8 min read
nep.work in a nutshell
We are a community that develops omnichannel platforms for sales and delivery of services through work contract exchanges and pre-purchases.
Or at least that is how I introduced nep.work on Jan 1, 2020. Note that, as developers of a general-purpose enterprise platform, we always mention services in a general sense and never in just the context of some specific type or range of services. However, by February, nep.work founders were starting to work more than "full-time" on our new-found devotion towards highly specific services providing COVID-19 combating solutions. The current beta of nep.work is thus essentially a COVID oriented rethinking of everything we wanted to do before.
We are still a community - a bigger, stronger one than before with many cross-disciplinary teams.
We still develop omnichannel platforms - but we now focus on the entire supply chain, not just on pre-purchases, sales, and delivery of the services.
Requirement re-engineering and business workflow studies
However, we are proud to be now specializing like this to create a software ecosystem that is COVID-aware and, in many cases, redesigned with COVID concerns at the front and center. Because of this, we have also had a stronger focus on human-with-human interactions around our systems too instead of just human-with-machine interactions via our software interfaces on any given screen or projection. Thus, COVID has also forced us to rethink nep.work's core project BOSS (Business Optimization & Security Services) where business workflows are the primary concern and human-machine interactions were the initial primary concern.
To this end, we have also worked with various Nepali organizations, big and small, to understand how classically accepted business-customer interactions can best be made digital without loss of monetary value or legal acceptance. We have also created robust integrations for project management, team management, and project-related bookkeeping for both technical and non-technical business projects.
We have already been able to digitally revitalize a few businesses dying of COVID recently and are hoping for a lot more such uplifting stories. Our depth and width of integrated services for Nepali businesses are unparalleled and going by our enterprise feature sets' growth rate, we will remain the ones breaking our own records and raising our own bars for quite a long time.
Payments: Simplified so much, it is mathematically impossible to further simplify
One big elephant in the room, that we wanted to actually just shoot and be done with, was the problem of money transfer as it kept coming up as a requirement in most problems our platform attempts to solve. We did not want to do anything directly related to fiat money but we also do not want anyone else to do participate in that communal madness. So, we just thought of the very last, minimal, and complete money send-receive solution we would need.
And we built exactly that. The least amount of unique information that uniquely identifies you in the merchant network (like that provided by the leading payment gateway in Nepal) is enough to send and receive money. The system still requires AI-assisted KYC/AML* related form fill-ups but there is no hiccup after that. You can literally just drag and drop some money into your friend's pockets. We were also thinking of strangers who just want to give back to the community by giving a little something to you in times of need. So, we came up with simplified UI with a drag-and-drop semantics or just a type-and-filter semantics for our maximally streamlined payment systems. Essentially you just need to select a friend from a dropdown and the amount is sent or you just drag and drop different amounts of money to different circles representing different users each. This is handy in a poker-tournament-like situation or when you need to send money as a group of users to another group of users for, say, a charity event.
We think it is a dangerous idea to build AML-detection ML/AI/Semantic algorithms alone. Such huge responsibilities are best handled by a group of cross-disciplinary experts.
Digital Contracts and Exchanges
Work contract exchanges and pre-purchases are still at the core of what we do. Notice that the exchange and trading of contractual documents are vastly different and more abstract than just creating or enforcing those contracts. Contracts are at the core of all assets and trades and thus also a first-class citizen of the nep.work platform.
Existing work contracts for each employee or business partner can get scanned and digitally signed. The nep.work-parsed contract now understands the concept of day-to-day business workflows and individual responsibilities distributed among the parties in the contract. All of these functional and behavioral descriptions of the workflow of businesses are analyzed by our system using the related contracts in the system. All the project management, team management, and customer relationship management capabilities are thus driven by the business logic derived from the contracts and agreements between all parties involved. Knowledge of the contracts also helps us in our additional plugin services for bookkeeping, customized ledgers, and product inventory management solutions. When your team members are working on any part of the contract, the system can now be aware of the current context e.g. patient searching a product category on the website or an employee looking up a return policy for a certain item. The former would receive intelligent assistance to help with the shopping - if determined to be needed. The latter could receive a complete takeover of the system in contextually looking up the specific business document needed.
So, you can think of us as an e-commerce platform for trading service agreements and insurances (e.g. for event organization and logistics) instead of just physical products.
As a semantically and contextually aware business assistant. As an operations research expert. An accounting assistant. A warehouse manager. Your trusty day-book and ledger maintenance staff at work.
And as a hospitality platform operational at every accessible venue instead of a particular location (e.g. hotel, stadium, government offices, hospital, website, app, etc).
And then there are also these little things that we said since the very first time that we are, and still are proud to be:
A single channel, physical or digital, is not always enough for modern e-commerce and high-frequency transactions. Neither is a basic multichannel strategy. For every nep.work trading agreement related interactions between providers and consumers, we strive to bring together all available digital and physical real estate, payment gateways, and logistical solutions. As we will have a singular (but distributed) functional core, these various interaction points for the market will always be in synchrony and harmony with each other. That said we will still have service providers with brick and mortar shops and traditional online catalog-sales style webshops and apps.
Our sole product and exclusive service is the work exchange platform and its customer support program respectively. We have a foundational infrastructure for a contractualist service exchange, with or without money, backed by immutable, reliable and publicly verifiable structures such as blockchain and in-memory Merkle DAGs. The platform also has formal and socio-technical mechanisms to verify proof of work (PoW) for a given fulfilled contract. A verified PoW can be used for adding a new block of data to our blockchain and related persistence systems.
Sales and Delivery
Our services can be sold as contracts, insurances, and barter agreements. When money is involved, the transactions can be made using local payment channels or our on-delivery cash service. Payments in kind or barter may be included before, during and after the delivery as per the specific Trading Agreement (TAg). We also have logistics partners and will soon announce a unified access API and SDK for our TAg management, payments, and delivery.
Our work exchange platform goes beyond a freelancer network for posting and grabbing project offers. After a service request or offer is posted, there is either an open or closed negotiation between the provider and consumer parties. Optionally, an auction of the type chosen by the author of the post may be created to bypass negotiations and find optimum pricing options without involving senile Walrasians.
Work exchange also enables us to remain self-organizing and self-preserving. We have learned from similar communities on the web and throughout history and created a public reputation-based trust system.
Providing such services in itself is also a part of our work exchange program. For every project, the project's team may have various developers, artists, sponsors, volunteers, reviewers, and even the audience itself due to our democratized innovation and feedback mechanisms. Membership in certain negative income tax service provider communities can help offset your monthly income in case it dips below a predefined baseline. Similar 'buffer financing' or insurance services also exist for the projects in the nep.work community. Finally, most communities and workgroups have a meta group that is responsible for critical reviews and future roadmaps of the group.
But we are also so much more.
And in many cases, words have not yet been invented for what we do. For instance, we have a new generation of blockchains that handle more than a million transactions per second whereas the fastest ever yet - Futurepia - is at ~300K TPS.
Unlike most of the blockchain community, we absolutely despise the decadence that cryptocurrencies have created instead of solving bigger problems.
Alike most of the community, we believe that the core ethos of verifiable and accountable systems backed by immutable sources of truth will bring some sense and order to our otherwise chaotic world filled with COVID, quakes, fires, floods, and a lot more.