FAST COMPANY: What is the business case for generosity?
AMARYLLIS FOX: We're coming out of an age of industry based on false scarcity, on zero-sum games: I only profit from the wealth you give up. And the beauty of the digital age is that just isn't true anymore. Now value breeds value: the more you create, the more you give away, the more you grow. Encyclopedias used to cost a month's paycheck, now Google offers the sum of human knowledge for free. What an exciting time to build a company, to be able to chart your growth based on the value you give way. That's what we're up to at Mulu, putting the digital age to work and empowering users and causes across the world.
What is the business case for generosity?
Amaryllis Fox is mulu’s founder and CEO. Fox came up in the nonprofit realm, deferring Oxford University to work in health clinics on the Thai-Burmese border. There, she watched even the most patient benefactors suffer from donor fatigue and was struck by the unsustainability of raising funds. She grew to believe that only when support for good work is the by-product of an otherwise valuable, addictive product is it truly sustainable.
Fox returned to Oxford to study law, earning her degree in 2002, then attended graduate school at Georgetown School of Foreign Service, focusing on international security and writing an algorithm adopted by the U.S. government for predicting instability in failed states. After her graduation in 2003, Fox worked in government service in the US and overseas for 6 years. Simultaneously, Fox managed several investment funds, concentrating on wind and other alternative energies and electric vehicles. In 2009, she left government service to focus on these projects full-time.
In 2010 – remaining intent on her interest in philanthropic endeavors – Fox refocused her business acumen on developing valuable, profit-making businesses with social responsibility hard-wired into their DNA and began building the foundation for mulu.