CREATIVE. MARKETING. PROFESSIONAL.

From the Blog

Call it Conscious Capitalism, call it Social Entrepreneurship, but in this age of faceless multi-national corporations there is a movement to business that partners with communities rather than undermining them.

When New Mexico Tea Co. needed financial capital, they called on their extensive social capital:

Edwards owns New Mexico Tea Co. near Albuquerque’s Old Town. It sells a wide variety of bulk loose leaf teas. When his bank turned him down for a line of credit recently, he turned to the loyal customer base he has built over four years.

He sent an e-mail to the 3,800 people on his newsletter list in an effort to raise $5,000. Within about 48 hours, he had raised $10,000, made up of $4,500 in “microloans” and $5,500 in gift cards that can be redeemed starting in December for slightly more than their cost.

“You don’t really know how much the community cares about you until you ask for help,” Edwards said. “Most of them had never done anything like that. But most had never been asked.”

via Loyal customers infuse New Mexico Tea Co. with green – New Mexico Business Weekly.

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.

“Moving at the speed of business.” “Moving at the speed of light.” “Always on the move.”

Ours is a culture on the move. My life is always in motion. I can scarcely keep pace with my own mind, let alone the activities of each day.

When I stepped into Heathrow Airport I felt like a cow in a Masaai herd. Reentering “the west,” everyone is so serious, so busy, so hurried.

I tend towards an anxious personality. I have a variety of nervous habits. Despite the heartbreaking poverty, and times of culture shock, I’ve not been so relaxed since…well I don’t know when.

In Kenya I always knew I was the priority of whoever I was with. The relationship, the friendship, the moment is what matters. It was a powerful sense of presence.

It wasn’t always deep life-changing conversation. I watched a lot of Mexican soap operas (translated into English…Kenyans are obsessed…I know, weird right?).

I now reenter a world where expectations are different. Showing up late to meetings because I was “in the moment” won’t fly, and would be disrespectful in the US culture. How can I create a balance and retain the slower pace of life I loved in Kenya?

In a world moving so fast, how can I move at the speed of friendship?

Sep
23
Posted by brianrants at 1:14 pm

The clouds draw round us
And blanket the summer
With the first drops of fall

City-cleansing send us inward
To places where shadows hide
And leisure is found

Wisps from steaming cup
And the scent of musty books
Mother nature knows rest

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…)

Feb
03

This story is about someone you’ve heard of…

In a supermarket, Kurtis the stock boy, was busily working when a new voice
came over the loud speaker asking for a carry out at register 4.  Kurtis was
almost finished, and wanted to get some fresh air, and decided to answer the
call. As he approached the check-out stand a distant smile caught his eye, the
new check-out girl was beautiful. She was an older woman (maybe 26, and he
was only 22) and he fell in love.

Later that day, after his shift was over, he waited by the punch clock to find
out her name. She came into the break room, smiled  softly at him, took her card
and punched out, then left.  He looked at her card, BRENDA.  He walked out only to
see her start walking up the road.  Next day, he waited outside as she left the supermarket,
and offered her a ride home. He looked harmless enough, and she accepted. When he
dropped her off, he asked if maybe he could see her again, outside of work.  She simply
said it wasn’t possible.  He pressed and she explained she had two children and she couldn’t afford a
baby-sitter, so he offered to pay for the baby-sitter  Reluctantly she accepted
his offer for a date for the following Saturday.  That Saturday night he arrived
at her door only to have her tell him that she was unable to go with him. The
baby-sitter had called and canceled. To which Kurtis simply said, “Well,
let’s take the kids with us.”

She tried to explain that taking the children was not an option, but again not
taking no for an answer, he pressed.  Finally Brenda, brought him inside to meet
her children.  She had an older daughter who was just as cute as a bug, Kurtis
thought, then Brenda brought out her son, in a wheelchair.  He was born a
paraplegic with Down Syndrome.

Kurtis asked Brenda, “I still don’t understand why the kids can’t
come with us?”  Brenda was amazed. Most men would run away from a woman
with two kids, especially if one had disabilities – just like her first husband
and father of her children had done.  Kurtis was not ordinary – - – he had a
different mindset.

That evening Kurtis and Brenda loaded up the kids, went to dinner and the
movies. When her son needed anything Kurtis would take care of him.  When he
needed to use the restroom, he picked him up out of his wheelchair, took him and
brought him back.  The kids loved Kurtis.  At the end of the evening, Brenda
knew this was the man she was going to marry and spend the rest of her life
with.  A year later, they were married and Kurtis adopted both of her children.
Since then they have added two more kids.

So what happened to Kurtis the stock boy and Brenda the check-out girl?  Well,
Mr. & Mrs. Kurt Warner now live in Arizona , where he is currently employed
as the quarterback of the National Football League Arizona Cardinals and has his
Cardinals in the hunt for a possible appearance in the Super Bowl.  Is this a
surprise ending or could you have guessed that he was not an ordinary person.

It should be noted that he also quarterbacked the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.
He has also been the NLF’s Most Valuable Player twice and the Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player.

AND THE REST OF THE STORY:

Today at church our minister mentioned that when Kurt, his wife and 7 children go out to eat he
has one of his children pick out a family eating at the restaurant. Kurt then tells the wait staff he is
picking up the tab for that family’s dinner anonymously. He remembers the days he was working nights
in the grocery store and feeding his family on food stamps.

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…)

Dec
17
Posted by brianrants at 5:19 pm

While we were gone, our friend Betsy stayed in our house to keep the
puppies company. Micah, my good friend is her boyfriend, and is also a
renowned squirrel warrior. That is a good thing, as this pictures show.