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 PEERS: WantToKnow.info List 16/04/2007

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AuteurMessage
mihou
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Nombre de messages : 8069
Localisation : Washington D.C.
Date d'inscription : 28/05/2005

16042007
MessagePEERS: WantToKnow.info List 16/04/2007

This
message
is available online at http://www.WantToKnow.info/070416transformingbusinessnewsocialentrepreneurs



"Ryan Mickle's life was the stuff young bourgeois dreams are
made
of. Then a year ago ... Mickle began to take stock of his life. He was
earning a lot of money but was giving very little of himself. So Mickle
ditched his high-paying job to brainstorm a new venture with friend Rod
Ebrahimi. The result was Dotherightthing.com, a San Francisco startup
that
allows users to rank companies based on their social impact on the world.
Mickle, 26, and Ebrahimi, 25, are among a
growing number of entrepreneurs betting they can build ventures that
deliver both financial and social returns.
"



-- San Francisco Chronicle, 4/15/07


Dear friends,

A
new
breed of young social entrepreneurs is literally transforming the face of
business around the world. The inspiring article below shows
how,
in spite of all the greed and corruption being exposed even at the
highest
levels of government and business, a new generation of entrepreneurs is
poised to sweep in with a new breed of ethics and social
concern
,
even as they continue to make a profit. Let us do our best to support
these
valiant social entrepreneurs, many of whom have sacrificed the
possibility
of huge fortunes to focus instead on the more meaningful and deeply
satisfying work of building a better world for us all. Links to the
exciting ventures described are provided at the bottom of this engaging
article.

With
very best wishes,

Fred Burks for PEERS and the WantToKnow.info Team

Former language
interpreter for Presidents Bush and Clinton




http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/04/15/BUG5SP63BR85.DTL



Responsibility is in
their sites

Web entrepreneurs have an eye
on social need -- not personal greed


Jessica Guynn, Chronicle
Staff
Writer

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Ryan Mickle's life
was
the stuff young bourgeois dreams are made of.
He had a
lucrative
career as a management consultant, drove a flashy car and lived a few
blocks from the beach in an exclusive neighborhood on the Newport Beach
(Orange County) peninsula.

Then a
year ago he bought a lottery ticket. While jotting down all of the
things he would do with the winnings, from spending more time with family
and friends to making a real difference in the world, Mickle began to
take stock of his life. He was earning a lot of money but was giving
very little of himself. And he was the one who was poorer for it.

"I won the lottery
that day by realizing that I had everything I needed to start living
that life, right then and there," Mickle said.


So
Mickle ditched his high-paying job to brainstorm a new venture with
friend
Rod Ebrahimi. On a napkin they scribbled their goals: Build an online
community that changes the world; make a socially responsible business
more profitable; and have fun while doing the right thing.

The
result was Dotherightthing.com, a San Francisco startup that allows users

to rank companies based on their social impact on the world.

Mickle, 26, and
Ebrahimi, 25, are among a growing number of entrepreneurs betting they
can build ventures that deliver both financial and social
returns.
Ebrahimi calls it the double bottom line. "We see
more
and more people and companies focus on doing good socially while still
doing well economically," he said.

The
online grassroots trend has taken some by surprise. Silicon Valley hasn't

always been known for its largesse. Sharing the wealth with the less
fortunate usually means issuing more stock options to employees. And
the
Web 2.0 generation, with its YouTube and Twitter mania, has gotten a
particularly bad rap for self-obsession and indulgence.

But social activism
is
rising among entrepreneurs who are using ambition, creativity and
daring
to fuse their personal values and career goals.


"In
some
senses, these entrepreneurs are fusing '60s consciousness and activism
with '80s market savvy. In the process, they are creating a hybrid
which
is the best of those polar opposites," said Paul Frankel, an investor who

lectures on social entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley's Haas School of
Business.

The
practice has precedent. EBay founder Pierre Omidyar has dedicated much of

his fortune to helping for-profits and nonprofits alike discover their
power to do good. And Google has evolved a novel brand of philanthropy,
setting up a foundation without tax-exempt status so it can invest in
for-profit as well as nonprofit groups.

Like
the
first Internet entrepreneurs, this generation of caring capitalists is
harnessing the power of technology from social networking, the ability to

create online connections and communities that spread virally, to online

shopping to video games.

Take
James Elsen, a former Silicon Valley software executive who, after
making a lot of money, hit a wall in 2003. "I was in an unhappy place. I
was unhealthy physically. I was in unhealthy relationships. I was
working 130 hours a week. I had always been told that if you work hard
and climb the ladder to the top, you will be happy. But I wasn't
happy,"
Elsen said.

Thinking
back to his happiest moments, volunteering at the local elementary
school
or in the environmental movement, Elsen turned to the Esalen Institute
near Big Sur, a lush refuge for self-discovery and improvement, to figure
out how to combine his background in technology with his passion for
sustainability.

The
result is SustainLane.com, a San Francisco business geared to promoting
green living to people, businesses and government. The concept is fueled
by growing interest in green initiatives from major corporations, local
and state government, and the public at large.

"The
ultimate goal is to feed a new economy of green businesses," said Elsen,

41.

Caroline
Bernadi, a 29-year-old refugee from the luxury goods industry in
France,
felt compelled to help nonprofits raise money. She and Jonathan Xu, a
30-year-old technologist who shared her passion for social change,
started
Palo Alto's FreePledge.com, a socially minded shopping site that has
formed partnerships with 165 retailers from Amazon.com to Target.

At
www.freepledge.com,
shoppers buy the same products from the same merchants for the same
price, but a percentage is donated to the nonprofit of their choice.


"We
help
the consumer feel good when he or she shops online, we help the
retailer
in cause-related marketing and we help nonprofits raise money," said
Bernadi.

Darian Hickman, 28,
is
designing an online strategy game that turns the players into
entrepreneurs who help bring prosperity to impoverished villages in
underdeveloped countries.


Players
can choose from a number of tools -- micro-credit loans, solar panels,
irrigation pumps, affordable lighting -- to help villagers build
sustainable futures.

Hickman,
a devoted Christian who graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a
degree in computer science in 2001, spent several years writing "boring
code" for defense contractors while trying to figure out how to combine
his computer skills and his interest in social enterprise.

Inspired
by Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel prize-winning micro-finance pioneer, and
the
Skoll-sponsored documentary "The New Heroes," which tells the stories of

14 entrepreneurs combatting social ills around the globe by pioneering
innovative technologies, Hickman hit on the idea for Village the Game.

"I just
started experimenting with the things that Jesus taught. Fighting for
the poor is important for God and also really rewarding. So I wanted to
figure out clever ways of doing that," said Hickman, who lives in
Pasadena and has begun collaborating on a nonprofit that will help
villages in the real world.

Brian
Johnson, 32, also found his calling in an unusual amalgam of altruism
and business. A disciple of Eastern philosophy and spirituality, Johnson
said he felt uncomfortable with capitalism until he hit on the concept
of "using economics as a force for good."

"It is
what so many people in the world are conflicted on," he said. "How do
we
live our spiritual ideals and make money?"

Now Johnson tries to
have it both ways with Zaadz.com, which he describes as MySpace for
people who want to change the world.
Johnson started Zaadz,
which
means seed in Dutch, out of his Topanga (Los Angeles County) home.

The
site
now has a handful of employees and 50,000 registered users, and
recently
landed funding from Whole Foods CEO John Mackey. Johnson, the site's
CEO
and philosopher, seeks to bring together a passionate group of conscious

consumers with conscious businesses, making money from sponsorship and
advertising deals.

But the
hybrid doesn't sit well with everyone. "Some people call us
tree-hugging, granola-eating hippies; others call us greedy capitalists,"

Johnson said.

Therein
lies a potential challenge facing these aspiring ventures. Not only
must
these entrepreneurs find a way to develop viable businesses, they must
convince consumers that greed and good are compatible. Not everyone is
convinced these ventures are the best way to tackle poverty, disease
and
environmental degradation.

"It
remains to be seen how they walk that line. How do you inspire Barak
Obama-like fervor around an idea when there is potentially someone
profiting from it?" said Premal Shah, the former PayPal executive who
is
president of online micro-lender Kiva.org.

Shah
weighed the pros and cons before deciding to run Kiva as a nonprofit. A
survey bore out his wisdom: 74 percent of Kiva's users would disapprove
and 48 percent of those would no longer lend money to developing
countries through Kiva if it morphed into a for-profit venture.

But
those attitudes may be shifting. "The market is actually the best way to

make the highest impact most quickly," Frankel said.

That's
what Dotherightthing.com founders Mickle and Ebrahimi hope as their
savings accounts dwindle and they work to raise money to expand their
endeavor.

Their
site, which launched in January, seeks to create a dialogue between
consumers and corporations, allowing consumers to influence corporate
behavior and companies to build brand loyalty.

"By
executing our vision to create a business that fulfills both our career
and personal aspirations, we've found our sweet spot, located at the
intersection of passion and work," Mickle said.

The sentiment is
summed up in Dotherightthing.com's T-shirt slogan: "It's cool to care."






Helping
out


These
sites try to do good and do well:

Dotherightthing.com

FreePledge.com

Fivelimes.com

RealityCharity.com

SustainLane.com

Villagethegame.com

Zaadz.com

E-mail Jessica Guynn at
jguynn@sfchronicle.com.



This
article appeared on page D - 1 of the
San Francisco Chronicle



Note:
We encourage you to take some time to explore some of
these
exciting new adventures which are transforming the face of business and
building a brighter future for us all. For more on the transformative
movements of microfinance and microlending, and how you can help end
poverty without donating a penny, click here. And
for the profile of website founder Fred Burks on Zaadz.com, click here.


See our collection
of inspirational resources at http://www.WantToKnow.info/inspirational






Your tax-deductible donations, however large or small, help greatly to
support this important work.
To make a donation by credit card,
check, or money order:

http://www.WantToKnow.info/donationswtk

Explore
these empowering websites coordinated by the nonprofit PEERS network:

http://www.momentoflove.org
- Every person in the world has a heart

http://www.WantToKnow.info
- Reliable, verifiable information on major cover-ups

http://www.inspiringcommunity.org
- Building a Global Community for All

http://www.weboflove.org
- Strengthening the Web of Love that interconnects us all

Educational websites promoting transformation through information and
inspiration

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