The Gift Economy in Action

I have an exciting post for tomorrow, and this will serve as the teaser. I found this amazing story of enacting the gift economy today on Facebook, and it made me cry.

This was a graduation speech given at a Silicon Vally private high school by Nipun Mehta. An excerpt:

The First Key Is To Give 

In the movie Wall Street — which originally came out well before you guys were born — there’s a character named Gordon Gekko whose credo in life reads: Greed is good.  When I was about your age, Silicon Valley was in the seductive grip of the dot-com boom. It was a time when it was easy to believe that Greed was Good. But a small group of us had a different hypothesis:

*Maybe* greed is good, but Generosity is better.

We tested that hypothesis. When I started ServiceSpace, our first project was to build websites for nonprofits at no charge. We ended up building and gifting away thousands of sites, but that wasn’t our main goal. Our real purpose was to practice generosity.

In the early days, the media was pretty sure we had a hidden agenda. “We’re doing this just to practice giving with no strings attached,” we said. The few who actually believed us didn’t think we could sustain it. The thing is — we did. A decade later, when our work started attracting millions of viewers, entrepreneurs told us that we’d be crazy to not slap on ads or try to monetize our services.  The thing is — we didn’t.  We probably *were* a bit crazy. And when we started Karma Kitchen, people really thought “No way!”  It was a restaurant where your check always read zero, with this note: “Your meal is paid for by someone before you, and now it’s your chance to pay it forward.”  The thing is — 25 thousand meals later, the chain continues in several cities around the globe.

I encourage you to check out the links in his speech above, and to go read the whole thing. He is inspiring and it couldn’t have been better timing for what I am announcing tomorrow!

Peace and love!

 

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