Optimism, links and learning for 2007

After a slightly cynical last blog post of 2006 (albeit an attempt to raise a smile or two), this blog starts 2007 with relentless optimism coursing through its veins. Well, it could still be alcohol, but I’m pretty sure it’s optimism. So, here’s some great reading to start the year:

– firstly, Yahoo have been running this thing called Yahoo for Good! using ‘charity badges’ which are basically online donation widgets for your blog or website; they guaranteed to match fund the badge raising the most money up to December 31st to the tune of $50,000. The winner, by quite a distance, was the Sharing Foundation via Beth’s Blog, which raised pretty much $50,000 (at time of writing) from 745 donations: fantastic work, and outpunching the mighty Worldchanging as well in the top 10.

Charity badges (and a badge contest) are a great web fundraising idea, and I look forward to it being rolled out in the UK, by Yahoo or someone else: well done to all who took part.

–  next up, you can read 50 of the brightest minds in the business world detailing their advice for how to succeed in 2007 (at CNNMoney.com); this includes Sergey Brin on simplicity, Richard Branson on ‘how to say no’,  Stephen Covey on ‘striving for moral authority’, Muhammad Yunus on ‘big rewards from small ideas’, Malcolm Gladwell on ‘teamwork’ and, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Howard Schultz (the Chairman of Starbucks) with ‘dare to be a social entrepreneur‘, although he’s really making a point about treating your people right, as well as your customers. Anyway, much inspiration for the year ahead here.

Springwise are doing lots of top 10 business ideas of 2006 lists, including the top 10 eco business ideas of 2006, which includes Greentomato cars, the eco-cab firm in London (one of the directors, Jonny, is a friend of a friend, and they’ve had an amazing year), carbon offsets by SMS, and a ‘zen approach to the cleaning industry’….all good stuff

– I don’t know how I’ve managed to avoid blogging about it before, but Kiva is pretty outstanding as well; see this article on Salon for an intro/explanation (via Audeamus), or their founder’s blog on Social Edge

– also worth noting an article on Grist (a fine resource itself) by John Elkington and Mark Lee about what big business can learn from social and environmental entrepreneurs, which includes the marvellous description of Muhammad Yunus as the "social entrepreneur’s social entrepreneur" for the replication of his Grameen model…

– a top 8, just to break the rules, of lessons for those wishing to scale (from the Global Social Benefit Incubator)

– and finally, for those of you with book tokens to spare after the Xmas period, enjoy the Entrepeneur’s Holiday Bookshelf which has recommendations from business professors . I particularly enjoyed the recommendation of Moby Dick for its lessons of bad management: "It’s the story of an entrepreneur who violates the trust of all the
constituencies that support him…financial backers, employees, and
customers. It’s the original story of how not to do it"

Happy New Year.

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One thought on “Optimism, links and learning for 2007

  1. Thanks for your kind words! Our group did most of the fundraising via email to offline connections who in turn pass it to their connections. We also didn’t give up despite thinking that we couldn’t win the challenge. It was amazing!