Monday, October 26, 2009

Creative Capitalism – Are You Buying It?

In 2008, Bill Gates coined the term “creative capitalism”, which he defined as combining the pursuit of profits with the desire to serve the needs of those less fortunate. A new catch-phrase, perhaps, but not a totally new concept. What is new is the visibility of corporate philanthropy, social responsibility and creative capitalism. There is an expectation that any business, regardless of size, will have some sort of social responsibility policy in place.

The companies with the most successful strategies (highest return-on-investment) are those that don’t just show up at the annual fundraiser with a giant check made out to a charitable organization. They are engaging consumers to literally buy-in to their cause. They are the true “creative capitalists”.

One of the best known examples is the (RED) campaign. Gap, Hallmark and Dell sell (RED)-branded products and donate a portion of their profits to fight AIDS. The (RED) brand recently expanded to include (RED) concerts. The campaign has raised hundreds of millions of dollars to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

My favorite “creative capitalist” is Blake Mycoskie, founder of Tom’s Shoes. (Although Blake refers to himself as a “conscious capitalist”.) He founded his shoe company in 2006 on the One for One model. For every pair of shoes he sells, he donates a pair to a needy child. Tom’s Shoes are not inexpensive, yet his product line and company continue to grow, even during difficult economic times. Check out this video and you will understand where Blake’s passion for his company and his cause come from.

We all learned in geometry that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. I think the reason that Blake has been such a success is that he has shortened the distance between the consumer and his cause. So the question is: are you more likely to support a business or buy a product if you know that the product or proceeds support a good cause? Will you pay more if there is a shorter line between you and that cause?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

29 Gifts

They say that any good deeds you do are always returned to you tenfold. Good karma or just good living? Believe it or are you skeptical? Ask Cami Walker her thoughts on this principle. Just a couple of years ago, Cami was in the throes of a debilitating illness. When a wise woman told her to stop focusing on her problems and start doing some simple good deeds for others, she was skeptical as well. Hear Cami’s story in her own words on this video.

You can also go to and see what others are saying about their giving experience or give it a try yourself. Who knows what gifts might come back to you?

Grinning from Here to Here is posted by Grin and Bare It - designer of products that support emotional and spiritual well-being.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Next Evolution: From Aha to Yee-ha

There was recently trademark litigation around the use of the Aha Moment; a phrase made famous by Oprah, but now co-opted by an insurance company. The phrase has become so much a part of our vernacular that is already listed on

Well, Oprah may have the trademark on the Aha Moment, but I’m trademarking the Yee-Ha Moment. Whereas the Aha Moment is the sudden understanding or recognition of a concept or idea, the Yee-Ha Moment is experiencing something of which you previously only had an intellectual or academic understanding. Think of it as the next evolution of the Aha Moment.

My first Aha Moment was in the fifth grade when my teacher had us grapple with the saying “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. I was so proud of myself when that light bulb went off. My first Yee-Ha Moment was falling in love. It’s that moment when you experience something that you’ve read about, seen in movies or witnessed in people around you. But then it happens to you – YEE-HA! It’s one of those times that people always tell you “you’ll know it when it happens to you”. Most recently for me, asthma attacks and hot flashes have fallen into this category. I was going to reserve my definition of a Yee-Ha Moment exclusively to experiences that are joyful; however, I've changed my mind. Both my asthma attacks and hot flashes, although not pleasant experiences, have definitely made me more understanding and compassionate toward people. And to that I say – “Yee-Ha”!

So Oprah, take notice – you can have the rights to the Aha Moment; but the Yee-Ha Moment is mine.

Grinning from Here to Here is posted by
Grin and Bare It - designer of products that support emotional and spiritual well-being.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Making a Difference Part 2 / Three-Seconds a Day

I mentioned that Make A Difference Day, a national day of community service, is coming up on October 24. I’m sure plenty of people will have reasons why they couldn’t possibly spend a day helping out in their community. After all, “time is money”. So I decided to provide some options for those time-challenged individuals.

If you have only 3 seconds a day to Make a Difference:
Click on Mammograms for women in need are funded by sponsors just for clicking on their site.

If you have 10 seconds a day to Make a Difference:
Click on the other 5 tabs at the same site:
· The Hunger Site provides food to those in need
· Child Health Site funds healthcare to children
· The Literacy Site gives free books to children
· The Rainforest Site provides habitat protection
· The Animal Rescue Site pays for food and shelter for rescued animals

If you do buy from any of the sponsors ads on the site, additional monies go to the cause. They make it really easy by sending you a daily email to remind you to take the 10 seconds a day to click on each of the links on the site. I am not exaggerating – it takes 10 seconds to click on the link in the daily email, then click on each one of the tabs mentioned above.

If you did this every day for one year, it would be equivalent to 7-1/2 days of volunteering. No vacation time used, no money spent. And you thought 10 seconds a day could never make a difference?

Grinning from Here to Here is posted by Grin and Bare It - designer of products that support emotional and spiritual well-being.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

An Alternative to the H1N1 Vaccine

Some people say that if you’re feeling down, reach out and help someone less fortunate. If you see someone who is worse off than you, you’ll feel better about your own circumstances. I can’t say that I agree or even understand that philosophy. Is happiness graded on a curve? When I see someone less fortunate than me, I just feel sad…period. I don’t feel better (or worse) about my own situation.

There are, however, scientifically proven health benefits to volunteering, giving back or reaching out to others. Some of these beneficial health factors include:

  • Possibly strengthening the immune-system.

  • A decrease in both the intensity and the awareness of physical pain.

  • Activation of the emotions that are vital to the maintaining good health.

  • The multiple benefits to the body's systems provided by stress relief.

  • Experiencing a "helper's high," a rush of euphoria, followed by a longer period of calm, after performing a kind act.

  • This initial rush from the "Helper's High" is followed by a longer-lasting period of improved emotional well-being.

  • Release of the body's natural painkillers, the endorphins as part of the "Helper's High."

October 24, 2009 is the 9th annual Make A Difference Day; the largest national day of community service ( If you’ve never been a volunteer or been particularly altruistic, perhaps this is the day to give it a try. If the science is correct, you may be able to skip that H1N1 vaccine!

Grinning from Here to Here is posted by Grin and Bare It - designer of products that support emotional and spiritual well-being.