27 July 2010

Establishing Trust

Being a Capsuleer means one is forced to live by different rules. Capsuleers are, first and foremost, immortal. Punishments for crimes are severely limited in their effectiveness. Capsuleers also have much more mobility than humans have ever had in the past. Not only do they have access to faster-than-light ships and access to instant point-to-point jump gates at much higher rates than non-capsuleers, but they have access to jump clones. Capsuleers can literally move from one end of known space to the other at the speed it takes him to step into the medical facility.

All of this gives Capsuleers a level of untouchableness. They can exist above laws. However, this is not the end of it. Every Capsuleer may be tied to any number of capsuleers at a level that can not be tracked anywhere in New Eden outside of the super secret internal workings of the medical facilities. This means that any Capsuleer could potentially be willing to sacrifice himself to biomass reclamation, because he knows his mind can live on in a new Capsuleer. The only thing lost is the skill training, agent standing, and the scarlet letter of the crime they are seeking to absolve themselves of.

This makes Capsuleers paranoid.

This makes Capsuleers who are CEOs even more paranoid.

I live by a, "Don't trust me, and I won't trust you" motto. It is really is manifested in more of a trust, but verify manner.

When I was with Sturmgrenadier I rose to the position of Director of Industrial Logistics. I was in charge of all of the internal corporate manufacturing, mining, and POSes. The latter two had very dedicated assistant directors. This let me focus on the former. SG offered, for free to all regular members, all T1 frigates, cruisers, ammunition, and modules. We had battlecruisers, barges, industrials, and, occasionally, battleships, to loan to members. We had three offices that had to be stocked, and POS hangars.

We had thefts. The mechanics available to capsuleer corporations and station hangars is simply inadequate. We could not prevent the thefts without making everything entirely too cumbersome to maintain. The best we could do was set up firewalls. If someone did steal, audit trails made it obvious who stole. The limited amounts available at any time limited what could be stolen. This put more work on my team, but it was a balance. If anyone were to steal, they would have to do it on the way out, and they couldn't get but so much.

After leaving SG, I started a couple independent ventures. Odinsdagrting [ODNDT] is my most recent one, but I'll speak more on that in a moment.

One of them was Prydwen Technology Group [PRYD]. Even after leaving SG the corp, I was still in the syndicate, and still had close ties with them and their alliance, Fountain Alliance [FA]. I offered a limited stock purchase to SG and FA members, and paid modest dividends. I also offered small, unsecured loans to SG and FA members. This was all a bit risky, thus I limited it to people that I thought I could trust. In the end, I had no loans default.

But in the end, I burned out. I had one outstanding loan, and before anyone could ask for another, I paid off that loan from my own wallet and closed up shop. I liquidated the company, selling off all of the BPOs the corp had (manufacturing was one of the revenue streams). I then paid out the entire corp wallet as dividends. Because the corp was now worth more than it was when it started, those that bought stock now received their initial money back, plus some, on top of the dividends they had been receiving.

There was nothing that made me do that, though. I did that because I thought it was the right thing to do. There is no mechanic to enforce that. I had to ask people to trust me, and I don't like doing that.

There is also the matter of, what if I couldn't liquidate and repay? What if, instead of a burn out, it was 'hit by a bus'? I thought I had a solution for that with my latest venture, Odinsdagrting. I had a friend that I got into a capsule. I see him every week, and I've known him for years. I know I can trust him as a partner in a corp. If I get hit by a bus, then he can try to continue alone, or he can pull the plug and pay everyone back.

He is leaving the capsule, though. It just isn't for him. That is fair. It isn't for most people.

I have instructions for him, though. If I'm hit by a bus, it is my hope that he'll get into the capsule long enough to melt the company down and divide the capital up among the owners, the stock holders.

10 July 2010

The Billion ISK Primae

This is a tale of how I am covered in epic fail.

I was puttering around The Forge, buying BPOs, scouting out offices. One the side, I was looking for Covetor BPCs. The Alliance was just coming out of its latest war, so I was looking at local.

Already, I'm doing several things I don't normally do.

Someone in local posted a link to a Primae auction. I was curious as to how much these worthless little things were going for. The auction had just started, and was starting at 1,000,000.00 ISK.

I didn't expect it to stay at 1 Million ISK. I expect it to get between 10 and 20 Million. I didn't have any interest in a Primae, and wasn't going to bid. But I figured, sure, I'll be the first bidder. I'll get the little auction rolling. And when I get outbid, I really won't care.

The next day, I'm not in New Eden. I'm at my office, most everyone is gone. I'm just trudging through some annoying work. I start to think about the Primae, just in general terms. Then I think... wait... did that auction say 1 Million or 1 Billion?

In a panic, I pull out my iPhone and fire up Capsuleer and refresh. My wallet drops by 1 Billion ISK.

Somehow I had missed it. Somehow I had missed that there was already a bid on that auction of 1 Billion. I was not bidding 1 Thousand over a 1 Million ISK bid, I was bidding 1 Million over a 1 Billion ISK bid. All of this for something that I didn't want, and didn't expect to win. Just because I was poking around in Contracts while warping from gate to gate in The Forge.

And to add insult to injury, I had built up that money as commissions and dividends since September. This month, Odinsdagrting was planning on having a public stock offering. That 1 Billion ISK, in fact, nearly all of the ISK I had, was going into that investment.

Now, not only did I lose 1 Billion of my ISK, the vast majority of my ISK, but Odinsdagrting loses out on that Billion ISK. And since the number of shares offered will be limited to the number of shares I can buy (since I want to maintain control), the corporation loses out on the potential for 2 Billion ISK (mind you, I doubt there are that many interested investors).

It is safe to say that my emorage meter spiked. But, whatever, I've demonstrated before that I'm a loser. There is, however, some adolescent griefer that just creamed his shorts.

I can now completely identify with his girlfriends: It's a regrettable hassle and not nearly as satisfying for me.

Lessons Learned

I should've taken all of that money and dumped it into the wallet of a character that I don't use. The corporation has several wallets, so I can spread its money around. The wallets act like firewalls, to keep stupid mistakes like this, or corp thefts, from doing but so much damage.

As an example: on the same day, I accidentally bought 23 copies of a 675,000.00 BPO when I only meant to buy 2. The three is next to the Enter. Fortunately, they were small, and they really are worth 675 Thousand, so I can recover.