The Business of Selling Hope

The world is a quagmire. Our capacity to inflict pain on others is only matched by our desire to have more than we need. It is difficult not be saddened by reading the daily news. Information explosion in the form of perceptions and rhetoric transmitted through social media and journalism in mainstream tabloids has left people struggling to discern reality. Problems closer home shift focus to local issues and hinder altruistic efforts. It’s very difficult to talk to someone who has domestic economic hardship to take a world view. Such a person needs a mentor and a guide through the downturn. Digitization is an important tool for welfare in a developing economy but it has to be combined with local reform.

In the corporate world, there is always a conflict between short term goals and the longer term strategy but the short term plan seems to have become the long term goal. That is why some CEO’s decide to delist their companies from the stock exchange. While Investors on the stock exchanges want fast returns, a CEO may see the soul of his company dying a quarterly death. Also, investors may not be tolerant towards a more social approach.

Similarly, re-election is a strong incentive to not pay attention to the longer term future. It may not be difficult to align short term incentives to longer term goals but when near sightedness affects all, tomorrow may be a different day.

While there are moves towards insularity, technology is reshaping the jobs left for humans. There is an increasing need to take a global approach to solving local problems.

Not for profits have an important role to be the purveyors of hope and progress. There is a need to relook the model and improve public participation. Mother Teresa has been an icon of hope for many generations. Not for profits have to work towards leaving such a legacy. Easier said than done. But, where others see difficulty , the optimist sees hope.

On a micro level, design is central to eliciting enthusiasm and a zest for life. The internet is central to human experience today and good U/X design has never been in greater demand. Quite often, it’s not the medicine but a doctors smile that prolongs life.

To those who succeed in recreating dreams through cinema, modern art, music, architecture, literature or through their acts, humanity lies in debt.

The business of selling hope is an eternal enterprise. If you are not in this business, I suggest you get into it.

Writer @ The Intersection of Finance, Tech & Humanity. Stories of a Global Language: “Money”. Contributor @ Startup Grind, HackerNoon, HBR. Twitter@akothari_mba

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