The next good thing: PROJECT GOOD

I don’t know exactly when it happened, but at some point in the last few years it became cool to be what is now (affectionately) called “socially conscious”. Folks being conscious of their social impact is nothing new, but buying organic/fair trade/green used to get me branded as a treehugging, free-love-loving, ganja-smoking hippie (which, umm, may or may not be true) — yes I live at Haight/Ashbury, but c’mon people, I own an SUV*!

Marketers have given this raaapidly growing segment of our population a nice name. We are the LOHAS market, which according to the Wiki is an acronym for “Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability that…in year 2006 was estimated at $300 billion…market [domestic].” Did you catch that? Let me repeat: $300 BILLION. A few weeks ago at GreenFestSF I got a glimpse of alll the different things people are doing to get your dollars and grow that market, including everything from “green” mattresses to anti-oxidant wonder juices to ethical investment funds. But unlike other market opportunities (like, say, oil) this market is all good because it’s all GREEN, right? Psh.

Home over Thanksgiving I picked up my wonderful hometown publication, The Sacramento Bee, to read the following unsurprising headline: Many ‘green’ claims may be shady. Umm…you think? And many claims, even if they’re true, are waaay over-hyped as the most AmAzInG thing when in fact they’re quite mediocre; not to name names but one bottled water company (Ethos) donates a nickel a bottle towards international water development projects, and they charge $1.80 a bottle…you do the math. Clearly, there needs to be a way to figure out what’s really good, and what’s not so good.

Project Good

Enter PROJECT GOOD.

It’s not here yet, but Project Good will be a marketplace where you can see how legit — or good, if you will — products really are. You know a rug is Fair Trade if you can trace that rug back to the smiling rug maker in Afghanistan who made it. You know how much of your money is going where you want it and how much is going to line the pockets of sharks trying to play you a FOOL (sorry, got a bit carried away) if there is transparency. You know you want something like this…well, Project Good is coming.

You can learn a bit more about Project Good at projectgood.com, a placeholder site for the marketplace which will be launching soon.  Project Good is a collaboration of eBay and World of Good, and the product of years of work; I highly encourage you to sign-up …

[alright, I think it’s time for full disclosure…I’m consulting for Project Good on marketing, specifically to help drive sign-ups and interest pre-launch — so yes, by signing up you’re doing me a favor : ), but no, I’m not misleading you about the potential of this marketplace. It is the brainchild of some close friends who are truly building something amazing (guys, don’t let me down here!)].

So sign-up and stay tuned….

* Which I never drive…and even still, it’s carbon neutral : )


Good Magazine & “Steal This Idea”

First off, I want to make a plug for Good Magazine. Great content, wonderful community, and the best part is that when you subscribe 100% of your money goes to one of 12 non-profits (Kiva just recently became an option!). Plus, you’ve gotta love their tag-line: A magazine for people that give a damn.

The reason for this post is to highlight a section they have called “Steal This Idea”, which I love. Folks with ideas for something / anything that’ll somehow make the world a better place can write in with those ideas, and then the editors pick the ones they like and profile one per issue. What I wish they’d do different is make it more of a democratic process and allow readers to vote on the ideas. An open flow of innovation between Good Magazine’s self-selected readership could spark some really big things, and help GOOD ideas become GREAT ideas. Yeah? You with me?

Oh fine…I’ll be honest. I submitted an idea and it didn’t make the cut : (
Luckily I have a blog and can self-publish! : ) Ready? Here it is:

Everyone has stuff lying around they want to sell but don’t have time to, right? So this is what I propose: A win-win-win for (1) people with stuff they want to get rid of, (2) the Salvation Army, and (3) local non-profits.

Step 1: Someone with stuff he/she wants to get rid of takes 5 minutes to list what he/she has and the condition that it’s all in on a simple website, and indicate which of the participating local non-profits he/she wants to benefit (minimum $100 value per item).
Step 2: The Salvation Army comes by and picks up the stuff.
Step 3: While the stuff is in the Salvation Army warehouse, the non-profit specified lists the items on eBay and tries to sell it.

If the stuff sells, the Salvation Army sends the goods out, the non-profit gets the proceeds of the sale, and the person gets a tax write-off for the selling price of the goods. If the stuff doesn’t sell, the Salvation Army gets the stuff and the person gets a much smaller, but still better than zero, tax write off. Yes, I know the Salvation Army has some very particular beliefs which I don’t necessarily agree with, but my understanding is they do a good job of taking donated items and giving them to those in need, and I’ll bet a lot of people hold on to higher-value stuff — and this might incentivize them to move those items as well. Ideally the stuff sells and local non-profits have a new, high-value revenue stream : )

I (sorta) tried to start this back in 2003, but (very) quickly realized it was more work that I was willing to do. Sad, I know. Have an idea you’re not going to make happen, and don’t have a blog to publish it so you can show off how clever you (think you) are? Send ’em into Good: stealthisidea[at]goodmagazine.com


Feel the fusion

Like many people, I think I can write. Like most people, I really can’t. Still, that small fact will not stop me from publishing a movie script (page by page) that my friend Jaspaul and I started (and stopped) waaay back in 2003. We started the script with the intention to share some of our stories with the world (starring us, of course). We stopped working on the script when we realized we had no idea what we were doing. We wanted to pick it up again someday but more than 4 years later fusion rots away on my hard drive.

Until now : )

It’s (supposed to be) Good Will Hunting meets Save the Last Dance meets School Ties meets Spaceballs. Please note that the script is Rated R for language, adult situations, and poor attempts at humor (like that Spaceballs mention).

Forgive me: http://feelthefusion.wordpress.com/