Business as ‘social’?

Young people interacting within society.
Image via Wikipedia

A few months ago, a journalist friend asked for my view on What would motivate technopreneurs to consider building businesses around social technologies?”

My answer …

Building businesses around social technologies is like attempting to achieve the ideals of Communism using the methods of Capitalism. Look at the open source movement. It is not hard to guess why it has gained the status of a movement. The clues to countering the monolithic tendencies of technology builders are evidenced by the success of the open source philosophy. What it clearly shows is that power centres can and will be dismantled, it will be

less by the hunger for the power to own and more by the willingness to belong;

less by the striving for independence and more for the mutual value of interdependence;

less by the aggression of competition and more by the power of collaboration.

Golaiths beware the Davids are here to stay. The proof is Web 2.0. Here’s to the new wine and to the new bottle as well. 

There’s little value in prefixing the word ‘Social’ to media, networking, technologies, welfare or any other word. Wordplay sounds nice, looks good in a presentation and creates great news hooks. ‘Social’ has to do with society – a particular society. And society is shaped by people that have passion, conviction and a sense of urgency.

Technology is merely a toolbox for social change and technopreneurs must take it as their duty to identify the value that their ‘products’ will provide to those who will use them to positively transform and sustainably impact society as a whole.

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Printed money, Gloom to Doom

First we go throw money at the financial crisis and then when we run out of it, we print some more. Great idea but who’re we trying to fool? We don’t need Nostradamus to tell us that, do we?

Orrin Woodward (celebrated Author of Launching a Leadership Revolution) wrote this on his blog yesterday …

Today, with a heavy heart, I will share breaking news on the immoral monetary activity of the Federal Reserve. Money supply must be tied to economic output of a country or the printed money is merely paper only good for starting fires. …

I am an American patriot and very proud to be called an American.  Today is the saddest day for me as an American.  The following graph clearly displays that America has chosen to inflate its money supply without real wealth to back the paper money and money credits.  This is immoral in the highest degree.  This is no different than if I owed someone a million dollars and I only had one hundred dollars so I handed him Monopoly money and told him that it was legal tender.  Money should be like a promissory note and that is the true origin of paper money – a promised note to redeem the above legal tender with gold at the owner’s discretion.  This is no longer the case and has proven to be to great a temptation in the hands of our quick fix political leadership. Continue reading “Printed money, Gloom to Doom”

Leadership innovation – The beginning and the end of history

Wow, what an amazing Valentine’s weekend! Thankfully “The Consortium of Red-faced, Jobless and Retrograde Men of India” ( male counter to the Facebook group “The Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women”) was kept in check to allow India’s youth to celebrate Valentine’s day.

 
Vikram Kirloskar launching the new TOYOTA INNOVA
Vikram Kirloskar (left) – Launch of the new TOYOTA INNOVA.

But that aside, I had a blast. My friend Vikram Kirloskar, Vice Chairman of Toyota Kirloskar Motors, invited us to the most memorable evening with Jagjit Singh, the Ghazal Maestro. His satin voice had everybody spellbound for a riveting two hours. In Vikram San’s words – “It is Toyota India’s heartfelt gesture of gratitude to our customer ‘family'”. The event was fraught with simplicity and genuine warmth. I wish some people would take lessons from Toyota and especially from Vikram on humility and the natural way to live and work.

In concert with Jagjit Singh
In concert with Jagjit Singh

 How business can ‘flow along’ with such warmth. And to top it, to be immersed in such soul-stirring music. What more could I have asked for. My take away was that the “Toyota way” goes far beyond shopfloor efficiencies and product quality. It is a statement of life and living.

Then came Spiritual Sunday at the Chinmaya Mission precincts on Lodhi Road in New Delhi. Before you start imagining yoga mats and a saffron-robed Godman, I must tell you that the event had to do with the launching of Anil Sachdev’s SOIL – School of Inspired Leadership. Continue reading “Leadership innovation – The beginning and the end of history”

Innovation 101: Throw money at the financial crisis?

Get your heads out of the sand
Get your heads out of the sand

I’m pushing 50 and I always thought my general knowledge was passable. Until I watched Slumdog Millionaire and found out that it wasn’t George Washington’s mug on a $100 bill but Benjamin Franklin’s. Strange coincidence and somewhat evangelistic that he was the one who said

He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money. – Benjamin Franklin

So what’s America trying to do to quell the current storm that doesn’t want to go away. Allegation or not, the only course that seemed to come to you was to throw money at the crisis. How smart is that? Doesn’t surprise anyone outside the US but you are taken by surprise when the bailout money gets generously distributed against ‘bonuses payable’ among the very people that caused the crisis to happen. Continue reading “Innovation 101: Throw money at the financial crisis?”

Innovation 101 – How much is too much?

Last night my daughter asked me to get her a new cellphone. I found myself using Oscar Wilde’s cynicism against her – “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” – little realising that I myself had fallen prey to the ‘glamour’ of new technology quite mindlessly over the past few years.

<cut to next thought>————————————————————-

I was drawn to this hilarious quote from the funny guy, Leslie Nielsen, and then started to see it as Continue reading “Innovation 101 – How much is too much?”