Posts

Showing posts from June, 2005
Interesting conversation starting (I think) on Social Edge - Investors and Entrepreneurs Discuss Breakthroughs in Social Capital. This is a constant topic among social entrepreneurs.

I'll quote my first post:

The mismatch

I think Roger did a good job of tackling these issues. From my standpoint, the real one is the issue of sacrificing return. The people who are promoting social investment successfully have to promise returns to their investors. Either they fix the return and manage the risk to guarantee it, or they only invest in the cream (most lucrative) investments. I don't know how many times I've heard from investors that they want to invest socially, but at no sacrifice to return.

Unfortunately, there are far more needs out there that involve risk. The low-risk-fixed-return social enterprise and the high-risk-high-return social enterprise, represent a small slice of the social enterprise opportunities. And, we do have functioning capital markets that address the need…
Last night I attended the premiere of The New Heroes, a PBS show on social entrepreneurs that airs in one week. The event was hosted in San Jose by the Community Foundation Silicon Valley.

Robert Redford, the host of the show, was there. He really gets social entrepreneurship, which is no surprise considering he founded Sundance. Jeff Skoll also spoke: the Skoll Foundation is the major backer of the New Heroes.

The show is really great: I saw one hour out of the four that will air during the next month. The three entrepreneurs featured were my buddies David Green of Project Impact and Martin Fisher of KickStart (formerly ApproTEC) as well as someone I was delighted to meet and have dinner with afterwards, Kailash Satyarthi. Kailash rescues people (mainly children) from slavery/debt bondage/trafficking, and is promoting the Rugmark label as an indicator of no child or debt bondage labor. Each one of these entrepreneurs does incredible things, and I could go on and on. But, it woul…
The 2005 Winners of Stanford's Social E-Challenge competition were just posted. I enjoyed being a judge for the finals, and was impressed by the quality of the ventures that made it to the finals.

This quality is indicative of both the interest and sophistication of students in social entrepreneurship. It provides real hope about the future of our society, if our best and brightest put this kind of value in meeting the larger needs of humanity.
I had lunch yesterday with Mitchell Baker, head of the Mozilla Foundation, the creators of the Firefox browser. We had a wide ranging conversation about the challenges of how to run nonprofit social enterprises, especially technology enterprises. I think that Firefox is a great example of responding to market failure. In this case, it was Microsoft's dominance with Internet Explorer that removed competition and innovation in the browser space. Mozilla has developed a community that has created real choices in this space, and millions upon millions of people are benefiting.

As usual, I came away with more ideas than I brought to the table! I think that she's accomplished some incredible things at Mozilla, and the Benetech team are big fans.