Elance Blog

Guest Blog Post: The Road To Society3.0

Now and again we like to invite clients and freelancers to this blog, asking them to discuss their real-life experiences and offer insights they’ve gleaned from a world of online work. Today we’ve slated Ronald van den Hoff, who will explain his views on Society3.0. Ronald is co-founder of CDEF Hodlings, a collection of companies in the hospitality and social media space.


The present economic difficulties in Europe will more than likely persist, and may well be felt for a long time.

Many countries within and outside Europe will have to endure a great deal of strife in the next few years. In my opinion there is nothing being done about these conditions, except a lot of hot air being blown -- which will convert into financial disillusions.

Just think of the enormous rise of the ageing population in Europe and the fragile situation of the welfare state, the pension system and the connected level of spending of our municipalities, the rising costs of our health care and the inevitable depletion of our natural reserves. We are yet to experience the effects of these developments. Hot air, after all, is intangible. And, intangibility translates into financial depreciation.

The old economic, financial & politic systems, not being capable of delivering the answers to these dynamics, are in a zombie-state, meaning we are in ‘transition’, moving from the industrial era to, what I call ‘Society3.0’.

We see more and more people who have clearly chosen how they want to define themselves, their environment and their relationships with other people.

They are the people I call global citizens: People of the new world. These Society3.0 citizens cannot and will not deal with the thinking of the establishment anymore. They want to add value in their work and life in a significantly different way, namely by creating value instead of growth. Most of all, the global citizen wants a sustainable society. The Society3.0.

Through the fast growing network of inter-human contact (thank you Web1.0, 2.0, 3.0), a permanent connectivity comes into being between the organization, its people and its other stakeholders. This social exchange of information and knowledge leads to collaboration and eventually results in “doing business” with each other in real time-virtual-value networks.

The most important value creation players in the new global Interdependent Economy are no longer large organizations, but increasingly small to medium sized networked enterprises, complemented by an army of independent professionals – the Knowmads (Moravec, 2008). We’re talking about a new generation of people who consider virtual social communication to be normal and find sharing even more common good; they find the use of the Internet common practice. The collapse or even the disappearance of large traditional organizational entities will accelerate this process.

These new value networks need virtual and physical locations to meet and to collaborate. The office as we know it is gone. The traditional school, library, and meeting centre will follow. Besides virtual platforms to do business, like Elance, we need new physical locations in new geographical locations where people can meet, work, exchange information and more.

Free Coworking.

Our co-working formula, Seats2meet.com (S2M), offers venues for free-co-working, meetings and collaboration between Knowmads and traditional organizations on their way to the Society30. A super hub & spoke network of physical co-work, office and meeting locations, where besides dedicated locations even individual co- working places in 3rd party office buildings (belonging to companies who believe it is an asset to welcome outsiders within their walls) are participating.

Our conference- & meeting rooms as well as our office spaces are booked by regular cooperate clients and Knowmads, who pay a fee per seat-used (and not per room), where pricing is based on a sophisticated yield management system.

For Knowmads who just want a place to work, meet and connect with others, we offer co-workspaces, WiFi, beverages and even an occasional lunch free of charge in old monetary terms. “Free” means however “no free lunch”: upon reservation the bookers/co-workers tell the system, thus the S2M network, what topics he/she is working on, where his/her interests lay and more. This way the booker commits him/herself to the network: he/she is available for unexpected meetings and maybe called upon by traditional clients in the meeting rooms to share their expertise and knowledge. Payment by Knowmads is therefore done by means of social capital. As traditional organizations in transition, renting regular meeting rooms, still pay per seat in traditional Euros, we have created a monetary system linking traditional and social capital.

On top of every physical Seats2meet.com location, there is a real time virtual dashboard of information and knowledge of people present that can be cleverly used. In this way co-working and meeting other people at Seats2meet.com locations become unexpectedly relevant, useful and become a new way to connect and form new ways for cooperation – serendipitously.

In blurring these virtual and the physical products, services and logistic components around our physical locations we have created an organization in, what Pine & Korn name in their latest book Infinite Possibility (2011) ‘The 3rd Space’. This 3rd Space co-working approach enables us at Seats2meet.com to offer a unique, tailor-made experience, with a serendipitous educational element, to all our stakeholders. “Experiences” at Seats2meet.com locations become ‘Transformations’ in line with Pine & Gilmore’s theory of “Progression of Economic Value” (The Experience Economy, updated edition, 2011), where “Transformations” are the subsequent drivers of value creation after the traditional “Experiences.”

We as an organization, get back a lot. The return is immense. Our stakeholders appreciate our products and services tremendously and help us to position Seats2meet.com on the market. They create an enormous flow of buzz on the web (we used to call that PR. in the old days); they feed us with tips, reviews, knowledge and their time (that used to be called “marketing”) and actively promote us to other Knowmads and to corporate and governmental organizations (that used to be called “sales”). Whenever they have “real business” they book their training and meeting rooms at Seats2meet.com locations. Therefore, at Seats2meet.com we no longer have a PR, sales- or marketing and reservation department. How do you think that works out for our operational costs? And, the still growing army of “fans” who do our commercial activities is staggering.

With (potential) co-working operators worldwide, we now share our co- working reservation and yield management system, the property management software and operational knowledge through a special program called Myownseats2meet.com. It is a freemium model. In the Netherlands alone, we have grown this way within 2 years from one location to over 60 locations, handling trough our software over 500.000 seats. Internationally, we are on the brink of making the same waves. In spring 2013 we opened in Tokyo (League Ginza) in cooperation with the UDS Company as our Japanese partner. In Egypt a S2M location, The District, was stared by a local entrepreneur. More locations will follow soon.



Hello Ronald I enjoyed your blog and wish you the best. We share some of the same views even though we are in separate time zones.

Hi i wanted to contribute in Elance blog.Let me tell how can be possible.otherwise this is an amazing post.
Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article!
It’s the little changes that produce the most significant changes. Thanks a lot for sharing

@Shawn: thank you!
@Hamzalali: Glad you liked the post!

Some good points. With several of them, I agree.

I think you justify the title.

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