A collection of thoughts, tips and ideas on redefining business and changing the world.
Unlike the Silicon Valley startups that are designed to scale quick and exit just as fast, there is a unique group of entrepreneurs who are disrupting capitalism in order to repair society. Co-Founded by Alex Bogusky, “the Steve Jobs of the Advertising world”, COMMON was built on a big vision and a powerful set of values.
I began volunteering at a soup kitchen. There I came into regular contact with people who were homeless. At first I was intimidated and uncomfortable, but in a few weeks I began got to know some of these folks had simply gotten a bad break somewhere along the way.
It’s time for social entrepreneurs to shift our thinking and evolve the design for how we operate and create value to insulate ourselves from volatility and vulnerability the same way farmers do: through collaboration.
There are many exciting things in the works at COMMON. One of them happens to be my transition from Co-CEO to sole CEO. In reflecting on the opportunity, I realized that in spite of being part of the brand from the beginning, I have mostly operated in the background, and out of sight from the majority of our community.
"I grew up on the periphery in many ways, and as a result I have always looked at existing systems with the outsider’s eye for change and critique."
Check out Lift Ecomony's interview with our CEO, Mark Eckhardt, where he talks about accelerating social businesses, being a Zen Priest, and "Redefining Capitalism With Something in COMMON".
"Like many of you, I was deeply saddened when our President pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement. While I wasn’t surprised, it still felt like a punch to the gut. His rationale was ill-informed and foolish." - ROB SCHUHAM, CO-FOUNDER, COMMON-
"I almost didn’t graduate from high school because of the resentment and anger that built up after I learned that misfiled and poorly interpreted behavioral assessment reports had misinformed my teachers since I was 8 years old." - MICHELE DEANE, FOUNDER, ELEVEIGHT
"When I look back on my investing history with a glass-half-empty mentality, it’s riddled with questionable bets and company failures. Some companies with the most noble intentions and missions — including the first organic skin care company, a ‘buy-one-give-one’ condom company, a sustainable couture brand and others — have wreaked havoc on my wallet." - ROB SCHUHAM, CO-FOUNDER, COMMON AND 17
"I’m one of the few Americans to have lived in the most dangerous place on earth. Seeing Somali children my age struggling with polio, starving and begging, dying of diseases preventable to those of us wealthy enough for vaccinations, was a profoundly transformative experience in my young life. - LORI PRECIOUS, FOUNDER, ETHIO SKY
"The more I learned about human/animal conflict, the more complicated I understood the issue to be. Simply put, greed and poverty create limitless supply and demand, and both root problems must be addressed if we are to truly end the poaching epidemic."- KERRY DAVID, FOUNDER, OVER & ABOVE AFRICA
South Africa is one of the world’s largest wine producers, yet most of the consumers in the Western world are completely unaware of its existence.
Whether you see it as the unhinging of society, or as a step towards the restoration of it, a new narrative is being written. One that will be edited and re-edited over and over again until enough of us are, if even just momentarily, satisfied and put down our pens.
We got really enamored with the idea of a complete and more equitable supply chain, and so we focused on delivering the resources of our business back to improving the lives of the laborers on South Africa’s wine farms.
In June of 2016 we launched our community and accelerator program on the belief that you shouldn’t have to give up equity or 3 months of your life in order to accelerate your business. Eight months in, we are more excited about the future of entrepreneurialism than ever before. And we are just getting started.
"I believe so strongly in understanding the perspectives of unhoused and impoverished people that I spent 24 hours begging on the streets of urban Honolulu, before sleeping in a gutter that night." - Corbin Thomander
"It was during my stay at a shelter that I began to visualize a program that would help give victims of domestic abuse better resources; transitioning them back into society as a powerful force." - Jeni Jones
"Through the course of my work, I began to clearly understand the underlying need within each individual regardless of background, experience, or moment in life, to gain perspective on their lives regularly." - João Perre Viana
I left formal Zen training years ago, but I’m still continuing the process of discovering and eliminating self-sabotage. As the CEO of COMMON, it’s my responsibility to help entrepreneurs accelerate- so tackling the mental blocks that can impede progress comes with the territory.
Watching my parents weigh the pros and cons of spending money on petrol versus food, or turning over the money I earned from doing neighborhood chores to contribute to the family income, me made realize just how threatening poverty can be.
For the past year I’ve had a front seat to Brandzooka’s rocket-like growth. It’s been nothing but incredible to witness, and I am honored that they are members of our community. As I write, Co-Founder and CEO Aquiles La Grave is sitting with inquiries about M&A’s from two publicly traded companies.
Mechanical surgery by a 12 year old never has a pretty outcome, but after a few hours, there I was — surrounded by a pile of wheels and parts and holding in my hand the grand prize of my efforts: a shiny piston attached to a connecting rod. To me, the investigation was complete. I had found the heart of the machine.
One of the most powerful questions we ask social entrepreneurs in our is, “How do you get work done?” It’s a simple question that sheds light on a key area that is too often patched together versus designed with focus and intention. More importantly, how you work determines your ability to compete effectively in the market.
Recently COMMON’s CEO, Mark Eckhardt had a chance to speak with designer Marc O’Brien about his experience working in small towns and rural areas throughout the US. Here’s what Marc had to share when asked about his travels, and what he learned by immersing himself in areas where resources are in scarce supply.
It was early evening after a tropically hot and moist day in Amsterdam. My family and I had just finished dinner. I grabbed a coffee, and opened my laptop to cut down on the post-holiday email avalanche.
At a time when the business world places speed, agility, and responsiveness at the heart of success, it’s not hard for any business, let alone one that is committed to doing good, to feel that they are already behind.
In the year since its initial publication, Peter Thiel’s Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future has come to be regarded as a modern classic in business manuals.