Thursday, July 28, 2005


Writing a book is like giving birth to a baby, as you reach the home stretch and the baby is born you look back at the memories. Well for me this book writing has been very cathartic, and the fun part is I get to go back and re-live some of the highlights of my life. One of those highlghts is when I hosted Canada's first open line radio show totally dedicated to home office entrepreneurs. I had an enormously fun time with the "HomeBiz Show" and met some fabulous people along the way. many of them on the leading edge, trend setters, and pioneers in their own right . And speaking of trend setting, three of those people were; Mary Meehan, Larry Samuel, and Vickie Abrahamson, authors of the book, "Iconoculture- The Future Ain't What It Used to Be"- The 40 cultural trends transforming your job, your life, your world.

I interviewed all three of them in their home office in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1998, along with their dog Geneva. They had and still do have an uncanny ability to predict the future trends in our society...most of their predictions made in 1998 have indeed manifested in 2005. Here's a look back and into the future with musings from the book complete with quotable quotes that have relevance to "Buddha in the Board Room". You can visit them on their website at

The authors suggest that before continuing "please take time to brew yourself a cup of tea. Take a little more time to ponder.... Are you living life sip by sip or gulp by gulp? The first zentreprenuers, the founders of the specialty company The Republic of Tea, steeped into full flavor the Z concept of making business for positive social change on the planet, to actualize a life in which "what you do" is one with "who you are". The fusion of one's personal vision with one's professional mission, grounded in activism and a holistic philosophy, will hallmark the next 1,000 years. Zentrepreneurism is surfacing across a wide spectrum of successful, purposeful businesses"

According to the authors; "if you think zentreprenuring is only for the disenfranchised and old hippies gone to seed, think again. An aging Generation X will carry proudly the do-unto-others-as-you-would-have-them-do-unto-you torch into the future. During their college years, they short-circuit their slacker inage by volunteering enmasse to help those less fortunate. From coast to ivy-covered coast, college students log as many as ten to twelve hours per week tutoring, manning rape and suicide hotines, teaching English, serving up dinner at homeless shelters, or being buddies to the physically or mentally challenged. The do-gooding experience coupled with the zentrepreneuristic mood of the millenium will have far-reaching political, social, and economic implications."


"It all sounds so boring. Cooperation, not competition. Meaningful work, not big bucks. Sharing in the decision making, not being bossed around. At the Burley Design Co-op, ninety people call the shots because ninety people own the company store. This may be the new-millenium model for American business. How novel---healthy growth as the full-time focus of everyone in the workplace. By the way, Burley builds the essential baby accoutrement: those bright colored buggies that safety trailer little ones behind the folk's bikes. You might expect a company that produces such a creative product to spawn an enlightened model for building a business. In a time when thousands are experiencing post-downsizing shock syndrome, this employee-owned co-op structure may be a light at the end of the corporate tunnel. According to general manager Bruce Creps, "There's also a second paycheck that people are after here. Many have tried different things and are looking for meaning to their work"

Pride in ownership translates to low absenteeism, low worker turnover (one or two per year) and sky-high productivity. One of the principles of the cooperative is to enhance the workplace and the community where they live. This little zentrepreneurial company is known for walking its talk. For sure the Burley team won't be sending jobs overseas to save on labr costs ro be forever stressing out over the whims of an all powerful board of directors."

"Who cares if it's not your shade? Pucker up for a good cause. Two legends of beauty. Aveda and RuPaul, are using lipstick sales to promote kiss 'n' care campaigns. Aveda, a leader in aromatherapy beauty care, has partnered with the South American Yawanawa tribe of Indians, native to the Amazon rain forest of western Brazil. The tribe cultivates and harvests an indigenous pricky pod called uruku, which they sell to the North American tribe to make three shades of lipstick called (what else?) Uruku. Both tribes are happily boosting each other's economy.

Here's what the authors have to say about investing with a conscience "What to do, what to do with that sorry thing you call your life savings....Our best advice: Put your money where your heart is. There are some forty-two mutual funds that invest only in companies that are morally, poltically, and environmentally correct. Although these funds tyically do not return as well as sinful funds, you will sleep better at night knowing your money is not being invested in tobbaco, alcohol, gambling, or military equipment. The Women's Equity Mutual Fund bills itself as one such "pro-conscience" animal. It invests only in public companies that have a proven track record of advancing the social and economic status of women in the workplace. As boomers plan for retirement and inherit gobs of money, expect to see a gazillion special-investment opportunities with a zentrepreneurial twist.

Who said capitalism and social service make poor bedfellows? "On virtually every level of global economy you bump into the zentrepreneur spirit. Greyhound, that dinasour of public transportation, is doing great works from which more profitable companies can learn. When Greyhound bought out Trailways in 1987, it inherited the latter's program of offering free transportation home for runaways."

The authors suggest that "Marketers of all shapes, sizes, and colors could explore ventures with alternative trading groups to zentreprenurize their brands while doing the right thing."

As well, organizations like Oxfam America, Pueblo to People, and SERVV are ultimately providing workers with sustainable business skills and giving them more control over their lives and communities.

Thank you to Mary, Larry and Vickie, for contributing in kind to this section.

Buddha says: "Palaces built of earth and stone and wood, wealthy men endowed with food and dress and finery, legions of retainers who throng round the mighty-these are like castles in the air, like rainbows in the sky, ad how deluded those who think of this as truth."


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