A few months ago, I noticed that the Seventh Generation toilet paper in my friend’s bathroom had changed. The packaging was bright, modern, and — dare I say it — cheerful. Interesting, given that the actual product was brown, and pretty much as hippie as it gets (100% recycled paper, 80% post-consumer, unbleached, etc.). Hum, I wondered, what’s up with this?
Now I know, after attending The Science of Inspiring Good Behavior panel at SXSW Eco, featuring Joey Bergstein of Seventh Generation, Catherine Davis of Vizeum Americas, Dave Schiff of Made Movement, and Morgan Clendaniel of Fast Company talking about ways to reach the 86 percent of “consumers who care,” most of whom aren’t moved by stories of gloom, doom, and impending climate catastrophe. What does motivate them? Empowerment, efficacy, and fun.
Want to sell more of your sustainable products? Time to drop the green finger wagging and start peddling a more joyous life. How? Read on.
If you’re starting (or thinking of starting) a sharing economy company, there’s a very good chance you’ll wonder at some point: “Is this actually legal?”
In many cases, the answer — technically speaking — will be no. In other cases, the answer will be, “Yes, it’s legal, but it’s still crazy risky.”
What do you, the excited upstart entrepreneur, do at this point?
- Give up and go home.
- Whine a lot about how your lawyer is a killjoy then do whatever you want.
- Listen to this person who has your best interests at heart, and try to work productively together.
If you picked one or two, good luck! You’re on your own. Hope things work out for you.
If you went with three, read on.
Winding up my SXSW coverage was a panel close to my heart – Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Backwards in Heels.
Moderated by Kara Swisher, Co-Exec Editor of All Things Digital, it featured several young female tech entrepreneurs talking about their companies, their life experiences, and the reality of being female in a heavily male-dominated industry. (Less than 10% of VC funding goes to female founders.)
“A lot of agonizing and not a lot of action”
Swisher opened by recounting a conversation she’d had recently with the male founder of a well-known, highly successful Internet startup (sorry, you had to be there for the name).
“I feel bad about how few women are in tech,” he said, “I just don’t know what to do about it!”
“Pretty simple,” she answered. “Put a woman on your board.”
As Swisher described it, many younger “sensitive new age men” understand the problem, but still aren’t taking steps to address it. As she put it, there’s a lot of agonizing and not a lot of action.
Today’s dispatch: What does it take to create a successful “Airbnb-style” company?
Collaborative Consumption, aka the “Sharing Economy“
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that “collaborative consumption” is all the rage. Whether it’s peer-to-peer marketplaces for housing, transportation, services, or old clothing — the idea of using technology to facilitate economic transactions between two individuals (rather than between consumers and companies) is coming into its own.
The Airbnb of Anything: The Growth of P2P Markets featured leaders in this fast-growing industry talking about their challenges, and what they’ve learned along the way.
The key takeaway? If you want to be successful in this space, you need to solve two problems: fear and inventory.
As part of our report on The Airbnb of Anything: The Growth of P2P Markets, we wanted to talk to a young company in the collaborative consumption space about the challenges they’re facing, and the strides they’ve made.
We found SideTour — the Airbnb of “authentic experiences” — and picked the brain of one of their co-founders, Mark Webster.
Here’s what he had to say:
New Media and CSR: Communicating Corporate Good, moderated by TriplePundit’s very own Nick Aster, identified four major emerging trends in Corporate Social Responsibility in a free-wheeling discussion between:
- Chris Miller, Director of Corporate Consciousness for Seventh Generation
- Christine Diamente, Director of Corporate Responsibility at Alcatel-Lucent
- Mitch Baranowski, Co-founder of BBMG
- Dale Hart, Partner at Methodologie
It’s CSR 2.0 — rife with risks but full of opportunities.
Here’s the bottom line:
Today’s question: Can “green gamification” help solve our most intractable problems?
Green games, or “green gamification” if you want to sound trendy, are a big deal. Companies, brand strategists, academics, marketers — they’re all on board with the potential for making sustainability about “fortune, fun, and fame” instead of “blame.”
We’ve got lots of examples for you later, but first let’s talk about a really exciting project from the University of Virginia and Azure Worldwide: The UVA Bay Game.
The UVA Bay Game
Gaming the Environment for Positive Change, moderated by Philippe Cousteau, co-founder of Azure Worldwide, discussed the UVA Bay Game. It’s a massive, multiplayer simulation of the impacts of various stakeholders on the health of the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the country. The simulation runs for 20 years, with players making “moves” every two years. The first ten years are based on real data, and the second ten years are based on projected data.
If you’ve hung out in tech circles for more than five minutes, you’ve no doubt heard of Moore’s Law. It’s the idea that the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years (with a corresponding increase in computing power). Right now, $1000 buys you the computing power of one mouse brain. By 2050, the same $1000 will get you the computational power of every human brain on the planet.
Therein lies our salvation? That’s the argument made by two SXSW panelists, Sunil Paul and Peter Diamandis. I’m intrigued, but not entirely convinced. (And, as it turns out, I’m not alone in my skepticism. Jaron Lanier, computer scientist, composer, artist, and author of the bestselling You Are Not a Gadget, A Manifesto, today gave a fascinating presentation asking what happens to the humans, once we’ve used technology to make ourselves obsolete.)
Our first dispatch: how to bridge the gap between the corporate social media types and the lawyers. What’s going on here, and why should you care?
If you’ve ever tried to launch, well, pretty much anything creative or novel in a company, you’ve probably encountered the most dreaded phase around: “Sounds good, we’ll just have to run it by Legal.” Cue screeching sound, as your cool new project grinds to a halt.
When we’re talking about social media, any potential problems are magnified by the possibility of all of these uncontrolled social media conversations. It’s not just your brand message that’s out there — it’s other people talking about your brand. Who knows what they’ll say? Easy enough to see how the lawyers might be a bit concerned.
In Bridging the Lawyer-Social Media Manager Divide, June Casalmir, Counsel for Consumer & Marketing Practices at Sprint Nextel, and Rich Pesce, Sr. Manager of Social Media and Digital Communications for Capital One, shared some strategies for finding common ground, even when the gap seems insurmountable.