CategoryImpact ecosystem

Shareholder Value

I saw this cartoon on Twitter and was reminded that I’ve not posted about the real purpose of business in years. A few posts on that and related topics:

Three types of companies and three types of mission-driven companies

I categorize companies into three categories: A- Companies focused solely on profits, running extractive businesses, unconscious to the needs of their employees, their communities, and the world as a whole. Most of the S&P 500 and Global 1,000 are in this group. B- Companies that truly care about ESG: Environment, Social, and Governance. In short, companies whose management works on improving...

Impermanence (Goodbye Hub Seattle)

Nothing lasts forever is misleading. It implies that some things last for long periods of time. Western philosophy craves stability, predictability and tradition.  We want today to be a lot like yesterday.  We get upset when it isn’t. Buddhism has a different view.  Buddha taught that the only constant is change.  That nothing ever stays the same.  That everything is...

The (True) Purpose of Business

Five years ago when this blog was new, I posted an Ignite talk about the true purpose of business. Two years ago, I reprised that topic to help break the myth that the (sole) purpose of business is to maximize shareholder value. My podcast is almost a year old, and last week I not only (re)explained the Ignite talk with more words, but then spent the week talking what Apple, Google, Facebook, and...


Back in 2011 I left the world of tech and joined a world that has no universally agreed upon name.  Back in 2011 it was the world of “social enterprise” and “social entrepreneurs” and those terms are still commonly used, but these definitions vary from organization to organization.  These are terms that first arose in the nonprofit sector, and nearly all my work is with...

Put yourself in the shoes of a startup investor

Put yourself in the shoes of a startup investor. Every day you review entrepreneurs, through a sort of funnel: very wide at the top and narrow down below, with only a few investments coming out the bottom each year. The average venture capital firm reviews approximately 1,200 companies in order to make 10 investments. At Village Capital, we make contact with nearly 10,000 entrepreneurs a year...


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...

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:

The future you want, rather than the future that might otherwise be

One of the challenges of being an “impact investor” is explaining to others what you mean by “impact” as the definition varies from person to person.  The best explanation I’ve ever heard came from Ted Levinson of Beneficial Returns on a panel at a recent SOCAP 365 event in San Francisco (which I heard on the “Unusual Investments” episode of the new Money...

Don’t go chasing unicorns [Guest post]

Venture capital should never have become the standard way for us to fund new businesses. As an asset class, it’s uniquely designed to fund disruptive innovations. It does this by funding ventures that are likely to fail, but — if successful — can result in outsized outcomes. In other words, it’s a ‘home run’ based model. For a venture capitalist, seeing 6 or 7 out of 10 portfolio companies fail...


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