Francisco Noguera

“Less Beer; More Books” and A Few Other Ideas for the Weekend

Here are some interesting pieces that crossed my desk and caught my eye this week. Pick some up, put them in your bag and add them to your weekend leisure reading list.

  • Less Beer, More Books: I stumbled upon a great video column by Nicholas Kristof on the New York Times yesterday. I was surprised to see data stating that, in some regions, the poor spend ten times as much in alcohol and cigarettes than they do in their children’s education. Mr. Kristof wonderes what can be done about this and offers a nuanced view, pointing to cultural challenges of breaking these habits and to market-based approaches to addressing them, like innovative financial services and savings mechanisms.
  • A Social Private Equity Fund: Bill, Melinda and Warren challenged America’s billionaires to pledge 50% of their wealth to charities, like they did to ramp up the efforts of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Fortune offered interesting anecdotes behind Giving Pledge, which is how this initiative has been named, after which Nathaniel Whittemore suggested that the money be used for the creation of a social Private Equity Fund. Nathaniel offers solid arguments that are very well aligned with the need of a real capital curve for social enterprise. For an excellent backgrounder on this topic, make sure you pack Bishop and Green’s piece in your bag before you head out for the weekend.
  • Microfranchising vs. Microconsignment: I finally caught up on the latest issue of Stanford’s Social Innovation Review. It’s fantastic. It includes an article depicting microfranchising (susbscription required) by NextBillion ally David Lehr. Microfranchises have received special attention as of lately, especially with Dalberg’s recent Franchising in Frontier Markets report. An intriguing alternative to microfranchising is Greg van Kyrk’s Microconsignment, explained in detail in the latest Innovations. Take a look after you read Bishop and Green’s piece above. (Hint: Stay tuned for a special series on microfranchising later this Summer.)
  • Unreasonable TV: It’s a busy summer in Colorado’s social enterprise scene! IDDS will soon kick off, and the Unreasonable Institute has been rolling for a few weeks now. They released the first chapter of an impeccable video series called Unreasonable TV. Whenever I think I’ve reached a peak of amazement with the Unreasonables, they come back with something even cooler. Wow. I’m looking forward to spending a few days at the Institute later this summer.
  • Also on TV – The New Recruits: I missed the opening this week on PBS but my friend Joel Montgomery stars in a documentary that follows three Acumen Fellows, working with Acumen Fund investees in Kenya, Pakistan and Tanzania. Check it out here.
  • Translating Social Enterprise: Are you fluent in Spanish and English? Are you interested in development through enterprise? If you said YES to both, please read this post on Agora Partnership’s recently launched blog. Contribute to the Dictionary Project and help build consistent terms for an industry that grows ever faster in the Spanish speaking world.
And that’s a wrap.
If you’re in the northern hemisphere, enjoy the weekend with most sunshine in the year. If you’re in any hemisphere, keep rooting for your team of choice. Mine is not doing too great.