ALEX BOGUSKY ON THE RISE OF THE SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR (REUTERS)

Bogusky gave some background on his path from wildly successful adman to devout consumer advocate.  “I’ve fallen in love with Social Entrepreneurs,” he said. His new venture COMMON is the world’s first collaborative brand, as he describes it. It’s a “network for rapidly prototyping social ventures under a unified brand.”

He spoke about the dilemma of human consumption outpacing the capabilities of our planet and of the mentality of complete personal ownership and disposability that has taken hold of the new generation. He gave an example. It was a simple recollection, a simple idea, but it took me aback. He said that whenever he flies and looks out his window on to the suburbs, all the houses with their own little backyards, he thinks to himself what a waste it is, that all those people can’t come together and do away with those little yards of theirs and have one big park to share. “Every block could have it’s own park.” If you think about it, he’s right.

The types of ventures his COMMON is supporting appear to be grounded in good sense: digital hitchhiking, buy one/send one condoms, paid Wi-Fi sharing, among others. There is what appears to be a deep-seated commitment to the health of the planet and its inhabitants beneath his words and actions. His motivations have been questioned quite publicly in the past, the Fast Company cover story comes to mind. I have to admit, though, I was moved by what he had to say. The man has an undeniable charisma.

If nothing else, his talk was a reminder that our actions, even those of us in the business of playing with ideas and chasing clients, have consequences.

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