Don’t be fooled by all the features. Behind Apple’s WWDC was a lot of slick dealmaking, negotiating, and, er, diplomacy, of a business variety. On All Things D the WSJ explains the double game Apple is playing:
Path CEO Dave Morin, who knows firsthand the challenges of social log-ins from his photo-sharing app, tweeted during the keynote yesterday, “Twitter is the luckiest company on earth today.”
But at least one analyst and many onlookers are playing devil’s advocate by arguing that Apple is the bigger winner, having avoided paying to buy Twitter and reducing it to utility status. Shaw Wu of Sterne Agee wrote in a note to investors this morning:
“With iOS 5, Twitter becomes a system level service where AAPL integrated Twitter functionality without having to acquire the company. It begs the question of whether bringing Twitter in-house makes sense in the future.”
via What’s Twitter’s Identity Now That It’s Apple’s Identity Provider? – AllThingsD.
The author who solidified BRICs in our vocabulary gets panned in NYTBR by Stephanie Giry, editor at large at Foreign Affairs. Still–its on my “to read” list, but may only make the Kindle format instead of the more seminal ‘actual’ bookshelf:
Khanna hangs so many of his hopes for progress on the good works of the megadiplomats that his book can read like a roster of role models, an inspirational Who’s Who: let us praise John Ruggie of Harvard University and Peter Eigen of Transparency International and Carne Ross of Independent Diplomat; the International Crisis Group and LeapFrog Investments. Bizarrely, it also devolves into a kind of self-help manual that calls for “cosmopolitan, or cause-mopolitan” participation.Channeling Stephen R. Covey, Khanna identifies “the seven habits of highly effective diplomats.” And here are a couple of his injunctions, part morale-boosting, part shaming: “We are the new global architecture”; “If you can afford to buy this book, or have the technology to order it, you have no excuse not to contribute to the new megadiplomacy.”
via Mosh Pit Diplomacy – NYTimes.com.
This summer a controversy spilled over regarding a handful of innovative social entrepreneurs who, in the public offiering of SKS Microfinance, shook up the philanthropic and development community. This is now how things are to be done, many demurred.
Now, the founder of Sun Microsystems pushes the experiment further.
“There needs to be more experiments in building sustainable businesses going after the market for the poor,” he said in a telephone interview from his office in Menlo Park, Calif. “It has to be done in a sustainable way. There is not enough money to be given away in the world to make the poor well off.”
via Khosla, Sun Co-Founder, Uses Capitalism to Help Poor – NYTimes.com.
What is the promise (and danger) with businesses leading the drive to rid the world of poverty?
For ten years the Global Compact has worked to find consensus between corporate interests and UN goals of Peace, Development, and Human Rights. It’s a universal framework, framework for innovation, and a voluntary initiative. I like to think of it as the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for multinationals that would like to be good citizens.
One surprising note: Canada joins North Korea, Venezuela and Madagasar as nations outside of the network. That is surprising for such a globalized, multilaterally-focused country (see map below, with the non-participants in green.)
New acronyms to keep you in the UN loop for the Global Compact:
- COP= communication of progress, given by company to Global Compact
- CSR = corporte social responsibility
- AC = anticorruption policies
And finally, what has been the net impact of the global financial crisis (or “GFC” as Australians call it)? Overall, we learned that it has been good for the Global Compact via increased calls for regulation, shifts to longer term sustainability thinking, and cuts in non-strategic philanthropic spending.
Outstanding multimedia resource on the the global economic crisis, produced by the Council on Foreign Relations, touching on key issues, a timeline of the crisis unfolding, expert analysis (Sebastian Mallaby, Martin Wolf, David Rubenstein, Jhagdish Bhagwati and Ben Steil) and the responses:
Can a corporation have dual purposes, to be profitable and to change society? A new “rambling” (according to WSJ) book conveys a discussion of various viewpoints to address this question. One of the naysayers:
Lawrence Summers, the former Harvard president and former Treasury secretary, states the difficulty succinctly: “It is hard in this world to do well. It is hard to do good. When I hear a claim that an institution is going to do both, I reach for my wallet. You should too.” He offers as an example Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, government-created corporations that were supposed to achieve a social goal — affordable housing — while operating as businesses. They did neither well, eventually leaving their catastrophic debts for taxpayers to pay.
As noted, “In the end, these differing judgments are left unresolved, as one might expect in what is essentially a collection of blog posts.”—but this is the type of question asked by the UN Global Compact, successor to the troubled Code of Conduct for TNC’s—and an important one to consider.