Taco Economy 101


The Taco Economy is an economy built on gratitude. Taco Economy creates a marketplace where gratitude and appreciation flow freely amongst the economy members and where the strength of the economy is measured by the amount and quality of gratitude shared by its members. All gratitude shared is deposited into the Taco Bank Account, which, just like the Emotional Bank Account, is an account of gratitude instead of money. 

Every economy operates on foundational principles. In the Taco Economy, giving is like consumption and the principles center on it. As you launch your Taco Economy, we invite you to commit to these key taco economic principles to ensure your economy grows solid and happy.

  • Giving is fun.
    • Enter TACOS. Nothing brings out more fun than a food emoji attached to a message. Food brings us together in the physical world; tacos bring us together in the digital world.
  • Giving feels good.
    • Taco Economies start organically, without pressure. People start giving because it feels good to recognize others and be recognized.
  • Giving is honest.
    • Having only five tacos a day introduces scarcity. Scarcity drives timely and genuine recognition. Who can remember what someone did two weeks ago?

A Taco Economy built on these principles creates a virtuous giving cycle, leading to long-term taco economic growth. Taco specialization, reciprocity, and innovation make taco optimality. ** Here are some ways to emphasize these ideas in practice:

  • What you give is what you get. You can't expect to start a Taco Economy or have a strong one if you don't give your tacos away. Active giving creates a bustling taco market.
  • Recognize givers. Giving is an action everyone can take, whereas receiving is a passive state. Givers are the ones on whom taco economies are built. The taco economy is not zero-sum: both taco givers and receivers gain because both taco categories are valued and tracked. Instill a mindset of abundance by highlighting both your receivers AND givers.
  • Innovate and try new things. Don't expect to be perfect. Don't wait for the "perfect time" to launch HeyTaco. Just start, sometimes small, sometimes big, and build your taco economy one taco at a time. As you grow and mix things up, innovation creates continued engagement and long-term taco economic growth. 
  • Nurture, don't control. Admins act as commissioners, embodying a servant-leader attitude and tending to the economy without enforcing tight controls or mandates. Admins ask their teammates what they want, listen to feedback and ideas, and make changes accordingly. Taco optimality emerges naturally as everyone finds their fun in giving, receiving, and recognizing.
  • Combine recognition and rewards. Your Taco economy thrives with both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Recognition is about behaviors and the emotions we experience when we feel seen. Rewards are about outcomes and the gifts we consume when we achieve a goal. Both are vital to cover the full spectrum of how your team feels valued.
  • Make it fun. Whether giving away taco trophies for top givers and receivers, sporting taco hats, giving away taco mugs, or bringing tacos to the office to celebrate Taco Tuesday, having fun brings people together. Your long-term Taco Domestic Product, your TDP, hinges upon continued fun. In the wise words of Wille Wonka: "A little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men."


Your Taco Economy is taking off when:

  • Giving tacos every day is a joy for the majority of the team.
  • Writing meaningful notes with your taco emojis keeps people in the loop about what people do well.
  • Reading taco messages becomes a common "pick-me-up."



Taco Economy: free market created by recognizing and celebrating one's teammates. Tacos are the currency representing the act of giving. The taco-to-dollar exchange rate depends on your taco economy's size (number of users) and strength (how many tacos are in circulation).

Taco Specialization: we don't know, but it sounded good.

Taco reciprocity is the binding mechanism of the free exchange of tacos that holds Taco economies together.

Taco Innovation: keeping things in the Taco Economy fresh, introducing new rewards, new ways to celebrate givers and receivers, and spicing things up with #tags.

Taco Optimality: state of the Taco Economy in which no action exists to make one member of the economy better off without making someone else worse off. In short, it's a state where the greatest number of members get precisely what they prefer. It's the taco's optimal state.

Taco Domestic Product: the total value of tacos given and received within an organization annually. 


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