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From the Blog

I’m sure many people are familiar with the Chinese proverb, “women hold up half the sky.” But, after meeting some of the dynamic and accomplished women from the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) last week, I’m convinced that, in Africa, they probably hold up 60 or even 75 percent of the sky!

The best solutions solve many problems: empowering women apparently is good for business and national security too! Read this great article…

via Investing in Girls’ and Women’s Education: A Smart Strategy for Development in Africa | U.S. Department of State Blog.

Jul
26
Posted by brianrants at 12:41 pm

Child sponsorship has been a wildly successful in connecting donors with poor children around the world. Billions of dollars are funneled every year to international organizations through child sponsorship programs. Letters are written back-and-forth and funds are given faithfully every month. But, is it doing long-term good? Or could it actually be perpetuating the problems it claims to solve?

Read this gracious, insightful, balanced examination at: Should I Sponsor a Child? « smorgasblurb.

In our own society we struggle with “save for it” versus “borrow it.” This debate becomes much more precarious for the poor. Many Micro-Finance Institutions (MFI’s) are looking at adding and even integrating savings to their lending services.

It will take more than good intentions and a recognition that the poor want places to deposit the money they squirrel away to make microsavings work. Part of the problem with trying to mobilise deposits from poor people is simple economics. It is hard to make a profit from customers who make lots of tiny deposits without massively trimming transaction costs.

…Saving…is often “what didn’t happen”—the accumulation of decisions not to consume. Consumption, by contrast, is an active decision to buy something. One product he is testing in India involves collaborating with banking agents to sell “savings cards” in shops, so that saving becomes an active purchase and can compete with other impulse buys.

via Savings and the poor: A better mattress | The Economist.

If starting a business is like climbing a mountain, then starting a business intended to make the world a better place is like climbing a mountain with a 200 lb backpack in a blinding snowstorm.

…Competitors can take short cuts and cheap shots and not worry about collateral damage.  But not “social entrepreneurs” out to better the world – we have the usual startup challenges, then spend countless hours designing new business models to support social welfare and planetary health, worry constantly that our model isn’t perfect, and then often pile on costly alternatives to the exploitive, cheap solutions our competitors use.

Fortunately, few social entrepreneurs realize the madness of their journey when they start.  We forge ahead, confident we can better the world, blind to the pitfalls that lie in our path.

Read more from this amazing article at: Trailblazers for Good – Lessons from Care2. As a social entrepreneur it was profoundly encouraging to me.

Aug
01
Posted by brianrants at 4:15 pm

God’s extravagant grace was on display this week in New Mexico. Stunning beauty, expansive skies…and some excellent brews.

We felt so blessed to have a Whole Foods around the corner from our casita, and it happens to have the best small selection of brews I’ve ever seen. No fluff, just the good stuff. They had the great beers from CO like New Belgium, and some others I’ve never tried

- Monk’s Ale made a la European monks, but here in NM
- Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout from the UK, which is now my favorite oatmeal stout on terra firma. I can’t decide if it is my favorite stout, as Young’s Double Chocolate Stout is also incredible
- And from a friend’s fridge: Fat Weasel Ale, from Stienhaus Brewing in CA. Almost a sweet ale, slight hoppy finish

May
31
Posted by brianrants at 10:01 pm

I feel priveleged to live near such beauty. No I don’t mean Desi, I mean Red Rocks :)

The curves of these rocks, the color, the angles…just breathtaking. The iPhone camera did pretty good.

Look carefully at the last photo. Desi and I nearly had a heart attack after almost stepping on it. Something about that little shaker solo gets the adrenaline pumping.

May
09
Posted by brianrants at 11:57 am

Our world is desperately in need of imagination, for we have spent so much creativity devising ways of destroying our enemies that some folks don’t even think it’s possible (much less practical) to love them. We have placed such idolatrous faith in our ability to protect ourselves that we call it more courageous to die killing than to die loving. The faith we have in the market and in the imagination we employ to acquire wealth has so far surpassed our ingenuity to share that we cannot help but wonder if the contemporary gospel remains good news to the poor whose bellies scream out to God.

Page 286 Irresistible Revolution

Apr
15
Posted by brianrants at 8:49 pm

I don’t care if this is true, it’s that good. It comes via Facebook apparently.

ONLY A MAN WOULD ATTEMPT THIS

Last weekend I saw something at Larry’s Pistol & Pawn Shop that sparked my interest. The occasion was our 15th anniversary and I was looking for a little something extra for my wife Julie.. What I came across was a 100,000-volt, pocket/purse- sized tazer. The effects of the tazer were supposed to be short lived, with no long-term adverse affect on your assailant, allowing her adequate time to retreat to safety…..?? (more…)

In my web design business, we have a great client over in Edinburgh Scotland. Ed and I were talking this morning about the projects, and I threw in some of our normal schpeel about how we will be a good partner for them…help maintain profits on both sides…blah blah blah.

Our Scottish friend who is about the same age thought that was just hilarious, and talked about American sales-speak just “rolls off your tongue.” So in response, I created a conference to help the Scots learn from us smooth Americans.

In business, Scots are known for their medieval style communication. They communicate with grunts, and offer to barter meat and food in exchange for services provided.

eye9 Design is proud to present “SalesSpeak for Scots,” an exciting new way to learn the smooth American style of Sales. Contact us today, and we’ll throw in a free American flag and a hamburger.

scottish-sales-speak

In the next installment of things that tell me snowballs’ chances in hell are improving: Rush Limbaugh wrote a great article regarding the stimulus package about how to balance the Keynesian (spend to stimulate) and supply-side (cut taxes to stimulate) theories in a bi-partisan compromise.

There was no derogatory comments about minorities, no references to reverse discrimination, no mockery, and only mild narcissism. Anyone thinking…ghost writer? (more…)