Social Enterprise and Web 2.0

(Crossposted from zBlog: ~C4Chaos) and Zaadz are in the news. Nice.

San Francisco Chronicle

Responsibility is in their sites
Web entrepreneurs have an eye on social need – not personal greed

Jessica Guynn, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, April 15, 2007

Mickle’s life was the stuff young bourgeois dreams are made of. He had
a lucrative career as a management consultant, drove a flashy car and
lived a few blocks from the beach in an exclusive neighborhood on the
Newport Beach (Orange County) peninsula.

Then a year ago he
bought a lottery ticket. While jotting down all of the things he would
do with the winnings, from spending more time with family and friends
to making a real difference in the world, Mickle began to take stock of
his life. He was earning a lot of money but was giving very little of
himself. And he was the one who was poorer for it.

“I won the
lottery that day by realizing that I had everything I needed to start
living that life, right then and there,” Mickle said.

So Mickle
ditched his high-paying job to brainstorm a new venture with friend Rod
Ebrahimi. On a napkin they scribbled their goals: Build an online
community that changes the world; make a socially responsible business
more profitable; and have fun while doing the right thing.

result was, a San Francisco startup that allows
users to rank companies based on their social impact on the world.

26, and Ebrahimi, 25, are among a growing number of entrepreneurs
betting they can build ventures that deliver both financial and social
returns. Ebrahimi calls it the double bottom line. “We see more and
more people and companies focus on doing good socially while still
doing well economically,” he said.


Brian Johnson, 32, also
found his calling in an unusual amalgam of altruism and business. A
disciple of Eastern philosophy and spirituality, Johnson said he felt
uncomfortable with capitalism until he hit on the concept of “using
economics as a force for good.”

“It is what so many people in the world are conflicted on,” he said. “How do we live our spiritual ideals and make money?”

Johnson tries to have it both ways with, which he describes
as MySpace for people who want to change the world. Johnson started
Zaadz, which means seed in Dutch, out of his Topanga (Los Angeles
County) home.

But the hybrid doesn’t sit well with everyone. "Some people call us tree-hugging, granola-eating hippies; others call us greedy capitalists," Johnson said.

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