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What is PULSE?

A network state is a highly aligned online community with a capacity for collective action that crowdfunds territory around the world and eventually gains diplomatic recognition from pre-existing states
Balaji Srinivasan, "The Network State". Chapter 1, pg. 2
Joining a startup society is a larger commitment than, say, joining a WhatsApp group. One of the key differences is regarding collective action, which we call Pulse around here. One of the resulting benefits is, assuming you're morally aligned with the values, you're always building towards something you really care about and want to exist in the world.
PULSEs are recurring coordinated actions that the whole startup society performs simultaneously, within a timeframe. It could be as simple as liking a tweet or signing a petition defending a common interest. As we grow along with our capacity for execution, these tasks will evolve and have varying degrees of complexity.
This is something you already do but don't yet think of it in those terms. If you've filed your tax reports, enjoyed the weekend, or rolled your watch back 1 hour for daylight savings time, you have performed a collective action. This is not new, everyone does it, and not doing it can be taken very seriously. For instance, you can get arrested if you fail to pay your taxes.
This is particularly important for Startup Societies, no wonder it's literally within the first pages of the book. Beginnings are hard, and building up our execution capacity is crucial for success, following the cloud first, land last overall plan. We start out in the cloud and after growing the community in members and execution capacity we can start crowdfunding territory around the globe. If you haven't read the 1k word summary, now is a good time.
Let's be clear - if there is no Pulse (collective action), there is no network state. Simple as that.
As detailed in the following section, these will consist of very simple tasks which will take only a few minutes per week. However, we expect an adherence of 100%. Failing to deliver will permanently be on the member's record, will count against the member in the future, and in some extreme cases may lead to membership being revoked.
The best way to picture it is to imagine you were stranded in a desert island with a couple of people, fighting for survival together. How would others treat you if you didn't pull your weight? If you were to stay bathing in the sun while others worked, hunted, and built? That's what you can expect if you don't contribute to the PULSE. The good news is, as we've said before, it'll be an exceedingly simple and quick task, so no matter how busy you are, you will be able to contribute.
Refer to the FAQ for further details!

Why "Pulse"?

In many ways, startup societies are like living organisms, composed of individual entities contributing to a larger goal. Like anything that's alive, it needs resources to survive.
If you have a pulse, you're alive. The pulse radiates from the core (your heart) outwards, bringing life to all parts of the organism. When thinking about an organization, it's also important to keep everyone in sync and with their eyes on the ball. In bands, usually, the drummer wears an earpiece with a pulse that dictates the tempo of the song everyone is playing.
Now moving away from the metaphorical, we believe the Pulse will accomplish all these things: nurture the organization, bring everyone together and keep us in sync, build towards the same direction, and make the collective work tangible and comparable with other startup societies.
Also, as cool as the concept is, the name "collective action" is a little dull! We prefer Pulse 😉

Future

With such a central role, we expect the scope and function of the Pulse to evolve over time. It can very well progress towards becoming a decentralized protocol and open standard to be used for any startup society.
The generated data would be accessible to all via dashboards, which monitor how healthy the organization is. It could be composed of many modules, one of which will be related to the collective aspect.
But it could have a census, engagement metrics, token metrics, and so on. One vision, which is a low but solid building ground, was the one presented in the book. Cool, right? We're just getting started.