Chapter 6 -- page 100
One of my guiding business principles is what I referred to as “Constructive Capitalism." Let’s face it, I got rich simply by making the world a better place. That was always my goal from a young age. I’ll be honest and admit that I also went into business for recognition, wealth and challenge. However, I always operated with the philosophy that I would like to build a legacy that would be respected. When my company developed the efficient food product known as “NutrisHouse” Bars which delivered a person’s complete nutritional daily requirements, then that really was the fulfillment of my dreams. I ultimately have far surpassed any and all of my hopes.
Upon my company’s ultimate success in the USA and Europe, we then started developing the same food products for poorer countries. The products for these regions cost about a third of the more consumer-oriented products that were being sold and marketed in the western areas. Of course, everyone knows that the flavor was not as good and the packaging was not as elaborate, but the nutrition value was the same. Every single country in the world that imported NutrisHouse Bars saw improved health almost immediately. Even where there were still dictators and civil wars at the time, the health of the citizens improved.
“Constructive Capitalism” evolved as a concept that in essence requires a company in order to be successful to do doing something tangibly beneficial to improve the state of the world. This was not necessarily a unique concept that I developed, rather a progression of the changing consumer-mindset and some companies realizing that it was in their best interest to go this route in order to maximize profitability. “Constructive Capitalism” was also not just about financial contribution either. Just writing a check to a charitable organization seemed unsettling to most people after the success of NutrisHouse Bars where genuinely positive results were being realized. Consumers would not accept anymore that if a company does business they just cannot hand over a payment to make them feel or in the worst case scenario, look good. The contribution of the company must be genuine, involve the resources of the company and be done with the spirit of improving the conditions in the surrounding areas. Even in the US, the spirit of corporate contribution became more about first-hand infrastructure development rather than continuing to do “fun runs, bake sales and raffles”, as Bill Gates put it in 2007.