Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Looking for a New Business Model

thanks to Jeff Mowatt for the point..

Usually when printers or newspapers talk about a new business model, they mean "how do I keep making money doing what I'm doing, only better." Maybe that's not going to work as well going forward. Here's what Richard Branson said at Davos,

Worth the click @Victor Pinchuk Foundation:
"Business must achieve its goal - making profit. But at the same time it should increasingly focus on solving social problems. This idea Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Corporation, shared with the participants of the Second Davos Philanthropic Roundtable conducted by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation during Annual Meeting of World Economic Forum.

[for a full archive of information on the event - see project's page]

'Capitalism is the only economic system that really works', he underlined, saying that the downside of the capitalist system is accumulation of great wealth in hands of relatively small number of people. 'Not all of these people use their assets to create new jobs and new opportunities.' Branson stated.

This is precisely why social role of business, as said by Richard Branson, is so important in modern world. 'A modern company should focus not only on making money, but also on solving social problems and investing in protection of environment.' he said reminding the participants about his own initiative to establish an award for development of know-how to reduce emissions."


  1. I was just reflecting that about a year ago I'd read Prince Charles saying that we needed new models of engagement to combat poverty.

    So I wrote to his business leaders forum (IBLF) referring to the 'Marshall Plan' strategy paper we'd delivered. I didn't get an answer and on following it up was told that they didn't know who to pass it to.

    Later that year we published a manifesto for this new form of capitalism, just in front of the credit crunch.


    In November, our Queen Elizabeth asked why nobody saw the crisis coming. Oh well, I did try.

    Anyway, it was interesting to note the mention of 'Marshall Plans' in the next few months as the US presidential race developed. One of the candidates understood microeconomic development and enlightened self-interest more than most and he's been doing a pretty good job in recent times.


  2. Jeff,
    Thank you for visiting.

    What I think I'm seeing is the "when nothing else works, try something new.' The description of not knowing who to pass it to sounds so typical of people who are too busy being busy to think. I've seen the exact same thing play out for years in the selling print business.

    The idea that "no one saw it coming" is actually, "no one I listen to consistently saw it coming". Every Black Swan is seen by someone, usually by many people who can't get their signal through the noise.

    For whatever it's worth, I hope you keep on keeping on. Getting a signal through is all about filtering out the noise.

    Meanwhile, I think it is very hard to over estimate the effect our new President is going to have. Not just because of his personal history and skill. But more as another example of "American luck." The right person with the right skills and attitude at just the right time.

    It served us well in 1776 and 1941. Who knows maybe God did really bless America? If good luck comes from God, who am I to say it doesn't make sense.

    At any rate, I'm hoping that especially printers and newspapers will look again at the work you've done.