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Power & Impact
29 minutes | Aug 28, 2019
Episode 3: How Susan MacTavish Best Is Changing the World One Dinner at a Time
Susan MacTavish Best, founder of Best Public Relations, Living MacTavish and Posthoc, joins Worth senior editor, special projects Benjamin Reeves on episode three of the Power & Impact podcast to discuss the tension between digital and analog interaction, the power of gatherings and how she finds meaning in her work. Scroll down to listen to the third episode of the Power & Impact podcast. Best grew up in unusual circumstances. She attended boarding school beginning at age 8, in Scotland, because she wanted to. She grew up with fountain pens and learned Latin. Then, as an adult, she moved to San Francisco during the early days of the dot-com boom. According to Best, she didn’t know how to use a computer at the time, but that didn’t stop her from returning to school with a plan to make computer games for girls. While Best didn’t find a future in video games, the tech industry did give her a start. She became one of the top PR people in San Francisco and represented companies ranging from Craigslist to Esurance. For many entrepreneurs, this sort of commercial success would have been enough. Yet Best saw that despite all of the wonders of the internet and digital communication, there was value in direct, person-to-person interaction. “No one is really going to do a business deal over 140 characters,” she now says. After suffering severe burns in a household accident, Best set out to realign her life and her business around direct human interaction. She launched Posthoc and now spends her time hosting a series of exclusive salons and dinner parties in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and abroad. And these gatherings are not your typical talks with passed appetizers. Best cooks an entire spread herself—no joke, it’s a feat to behold—and brings together a room of leading thinkers, innovators and creators to simply talk, socialize and listen. It’s not a radical idea, but it is a rare thing to see in practice. Through bringing people together over good food and drink, Best may be one of the most influential people alive today. Related Episode 2: How Alexandre Mars is Building a Global Culture of Philanthropy On the Power & Impact podcast, leading thinkers, investors and executives engage in deep conversations about power, money and the world we live in with Worth senior editor, special projects Benjamin Reeves. By exploring the personal stories and ideas of its guests, Power & Impact aims to uncover how power, money and influence work in the world and how those in positions of influence create change in society and their communities.
29 minutes | Jul 23, 2019
Episode 2: How Alexandre Mars is Building a Global Culture of Philanthropy
Alexandre Mars, a French tech entrepreneur, venture capitalist and founder of global nonprofit Epic, joins Worth senior editor, special projects Benjamin Reeves on episode two of the Power & Impact podcast to explore his life, what motivated him to go into business and how he’s trying to build a new culture of high-impact philanthropy around the world. Scroll down to listen to the second episode of the Power & Impact podcast. Mars is one of France’s most successful technology entrepreneurs. He’s launched a series of businesses, beginning with a concert promotion company in the early 1990s and proceeding through each of the major digital waves, from web design services, to online advertising, to mobile, to social media. He credits his early entrepreneurial drive in part to his parents’ divorce. Although he was always well cared for, by the time he was a teenager, he had taken it upon himself to become a safety net for his mother who raised him. “At 17, I wanted to protect my mom,” Alexandre says. “When you’re an entrepreneur, you have to find your mission. Sometimes the mission is hard to get or hard to define. My mission was clear…that I wanted to do whatever it takes to protect her.” This desire to “protect mom” eventually morphed into an all-consuming mission to spread a culture of philanthropy around the world, and Mars launched Epic in 2014, modeling the nonprofit on his venture capital firm blisce/. Whereas the VC firm performs deep analysis on potential investments, which have included Pinterest, Casper, Spotify and Bird, Epic does the same, but for nonprofits of all sizes. Mars and his staff spend their days traveling around the world and visiting thousands of nonprofits annually. The Epic team then creates reports on these nonprofits based on 45 data points, eventually recommending a small handful to the likes of the Gates Foundation for investment. Related Episode 1: Can Capitalism's Perverse Incentives be Fixed? Mars’ goal for Epic is to increase accountability in philanthropy and push that community toward a results-oriented way of thinking akin to what is seen in business. But beyond that, Mars hopes that by building trust in nonprofits and by making the act of giving itself easier, he can increase the rate and amount that people at all income levels give. “It’s important to provide them a tool, a platform where they will know the impact” of their money, Mars says. And Mars believes that measuring positive social impact for nonprofits and businesses and putting it at the core of their missions will be increasingly important in the coming years. “In the next few years, 50 percent of the market will be millennials,” Mars says, a group for whom the social impact of their work is incredibly important. The companies that successfully put social missions at their core and deliver on those commitments in tangible, measurable ways, will succeed, says Mars. “In Darwinian theory, the species, the people who are able to survive are the ones able to adapt themselves. Not the strongest ones. Take Nokia, for example. Ten years ago, they had 50 percent of the market share. Big. Strong. Lots of money. But Nokia didn’t evolve.” In other words, companies that fail to put purpose at their core now may likewise face extinction. On the Power & Impact podcast, leading thinkers, investors and executives engage in deep conversations about power, money and the world we live in with Worth senior editor, special projects Benjamin Reeves. By exploring the personal stories and ideas of its guests, Power & Impact aims to uncover how power, money and influence work in the world and how those in positions of influence create change in society and their communities.
29 minutes | Jun 11, 2019
Episode 1: Can Capitalism’s Perverse Incentives be Fixed?
Palo Alto Investors president and managing partner Joon Yun joins Worth senior editor, special projects Benjamin Reeves for a provocative discussion about the roots of capitalism on the first episode of the Power & Impact podcast. Scroll down to listen to first episode of the Power & Impact podcast. Perverse incentives exist throughout our economic system, and the tendency towards self-dealing may have its origins in evolutionary biology, according to Yun. But there may be ways to change capitalism for the better, and a new incentive prize could be key in unlocking them. By providing a series of prizes for innovations in incentives—basically finding new ways to reward work and productivity—Yun hopes that a better capitalism, more closely aligned to the needs of people and families, can be created. “In evolution you have a niche, you have diversity and competition, and so far evolution has done wonders in terms of biologic innovation,” Yun says. “So, incentive prizes are a way to model that, both how nature works and how free markets work to induce very specific innovations in areas of unmet need because of market failure.” Related Episode 2: How Alexandre Mars is Building a Global Culture of Philanthropy For more info on Joon Yun, visit drjoonyun.com. Follow Benjamin Reeves on Twitter @bpreeves and share your thoughts on the episode. On the Power & Impact podcast, leading thinkers, investors and executives engage in deep conversations about power, money and the world we live in with Worth senior editor, special projects, Benjamin Reeves. By exploring the personal stories and ideas of its guests, Power & Impact aims to uncover how power, money and influence work in the world and how those in positions of influence create change in society and their communities.
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