Sunday Morning Coffee: Jazz Bands in Berkeley

July 29, 2012

A friend of mine pointed out that Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley had recently been over run with blue grass/jazz style bands on the street corners.  I was skeptical when he said it: I walk/drive/run down Shattuck avenue on a very regular basis and I had yet to see a spontaneous blue grass phenomenon.

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But then it happened–I saw a band playing right by the BART station.   Read more »

Microlending Made Easier

July 23, 2012

A few months back, Reid Hoffman turned the microlending world on its head with a $1 million promise. Microlending is one of the “easiest” ways in which people from any location can make a difference in the lives of those at the Bottom of the Pyramid. Critics of traditional donation-based aid are met with the assurance that there is an incredibly strong chance (97%) you will receive your money back.

So when Mr. Hoffman decided to make it even easier for people to lend to the poorest of the poor, it seemed like a real no brainer. In fact, due to other generous donations, you can still sign up and lend for free.

Vittana, another microlending site – one dedicated strictly to international student loans – has recently adopted a similar model sponsored by Tim Ferriss. While Kiva’s event focused on getting users involved for free, Vittana and Ferriss have put together a matching model that will match loans up to $50,000.

The added kicker that I particularly like is Mr. Ferriss’s incentive to get others to get the word out. By adding the carrot to readers to share, re-share, and publicize through any means necessary, he’s not only pushing this one event out, but raising awareness for Vittana and microlending as a whole.

I applaud both Kiva and Vittana for leveraging social media and finding yet another way to make it easier in which to help those at the Bottom of the Pyramid.

- Chris

Sunday Morning Coffee: Slow Days

July 22, 2012

If you’re like me, then you know to-do lists quite well.

Nearly every day the first thing I do is make a list, review a list or sort out how I’m going to sequence my list.   Even on days when I’ve freed myself from the list, I find myself still trying to cram more into the day.

Time is the world’s most precious non-renewable resource, so I try to make the most of it (time after time).

Yet, some days it is better to take a step back from the driver seat and let time just happen to you.  Take your foot off the pedal and stop trying to be more productive, stop trying to plan every second, and take a day to relax, or just enjoy. Read more »

It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try

July 16, 2012

During a period of reflection this past weekend, I came across a saying that stuck with me for a multitude of reasons.

(poorly paraphrasing) “Do not take on the responsibility to save the world; but do not take that as a free pass not to try”

While the work we, as social entrepreneurs, do is fulfilling, there are times in which the task at hand seems so arduous, never ending, and almost out of reach. This simply means our work is not done. Read more »

Sunday Morning Coffee: Two Many Problems

July 15, 2012

Some businesses have two problems they are trying to solve, rather than one.  Solving one problem can be hard enough; solving two is crazy hard…particularly for entrepreneurs trying to get their idea off the ground.

Whether you are starting a new company, leading a new initiative or just planning an event, it is critical to consider the problem(s) you are solving for each of your stakeholders.

Bystander Problems
Consider your idea: list out who benefits from your concept and why. It won’t surprise me if you realize you are addressing a lot of issues for a lot of people.  Businesses also fulfill a lot of needs that bystanders have.  For instance—a new coffee shop may revitalize a corner or provide people with jobs.  Certainly these are valuable bystander effects of the coffee shop’s core reason for existence: selling coffee.

Read more »

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