Heat map of the regions participating in the FB group just prior to the start of the lecture series at Stanford yesterday. What other proof do we need that a global entrepreneurial mindset is in motion?
Tomorrow will be Day 1 of my first Startup Course at Stanford. Will I get credit for this? I wish. But I’ll get something better with my free online video course, an education in how the elite startup bootcamp is training their protégés and future investees from the President of Y-Combinator and a conversation with literally thousands of entrepreneurs set on changing the course of their lives and the world.
The course syllabus for CS183B is a veritable who’s who of the Silicon Valley startup world with the first class including Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Facebook as a guest lecturer. Perhaps that’s why Sam Altman, the 29 year old Professor elect, chose Facebook Groups as the place to convene conversation around this talk of the town course.
When I joined the Group last night there were over 15,000 members with a comment thread including 300 introductions crossing at least 42 countries (I stopped counting). And tons more sub-groups were developing as participants voluntarily broke into more geographical groups to figure out gathering points and discussion groups. There’s even a google spreadsheet listing the (to date) 425 global universities and 100 other group viewing locations for the online course.
Am I really ‘taking’ the course? No. But I am looking for answers to how the “experts” frame questions around challenging systems status quo, how innovative ideas are shaped and how B certification and other social benefit opportunities are addressed.
Regardless of those answers, it’s all pretty exciting and shows even more promise for the future of entrepreneurship. Kudos to Stanford for offering up this unique partnership and especially at a time when the world needs energy and ideas. As Michael Dell said at the final day of the Mashable Social Good Summit in NYC yesterday, “Entrepreneurs are the engines of the economies around the world. We need to create a culture that embraces entrepreneurs.”
p.s. for anyone interested in the pre-reads for tomorrow, they are here: Good and Bad Reasons to Become an Entrepreneur and Advice for Ambitious 19 year olds.
Kiva has launched a remarkable employee giving strategy that enterprise companies like Google, HP and Deutsche Bank have taken advantage of, and with strong executive leadership, these companies have delivered significant results.
CSR programs work towards lifting morale by demonstrating support for communities in need. Traditionally, these employee activities have included out-of-office hands-on volunteer activities on personal or professional time working directly with a charity’s beneficiaries. Kiva’s Team crowdfunding platform has created a low-risk opportunity for companies to engage employees in the act of lending. Recipients are not charity cases and the employees need not leave the office.
Not only are the results measurable and the funding recyclable, but the experiential influence of the lending process has an end-to-end productivity spectrum that leaves the employee feeling satisfied and wanting more.
Premal Shah, President of KIVA led a panel at SOCAP last week that gave us more details. Ranging from $25-$75, each of these companies created a program whereby their employees could lend the maximum value. Participation has been anywhere from 43-60% with HP clocking in at 120,000 employee participants to date. Google even created an online visual map that shows in real time, where the loan originated and the country it went to.
Here is a CSR program with unique and real potential to unlock awareness for the value of socially beneficial business platforms.
The founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman took the entire concept a step further by issuing a challenge in 2012 by providing $1M outside of his organization. Kiva was instructed to distribute certificates delivered through social media to introduce new would-be investors to the concept. Over the course of 14 months, not only was $994,000 returned to Reid but in incremental $1.2M got invested by newly indoctrinated investors and entrepreneurs received loans at 10x’s the normal rate.
Like all CSR efforts, the question is what comes next. Crowdfunding is changing financial markets and millennials are seeking to be a part of the solution. Google invested in Oakland’s Impact HUB where Kiva Zip recipients can operate and Googlers can invest their time to assist in capacity building consultation. CSR is a valuable company perk but where can these well-meaning efforts drive real market change?
Photo credit: Sharyn Morrow