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Passion and Purpose (Audiobook)

1 rating: 4.0
Presentation and Q&A with Whole Foods founder, John Mackey

 Product Description   Conventional wisdom said a natural food store could never compete with the big supermarkets, but today Whole Foods Market is a thriving multi-billion dollar success with more than 270 locations. Pioneering CEO John … see full wiki

1 review about Passion and Purpose (Audiobook)

Intriguing insight into Conscious Capitalism

  • Jul 1, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+4
I'm not a particular fan of Whole Foods nor John Mackey (possibly because we seem to drop an ungodly amount of money there every week), but I found his presentation to be full of insightful observations and predictions about the future of business. He correctly identifies many of the weaknesses of existing business models (ie. business as a machine to maximize profits) and think management should be a skill of organizing competing ideas. 

Mackey talks about the impact of healthy foods, but recognizes the positive effects of mass food production, reducing the average family's food expenditure from 50% in the past to around 10% today. At the same time, he believes that one of the great public discoveries to come is just how badly we treat livestock in America today ("truly disgraceful"). 

Some great gems: 
- Most businesses do a terrible job at customer service. "Put your customer service first always, and I guarantee your business will flourish." And "paradoxically, if you put your investors first you probably won't give them the return they would like". 
- Salary openness (and salary cap @19x pay, which has increased to fight competitors). Fully-paid health insurance, where benefits are the same for every employee. 
- You can beat the stock indexes by buying the Fortune 100 companies - would have doubled return in last 10 years. 
- Doesn't like Walmart's mentality of beating up suppliers - vendors must be allowed to thrive. 

The ultimate message is that business has a deeper purpose beyond maximizing profits, and must maximize value for every stakeholder (employees, vendors, customers, community, etc.). Conscious capitalism is the ecosystem created by these businesses interacting and he foresees that this will be the dominant business environment of the 21st century. 

Overall, I greatly enjoyed this audio-book (an excellent alternative to radio in the car). Although Mr Mackey's optimism and vision is not practiced by the majority of companies out there, he clearly states the case for improving the capitalist ecosystem that will pay dividends for shareholders, suppliers, employees and customers alike.

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