skilled and have little free time to share.
     
  33. Arowx

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    What is money, it's a social relationship, watch the video.
     
  34. rab236

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    Here's a question: where do the first people to join get their time from? If nobody initially has time to spend, then the whole system will stay at a standstill.
     
  35. KyleStaves

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    The idea that a working hour of everyone's time is worth the same is pretty ludicrous, as it completely removes the value the time spent preparing to deliver that hour. This concept erroneously conflates the concept of a unity of labor with the concept of a unity of life.

    Let's take two people, Jim and Dwight.

    Jim is a senior programmer with 10 years professional experience, five years of schooling, and he spends 10 hours a week of his free time reading journals, attending conferences, and generally working to improve his skill as a programmer.

    Dwight is a junior artist who is in his first year of study with virtually no professional experience. Dwight spends his free time playing Halo.

    Jim is a better programmer than Dwight. Dwight is a better artist than Jim. The concept here suggests that if they trade an hour of time to one another it's an equitable arrangement for both parties involved. This completely removes the value of all of Jim's experience and efforts - simply because Dwight is a better artist than Jim.

    If Jim were interested in trading labor with no monetary exchange and no variance of exchange rate (1 hour for 1 hour) he is worlds better off finding someone who is as valuable an artist as he is a programmer and trading with that person. Just being a better artist than Jim doesn't make for an equitable exchange of labor. This drastically reduces the pool of artist Jim is interested in working with.

    Ideally Jim want's to trade one 'generic unit of programming labor' for one 'generic unit of art labor' - which means him and the artist he works with need to decide what this arbitrary unit looks like and how many hours it takes each of them to complete their generic unit of labor.

    The alternative is to trading hours is trading these generic units with some sort of exchange rate based on experience and expertise. We could utilize such a unit, but we couldn't feed ourselves with that unit - or pay our bills with it. Now, if we replace that generic unit with a generic currency, let's say USD - now we can continue to trade our labor for other forms of labor, or we can eat, or we can pay our bills.


    I could see it working fine for students, but after that the variance of value is way too high for a strict hour->hour exchange to be anywhere near equitable.
     
  36. Arowx

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    Maybe your right, this could still be a useful way for hobbyists/students and people with little money but time and skills/knowledge to contribute to each others projects and bootstrap themselves into the more profitable ventures while networking on the way.

    Or maybe we need a new currency, let's call it the Indie.

    1 Indie = $1 (USD)

    Now Jim and Dwight pay each other in Indies to work on two projects building up a debit from our Indie bank.

    Jims project takes off and he can repay his debit.

    Dwights project tanks, so we works off his debit to the Bank of Indie.

    But like the Indie Fund the bank would only provide credit to people who can prove they have the skills and potential to return on their investment.

    What if the Bank of Indie used the Indie Time Bank as a gauge of a persons credit worthiness a cost effective way to filter for talented indies.

    Or you could take the prize route like IGF, X-Prize, dangle carrot - zero loans only accept the winning entry.
     
  37. ronan-thibaudau

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    It's still the same thing, you're still just reinventing money, you're doing "something that does the same thing as money but requires no money", well that's exactly what money is, except it's well established and everyone accepts it.
     
  38. rab236

    rab236

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    Enter BitCoins.

    Bitcoins don't require money to obtain, only time (which is lessened with a powerful computer).
     
  39. MarigoldFleur

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    You can't be serious. The bitcoin economy is RIDICULOUSLY unstable.
     
  40. ronan-thibaudau

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    That and bitcoins "are" money, they're not trying to not be money, it's more of a currency, directly tradeable to other currencies, unlike his projects who actual wants to take money out of the equation.

    Also bitcoins do require money, unless you somehow find "free" cpu time :)
     
  41. AndrewGrayGames

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    This. It goes back to the question of: "What makes something valuable?" Answer: Scarcity.

    The more miners are connected, the harder it is to 'find' the next bitcoin. Thus, the more scarce BitCoins become, their value increases according. The opposite holds, too - lose miners? BitCoins are now suddenly worth less, since they'll be easier to obtain. Granted, there have been some events that have seriously messed with the BitCoin ecosystem, but overall the ecosystem seems substantially more stable, not to mention resilient, than material currencies like Gold.
     
  42. ronan-thibaudau

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    And i think we can add one more thing, penny-less students and hobbyists are far from "scarce" hehe :)
     
  43. Arowx

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    Ask your bank manager where they got your loan/mortgage from, answer they didn't they created a negative value otherwise know as debt to issue your loan/mortgage. Note that they do now require to have a small percentage of their issueable debit as collateral but other than that it's a debt based economy backed by the government.

    The real economy is the time and energy used to service the debt.
     
  44. ronan-thibaudau

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    This works because it's backed by something tangible at first, for exemple bank backed by us government gold, now here it's more of "i'm just someone with nothing and nothing backing me, trust me to generate debt out of think air with no fallbacks for something that does the same thing as money and is going to be very hard to trade for it"
    I just don't see who'd use that is all.
     
  45. rab236

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    I am quite aware of that fact. You're all too often putting words in my mouth. I'm not saying it's a good or viable alternative. I'm just equating what Ronan was saying to Bitcoins.
     
  46. Arowx

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    Hadn't heard of bitcoins or mining and was initially very hopeful :D that Mining was distributed computing like SETI and that folding project whereby networks of machines are combined to solve meaningful problems or research problems for industry, not just brute force hack on an encrypted bitcoin equivalent to a Willy Wonkers chocolate bars golden ticket. :(
     
  47. Arowx

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    Mind you if I could get a few hours to run a bitcoin mining app on a D Wave it would be like winning the lottery, but it would break the bitcoin economy.
     
  48. rymack

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    as anew member to gaming industry this is one good information for me
     
  49. angrypenguin

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    But it's... not. Value is based on market needs, even if you replace the word "market" with "community".

    My time as a programmer is worth a fair amount because I've invested years of development into those skills. So someone paying for my time as a coder isn't really just getting value out of my giving them an hour of my time, but also from my years of experience. But on the flip side, it's only worth anything to people who can benefit from that skill and experience - a community of farmers wouldn't find me of much value.

    I see some value to the time bank idea, but only for mostly-unskilled or low-skilled labour. Things where prior investment is of low value. For anything else it de-values experience, because an hour of an inexperienced graduate programmer, or even a hobbyist tinkerer, is assigned exactly the same value as me. In other words, if a job will take me 1 hour but it'll take the tinkerer 8 hours (and he'll get worse results), he's earned 8 hours of time by doing the job but I've only earned 1. So my years of experience have actually cost me 7 hours of value, while giving the client increased quality along with a lesser time debt. In short, unless there are solutions to those issues that you haven't introduced to us, it's quite simply a broken system.
     
  50. TylerPerry

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    It is my understanding that that would not work... though my understanding may be wrong I think mining works by calculating part of the bitcoin transfer and you get a small amount of the bitcoins thus providing you with a limited number and not ruining the economy just the mining business.