Passion For Microfinance, Passion For Social Media

By Richard Wheeler (Zephyris) 2007. Image of E...Image via WikipediaWhen you are gelling the DNA of a young company, when you are laying down the rudiments of its culture, when you are slowly building a team, there are decisions you have to make.

Tony of Zappos has a few things to say about the topic. One thing Tony does is after he trains people, he offers them 3,000 dollars to leave. Another thing he does is he lets go the top talented people who deliver when they don't fit into the Zappos corporate culture.

Two obvious things I have figured out are that you have to have a passion for microfinance - duh! - and you have to have a passion for social media if you want to belong on my corporate team.

It's a microfinance company. If you don't instinctively feel the promise of a $100 loan that might be made out to someone living on a dollar a day, you need to be in some other line of work.

People living on a dollar a day are often - always perhaps - people who lack access to all sorts of services and institutions. Can you empathize with the resultant behavior patterns? If not, go into some other line of work.

The thing about social media is it is high tech, but you don't have to be a techie to handle it. If you still don't get it, you are not in tune with the vibes of tech. That is part of it. I mean, just like this is a microfinance startup, it is also a tech startup.

But primarily it is about the central role I see social media play in all aspects of the company's operations.

It is also about having global ambitions. The company has global ambitions. This is not a holdout group of techies trying to create a screen time and screen time only experience for the end users. Our primary action is offline. And microfinance is primarily a Global South thing. But that is three big continents you are talking about.

Through massive use of social media you hope to make it possible for your scattered team to really stay in touch without relying too much on the phone and email. Social media cures the inbox and voice mail box problems beautifully. Social media is inherently a richer experience and hence more real.
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