CategoryConscious

Luck and Compassion

Speaking of luck, a few years ago I volunteer to help an organization that hosted the Dalai Lama in Seattle 10 years ago.  Two months ago, members of this organization were invited to Dharmashala, India to have an audience, and I was invited along. I write books and blogs.  I teach story telling.  But no words can describe this experience.  Neither do the following videos, but they do demonstrate...

Growing the tent for impact investing

With all the buzz about impact investing (see BlackRock’s letter), it’s no surprise that Social Capital Markets’ new SOCAP 365 impact investing conference in Seattle was sold out. Investors, venture capitalists, family foundations and more joined to network, learn and make commitments in furthering the growth of the impact investing field. The day was filled with the realities of the impact...

Tech is peaking… social good is rising

For the first twenty years of my career I was a techie.  And it was an amazing two decades to be in tech, spanning the dot com bubble, the ubiquity of the personal computer, the Web, a mobile phone in every pocket, smartphones, tablets, social media, and the cloud. Six years outside of tech, it is interesting to watch how that market seems to be reaching a zenith.  My computer is almost six years...

Will Seattle Become the Capital of Social Entrepreneurship? (5 years later)

Five years ago, while still working on the business plan that was to become Fledge, I helped run a weekend event for “social entrepreneurs” called #SocEnt Weekend.  From that came the following video with Brian Howe, co-founder of what was to become Impact Hub Seattle. Reminiscing is often fun.  More so when we can look back five years to see what we thought might happen in ten years...

What doesn’t help [TL;DR]

Last week I posted a TL;DR blog post on why the Fledge accelerator works so well at helping startups succeed.  In short, a few key elements of its program, along an enormous number of tiny details learned through iteration and experimentation. This post is inspired from the multitude of conversations I have with people and organizations who want to help startups and who often have an idea on a...

The flaw of GDP

Even if we act to erase material poverty, there is another greater task, it is to confront the poverty of satisfaction – purpose and dignity – that afflicts us all.  Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things.  Our Gross National Product, now, is over {$17 trillion} dollars a year, but...

The (startup) similarities between Seattle and Lima?

Last week began the first session of Fledge Peru. To kick it off I spent the week in Lima, getting the team up to speed on the day to day operations of the program, meeting the teams, and learning about the local startup ecosystem. It’s always refreshing to relearn the lesson that business is business, whether in Seattle or Lima, or Oaxaca, Santiago, or Nairobi. People have problems. Startups...

Seattle v. San Francisco v. YOUR CITY, an impact infographic

Every SOCAP leaves me wondering what its like outside the West Coast, and specifically outside of San Francisco and Seattle, which seem to be leading the way into the world of impact investing and conscious companies.

How does your city compare?  Share your city’s details at goo.gl/forms/UujhfAdNsrxwkKs23 and in the comments below.

SunCulture: drip-irrigation for Kenyan farmers

The last site visit for Investors Circle in Nairobi was SunCulture, seller of solar-powered pumps and drop-irrigation systems for small farms across Kenya. Speaking of culture, one learning on this trip about East Africa was the blended nature of the populace. Not only are there dozens of tribes within Kenya alone, but added to that are the 100+ year old history of Europeans and Indians living in...

BURN Manufacturing, a cookstove success story

The other highlight of the Investors Circle visit to Nairobi was the visit to the factory where BURN Manufacturing builds its cookstoves.  Charcoal cookstoves, as charcoal is the most popular fuel used for cooking by urban and peri-urban Kenya. Factory, as in a fully-modern manufacturing facility, little different from those found in the U.S., Europe, Japan, or China.  One large building filled...

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