ObservationLiz Cormack

Revolutionizing in a Reactionary Model

ObservationLiz Cormack
"Where I come from, people who are moving towards a Series B are not revolutionary, they're reactionary." - David Rushkoff, author of Future Shock

I've always loved Rushkoff, a media theorist and writer. Like Rushkoff, Cindy Gallop (ad exec come eccentric entrepreneur) is fascinated with completely reinventing business models. As she put it at Big Omaha in 2013, "your business model can be anything you want it to be," but we for some reason keep doing new world thinking within old world frameworks.

"You need to redesign the way that you do business. All companies, and interestingly, many tech ventures, are old-world-order places," she says. "Everything's changed, but the systems and processes haven't." We're using systems that were created when things were still linear.

It doesn't matter how inspired you are. "If you go back to that office and plug into those old world order systems and processes, you get the same old world order crap out the other end."

Her Big Omaha talk was pretty great. I wrote the above after watching it in 2013, but didn't know why it fascinated me -- as a recent college grad just starting out in the 'startup' world, I knew I wanted to blow up systems, but didn't understood much about the systems in place.

Kickstarter just became a B Corp. In the NY Times article about their decision, they're introduced as altruists, feel-good founders who decided to throw cash to the wind! Public benefit corps are relatively new, but accepted in a growing number of states (let's be honest, most importantly they're fair game in Delaware, where Kickstarter and basicallyallstartupsever are incorporated #ghoststate).

As Delaware Gov. Jack Markell said in 2013, "public benefit corporations will harness the power of private enterprise to create public benefit. [Such companies] consider profit to be the means -- not the exclusive end goal -- of their business." The concept that a corporation could possibly exist for public benefit shouldn't feel so new. But it does. 

At Grove we talk about 'creating value.' That could mean anything. But we are as of yet uncorrupted, and led by founders who are insane enough to think they might just change the world -- for the better. That gives value meaning way beyond the value of a dollar. We need cash to make shit happen, but in converting it to value we hope to impact the course of history, not the course of our individual lineages. 

When Gallop declares we need to change the way that we do business, that doesn't just mean money. But the way we think about value is a great place to start.

Graduated with a B.A. in Communication Design from Emerson College. Studied Product Design in Startup Insitute Boston's inaugural class. Marketing Manager at The Tap Lab, a mobile gaming startup focused on location & augmented reality. Founder of Colab Boston, an AIGA Design for Good partner. Raised overseas, uncomfortable with familiarity, lover of live music, skiing, Bourbon Ales, black coffee and weird food. Current favorite topics: The Internet of Things, serious games, data visualization and epic burgers.