Rob Katz

Social Capital Markets Conference Preview

Golden Gate Bridge

NextBillion is heading west–San Francisco, to be precise.? Francisco and I will be on the road this weekend–along with 600+ fellow attendees–in preparation for next week’s Social Capital Markets conference, which runs Monday through Wednesday in the city by the bay.? We’ll have full coverage here on NextBillion, including guest posts from a stable of experts.

I’m excited, and more than a little nostalgic.? After all, San Francisco was the site of another conference, Eradicating Poverty Through Profit, which helped launch the base of the pyramid concept into the mainstream back in 2004.? On Tuesday, I was on the phone with Justin DeKoszmovsky, SC Johnson’s Manager for Strategic Sustainability–and one of the company’s BoP champions.? Justin and I first met at Eradicating Poverty Through Profit–he as a Cornell MBA student volunteer, I as a conference staffer with the World Resources Institute.? When I mentioned the purpose of my San Francisco trip to him this week, Justin laughed and replied, “It’s amazing how far the base of the pyramid sector has come in just four years.”Of course, there are miles to go before we sleep.? But the Social Capital Markets conference may mark an important milestone in the BoP and social investment spaces.? Kevin Jones, a NextBillion ally and the conference’s organizer, has put together an event that hopes to get past theory and stimulate some real action.? That’s why every conference attendee has signed up for Connection Concierge, a power networking program to help attendees make useful, long-term connections.? That’s also why Kevin’s left plenty of time for dialogue, banning PowerPoint presentations and instructing moderators to limit speakers’ floor time.

The proof will be in the pudding, so I won?t give SoCap an A grade until the last speaker has left the floor.? But it’s set up to succeed–and NextBillion is set up to capture as much from this conference as we possibly can.? Not only will Francisco and I be attending and blogging, we’ve recruited a top-notch group of friends and allies to contribute on-site as well, including:

  • David Auerbach, Endeavor
  • Mark Beckford, Disruptive Leadership (and NextBillion Staff Writer)
  • Charlene Chen, Haas School of Business
  • Cindy Chen, Haas School of Business
  • Champa Gujjanudu, Haas School of Business
  • Mike Lee, Haas School of Business
  • David Lehr, Mercy Corps (and NextBillion Staff Writer)
  • Graham Macmillan, VisionSpring
  • Roxanne Miller, Haas School of Business
  • Jocelyn Wyatt, IDEO

Each guest blogger has agreed to cover a panel session, ranging in title from Design in the Developing World to Successful IT Initiatives to Market Creators.? Francisco and I will handle the plenary talks as well as a few sessions (I’ll be moderating the Venture Philanthropy and International Government Investment panel as well).

If you’re headed to SoCap, chime in below and let us know–we’d love to meet up while we?re there.? Keep us posted on what you think of the sessions–who was on track, who off the mark, etc.? And if you’re unable to join us in San Francisco, please let us know which panel sessions are important for you to hear about–we’ll do our best to tailor our coverage to the needs of you, the NextBillion reader.