Social Business Model

Reading the message from the hacker who hacked into the facebook profile of Mark Zuckerberg on 25 January 2011, made me decide to write this post. A social business is a non-loss, non-dividend company designed to address a social objective. The profits are used to expand the company’s reach and improve the product/service. This model has grown from the work of Muhammad Yunus and others.

While traditional banks were not interested in making tiny loans at reasonable interest rates to the poor due to high repayment risks,Yunus believed that given the chance the poor will repay the borrowed money and hence microcredit could be a viable business model.

He founded the Garmeen Bank and in 2006 Yunus and Grameen received the Nobel Prize for Peace. Yunus himself has received several other national and international honors.

This is the hackers message:

“Let the hacking begin: If Facebook needs money, instead of going to the banks, why doesn’t Facebook let its users invest in Facebook in a social way? Why not transform Facebook into a ‘social business’ the way Nobel prize winner Muhammad Yunus described it?”

The message attracted nearly 2000 ‘likes’ and was up for 24 hours before it was noticed and removed – but not before it was spotted, and a screenshot posted, by technology blog TechCrunch.

I’m against any form of hacking but can’t get the message out of my mind, can you invest in Facebook?

Here’s the anser:  The only way to invest in Facebook except of buying the whole company is to buy shares of Microsoft which bought a little stake last year. The majority of Microsoft’s business is the development and sale of software products so even the market value of Facebook increases, this would have little impact on Microsoft’s share price.

So that’s a NO, unless if you have buckets of money. Facebook is called a Social Network Service and is in fact the ideal platform to use for Yunus model I think.

Mark Zuckerberg truly philanthropist donations to Social Projects is excellent. I think with over 500 million people using facebook all over the globe, maybe its a good idea to change Facebooks business model.



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  1. Bart Norré January 28, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Social Business a “contradictio in termninis”? Anyway microcredit seems to bring more disaster than welfare and make the poorer still more poorer Grameen Bank and `microcredit’: The `wonderful story’ that never happened and there are many more articles and documentaries describing how this “social oriented” concept has become a very perverse instrument to push poor people into suicide… This does not mean we should not think about social facebook business, but let’s be very critical and understand that business is business… and furthermore bankers do not have a quite good reputation these days ‘People die from hunger while banks make a killing on food’
    I am sorry would have loved to believe it all could happen like that…

    • robvlees January 31, 2011 at 11:20 am

      The post is more focussing on Social Business as a business model, not to help the poor to get microcredits where the model originated from.

      I think facebook could be turned into a business where part of the companie profits are invested in social projects, rather than only pay out to investors (banks).

      Facebook would also be more social if it gives ordinary people who are not millionaires the change to invest.

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