The pink-stucco and red-tile building, once home to a Red Lobster, blends easily into the urban sprawl of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. A truck dealership is on one side, a nail salon across the street. But there's something different going on here at California Fresh Buffet.
When companies offer us, of all people, something for nothing, we wonder: What's the catch -- or, for that matter, the business plan? So we asked actual experts -- Ben McConnell, author of Creating Customer Evangelists (Dearborn, 2002) and Jennifer Rice of Mantra Brand Consulting -- to assess a few high-profile giveaways. How do we know they're working?
Driving my 4-year-old daughter home from school one day, it crystallized: Innovating for her generation will have to be faster, more personalized, more hyperconnected, more integrated, and more diverse. She couldn't understand why she couldn't make the radio replay a song at will. "Where's the remote, mama? Skip the commercials." I lament that she and her classmates won't know the freedom of wandering home from school on their own, discovering all those things you only discover when adults aren't around.
Let us say that you are a senior executive -- now, or hopefully in the future. You may be wary of participating in many of the online networks. Why? Online networks are typically much more accessible than face-to-face networks -- you don't have to fly all the way to Aspen to meet people at the ski lodge there. As a result, they tend to attract a lot of the "have-nots." With no disrespect, the "have-nots" are the job-seekers, the recent college graduates, the pre-revenue startups seeking funding, and all the other people who are trying to get something, but have a small power base.
Congratulations to 2005 Social Capitalist Award winner First Book for winning one of four $100,000 grand prize grants from the Yale School of Management and Goldman Sachs Foundation Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures' Third National Business Plan Competition for Nonprofit Organizations. Keep up the good work!
This morning, I learned about a new blog supported by the World Resources Institute, a group of "scientists, economists, policy experts, business analysts, statistical analysts, mapmakers, and communicators working to protect the Earth and improve people's lives." That project, NextBillion is a highly interactive blog that seeks to foster development through enterprise.