Thursday, February 07, 2008

Couple of lectures

Over the last few weeks I had the good fortune of listening to two excellent speakers.

The first was Mohammed Yunus, who founded the Grameen Bank and was awarded the Nobel prize in 2006. Mohammed Yunus is a terrific speaker and a lot more down to earth than most other public speakers I've listened to. His story on the "poor people's bank", as he calls it, is a phenomenal story and he tells it, seemingly, without any spice. For someone to have achieved a likely unassaiblable goal of countering poverty in Bangladesh and inspiring many others around the world, his humility is inspiring.

There were a couple of points he made that I wanted to jot down and remind myself repeatedly. While companies can strive for maximizing profit for themselves, they must pay heed to the planet around them and help maximize the overall benefit to the planet. He did not advocate it as an alternative to capitalism. This is a sentiment I've heard several times recently, and it is something worth listening to.

The other lecture I happened to go to was by Larry Lessig. This was Lessig's last Free Culture talk before he moves on to something different. Lessig's well known for founding Creative Commons and pushing for reduced restrictions on copyrights -- especially as they apply to the digital medium.

Lessig's talk was impressive and it is also impressive that the next challenge he is taking on is to end lobbyism and corruption in Congress. Interestingly, among the presidential candidates there were only two who push for lobbyists not funding congressmen's election -- Barrack Obama and John Edwards.

Lessig later also posted an online video on why Obama and not Hillary, that I am posting below.

No comments: