Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Not Bill's Ted

My husband has become an addict of Ted talks. Ted is a yearly gathering of heavy thinkers and world shakers who give lectures on great advancement in technology and science, or social trends, and they try to find ways to make a difference. I have been fascinated by a great number of the talks we've listened to.

The one below I really love because my husband and I have been discussing this as a possible new business model in the corporate world and we hope it might become 'norm'. Now the cynics out there will point out that business is about money and that will always trump which inevitably leads to business as usual practices. Believe me, I've argued this point myself. But I can see trends out there that indicate this vision of ours is absolutely possible.

My husband thinks the business measure of success in the near future will be 'how much difference do you make in the world' as opposed to 'how much money do you make'. I'm not naive enough to see that attitude taking without the money incentive being there. Not that there aren't responsible businesses that aren't all about money, but the bottom line is business depends on their bottom line.

However, like the man below delineates, as consumers we can put carrot sticks in front of businesses to be world responsible and that means voting with our money. The more we make choices to support businesses we believe in, other businesses will emulate their models. I think there may be hope for grand change in the human race if we can effect an overhaul like that. A new view of capitalism and consumerism.

(this video takes 16 minutes to watch, but if you have the time it is well worth it)


Gordo said...

First comment: TED rocks. The speakers are all incredibly smart, dangerous thinkers who aren't afraid to look at things differently. From Gevor Tully a few years ago talking about handing power tools to 8-year-olds to this, they're all worth a listen.

Second comment: the business opportunities for anyone willing to look at things differently and build ethics and long-term vision into their practices are endless. Greg and I have been overwhelmed with the interest in the way we do things with our bees. We seem to have hung out our shingle at just the right time. What some people fail to understand and will suffer in business for that misunderstanding is that if you're willing to step back and ask questions and aren't afraid to stand out in a crowd, you can be very successful. It's incredibly encouraging and amazingly satisfying at the same time.

Maggie said...

Gordo, yeah TED is where the cool kids hang. I like you said "dangerous thinkers" - isn't it great when dangerous is the right way to be? And I so agree with you about the opportunities out there. I think that people are looking for better service, more personal businesses, and the preference for local, smaller businesses is growing. Also the DIY movement is catching on so much (at least on these internets) that the way we approach spending is changing drastically I think. It will be interesting to see what happens. Personally I believe that businesses will not only have to start treating their customers better, but also their employees. Otherwise, the customer knows and it's a turn off. Plus disgruntled employees tend to give worse service.

Gordo said...

Dangerous is the only way to think. My parents had the wherewithal to allow me to mess with all kinds of things as a kid that could very well have gone south in a hurry.

The attidtude of risk aversion that's permeated our world is a disease that will only lead to a rapid decline in innovation. Can you imagine trying to get a man to the moon now? The world went from never having a person in space to walking on the moon in less than 15 years. Nasa's been fighting about the replacement for the shuttle for almost that long.

D-Man said...

TED is pretty cool.