Wellington IT scene: New business models

A limited liability company that aims for modest profits but significant social benefit

There is a new business model in the US that extends the standard profit and not-for-profit models. It is known as low profit, limited liability and generates only modest profits.

“We want to use that to achieve some profit, but our primary aim is to produce significant social benefit,” says Steve Graham, whose I.Love.New.Zealand Facebook site recorded 307,000 “Likes” in a week recently.

Graham, an American, has spent 12 years in New Zealand IT. He was southern regional manager for Microsoft, then general manager at Fronde, where he set up the company’s cloud practice.

After taking six months off to take his family back to California, he returned two years ago and established a consultancy to help organisations redevelop themselves in terms of the discontinuity brought about by social media.

“Many organisations are really struggling with the speed of change,” he says. “We look out five years to see where things are going.” The consultancy is called ActOnInsight.com.

“We saw early on the momentum around Facebook and the potential to really build a community.”

But the social networking site has its own strict policies, which Graham says they originally ran foul of.

“Facebook has a lot of control over communities,” Graham says. “We were focused on a growing community and we made a mistake by not abiding with the rules. Facebook shut us down when we ran a competition with a third-party application.”

That has now been fixed and Graham says he thinks I.Love.New.Zealand currently has the third largest following in New Zealand.

“We are only a couple of weeks away from launching our community website (IluvNZ.co.nz) to support our Facebook page,” he says.

“Our vision is to share, create and celebrate the values of New Zealand so that the world is moved by the possibilities of how Kiwi values are the way to go.

“The I Luv NZ community is meant to represent the New Zealand ‘can do’ attitude, the spirit of generosity and be home to a community that is capable of initiating and accomplishing positive outcomes in a transparent manner,” Graham says.

“New Zealand is ranked number-one globally as the world’s most open [least corrupt/ www.transparency.org] country and we are passionate about building a community of openness; so much so that we have built the Kiwi Openness Meter [KiwiOmeter]. We believe this ranking highlights the true character of the New Zealander. We will apply the KiwiOmeter test to all those entities [private/public] who engage with the I Luv NZ community.”

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