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Lords of Finance

Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World continues my research into wealth inequality and the real-world workings of capitalism.  This book is the story primarily of four men: Norman, Strong, Moreau, and Schadt, the heads of the central banks of the UK, U.S., France, and Germany in the 1910’s through 1940’s. These are the men who restructured the financial world at the end of...

SOCAP18

Last week was my sixth consecutive SOCAP in San Francisco.  If you’ve never been, SOCAP is the largest impact investing event in the world.  Over 3,000 attendees.  Hundreds of speakers.  Big and messy, but one place where you can meet 50 people in a week, all working toward the same goal of improving the planet. The impact above is the pile of cards I collected during the week.  I stare at...

War and Gold

Continuing my series of book reports on economics, I was walking through my public library when the title War and Gold caught my eye.  The book explains (in far too much detail) the history of money over the last 500 years, starting with the Spanish exploitation of the New World and the subsequent flood of silver into Europe and continuing century by century to the Volker/Regan solution to...

A quick explainer on Impact Investing

What is impact investing?  It’s a question that gets asked a lot, even in the crowd that calls itself impact investors.  I explained the general idea on-stage at The Nature-Accelerator in just three and a half minutes:

Toyota, Lean, and Lean Startups

“Lean Manufacturing” is the the origin of the phrase and philosophy “Lean Startup” and no matter how many times I see good summaries of the Toyota Manufacturing Process (the masters of Lean), I keep seeing analogies that are useful for startups. Lesson 1- Don’t make the same mistake twice. Lesson 2- Optimizing internal operations can be your secret sauce. Lesson 3...

Somebody’s Gotta Get Rich [SSIR]

Kevin Starr of the Mulago Foundation wrote a nice explanation of the need for and sweet spot of impact investing, Somebody’s Gotta Get Rich. Impact at problem-solving levels of scale doesn’t come from one-off businesses. “Levels of scale” as in making a noticeable difference in the world, rather than simply telling a good story imagining a world different from how it is today. Kevin...

The commonly misunderstood tragedy of the commons

Apparently I’ve misunderstood the “Tragedy of the Commons” and so likely have you. This is a great example of a meme that is assumed to be both ancient and obvious, but isn’t.  There was an essay entitled “Tragedy of the Commons” written back in 1833, but it was ignored until Garret Hardin published an article in Science in 1968 with the same title.  It’s...

Conspiracies and Corporations

I try and keep politics off of this blog, but sometimes the coverage from politics sparks a question about entrepreneurship.  Specifically today it was an explanation in The New York Times about how the law punishes conspiracy above and beyond the underlying crime. That triggered the question of what is the difference between a conspiracy and a corporation?  Both are groups of people planning to...

I don’t want to think about the Money

Episode 4 of ZigZag included the backstory of the company behind the podcast.  It was not an a-typical startup story, but one line caught my ear. I don’t want to think about the money. This too is not a-typical of founders.  They have an idea.  They want turn it into a product (or service).  They like the concept of having customers and running a business.  But when the time comes to ask a...

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