sxsw popexpert salon: Bet on People Doing Good Things


Cameron Sinclair and Blair Palmer partnered up for an inspiring discussion on social entrepreneurship and how to balance funding and functionality in order to make positive social impact on a global scale.

Both Cameron and Blair have amazing experience and we packed the bus with other key leaders in the “social good” space.

An interesting theme emerged from this Salon that ended up being repeated in several others – a lot of us are recognizing the need to do something meaningful with our careers and are taking the leap from the corporate world’s profit-focused stability to pursue work that serves a “higher purpose.” But, as Blair and Cameron discussed, we are starting to see that doing good can also be good business.

Here are some highlights:

  • “It’s not about inches in the NY TImes. I care about conversations…We need to make people part of the conversation and connect each story to action.”
  • “A big problem in doing good is that the lowest common denominator is as good as the best project when it comes to the way metrics are typically reported.”
  • “There is a professionalization gap in developing countries where we help the cute kids but forget people when they get to the awkward teenage years.”
  • “Anybody can help. 50% of our disaster funding for Architecture for Humanity is from high school students.”
  • “We’re giving people tools, not necessarily a full solution but tools that people will actually use. One of the biggest failures we see is when you don’t understand your users lives.”
  • “For the Hope Phones campaign, we raise money by partnering with all sorts of corporations. For example, we were able to expand a project in Nepal because those funds covered the hardware costs. As a result, over one hundred community health volunteers are being equipped with mobile applications and solar panels.”

It was refreshing to think about how doing good can also be profitable – thank you Cameron and Blair for such candid and inspiring discussion.

Visit Architecture for Humanity and Medic Mobile to learn more. @casinclair @blair_palmer