Why isn't Twitter doing more to get bots off their platform? Why isn’t Uber taking better care of its drivers?
What if...they can't?
Venture-capital backed companies like Twitter and Uber are held accountable to maximizing returns to investors. If and when they become public companies, they become accountable to maximizing returns to shareholders. They’ve promised Wall Street outsized returns — which means Twitter can't lose bots if it would significantly lower their user count and in turn lower advertising revenue, and Uber can’t treat their drivers like employees if it competes with profits.
But what's the alternative? What might it look like to design an ownership and governance model that incentivizes a technology company to serve all of its stakeholders over the long term – and primarily, the stakeholders who create value?
This week on Your Undivided Attention, we're talking with two experts on creating the conditions for humane business, and in turn, for humane technology: Mara Zepeda and Kate “Sassy” Sassoon of Zebras Unite. Zebras Unite is a member-owned co-operative that’s creating the capital, culture, and community to power a more just and inclusive economy. The Zebras Unite Coop serves a community of over 6,000 members, in about 30 chapters, over 6 continents. Mara is their Managing Director, and Kate is their Director of Cooperative Membership.
Mara Zepeda is a systempreneur and serial social entrepreneur. She has founded and co-founded multiple social ventures — including the venture-backed software company Switchboard (now Hearken), progressive business organization Business for a Better Portland, and XXcelerate, an entrepreneurship support organization for Oregon womxn entrepreneurs. Today, she is a Co-Founder and Managing Director of Zebras Unite, an international and intersectional hybrid cooperative creating the capital, culture, and community for the next economy.
Kate “Sassy” Sassoon is the Director of Cooperative Membership at Zebras Unite, and a Zebras Unite founding member. Having participated in a wide variety of innovative member-and-mission-driven organizations for over 20 years, she has a wealth of experience in: organizational culture, change management, education and training, community organizing, mission-driven strategic planning, decision making process design, conflict management, and mediation. Kate is a lifelong co-operative advocate, and is devoted to creating efficient and ethical processes for high-impact collaboration. Kate is also the Founder and Principal at Sassy Facilitation — supporting cooperative communication.
A seminal 2017 article by Zebras Unite co-founders, which kicked off the movement and distinguished between zebras and unicorns — per the table below.
Zebras Unite’s 2019 thought experiment of exiting Meetup to community
Where you can find upcoming online events, as well as recordings of previous events.