Steve Jobs famously said to then-CEO of Pepsi, John Scully, "Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or do you want to come with me and change the world?" Jobs wanted Scully to come run Apple, and the tactic worked.
Steve Jobs famously said to then-CEO of Pepsi, John Scully, "Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or do you want to come with me and change the world?" Jobs wanted Scully to come run Apple, and the tactic worked. The transition from an industrial era mindset to a technological one proved too alien to Scully, and in the decade that he ran Apple, its share price increased at just a sixth of the pace of Pepsi’s.
Steve Jobs also famously said that he wanted to leave a “dent in the universe” before he passed on. Having turned Apple around to become the most financially valuable company on the planet shortly before he died, it’s hard to argue that he failed to make the impact he wanted. Jobs, through Apple, surely changed the world. But criticisms of Apple’s environmental record, human rights violations, and unethical business practices have to make us wonder whether it’s possible to leave your mark without causing great collateral damage.
You undoubtedly have heard of social enterprise, and maybe are a social entrepreneur yourself. You know that doing the right thing can increase profits, and that new models of financing social innovation (like crowdfunding), are replacing bank loans, venture capital, and public markets.
A true social enterprise, by most definitions, includes equal care for people, planet, and profit. Which means that it’s not acceptable to make transformative technologies for people living in one country, if it means exploiting workers in another, or harming the environment.
Social entrepreneurs never think to themselves “do the ends justify the means?” That’s because they are instead thinking about how to solve problems in a way that the ends are the means. When there is true alignment of people and planet, then profits tend to flow rather quickly. Take for example This Shirt Helps, a for-profit t-shirt company that exceeded its Crowdfunder goal just 56 hours after opening a campaign:
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