Thursday, 6 May 2010

What is the purpose of Business in the 21C?

Having just come across a video from respected internet entrepreneur, John Reese, I found myself asking questions about the purpose of BUSINESS

If you have 15 minutes or so, please take a look at the video at OutsourceForce - $2/hour Power Formula (and no, it's not an affiliate link!)

If you do not have the time to watch it, as the name suggests, it deals with outsourcing as much as possible of your business in a global economy so that you have "little cheques going out but big cheques coming in".

John's analysis is entertaining (it's worth watching for his comparison of the Siegfried & Roy business model with that of Blue Man Group!) and informative.

John's formula emphasizes methods which have underpinned a system of global economic wealth rather than global economic health.

In the 21st century, I feel that business should be about finding ways to make the world fairer, more sustainable, more ethical, more socially responsible in a GLOBAL economy.  And as much as my mind cannot find fault with John's analysis, my heart has a problem with it.

With the current global economic situation being as precarious as it is, does the energy and innovation of business leaders, entrepreneurs and gurus need to be guided in new directions?  With the knowledge, hindsight and resources now available to look at problems and their solutions globally rather than unilaterally, I wonder whether there is the will to work towards a paradigm shift in attitudes...
* see Huffington Post review of The Zeitgeist Movement: Envisioning A Sustainable Future
* see Stephen Fry's post and comments about the UK 2010 election
* listen to Gary Hamel "ReManaging Management" on BBC World Service Global Business
-- "shareholders do not create wealth, employees create wealth"
-- "Apple has reinvented 4 different industries - music, retailing, computing & mobile phones.  Larry Ellison of Oracle said of Apple 'they seem to have the mind of engineers and the heart of artists'"

Leave your thoughts below whilst I'm gathering mine!


  1. Some discussion on this question is on LinkedIn at or below if you don't have a LinkedIn account:
    I agree with you, business now should be more socially responsible.
    Shouldn't always be about the pounds, shillings and pence, although they are undoutedly important, it should be about what we can give to each other, to our neighbours, communities etc, took me a while to realise it, but it's far more satisfying! you get a real sense of achievment, not to mention less stress.

    The world is indeed a changing place, I belive it's change or die.
    Hi Kevin, William,
    Business has, since the first items were bartered, about gaining an advantage either personally or for the group to which one is intimately affiliated. This hasn't changed for thousands of years so why would the 21st C., be any different?

    My favourite expression is "The world is unfair, especially in business, our task is not to make it fairer but merely to make it unfair in our favour.

    Being more socially responsible is not in conflict with the above statement if being so gives you a commercial advantage over your competitors. The methods, strategy and tactics may vary slightly but the purpose will always remain the same whilst we remain subject to basic human nature.

    Best regards,

  2. And here's my response to William & Ray:

    Thanks for you responses, folks.

    What is human nature, Ray? Is human nature the work done by non-profit organisation workers, public sector nurses, policemen on near minimum wage? Or is it extreme profiteering in the money markets done by spotty 19 year olds pressing a computer key to earn obscene squillions?

    For me, there is no such thing as human nature. We are however able to make choices. One can choose business to be competitive or co-operative as well as choosing whether or not to "promote a false consciousness which is immune against its falsehood".

    I for one still hope that social media allows more Howard Beales to shout at us from the 1976 film Network!

  3. And here's another response on LinkedIn:

    Dear Kevin,

    I agree on your opinion about a radical change. Internet is helping us to change the world. Companies like Apple on the other hand is closing down opportinities for innovation, they are creating a monopoly to make overwhelming profit.
    I think that the population worldwide have to be aware of this corrupt system which helps only a few at the top of the piramid. Its naive to believe that this monatarysystem can be improved. Greed is all among us and its been exploited on a scale never seen before.