Uncommon Heroes. Common Good.

I like the montra of the Skoll Foundation: “Uncommon Heroes. Common Good.” It says a lot about those uncommon individuals who have done extraordinary things to make a positive impact on the world.

Christy Chin of the Skoll Foundation was the guest speaker at the Social Entrepreneurship class today. A venture capitalist with Harvard MBA, Christy is now a senior progrom officer at a philanthropy foundation. When asked how she feels about these seemingly very different fields, Christy said the work itself is not that much different, except she enjoys her current work much more as every day she interacts with people who are doing things that are truly transformative and inspiring.

Christy mentioned some characteristics of social entrepreneurs:

  • social entrepreneurs see and seize the opportunities to produce large-scale positive social changes.
  • social entrepreneurs demonstrate all the characteristics of business leaders: they are innovative, driven, focused and relentless in their determination to produce results.
  • social entrepreneurs are exceptionally skilled to mobilizing resouces.

The Skoll Foundation was founded by Jeff Skoll – the first employee of eBay. As stated in its mission statement, the Skoll Foundation advances systemic change to benefit communities around the world by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs. Their work falls into the following three parts:

  1. Invest: Skoll Awards for Innovation in Sillicon Valley; Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneursship.
  2. Connect: Social Edge; Skoll Center for Social Entrepreneurs (MBA program at Oxford); Skoll World Forum, March 30 – April 1, 2005.
  3. Celebrate: public TV documentary “The New Heroes.”

Global Microentrepreneurship

A new initiative called “Global Microentrepreneurship Award” coordinated by Harvard Business School is coming into being to promote small business entrepeneurs in developing countries around the world. The goal is to promote entrepreneurial spirit in micro enterprises by celebrating their innovation and perseverance under most challenging conditions. It is in conjunction with the launches of the United Nations’ International Year of Microcredit for 2005.

My project is about enpowering microentrepreneurs by helping them access larger market. I believe it will create such a synergy if we can team up with Global Microentrepreneurship Award and UN’s International Year of Microcredit.

Some Mobile News

NTT DoCoMo did it again! It claims to start selling what’s called the “world’s first commercially availabe” combination of Wi-Fi/cell phone. Read detailed story of NTT DoCoMo Ships Wi-Fi/Cellular Phone.

Chinese Saying says:”If you are not moving forward, that means you are moving backward.” UTStarcom‘s new MovingMedia 2000 product line provides mobile operators with solutions for offering voice and data services over IP to end users. Read Vendor Develops Cellular-Over-IP Architecture.

Another manefesto: Motorola moves into Wi-Fi technology by acquring MeshNetworks, a company developing 802.11 mesh networks designed to cover areas as large as entire cities. Detailed storty at Motorola Acquires Wireless Mesh Vendor.

Aspire – Aspiring?

Aspire, a joint-venture between China Mobile, Hewlett-Packard and Vodafone was created to build the Mobile Information Service Center (MISC) to serve as the common platform for mobile Internet services. According to China Mobile (HK) Annual Report, a unified MISC platform provides mobile subscribers with mobile data-roaming capability throughout China. MISC also provides a uniform data interface open to third-party service providers. It ensures that all mobile communications networks developed through the platform migrate smoothly when they are upgraded to 2.5G and 3G networks, making them truly forward-compatible networks. – It sounds very aspiring, doesn’t it?

Lasting Leadership

In the book Lasting Leadership, Knowledge@Wharton and Nightly Business Report selected top 25 most influential business people of the quarter century to demonstrate the path to greatness. They include Andy Grove, Mary Kay Ash, Lou Gerstner, Richard Branson, Herb Kelleher, Charles Schwab and more. The book helps leaders understand the power of their people and their contributions to help launch a new venture, whether it is a new initiative or new company, and make it a sensational success. I haven’t read the book and kept wondering whether it’s another Think and Grow Rich

Stanford Peace Project

J B Fogg, a Stanford researcher and the author of Persuasive Technology, introduced Stanford Peace Project to us today. The goal of the project is to realize the world peace in 30 years by using technology to connect kids (about age 10) around the world. The software they developed allows kids to send audio messages including talking, singing and laughing to other kids at the different parts of the world. It is believed that the friendships built at the early age can have an effect on how people respond to the conflicts later in their lives. I thought this is a brilliant idea! Although many children in the world still don’t have access to computer yet, this is nontheless the first step. I want to support this kind of initiatives. I will try to find some Chinese children for Stanford Peace Project on my trip to China in December.

Internet Media Revolution

Dan Gillmor, the business and technology columnist for San Jose Mercury News who came to give us an introduction to the Silicon Valley, has won the 2004 World Technology Award for Media & Journalism. His book We the Media prolaims that the grassroots jounalism has broke the Big Media’s monoply, transforming it from a lecture to a conversation. He reports on the enormous impact that new Internet-based tools such as weblogs, mail lists, peer-to-peer, and digital video are having on the way we create and consume the news – I guess that’s why I keep this weblog 🙂 !

Mobile Pipeline News

Mobile Pipeline Newsletter has two interesting news:

1) Cellular Companies Agree On Multimedia Messaging Standards, new technical standards should enable mobile phone users to exchange photos, video and audio clips regardless of their wireless carrier.

2) Mobile Phone Sales Surge In Third Quarter, analyst says upgrade to color screens helped handsets to 30 percent sales growth this year for 670 million units, forecasts a modest 8 percent for 2005 for global sales of 726 million units.

Mobile Commerce Trend

Telecom Trend International estimated revenue from all forms of m-commerce will grow from $6.86 billion in 2003 to $554.37 billion by 2008. According to Forrester Research, the success of mobile service providers depends on the following factors:

  • Customers: targeted group of customers and focus on customers’ needs
  • Brand Name: close relationship with customers through CRM and reliable 24/7 infrastructure
  • Pricing Model: competitive price model
  • Market space: create value-added services through vertical, horizontal, or cross product differentiation
  • Win-Win: partnerships and alliances

Understanding the market and commercial trends helps me find a right solution for the people I am trying to serve. Thinking about my project, the most important things coming to mind are: 1) understand the needs; 2) behavior of individual mobile user.