Philip Sheldrake

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Tag: Euler Partners

The meaning of business

open for business

Why do firms exist? Strangely, no-one appears to have asked this question until a 27 year-old economist did so in 1937.

Ronald Coase published his answer in The Nature of the Firm, now considered a seminal text. He studied the circumstances that led entrepreneurs to hire people as employees instead of simply contracting jobs out to traders and came up with the answer we now simply refer to as transaction costs. People are hired when the various associated costs are lower than they would be otherwise.

Here's a similar sounding question, but one that is actually fundamentally different. What is the meaning / the purpose of business?

Coase needed to look no further than economics to explain why firms exist. Their existence is a binary thing. But any question seeking to address meaning and purpose encompasses philosophy, sociology, and politics.

Unavoidably, any answer is framed in terms of ... What's best? What's optimum? Why? How? And for whom?

Euler Partners sense Summer 2016 - the meaning of business

The answer was in fact framed economically for a long time in terms known as shareholder value, and perhaps Coase's question and answer influenced this blinkered perspective. But we've found and are still finding that a different answer can lead to superior economics, and not just in terms of profitability but in terms of the triple bottom line – people, planet and profit.

Euler Partners' just published its sense Summer 2016 report, The meaning of business. Available here as PDF and also on Medium.com. If you're frustrated with today's typical responses to this question, and / or if you want to build sustainable business, you'll find the report provoking.


Image credit: By Leo Reynolds, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Influence Crowd becomes Euler Partners

Euler Partners

When George W. Bush was inaugurated for his second term in January 2005, no one uploaded a video to YouTube.

When Italy beat France to win the 2006 FIFA World Cup final, fans didn’t Tweet. Not once. No one in Europe mentioned it on Facebook. No one captured Fabio Grosso scoring the winner on an iPhone. No one jumped on Gmail to commiserate with French friends. No one used BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) to celebrate with Italian friends.

Social media have progressed incredibly quickly and organizations have had to grapple with the challenges and identify and pursue the opportunities.

But things began to get serious during 2009 as it became increasingly apparent that social web and related technologies could transform the way organizations go about their business beyond the domains of marketing, public relations and customer service. It might even redefine what it means to be in business. And that’s when we founded the consultancy Influence Crowd.

By September 2011, when I had the opportunity to address the executive summit at Dreamforce (the annual Salesforce.com conference), this radical landscape had been labelled with a distinct call to action – socialize the enterprise.

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