Umair Haque / Bubblegeneration
umair haque  

 
 


Design principles for 21st century companies, markets, and economies. Foreword by Gary Hamel. Coming January 4th. Pre-order at Amazon.


 
Saturday, September 11, 2010

101


Let's take a sec to clear up a few misconceptions about my perspective.

1. I'm suggesting you only invest in "ethical" companies.

That's exactly backwards. I'm not interested in overblown statements of ethics, standards, or audits. All those are mechanisms that are easily gamed - and mostly obsolete.

I'm suggesting, in fact, that companies who don't have to do the stuff above - because they're already taking a quantum leap past the industrial age - are 21st century businesses. They're tomorrow's real value creators. And for that reason, they're already today's revolutionary outperformers.

So far from arguing you should invest in "ethical" companies, I'm suggesting that having to trumpet your "ethics", and invest heavily in offsetting your negative impacts, is the surest sign of an industrial age business.

I'm suggesting, in stark contrast, that you invest in companies who aren't confined and trapped by industrial age economics.

2. I'm a communist.

In fact, I've argued repeatedly that making markets is one of three strategies for disruption today. So I'm a diehard fan of free markets, and a big believer in their potential to unlock prosperity.

But another strategy for disruption is making communities - letting resources be shared. Think Wikipedia, or Wikileaks, if you like. So yes, I think there's a role for common property. But I don't think all property should be shared.

These are different strategies, for different contexts. The mistake is assuming that one size fits all, and that either markets or communities are "the" solution to every economic challenge we face.

3. I'm just talking social entrepreneurship

I do talk a lot about social entrepreneurship, because it's awesome. But I do so as a vehicle to discuss the future of economics. What's clear already is we need to rethink how we create, measure, and manage value. It's a slippery term - and the industrial age's conceptualization of it (think GDP) - is neither accurate, valid, nor internally consistent.

So what I'm suggesting is that over the next decade, you're going to have find ways to demonstrate you created bigger, better, more authentic value than merely "shareholder value" - which is just a scoreboard for the benefits you created for society.

Or, more simply: yesterday, business was antisocial. Tomorrow, every kind of business will to have think in social terms.

4. I'm offering a moral critique of biz

Nope. I'm pointing out that economics is, underneath all the jargon, overquantification, and hype, is, at root, about "goods" and "bads". They're stuff that is literally good and bad.

So if a company can't separate good from bad - if all it can do is maximize profit, regardless - then it can't figure out how to create real value. Conversely, the role of a company and economy is to figure out how to minimize the bad in bads, maximize the good in goods: that's how real, enduring, meaningful economic value is created.

When we don't - and can't - do it, we end up in crisis. That means producing stuff like toxic subprime CDOs, that masquerade as "goods" - but that are really "bads"; that creates losses, not gains.

That's the real heart of today's zombieconomy: a failure to remember that good and bad aren't just moral terms. They are - whether you like it or not - economic ones. And an economy can only be said to be "working" when goods outweigh and outnumber bads.

Any I've left out? Leave a note in the comments.



-- umair // 2:11 PM // 4 comments


Comments:

I dislike oversimplifying a body of complex work, but can I? I'm a groupie:

Open markets and competition in a lightly regulated environment are good, IF the entire business ethos is not turned to sucking every dime out of the margin, to the detriment of the people who work for the company and the community it resides in - even more then it local domicile, its global community. I want to see investment in industry that cultures livable workforces where a 6 hour commute is not a given, some local communities with housing, distributed workforces using the best technology, education that does not bankrupt those desirous of learning. Medical care that does not empty your pocket when you are a tradesman, and a system that includes your teeth as part of your body - because they are. I brought that up to a dentist at a party saying that, "I save a little until I need a dental procedure, there is no good insurance, and then I hand my savings over to you, because the insurance does not cover teeth, they are not considered part of my body, you ass." The dentist says," you idiot, I should punch you in the mouth, then you will need a dentist - "Yeah i said, you take my money then too".

what a crap system. Umair, you should study my boss, he employs five loyal. skilled telecommuters, and he delivers a service with more features, unique features, at a fraction of the cost. he is building a distributed community of B2B network users and skilled system engineers that create new services. We are considering a mutualized network model where the B2B network users own the infrastructure and get their new engineering in snippets they request - no fees, just the board sets the premiums, and every member has a seat. No stock, no IPO, no cash out. The network operator gets a fair rate to compete with the withering EDI monopoly that the Federal watchdogs let happen under their noses. Sherman act be damned.

Umair, no speeches from the virtual balcony, just blogs posts? No character with a unique costume? How can we generate enthusiasm.
// Blogger bizQuirk // 5:24 PM
 

I dislike oversimplifying a body of complex work, but can I? I'm a groupie:

Open markets and competition in a lightly regulated environment are good, IF the entire business ethos is not turned to sucking every dime out of the margin, to the detriment of the people who work for the company and the community it resides in - even more then it local domicile, its global community. I want to see investment in industry that cultures livable workforces where a 6 hour commute is not a given, some local communities with housing, distributed workforces using the best technology, education that does not bankrupt those desirous of learning. Medical care that does not empty your pocket when you are a tradesman, and a system that includes your teeth as part of your body - because they are. I brought that up to a dentist at a party saying that, "I save a little until I need a dental procedure, there is no good insurance, and then I hand my savings over to you, because the insurance does not cover teeth, they are not considered part of my body, you ass." The dentist says," you idiot, I should punch you in the mouth, then you will need a dentist - "Yeah i said, you take my money then too".

what a crap system. Umair, you should study my boss, he employs five loyal. skilled telecommuters, and he delivers a service with more features, unique features, at a fraction of the cost. he is building a distributed community of B2B network users and skilled system engineers that create new services. We are considering a mutualized network model where the B2B network users own the infrastructure and get their new engineering in snippets they request - no fees, just the board sets the premiums, and every member has a seat. No stock, no IPO, no cash out. The network operator gets a fair rate to compete with the withering EDI monopoly that the Federal watchdogs let happen under their noses. Sherman act be damned.

Umair, no speeches from the virtual balcony, just blogs posts? No character with a unique costume? How can we generate enthusiasm.
// Blogger bizQuirk // 5:24 PM
 

I dislike oversimplifying a body of complex work, but can I? I'm a groupie:

Open markets and competition in a lightly regulated environment are good, IF the entire business ethos is not turned to sucking every dime out of the margin, to the detriment of the people who work for the company and the community it resides in - even more then it local domicile, its global community. I want to see investment in industry that cultures livable workforces where a 6 hour commute is not a given, some local communities with housing, distributed workforces using the best technology, education that does not bankrupt those desirous of learning. Medical care that does not empty your pocket when you are a tradesman, and a system that includes your teeth as part of your body - because they are. I brought that up to a dentist at a party saying that, "I save a little until I need a dental procedure, there is no good insurance, and then I hand my savings over to you, because the insurance does not cover teeth, they are not considered part of my body, you ass." The dentist says," you idiot, I should punch you in the mouth, then you will need a dentist - "Yeah i said, you take my money then too".

what a crap system. Umair, you should study my boss, he employs five loyal. skilled telecommuters, and he delivers a service with more features, unique features, at a fraction of the cost. he is building a distributed community of B2B network users and skilled system engineers that create new services. We are considering a mutualized network model where the B2B network users own the infrastructure and get their new engineering in snippets they request - no fees, just the board sets the premiums, and every member has a seat. No stock, no IPO, no cash out. The network operator gets a fair rate to compete with the withering EDI monopoly that the Federal watchdogs let happen under their noses. Sherman act be damned.

Umair, no speeches from the virtual balcony, just blogs posts? No character with a unique costume? How can we generate enthusiasm.
// OpenID abmw // 5:25 PM
 

"Goods": derived from things that are good!
// Anonymous Anonymous // 9:29 PM
 
 

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