Our Social Experiment ///

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“This is Our Social Experiment”

Rodney first said “This is our social experiment”.  I’ll be honest, when he did, it caught me off guard.  But I liked it.  The thing about it is I didn’t have a clue what it meant.  Regardless, it sounded good, so I just rolled with it.   I mean, sure, what we are doing is kind of an experiment, right?

We are about a year into having started the journey to releasing our first episode.  Of all the times it has been said and written, I haven’t really given it a lot of thought.  I just accepted it as part of who we are.  In fact, I just said it in an intro recorded days ago.

Recently, however, I started thinking, “what is our social experiment”?  What is different about this particular set of words compared to the rest of our mission?  I think that was my initial reluctance to accept it.  It seemed to be set apart from Expose, Evaluate, & Evolve.  And now, close to a year in, and it has started to hit me.

The Catalyst to my Epiphany

I was listening to an episode of The Daily; Putting “Fake News” on Trial.  In this episode they talk about how Alex Jones, the host of “Info Wars”, is being sued by the surviving parents of Sandy Hook.  If you haven’t followed this at all and are asking “why?”, then you should grab a barf bag and listen to the episode linked above.  Maybe a tissue or two.  The reason is extremely sad and nauseating at the same time.

Not directly, but through other channels, I have paid general attention to the vitriol of Alex Jones.  Enough to see his business model.  Enough to know he has upwards of 30MM followers.

As I listened to ‘The Daily’, I started to think about the premise of Info Wars.  I do think Alex Jones believes a lot of what he says.  In that, he has a mission.  His mission, not directly, is to promote conspiratorial and hateful ideas.  And, make a lot of money peddling ‘snake oil’.  If you don’t know, that’s how he makes his money…selling unscientifically proven supplements and substances to his supporters.

At the core of it, he sells fear.  Why?  Well, fear is scientifically proven to being a great human motivator.  We all buy things because of fear.  And, a lot of folks seam to buy the ideas Info Wars promotes.  Thus, they buy the products to support the promotion of those ideas.

Then there is Vu Le…

As I pondered this, I started thinking about our conversation with Vu Le.  Vu talks about the mentality of “signing up for poverty” if you want to start a non-profit.  He takes the position that it isn’t entirely that way nor should it be that way.  Yet, in most cases, if you want to do “Good” or “Social Good”, then you don’t get “Good” back.  And by this I mean doing “Good” doesn’t have much financial return.

I say in most cases, because there are people who take advantage of others in the Non-Profit space and make boat loads of money (Example: “This Guy“).

So, Alex Jones promotes hate and makes millions.  Vu Le promotes equality and justice and gets to buy “A new used car”.   And often this is the case.

Now, I’m not knocking capitalism nor am I anti-capitalism.  I certainly have my thoughts on it, but not the point here.  For this argument, I am just saying that the ecosystem of profitability isn’t equal.  There are great goods and services that drive profitability.  But there isn’t a great ecosystem of profitability on “Good”.  After all, “Good” should be just that…let’s not water it down with profitability or else it may not be “Good” anymore.

Well then, what is the Social Experiment?

We certainly aren’t the first to do this.  And some people have been successful in sincerely promoting “Good” things.  Simon Sinek’s [“Start with Why“] or Tim Ferris’ [The 4-hour work week] are good examples.  Kairos is an amazing organization that is set to build a profitable network for people trying to change the world.  Though, they are more about products and services than “Ideas”, but it’s in the ball park.

But generally, ideas of “Good”, are not profitable.  The cultural question is, “should they be”?  I would argue, yes…With responsibility.  It isn’t about capitalizing on “Good”.  It is about creating an ecosystem that says 1) you can encourage awesome things while living your dreams and 2) you can earn to invest without having to ask for money.

See, Alex Jones promotes hate.  More In Common promotes hope.  Hope that our belief is correct.  There are way more than 30MM people who want to believe in each other.  That want to build and live in a culture based on sharing ideas and learning from one another.  A culture that engages and challenges.  But ultimately one where people accept one another without fear.  Without irrational fear, I should say.

In that, we want to be able to regularly travel to our guests, build a network that supports those in need, and that invests in organizations working to make change.  All while supporting our families’ generational success.

Thus, “our social experiment”.  Can we promote hope.  Promote the good in people.  Build a business on these ideas while investing in the growth and promotion of those ideas.  We want to engage a network of organizations trying to do the same thing.   Ultimately growing and promoting an ecosystem of profitable “Good”.

As Simon Sinek says, you can’t get caught in the “what” of what you provide, always “Start with Why”.

The key to success for us is honesty, sincerity and belief. Never finding ourselves taking advantage of hope like those who take advantage of fear.  Constantly making sure the money earned promotes the good we serve.  At the same time, trying to live our dream.

KeithKeith Richardson