Principled Profit: The Good Business Blog

Musings on the world-wide movement for ethical business, frugal marketing, and how honesty, integrity, and quality combine with deep relationship building to create business success. By the originator of the Ethical Business Pledge campaign and award-winning author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First and five other books

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Read It And Weep: Bush’s 2000 Campaign Promises

Progressive Democrats of America recently sent this e-mail quoting the Republican platform of 2000. It doesn’t take much to see that the Bush government has exponentially expanded every one of the claimed Clinton-era abuses, and added several of its own. Ahh, what might have been!

In 2000, Team Bush took over the Republican Party and laid out its promises to the American people. The following pledges and claims are taken directly from the 2000 GOP Platform. Should we laugh or cry at promises made by an administration that has ruled through deception, endless war, politicization of intelligence and the Justice Dept., outing CIA officers, and the like? SHARE THIS WITH FRIENDS.

Honest Government

“Trust, pride, and respect: we pledge to restore these qualities to the way Americans view their government.”

Keeping Intelligence Free of Politics

“Nor should the intelligence community be made the scapegoat for political misjudgments. A Republican administration working with the Congress will respect the needs and quiet sacrifices of these public servants as it strengthens America’s intelligence and counter-intelligence capabilities”

Diplomacy and Maintaining Allies

“The arrogance, inconsistency, and unreliability of the [Clinton] administration’s diplomacy have undermined American alliances, alienated friends, and emboldened our adversaries.”

Endless Military Missions, Exit Strategies and Troop Readiness

“The current administration has casually sent American armed forces on dozens of missions without clear goals, realizable objectives, favorable rules of engagement, or defined exit strategies.” [Emphasis added.]

“Sending our military on vague, aimless, and endless missions rapidly saps morale. Even the highest morale is eventually undermined by back-to-back deployments, poor pay, shortages of spare parts and equipment, inadequate training, and rapidly declining readiness. When it comes to military health, the administration is not providing an adequate military health care system.”

Restoring the Rule of Law and the Justice Department

The rule of law, the very foundation for a free society, has been under assault, not only by criminals from the ground up, but also from the top down. An administration that lives by evasion, coverup, stonewalling, and duplicity has given us a totally discredited Department of Justice. The credibility of those who now manage the nation’s top law enforcement agency is tragically eroded. We are fortunate to have its dedicated career workforce, especially its criminal prosecutors, who have faced the unprecedented politicization of decisions regarding both personnel and investigations.”

Gas Prices (then $1.55 per gallon)

“Today, gas prices have skyrocketed, and oil imports are at all-time highs….By any reasonable standard, the Department of Energy has utterly failed in its mission to safeguard America’s energy security. “

Off to New York for Book Expo America

This blog may be pretty quiet for the next several days, unless I get a chance to post from the show–but with all the appointments I have, I doubt I’ll have time.

One of the interviews I’ve got scheduled is with the founding president of Viacom. He’s pitching his new book, of course, but I intend to ask some hard questions about media consolidation and the death of the mid-list book at large publishing companies (Viacom owns Simon & Schuster, which published one book of mine and one of my wife’s, and numerous other imprints).

Biofuels and Carbon Credits: Wrong Approaches

The more I learn about biodiesel, the less convinced I am that it is anything more than a temporary feel-good “solution” with problems of its own.

Keep in mind that oil and coal are biofuels: when we burn them, we are burning fossilized plant matter from ages long past.

I don’t have a problem with biodiesel that uses waste oil from fast food restaurants, etc. But when crops are grown to be converted to energy–and that’s what will happen if there’s large-scale conversion to biodiesel–there are a number of issues. To name a few:

  • Corn grown for energy displaces corn grown to feed both humans and animals, and that could mean spiraling dairy prices, among other things

  • Transportation and processing issues, including fuel consumed, increased truck traffic, and greenhouse gases/toxic wastes emitted, are usually not factored in

  • Soybean plantations for energy, for soy-based “environmentally responsible” inks, and so forth, are a major cause of rainforest destruction in Brazil (if that sounds far out, look at this article in National Geographic–not known for its alarmist visions, but known widely for its accuracy in reporting)

  • As for carbon credits, I never liked them, any more than I liked the pollution credits of 20 years ago. They are nothing more than a license to pollute. While buying carbon offsets is certainly better than not buying them, bringing down the level of pollution and greenhouse emissions and global warming impact are better strategies to me than polluting and paying.

    I do think massive tree planning is a good thing, and if the offset programs enable that, it’s a start. But think of the environmental impact of buying a tiny and fuel efficient car instead of a Hummer–or better yet, walking or biking or taking public transit.

    So what are the truly Green approaches? Conservation and solar, for sure. Wind, geothermal, and small-scale hydro (especially approaches that don’t actually dam the stream), if done correctly. And little lifestyle changes that minimize resource use.

    Monday, May 28, 2007

    Not Your Grandfather’s AARP

    OK, so in December, I turned 50–and since I love discounts, of course I sent in my $7.50 to join the AARP (used to stand for American Association of Retired persons, I believe).

    Well, I was looking at the organization’s magazine today and I was astonished by the lineup for the fall conference in Boston, just two hours drive from me: Headlined by Rod Stewart in concert, and featuring such Boomer luminaries as Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin, Maya Angelou, and Bill Russell.

    I’ve got a wedding in Maryland that weekend, but I just might drive in for Friday’s program. Cheap, too–member price is $15 for the speakers and $25 extra for each concert.

    Wow! Not at all what I expected, with my memories of AARP (from my days as an organizer with the Gray Panthers, back in 1979-80) as a very stodgy organization.

    Saturday, May 26, 2007

    It’s Not that I Don’t Love You–But I Couldn’t Get In

    Can’t tell you how many times I wanted to post in the last two weeks–but a server switch left me locked out of my own blog! And I’m still discovering pieces of code that don’t work anymore on my various sites. Last week my contact form wasn’t working and I was appalled today to discover that the link to sign the Business Ethics Pledge isn’t working!

    I’ve told my web wizard assistant, and I’m sure it’ll be up in a day or so.

    Please bear with us.

    Democrats Sold Us Down the River–Again!

    They say the definition of insanity is doing th same thing over and over and expecting different results–like Pelosi and Reid crawling back to Bush with a toothless, no-timeline funding bill on the iraq debacle. Not that the first bill was so great but it least it squeaked out an attempt to take back some of the power the Executive Branch has stolen.

    The bill passed in Congress yesterday is simply inexcusable.

    I sent this letter to Harry Reid and (slightly modified to reflect and thank her for her personal “no” vote on the appropriation) Nancy Pelosi today:

    Funding the war once again without strings is a terrible mistake. I cannot believe you caved in to Bush again! Where is the leadership? If Bush insisted on vetoing the time line, there is no need to have brought *any* bill.

    When the Democratic Party calls asking for money, I will *not* be opening my wallet!

    In fact, if you were looking for a path to create massive defections to the Green party or some other actual alternative, this is it.

    I think Dennis Kucinich has the right idea: if bush vetoes a funding bill with restrictions, you simply don’t give him a bill. Or better yet, you increase the restrictions. Kucinich’s own HR 1234 calls for funding only a withdrawal. A good idea, IMHO.

    Use these links to send your own messages:

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

    Help ensure Broadband for the Rest of Us–It’s Good for Business sent out this alert yesterday

    Imagine having a fast connection to an open Internet wherever you go, without needing a telephone wire or cable modem.

    The FCC could make this happen. Instead they’re on the verge of turning over our public Internet airwaves to the same giant phone and cable companies that control high-speed access for more than 96 percent of American users.

    Don’t let the FCC give away our wireless Internet to these price-gouging giants. We need to use these public airwaves to connect more Americans to an open, neutral and affordable Internet.

    And this is what I appended at the beginning of the comment field:

    The idea of using the existing TV spectrum for widely available broadband is tremendously exciting. As a business owner, I could see that this might spark a wave of creative entrepreneurship like the original dotcom boom a decade ago, and create useful technologies we can only dream of currently. Open access is the way to do this, not tight control by a handful of companies.

    If you’d like to comment on this, this link brings you to the webform.

    Tuesday, May 08, 2007

    Paul Hawken: Two Million Little Change Orgs

    The well-known sustainable business guru Paul Hawken recently wrote that the presence of a decentralized and not-even-connected movement for environmental is not only a powerful force for change, but one for which there’s no precedent.

    Hawken actually tried to quantify the number of organizations working to adopt a river, or ease world hunger, or work for peace, or a whole lot of other causes. Small, grassroots groups–collectively numbering about two million organizations, and thus tens of millions of people. There’s no overal leader, no single agenda–but he sees these splintered fractions coming together as a definable movement for environmental and social justice, and having enormous impact.

    The promise of this unnamed movement is to offer solutions to what appear to be insoluble dilemmas: poverty, global climate change, terrorism, ecological degradation, polarization of income, loss of culture. It is not burdened with a syndrome of trying to save the world; it is trying to remake the world…

    And I believe it will prevail. I don’t mean defeat, conquer, or cause harm to someone else. And I don’t tender the claim in an oracular sense. I mean the thinking that informs the movement’s goal—to create a just society conducive to life on Earth—will reign. It will soon suffuse and permeate most institutions. But before then, it will change a sufficient number of people so as to begin the reversal of centuries of frenzied self-destruction.

    As someone who has been involved with grassroots movements since I was 12 or 13, I think he’s right. In fact, in my award-winning sixth book, Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First, I devote an entire chapter to the intersection of marketing and social change. I even included a case study about one social movement I started that defeated an extremely inappropriate development proposal–when all the “experts” said, “oh, this is terrible but there’s nothing we can do.” Well, we got thousands of people involved–and beat the “unstoppable” thing in just 13 months. (Note: the website hasn’t been updated in years–but it was a vital tool during the campaign.)

    Starting that movement is something I will always feel is one of my greatest accomplishments.

    There are a couple of books I want to write about the power of people to create social and environmental justice–and peace. In the meantime, I’m planning to start a high-level Internet discussion group for marketers who want to create social and environmental transformation. If you’re interested, comment here (with a way of getting in touch) or drop me a note at shel [at], subject line: Social Change Marketer Group (if you don’t hear back from me, check in again–email isn’t as reliable as it used to be!

    Monday, May 07, 2007

    Joe Vitale on Self-Healing and False Diagnosis

    Marketing legend Joe Vitale is one of the big boosters of the “think it and manifest it” school (often called “The law of Attraction”), much-publicized in the movie “The Secret,” among other places. Joe is, in fact, one of the people interviewed in that movie.

    Today, Joe announced that for the past several months, he’s been dealing with several tumors that were thought to be cancerous.

    While I am not without my skepticism about the Law of Attraction as a cure-all, I certainly believe it is an important tool in the toolbag–and reading how Joe approached this illness is simply astonishing.

    Whether you’re a complete skeptic or a total convert, this post is worth reading.

    Thursday, May 03, 2007

    Inspiring Interview with Millard Fuller, Habitat’s Founder

    Millard Fuller founded Habitat for Humanity, was kicked out in a power struggle, and started another organization to continue the work.

    In this powerful interview conducted by Cynthia Kersey, the best selling author of Unstoppable and Unstoppable Women, Fuller discusses his accomplishments and challenges and faith. He comes across as remarkably humble and extremely effective.

    I’ve always believed that one person can always make a difference, but that difference is greatly magnified if that person finds others to work with. If you’re not convinced, you need to read this entire interview. If you are convinced, read it for inspiration.

    Couple of excerpts:

    We thought that the work of Habitat for Humanity would be exclusively in third world countries and in the rural south. And Habitat has grown in third world countries, it’s all over Africa, it’s all over Asia, it’s all over Central and South America. It’s all over the rural south, but Habitat today is in every province in Canada. It’s in a number of European countries. It’s in New Zealand, it’s in Australia.

    It is in all of the places we expected it to be, plus a whole lot more. Incidentally, that goal that we wrote about in our minutes of our first meeting was achieved in August of 2005. We dedicated the 200,000th house for the 1,000,000th person in Knoxville, Tennessee in August of 2005.

    CYNTHIA KERSEY: How many years is that? Twenty seven years?

    MILLARD FULLER: We started in 1976, so just shy of 30 years. Currently, Habitat is building about 30,000 houses a year.

    * * *

    CYNTHIA KERSEY: How many communities took your challenge to eliminate poverty housing in that particular area? As a city wide, not so much just the affiliate, but the city said, “This is what we’re going to do.”

    MILLARD FULLER: You mean accept the goal of trying to eliminate poverty housing?

    CYNTHIA KERSEY: Yes, exactly.

    MILLARD FULLER: That was done here in Americus, Georgia, where we live, with Habitat for Humanities headquarter and where now The Fuller Center for Housing is located. In 1992, I called together a community meeting in Americus; we have a community college here called Georgia Southwestern State University. I called together all of the leaders of this community and I said, “Let’s eliminate poverty housing in this town and in this county, because that’s what we advocate for the whole world, let’s just model it here locally.”

    We created an organization called The Sumter County Initiative. We set a goal to end poverty housing by the year 2000. We got organized, we gridded the county. We knew what families lived in each little grid and we wrote all of that down and got a plan in place and systematically, grid by grid, we built every family a house that needed one in each grid, or in some cases renovated houses, or in other cases houses were too bad to be fixed up so they’d just be torn down.

    On September 15th of the year 2000, I stood in front of the Thomas family house and we had a big sign out front that said, “Victory House.” I led 400 people singing an old southern gospel song, Victory in Jesus because that house symbolized our victory over substandard housing. We got rid of all of the slums, we got rid of all substandard housing, and we built 35 houses that week. In the last week, we put up the last 35 houses in five days.

    CYNTHIA KERSEY: How did that impact the community?

    MILLARD FULLER: It had a very, very positive impact, a huge impact. We saw crimes go down, children doing better in school, all of the indicators of what makes for a better community, improved. I might do a fast forward, Cynthia, and I think the people who are on this call would find this very interesting. In December of this past year, I went to the little town that I was raised up in, over in Alabama. It’s the little town of Lanett and Valley, Alabama, two small towns right on the Georgia border and in West Point, Georgia.

    Those three towns, West Point, Georgia; Lanett and Valley, Alabama make up what is called the Chattahoochee Valley. Population wise, it’s about the same as here in Americus, Georgia. I was invited over there to meet with a group in December and I challenged them to do there what we did here. They accepted that challenge and they have now created the Chattahoochee Fuller Center Project. On March 16, we will kick off a 500 house build in my little hometown area.

    Again, the article is at

    Wednesday, May 02, 2007

    Cool! Someone Wrote A Song About Principled Profit

    Out of the blue this morning, I received a fascinating e-mail:

    Hi Shel,

    I’m Joel Falconer, lead singer and songwriter of the Gold Coast,

    Australia-based Grok Rock band Midnight.Haulkerton. I don’t want to

    bother you, but I thought you might be interested in this.

    Earlier this year we came up with the idea of the Tuneback. A

    Tuneback is a song recorded under the self-imposed time limit of one

    hour from conception to publication (making it more of a concept or a

    ’sketch’ than a complete song) and a new one must be posted once a

    week, every Tuesday.

    Given that most songs take weeks to go through the recording process

    alone, not to mention conception and publication, it’s no mean feat,

    but it’s quite a fun way to interact with an audience online and keep

    us thinking.

    I guess it’s a frugal, grassroots way of not only publishing music,

    but creating it too!

    This week I wrote the Tuneback with my good friend and colleague, NDK

    Creative Artist, who said you’d know who he is and sends his regards.

    He first introduced me to your work a couple of years ago, and I must

    thank you for your article on frugal weddings, which helped to shave

    a few pennies from my own last year.

    This Tuneback was inspired by the idea of Principled Profit,

    something NDK is a strong advocate of, and so am I. We are all

    interested in solutions to the poor state of culture and

    civilization rather than the continual whining of most mass media

    (who I think cause many of the problems in the first place) and self-

    pitying artists.

    The fact that there is someone actively doing something about the

    problem of unethical marketing is inspirational and we want to honor

    you with the dedication of this song.

    To which I say–go right ahead and bother me, Joel. Any time you write a song about my ideas, I’m delighted to be interrupted. I had never heard of Joel before this e-mail (although I have corresponded with NDK–we used to be on the same discussion group), and I’m impressed that I made an impact all the way to Australia–without even discussing the Business Ethics Pledge (which does have a number of Australian signers).

    The song is kind of a synth/metal thing, not the sort of thing I usually listen to. But I really like the lyrics (used with his permission, of course):

    Principles of Profit

    The principles of profit

    Say make your money in the honest way

    Good work, hard work

    Quality all the way

    It pays

    Shortcuts to profit, don’t really exist

    You gotta be alive just ask Ken Lay

    There’s nothing wrong with making money

    There’s nothing wrong with making hay

    It’s all in the way you make it

    The principles of profit say

    Make it the honest way

    The cheating culture, full of vultures

    Picking over scraps

    Pluck the vultures, cook their goose

    Change the cheating culture

    You want to be loose, you want to be free

    Live the life you want to live

    We gotta keep on changing, re-arranging

    So we can make profit in a principled way

    There ain’t no shortcuts to profit

    That’s just cutting corners to hell

    There’s nothing wrong with making money

    There’s nothing wrong with making hay

    It’s all in the way you make it

    The principles of profit say

    Make it the honest way

    Make honesty pay,

    Make honesty pay,

    Make honesty pay

    Profit the principled way

    I also really like the way Joel manages to refer obliquely to several of my websites and book titles in his message, subtly cueing me that he has taken the time to study my stuff a bit.