Thursday, June 05, 2008

It's All Good Tidbits

One of my favorite Gifford-isms is "It's all good work" which is intended to remind us that whether our work is protecting biodiversity in Cambodia or working on reducing the waste stream at Wal-mart, we should respect each other's work and not get competitive about who's work is better-more important-more meaningful.

My father had another one, from his school days: "Hands to work and hearts to God" which he usually used to inspire us to keep at it when the task was well beyond its originally announced timeline. (His sons were not always sure what the divine inspiration was for many of our chores and projects.) I inherited (or learned) this inability to properly forecast the effort required for a task... and it is probably an important "skill" for an entrepreneur. Drives my wife nuts, though.

Check out Guy Kawasaki's new service: AllTop. Simple interface, lots of diverse blogs for those interested in business, investments and "geekery." This is a sticky site, and you can spend a lot of time bouncing around to different blogs. Last week, a new category "Good" showed up, and this very blog made the cut. It is "Mostly blogs written by people who are trying to make the world a better place for the rest of us." Thanks, Guy, good work.

I am soon off for a workshop with Amy Smith. To see a recent interview with her, check out this New Yorker conference video. If you know Amy, you know that this type of interview is one of the hazzards of trying to get the word out on BOP work. Her interviewer had very little empathy (or manners) and looked puzzled as to how she could get by on $2/day and still be able to buy her black outfits on Mad Ave. Good thing Amy didn't tell the interviewer that her favorite song was "White and Nerdy" by Weird Al. She did fly the nerd flag proudly with her reference to efficiency gains of a corn hulling device to 5 decimal places. Good work, Amy.

Paul Polak also does good work, and has been very generous giving his time to our program at Colorado State. His book, "Out of Poverty" is well worth reading. If you would like to see my review, it just came out in Stanford Social Innovation Review (Summer 2008). His most recent initiative is D-Rev, a Design Revolution to get more people focused on innovations for the BOP.

In Vancouver last week, I got to spend some time with former BGI student Saul Brown, who has started an ethical and organic gift company. Check it out at www.itsaulgood.com.

If you are interested in seeing some of the GSSE field work, some of the teams are keeping blogs. Here is one on the small engine in Bangladesh and here is one on the Dhaka weaving co-op in Nepal. Good work GSSE'rs.

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