miércoles, 31 de enero de 2007

Chapter three: A Global Associative Revolution

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”.

Margaret Mead, anthropologist

“Be irritating. If you ever think you’re too small to be effective, you’ve never been in bed with a mosquito.”

Anita Roddick, creator, The Body Shop

A Global Associative Revolution

“This is the most radical structural change I’ve ever seen. Once millions of people enjoy the freedom to generate a change every time they see a problem, who is going to stop them? If a person is frustrated, there will be hundreds of others looking at that problem in that community and looking for a solution. One of them is going to find it,” affirms Bill Drayton, founder of Ashoka, an organization identifying and supporting men and women who develop new ideas aimed at social change. And he knows what he’s talking about.

With a growth rate that’s between 2 and 3 times faster than that of the corporate sector and the rise of thousands of citizen organizations, a real boom has taken place within the last twenty-five years: that of the social sector. And, in every case without exception, the phenomenon is linked to a new reality: the sustained growth of the organized private initiative of citizens working to find answers for the most urgent social issues.

Signs: The boom of the “dot-orgs”

You may remember that, some time ago, talk of the dot-com boom was everywhere; but the interesting question is, did anyone notice the boom of the dot-orgs?

  1. In Brazil, the number of citizen organizations jumped from 5,000 in the early 80s to more than a million in 2005.
  2. In Bangladesh, the greatest part of the country’s development is a direct consequence of the work carried out by 20,000 NGOs, most of them created within the last 25 years.
  3. In Canada, the number of registered citizen groupings has increased over 50% since 1987, reaching a figure of around 200,000.
  4. India boasts more than a million civil organizations.
  5. In the United States, the number of citizen groups went from 64,000 in 1990 to 1,1 million twelve years later. It is no less striking, given the long history of citizen and civil movements in that country, to find that 70% of registered groups were created in the last 30 years.
  6. Between 1988 and 1995, in the former communist countries of Central Europe there appeared 100,000 civil society organizations.

martes, 30 de enero de 2007

Chapter two: Sustainability, New media and social revolution tangle together.

A Brief Timeline

Man gets to the Moon and the feat is transmitted worldwide via the television. Shortly before, May 1968 in France had defined the ideas of a whole generation. After the publication of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring, the first ecologic organizations, such as Greenpeace, are born, together with the first environmentally-aware brands: Patagonia and Natura.
Some time later, Anita Roddick creates The Body Shop, a pioneer in responsible marketing. With the birth of Ashoka, in 1980, the transformation of the social sector begins. That same year there appears CNN, a 24-hour news channel. And, a year later, MTV and a new visual language. IBM launches the first PC to the market.
The accident of the oil tanker Exxon Valdez has the effect of allowing the ecologic movement to be taken seriously. Marketing begins to massively adopt “green” messages. Activist Chico Mendes is murdered in the Amazonas. The Berlin Wall falls and democratic systems gain footing in Latin American countries, allowing for the creation of citizen groups. The AIDS epidemic also encourages global cooperation in order to fight it.
During the ‘90s, companies such as Shell and Nike face problems for their way of producing, and must render accounts to society with regard to their behavior. Anti-globalization activists get the world’s attention in Seattle. Internet is growing fast and advertising companies begin to investigate online advertising.
The new century begins with the bursting of the dot-com bubble. But, shortly after, the “long tail” paradigm arises. Google makes it possible for small sites to be as important as the big ones. It reaches the whole of the Web, not just the center or the head, but also the ends. Blogs and free software, open to collective participation, are born.
During the terrorist attacks on the London subway, pictures taken with cell phones and promptly uploaded to Flickr, a software for sharing images on the Internet, surpass traditional media coverage both in speed and quality. It is the birth of citizen journalism. Towards the end of the period, Google buys YouTube for 1650 million dollars. Less than a year after its creation, the site created for everyone to upload homemade videos to the Web receives 100 million visits a day. WalMart, the world’s largest supermarket chain, announces its commitment to sustainability.
And the world keeps changing.

domingo, 28 de enero de 2007

Advantages of adopting sustainable practices.

"Because I think that the most important thing to happen this past year was that living and thinking ''green'' -- that is, mobilizing for the environmental/energy challenge we now face -- hit Main Street.
We reached a tipping point this year -- where living, acting, designing, investing and manufacturing green came to be understood by a critical mass of citizens, entrepreneurs and officials as the most patriotic, capitalistic, geopolitical, healthy and competitive thing they could do."

As Thomas Friedman defines in his December 2006 article in the The New York Times, a new set of new behavioral changes are coming.
As in Surf, those who anticipate and prepare for these changes will benefit. Surf is about anticipating changes in the sea, it requires patience and focus on the horizon. Waves come in sets. The best surfers are those who anticipate the wave sets, they row towards the income sea masses in order to position themselves at thebreak pointanddropfor a great ride. Those who don't, either experience a “wipe out”, or are driven to the shore by the braking waves.
Likewise, with the upcoming changes that a new sustainable conscientious consumer will impose, many farsighted companies are looking to adjust their practices to adapt to these behavioral changes.

Some will be in the right spot when changes occur, some won't………


Followers: The next one.


Fotos: Carlos Zúńiga www.surfotos.cl

sábado, 27 de enero de 2007

Chapter one. Welcome the most paradigmatic changes in the history of humanity

Rodrigo Baggio is a Brazilian social entrepreneur who has brought informatics schools to the favelas (slums or poor neighborhoods in Brazil) and has already introduced 500,000 people to the digital world through Internet.

American Apparel, a United States company, has achieved a 900% increase in sales in only four years by manufacturing cotton garments without logos, using organic products and paying the highest salaries in the garment industry, which is one of the most competitive.

Iqbal Quadir implemented the Grameen Phone program in Bangladesh, which granted access to cell phones to 8,5 million peasants earning less than a dollar a day. These, in turn, sold the public phone service to their neighbors, and have thus multiplied communication in rural areas over a 100%.

Natura, a Brazilian cosmetics company, has experienced a 32% growth in two years (as opposed to its competitors’ 20%) by centering its strategy in environmental care. Its brand value amounts to 113% of its annual sales, a figure to which giant L’Oréal’s mere 33% barely compares.

The above are just four stories – of individuals whose ideas changed the lives of many others, and of companies that found their competitive advantage in respect for the environment, employees, and consumers, and were rewarded by rocketing proceeds. But there are hundreds of other stories.

Two years ago, we started working with advertising agencies, media, companies, foundations, NGOs, and social entrepreneurs, in an attempt to better understand the tendencies that are transforming the world we live in and the changes they are making in corporate behavior, in governments, and in our lives.

We traveled to Mexico, Brazil, Chile, the USA and Europe to interview the CEOs of a number of companies, several of which are in the communications business, and we set up an Advisory Board consisting of scholars and businesspeople.

We thus detected three currents that converge in the same historical moment and have the potential for generating one of the most paradigmatic changes in the history of humanity:

- The revolution of the social sector: the rise of millions of people, organized in foundations, NGOs, and other associations, that are working and searching for answers for the urgent problems of our societies.

- An arising sustainable development conscience: a new consciousness vis-à-vis the planet, companies and governments, and our way of consuming, producing and living, which is optimistic about the possibilities the former involve, but has and will have a significant impact on corporate action and communications as we know them.

- The participatory media: where audiences no longer wait passively to receive information, but interacts, creates networks and communicates. Internet is today their platform par excellence.

We perceive a type of person that is beginning to see these tendencies, people who aspire to be global citizens and realize that these currents can take them towards the goal they are striving for. People who act responsibly, without ceasing to be “ordinary citizens” – who cooperate in social issues without being activists.

People who actually expect companies to stop “selling” to them and start dialoging – who want companies to be where they are, and to speak their own language, that of the participatory media. People searching for relevant contents to construct a personal history, to be informed, to learn and participate.

We know what these people want. We have the tools and speak the same language. We can communicate. We are no longer “Out There”.
We are here.

viernes, 26 de enero de 2007

Lesson3: Do what you love, but be damned sure it’s profitable

Lesson 3: Do what you love, but be damned sure it’s profitable. If you do work you love, but it doesn’t generate income, your business will fail. If you do work you hate, but it generates income, your health will fail… and your business along with it. If you can’t do what you love and make it profitable, you’ve either got a hobby or a headache, not a sustainable business. Don’t settle for anything less than passion and profit.
By Steven Pavlina

jueves, 25 de enero de 2007

Lesson 2: Think for yourself.

Unplug yourself from follow-the-follower groupthink, and virtually ignore what everyone else in your industry is saying (except the ones everyone agrees is crazy). Do your own research, draw your own conclusions, set your own course, and stick to your guns. When you’re just starting out, people will tell you you’re wrong. After you’ve blown past them, they’ll tell you you’re crazy. A few years after that, they’ll (privately) ask you to mentor them.
By Steven Pavlina

miércoles, 24 de enero de 2007

Sustainable Development Communication: Why is it so difficult?

Its a New Paradigm.

People need to see the world from a different perspective.

Until glass was invented people could not see under water.

Glass made things easier, it changed.. or rather it created a new perspective.

So will New Media. It is a matter of time..

Best Q&A in the world

Q: How does the site plan to maximize revenue?

The CEO answered as follows:

A: “That definitely is not part of the equation. It’s not part of the goal.”

Q: How did the site arrive at $10 for real estate listings, Schachter asked.

A: “Ten dollars sounded like a nice round number,” Buckmaster answered, totally deadpan, as the crowd laughed.

Q: Is the company considering hooking up with Google for AdSense ads?

A: “We’ve had the numbers crunched for us,” “The numbers are quite staggering.”
"But, no, the site wasn’t interested. since users have been requesting that we take out the ads, so for us, that’s the end of the story,” he said to the befuddlement of the crowd. “If users start calling out for text ads, we’ll listen.”

In what turned out to be a culture clash of near-epic proportions, Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster spoke to the investment community this morning at the UBS global media conference in New York.

Via Mediapost

martes, 23 de enero de 2007

Best Advice Best video

lunes, 22 de enero de 2007

Lesson 1: Chris Anderson

I'd love to explore the lesson that television can learn from the music industry, which is now being forced to adopt a range of revenue models (from subscription to advertising) to compensate for the decline of the old pay-for-product business.

via Chris Anderson.. The Long Tail Blog

sábado, 20 de enero de 2007

Not a Lesson, a principle

Stop waiting…..

Until your car or home is paid off
Until you get a new car or home
Until your kids leave the house
Until you go back to school
Until you finish school
Until you clean the house
Until you organize the garage
Until you clean off your desk
Until you lose 10 lbs.
Until you gain 10 lbs.
Until you get married
Until you get a divorce
Until you have kids
Until the kids go to school
Until you retire
Until summer
Until spring
Until winter
Until fall
Until you die…

There is no better time than right now

Via brian of zaadz

viernes, 19 de enero de 2007

jueves, 18 de enero de 2007


Translation: "My kingdom for a pair of pants"

The following items are prohibited here

miércoles, 17 de enero de 2007

Pretty Close...

Translation: "This is how the banks will be in the 90's", Published in Ambito Financiero a couple of decades ago.

lunes, 15 de enero de 2007

FIFA World Cup, Germany 2006

lunes, 1 de enero de 2007

Running across the Atacama Dessert

Marketed online by an organization with an ambitious name,Racing the Planet , it seemed an impossible quest: “From earth to Mars” “An ultra marathon of 250 Km across the desert of Atacama. Seven marathons in seven days, self supported you will attempt to cross the Atacama dessert, the Valley of the Moon and the Valley of death, considered the driest places in the Planet.” They had definitively caught my attention, I had participated in the Eco Challenge New Zealand two years earlier, and the thought of desert seamed like a perfect balance to the Aussie mountains. “You will receive only a daily ration of water, NASA scientists, while testing equipment for their missions in Mars, were unable to register any signs of life along certain locations of the course… It went on….never have rained in the history of mankind.
...extreme temperatures……participants will suffocate during the day and freeze at night.”

Although it seemed irrational to even consider it, a week later, together with Carlos Lamarca and Fernando Mayorga, my inseparable adventure companions, we were registered as the only argentine participants. The name of our team: Espiritu Argentino.
On the freezing morning of July 4th 2004 , 66 competitors, representing 21 nations gathered near the town of Machuca at 4100 mts over sea level.
There, under the direction of a Yatiri, a chaman of Incaic rituals, accompanied by the music of half a dozen local atacamenian performers, led us to worship the Pachamama, name the locals give to mother earth. After the blessing, intended for a safe trip, we obtained from the Inca leader some coca leafs to chew during the first stages of the race. The coca leaf is used by the Puna people to reduce mountain sickness, fatigue and hunger.
That first day we ran a complete marathon, the running was tough, not so much for the distance, but mainly due to the altitude.

Carlos, Paco and self before the race

At 4100 mts there is 40% less oxygen that at sea level. We had arrived to Atacama only 36 hours before the race and had not had the sufficient time to acclimatize. We were paying the consequences. Every effort was extenuating. With nausea, headache and corporal fatigue we covered the first 42kms over an Inca trail, a rocky footpath that dated over one thousand years old. While our lungs got accustomed to the thin air and our feet adapted to the rocky mountain terrain we ran the distance that separates Machuca from the settlement of San Bartolo.
At sunset we arrived at a camp set on the margins of the Rio Grande River, a small watercourse that guides the melting snow of the high Andes down to its inevitable evaporation on dessert plains below.
We were greeted by our tent companions Kevin and Paul, two ultra marathon runners from Taiwan and Singapore. They handed us our water rations and guided us to some fires where we could cook our food.
Our rations were simple caloric and lightweight: dehydrated pasta, jerky, cereals, candies and dry fruits. Our carefully selected food rations proportioned exactly 2000 calories per day. Mindful of the weight of our equipment, this was considered the minimum intake to keep us going for a week under extreme conditions. Our daily caloric consuption surpassed 8,000 calories.
That night as enjoyed a cup of tea with Fernando around the fire, surrounded by several experienced dessert racers that had completed similar events in the Sahara and Gobi, we discussed our strategy for our next stage. Carlos, affected by mountain sickness had cocooned in his sleeping bag for the night.
The second stage was even longer, 47 km, mostly to be covered inside the canyon waters of the river, which due to erosion, were enclosed by overhanging cliffs.

The constant immersion in the gelid waters, sometimes up to our waist, not only slowed our pace but caused what we feared the most: the appearance of the first blisters on our feet.
That night after eight hours of hiking, we arrived to the campsite, this time set on the northern border of the Salar de Atacama.
While we prepared some macaroni and cheese powder for dinner we noted that the dessert temperatures at night were lower than those we had experienced in the mountains the night before. Our water bottles froze as our navigation watches recorded minus six degrees centigrade.
Next morning we traveled 34 km south, drawing an imaginary line that divided the desert from the shadows of the great Licancabur Volcano (5916 mts) arriving at our third campsite near a defying village called Toconao, a dry oasis that overlooks the huge salt plain. Exhausted and dehydrated we collapsed in our bags and attempted to maintain a strategy discussion for the next stage of the race, the 42 km of one of the most desolate and dry places in the world: the first leg of the Salar Desert of Atacama. The strategy we defined was as simple as one foot ahead of the other.
I think it was at noon of that fourth day when I entered the doors of the inferno.
The temperature of the dessert reached 37 decrees centigrade, and as we ran out of water, we became dehydrate. Boyd Matson and amusing American that trailed alongside us began urinating blood due to the lack of liquid.
The horizon was beautiful but hostile, identical and barren for miles in every direction. The fact that we would be probably the first humans to cross it on feet didn’t feel very encouraging.
We realized that if nobody had attempted it before, it was probably for the exact same reasons that we were experimenting in our own flesh.

On occasions our feet would break throw the thin salt crust and sink into the damp subterranean broth. Not the best medication for our bleeding blistered feet. It took all our energy to make the camp that night. Trapped in the dark gelid night of the Salar, several competitors had to be rescued by the organization. But the horses, the only means of rescued, sank due to their weight, and could only move on once the subterranean waters froze late into the night.

Over and over I have been asked to explain reasons that compel me to go through these expeditions. I have been asked to describe the fountainhead to the strength needed to complete such demanding contests. That night in my sleeping bag I pondered the same questions.
The answer came to me the next day during the toughest stage of the event: 80 km non-stop through the remaining salar dessert and into the Valley of Death.
My feet had blisters over blisters and no matter how I taped them, the dust, the sweat, and the irregularity of the terrain produced additional wounds over the existing ones.
My back, sore by the weight and friction of the backpack, was as blistered as my feet. My muscles suffered extreme fatigue product of the enormous effort and the inadequate calorie intake.

As we hiked, I struggled to abstract myself from my body pain. To do this I tried to fill my mind with diverse thoughts and memories.
Once I could identify and concentrated on a precise thought, I examined it from different angles in order to make it last as long as possible. In doing so, I avoided the connection between my conscience and the agony my body was experiencing.
I imagined I carried an jar full of all my memories, thoughts and dreams and whenever I wandered back to reality, which set off the pain, I extracted from this imaginary jar a new thought, and with significant concentration I was back to forget the pain in my feet. This work well for two days, but as the hours went by, the vase of thoughts began to drain and finally, when we were about to complete the 40 Km on the fifth day it was as empty as the location I was in.

Startled, I realized that my mind was unable to concentrate on any further thought or recollection.
I had drained my mind of thoughts in a way so profound that the interior of the jar was polished clean. I had revised and analyzed the total of my affective, family and work related relationships, all of my dreams and projects. I was experiencing a total absence of thoughts.
I was then confronted with the evidence that I would have to deal with my corporal agony, the dessert heat, dehydration and freezing nights, and as despair overwhelmed me, something extraordinary occurred.
My mind seemed to detached itself from my body, as it became one with it, I achieved a state of absolute concentration, a level of mental clarity I had never experienced before and my sufferings disappeared. I have since read that yogis achieve this state after decades of practice. The dessert had trapped me.
I was trailsetting through a place that nobody had walked before, and probably nobody would ever will. I had been trapped by the vastness of nothing. With no physical pain my only worries turned to food, of which we had sufficient macarrony powder.
Given the great distance to be covered, that night we did not make to the assigned camp and we had to sleep high on the Cordillera of Salt, a group of white mountains west of the salty dessert. The temperature that night was extreme, what was left in our bottle waters froze once more, but amazingly my smile could be measured alongside the vastness of the Milky sky, such was my peace. I had connected my body with my soul. I had accepted my body sufferings as a natural circumstance. They were there to be enjoyed.
It was a profound and intimate sensation that I did not at that time comment with my friends, since I came to believe they had gone through similar experience given that in the subsequent days the three of us only laughed and joked.
As I looked upon the jar once again, I discovered that it was not empty, but full of new, pure and constructive projects. I had deposited in it my dreams, inspiration and love.
On the seventh day we ran distance in record time, and as we hugged at the finish line we committed to repeat this experience in the Sahara desert.