Initiative Q: a response from Saar Wilf

Saar Wilf, founder of Initiative Q, just emailed a response to my June post and October followup. With his permission, I’m reprinting it here.

Dear Mr. Gerard,

Thank you for taking the time to review Initiative Q. This “economic experiment” is indeed taking off and gaining increased support from the public worldwide. Overall, your reviews were fair, albeit less optimistic than what we would have hoped for. Mostly, we’d like to thank you for clearly stating that our intentions were sincere and that we were not crooks.

We do want to point out a few inaccuracies you may want to reconsider:

• You insinuated that we marketed the Q as a “get rich quick” scheme. Our publicly available timeline clearly states that even if everything goes according to plan (also clearly stated that this in itself is far from guaranteed), it will still take years until Qs becomes valuable.

• You state that Initiative Q is a “straight up pyramid scheme”. Wikipedia’s explanation of pyramid scheme begins with “In a pyramid scheme, an organization compels individuals who wish to join to make a payment.”. This statement clearly does not apply to Initiative Q. What we do is no different than referral programs of companies like DropBox, AirBNB, Uber and many others.

Most importantly: You did state that our privacy policy was good and respectful. Thank you for recognizing that. In addition, we have stated clearly that even in the case that we do not reach the critical mass of users we are after we will still not sell the little personal information we have. I have never in my life done something remotely similar to that, and have no intention or reason to start now.

Even from a cold business perspective, a database of merely names and emails may be worth a few tens of thousands of dollars at most. On the other hand, the fines and lawsuits we would incur will result in penalties hundreds of times bigger, and permanent damage to the team’s reputation. It makes no business sense to do so and I would appreciate if you clearly convey this message in your blog and when approached for comments.

To be absolutely clear: If Q does not succeed we will destroy this database.

BTW – I saw you were also involved with RationalWiki. You may want to check a separate project I founded called Rootclaim which uses proven probabilistic models to generate the best rational analysis for very complex problems.

Best regards,

Saar Wilf

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One Comment on “Initiative Q: a response from Saar Wilf”

  1. Thanks. Helpful. Can you also ask Saar what about the great amount of wealth he and his team would have accumulated if Q was to go live after years?

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