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March 22, 2007


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Dan Bassill

Wow. I really had to work hard to try to understand what those Stanford guys were talking about. Don't they teach plaine English there? Your comment is on the mark.

We do need heros who demonstrate leadership by their actions, not by the books they write, or the celebrity status they achive. It's not a question of liberal or conservative to me.

It's good deeds repeated overtime that make people heros.


Nicely stated.

Martin and Osberg's lullaby to elites, at best, clears the table for more neologistic bending.

We'll distribute Occam as a style guide ... lex parsimoniae.

P.S. Good work!


I was being a jerk, using my Diogenes persona as a poor excuse. But your comment, VSEF, is delightful - "neoligistic bending" is a great phrase.


Dan, a style guide, or prevailing style, is much more important than the particular essay. What purposes are served, and what purposes are not able to be served, within the business prose of SSIR? Could one write a piece about spiritual awakening, drawing on Blake, in that style? Could the writer draw on Ranciere, the French political theorist, or write a nice paragraph of satire? Even though Osberg and Martin's definition is all about justice, the style is unable to express either passionate ideals or indignation. The style and the goals of the piece seem at odds. If we want heros to uplift us and organize us to rectify economic injustice, can they do that in such abstract school-book prose? What if Martin Luther King (who, I guess, would be a social entrepreneur by the definition in the essay) wrote like that? Would he have had any effect? Oratory. What kinds of oratory are permissible in SSIR? And does the genre lend itself to change from the grassroots up, or does it implicitly assume that change, though instigated by Entrepreneurs, will be managed by MBAs? What kind of social change would that be?

Nick T

Here's our take on it too....


Thanks, Nick. Blogged your piece.

Kevin Jones

I had a similar take to all of yours, though i think i got out with my neologisms unbent, somehow. if there is value created by this approach it's for a small group of funders who can evaluate the impacts of their investments by a common criteria. whether that metric delivers any value to the social entrepreneur, or the mission being served, or is rather, a large transaction cost without additive value is a hard call. it is a piece that is myopic in that it does not realize that the impact of imposing abstract theories on a highly creative process may actually work against what they want to see in the world.

many people in power are blind to the difference between their intent and their impact.



I glanced through the article again, and noted it was written by authors associated with Skoll Foundation. It looks like the intent is to say, "Sure, the world is full of heroes; there are political leaders, spiritual leaders, great donors, but what about our boss, Mr. Skoll and his former partner, Mr. Omidyar, why are they not exalted as world-changing heroes for their methods and madness?" OK. My boss is great too. And the world would be a better place if he gave me a fat raise. Ah, me. There is no greater force for the good than self-seeking with a double bottom line. Yet, who serve the King best? His courtiers or his Fool?

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