Sorry for the long delay. Every friday night of intensive we have a public lecture. Our next one is Friday, November 4th. You can walk onto the Bainbridge Ferry and get a taxi to islandwood and come here the lecture. Nov 4 will be about the business case for sustainability. Check out the website: www.bgiedu.org
Our friday sepaker in October was Sheryl O’Loughlin, CEO of Clif Bar. She was fascinating, because Clif is an incredibly exciting company. Clif measures 5 bottom lines: the business, the brand, the employees, the community and the planet. They’re still working on metrics for all of them, but it has lead the company in amazing directions and I’m really psyched.
For me the most interesting part of her talk was when she referred to “natural demand”. Clif believes in serving natural demand – if customers want it and it’s good, they’ll buy it. You shouldn’t need to “create” demand with big expensive marketing campaigns. So they don’t. The spend less on marketing and they grow more slowly and they think it’s a good tradeoff. I wonder if that’s the kind of thing I’ll read about in Natural Capitalism. It makes sense – that’s the invisible hand at work right there – if it’s good and customers want it, they’ll buy it and word will get around. This concept that we can so blanket people with advertising that we can “create” demand is anti-capitalist. Capitalism is as much about the flow of information as it is about the flow of cash and this is a point I will return to. I think we will find that I actually am a super capitalist; the problem is our current markets aren’t actually competitive and poor flow of information is just one of many reasons why.