I attended the TEDx Presidio, where the real question that speakers illuminated was: What is capitalism becoming? The theme was Reinventing Capitalism. I have posted before about social ventures, which form one broad new sector (See here). Here are some additional ideas from TEDx that you may find interesting and useful as you think about how to evolve your business model. You are thinking about that, aren’t you?
1. Share Economy
Speaker: Van Jones, Founder and President of Rebuild the Dream
Van noted that changes in capital are coming from the bottom up. That has been the source of the new Share Economy—spurred by tight budgets and also by enjoyment (“Sharing: If you have to do it, it sucks. If you get to share, then it feels good.”). Examples:
- Sharable cars, sofas, equipment
- Kiva, Kickstart
He noted that some of these are trendy “lifestyle” ventures and that as the trend matures it needs to increasingly tie in and serve people with very real needs.
This may seem remote from your business. You may even think that it would be foolish to encourage shared use of your product. But what if a research center could afford a massive investment in scientific instruments by starting a service business for other departments or institutions? It is twist on the shared economy that has worked well around the world. There are probably others.
Speaker: Charley Moore, CEO of Rocket Lawyer
The “Do it for me” model rose decades ago creating a huge services sector. But many cannot afford services offered by that model. Enter the “Do it with me” (DIWM) revolution. It is letting some companies break through the noise of seemingly identical competitors and tap into markets that are not served.
For example, many people need legal services but cannot afford them. Mr. Moore’s business took common legal services and re-designed and re-packaged them. They have automated some parts, deliver some parts and ask the clients to do some parts based on materials and help the company provides. The clients get services that they can afford. The company gets a market segment that is eager and not crowded with pesky competitors.
3. Bigger Pie
Speaker: Sam Mogannam Founder Bi-Rite family of businesses (grocery, bakery, other)
Talk about doing well by doing good! This farm-to-food innovator grew from $2M to $20 M in revenue in 8 years . Through dedication to quality and relationships they have created a successful and broadly beneficial business. They have directly and indirectly created hundreds of jobs. Seventy percent of their spend stays in the community (vs. only 10% stays in the community at their competitor companies). As a result, they have customer, partner and employee loyalty and goodwill. They enjoy 5x the productivity of their big national food chain competitors.
I learned from Sam that ten grocery chains control 70% of the food spend in the US. This talk was a great view into how small players can thrive and make a huge difference. There is no reason why large players in this field and others can’t adopt some of the practices. Every company can create virtuous cycles with their partners, customers and employees.
More later on this topic. I don’t want to over-stuff your brain. You have a lot going on in there as it is.
Input and Inquiries Welcome
Do you see useful new twists on the basic capitalist model?
If you are thinking about your model and would like some help: Click here to contact me.