A Better Place

“Our mission is to break the world’s oil addiction.”

Compliments of September’s Wired cover story, I learned of Shai Agassi’s phenomenal start-up Better Place. His mission is admirable to me as Green is my number one current cause issue. And social causes have rapidly become critical professional matters for those of us writing on the Buzz Bin.


Shai (see his blog here) abandoned a promising career at software giant SAP to fulfill it. His vision of all electric cars is so ambitious it makes your mouth drop. Forget GM’s broken Volt model. Instead, envision battery power readily accessible through a networked grid everywhere. And the cost? One third of the gas-guzzling fuel costs the average American spends.

shai.jpg Impossible you say? Yet he has Renault, Daimler, the Israeli and Danish governments, powerful investors, and talented individuals across the globe getting in line behind him. He is attracting the world’s most incredible minds, and breaking so called rules left and right. And he is likely to break current paradigms for hybrid and electric cars.

Why? Because he was tasked by fellow entrepreneurs to change the world, to make a difference for the environment. In his relentless passion to achieve what he sees as the world’s biggest environmental challenge — oil addiction – he has turned the heads of many, and may become one of our generation’s greatest heros. I hope so.

Many times on my personal blog (this piece is cross-posted there), I’ve stated a definitive intent to use my communication “powers” for good.

At Gnomedex this weekend, I will have the great pleasure of meeting Beth Kanter, one of the leading change bloggers out there. Beth’s work is so prolific we felt compelled to interview her yesterday. Voices like hers, like la Marguerite, like EcoGeek, speak to me every time I open my reader. It’s dedicated, 110% committed people like these change bloggers, like Agassi, that let you know the impossible can be achieved.

Inevitably my mind returns to our internal mission: Building a significant social cause practice, and using our social media skills for good. In the past week, we’ve made several steps that have put us in position to kick some real butt on behalf of organizations trying to relieve poverty, end genocide, educate America, and more.

We live once. No one will remember us for marketing body armor, wireless networks, cars, software, etc., etc. What will your legacy be?

Yes, we have to pay the bills. Not everyone can direct corporate strategy in this way. Or maybe you can just quit like Agassi — like me — and start your own company. But all of us, every single one of us can do more. As communicators we have the ability to help in ways most people cannot. We can use social media and traditional channels to heighten public awareness, help fundraise, and build better companies. And it’s hard to imagine that there isn’t some cause that every person holds dear to their heart.

2008 is 66% over. What are you doing to make Earth a better place this year?