Revitalizing the Good Business Community

Revitalizing the Good Business Community

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Revitalizing the Good Business Community

This message goes out to all people interested in the idea that business can be a force for good in the world. 

It’s about the Good Business Community on Google+: 

https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/110654793651248504039

As you can see from the below post, the moderators and I are launching an initiative to revitalize the Good Business Community. 

Almost every one of you who are receiving a notification were once active in this community. At some point, you tuned out and possibly even quit the community because of the spam and off-topic posts. I’m reaching out to invite you back. We need you to help turn this around. 

These are the topic categories, just to refresh your memory: 

Sustainable Business

People-Centered Business

Mission-Driven Business

Social Enterprise

Ownership & Funding

“Good Business” Books

By all counts, this should be an awesome community, and it was when it first launched. We can turn it back into one. 

Here’s what I’d ask from you: 

* If you’ve quit, please rejoin.

* Click the gear icon in the upper left corner, and then select “Show posts in the home stream” and set it to “More”.

* If you’re really game, turn “Notifications on” right next to the gear.

* Then try to give the community a little extra love through engaging with it over the next few weeks, with comments, plusses and shares.

* If you’ve got topical posts, please share them and we’ll try to generate some especially good engagement around them. 

* If you’re really into these topics and want to be considered for a “Contributor” role, drop me a note. 

Thanks for your help with this. And just so I know you saw this, would you mind just plussing this post as an acknowledgement? 

Thank you, 

– Gideon

24 comments

  1. Interesting idea, thanks Darius Gabriel Constantine.  

    I would consider a business as a force for good if the intentions are benevolent and community-oriented (rather than primarily profit-driven).  Even if the business “fails”, its ideals, the intention, will spread.  

    If on the other hand, a primarily selfish business ends up doing “good” in the world, people will still look at how the business was created and emulate that.  

    The ends never justifies the means, because in reality there are no ends… there are only means.  

  2. Business is part of community and partners with it! 

  3. Thanks for the thoughts on the role of the commons, Darius Gabriel Constantine and the role of intentions, George Kao. 

    One of the things that’s so interesting about this topic is that there are no real bright, clear lines to separate the holy from the unholy. Good businesses sometimes make decisions that harm the world and sometimes bad businesses (for lack of a better term), end up doing good.

    Based on this, I added a category to the community called “Un-Good Business” to highlight some of the practices that don’t fit the principles we’re working to learn about together. It might also be worth changing that or adding a separate category that would be talking about businesses that are somewhere in the fuzzy area between good and un-good.

    Jodi Kaplan, Sakari Maaranen, Steve Wright, Simon Robinson, and Triple Pundit – what do you think of that?  

  4. Gideon Rosenblatt​ I don’t recall having ever discussed with Darius Gabriel Constantine. He may have blocked me. I don’t know if he has previously used a different pseudonym.

  5. George Kao​ there’s nothing wrong with profit per se, as long as we don’t get obsessed with it. It is one requirement of good business to be profitable, but we must not maximise it at the expense of everything else.

    Optimising for zero waste and social responsibility is more important than maximising profit. However, business must also make profit.

  6. I like this discussion 🙂   Thanks Sakari Maaranen for your definition re: business = profit-making activity.  

    Perhaps we can clarify what profit means.  One definition is financial (only).  A broader definition is profit is value added.  

    In that broader definition, a business owner could say that his intention is to make sure his family is supported, therefore pays a salary to himself, but any additional value that is added goes back to society.  

    Hence he might choose to lower his price to the minimum (still being able to support his family) so that there’s more benefit (profit) for his customers and their families.  

    Or to raise the price not to make profit for himself but to ensure the supply chain is taken care of (including paying more for eco-friendly supplies) … which again is greater social profit.     

    From a third-party perspective people could say this business is not successful because it’s not making any financial profit for the biz owner.  But the biz owner cares not what others say — he defines what profit means to him, and is very happy to make enough while giving tons of value back to society.  His business is fulfilling its mission.  It’s a good business. 

  7. p.s. Perhaps we would agree that a “Good Business” is financially sustainable and socially profitable (giving back more than it takes; benefitting more than it harms.)  

    I personally also believe a Good Business must have a primarily world-serving (rather than primarily self-serving) intention… because no matter what the external effect, one’s intentions has influence over other’s minds, beyond what mainstream science can currently measure 🙂

  8. I think Good Business is balanced. That typically means win-win-win kind of balance. There is some room for manoeuvring, but as soon as some part of the equation starts losing, it is no longer fully sustainable.

    George Kao​ also note that by your own given examples, profit does not equal value added. Value added is a significant factor for the upper limit of fair pricing, but profit is the only the difference between revenue and cost. You can make profit without adding value or even when actively destroying value. That is hardly good business though.

  9. That’s a good way of putting it, George Kao: businesses that give to others at least as much, if not more, than they give to themselves.

  10. Ah… perhaps we are now in full semantics territory, Sakari Maaranen.   Who determines value-added?  A business destroying the environment can say they are “adding value” to their customers who might very well agree (and not care about the environment either.)

    Same thing with profit.  A bad business can be making tons of “profit” and the communities that are hurt would say, no, they are very negative-social-profit.

    My original question remains: does a business need to make more money beyond a sustainable salary for biz owners, to be considered Good?

  11. George Kao​ anything between the maximum of real value added and the minimum of what the owners are willing to sustain can be good. However, when I put it this way, “real value” is based on the assumption that we know what it is in a holistic sense. In reality we do not, which makes it a hard problem in practice. We only have our opinions. Real value would be a perfect assessment of the sustainability of the practice indefinitely far into the future. It may be trivial to determine in case of some simple and environmentally friendly practice, but exceedingly difficult in case of more complex practice or something that may have far reaching indirect consequences over a longer time period.

  12. I like thinking of what you’re talking about, George Kao, as value flows. Yesterday, in a Twitter conversation put together by Triple Pundit, I used the idea that “Good community citizens add, and do not extract, value from the communities in which they exist.” This circles back to your point about the commons, Darius Gabriel Constantine. I take a bit of issue there, however, as I think of the commons as something that supports all, whereas a good business could be confined to strictly doing a good job of caring for their full set of stakeholders. And I tend to try to keep “society” as a whole out of that list of stakeholders, as it broadens it too much to be actionable. 

  13. Darius Gabriel Constantine​​ but it does. The way you set that question is already flawed, as in unnecessarily defiant, suggesting categorical controversy that is not really there.

  14. Business, as a category, does not require it to produce negative value. You are intentionally focusing on problem business, which is of course a problem, because you define it to be. That, however, is an unfair representation of business.

    You might as well focus on valuable business, which is kind of the point of this community Darius Gabriel Constantine​.

  15. The conversation is what you make of it Darius Gabriel Constantine​.

  16. This is the good business community, Darius, not the Friday night fights community. 

  17. 🙂 Darius Gabriel Constantine​

  18. What an entertaining person! Got to love this guy. He actually blocked me again. He made me happy. 🙂

  19. My experience with Darius Gabriel Constantine over quite a long time here on G+ is that he always gets me to stretch my thinking, and I really appreciate him for that. 

    Not sure what happened here, since a lot of the context is missing above, but I hate to see this kind of spiral. 

  20. Gideon Rosenblatt​ did he delete his comments? I thought he only blocked me.

  21. He did delete them.

    He was essentially arguing that everything should be in common, and that was the only important value.

  22. It was a normal debate with fair arguments. All mine are still visible above.

  23. OK. Let’s move on. 

  24. He asked “Why should we allow any business that is exploitative to the Commons”.

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