Anyone who knows me will also know that I love the Economist and listen to its Audio Edition on my way to work every week as my general news overview. The beginning of its special report on the economic downtown a few weeks ago is a perfect example of its combination of high (though not always perfect) quality reporting and biting wit:
Five years ago Michael Silverstein and Neil Fiske wrote a book, “Trading Up: The New American Luxury”. They argued that Americans, even those of modest means, were abandoning merely adequate products for luxurious ones. Jake the construction worker, for example, splurged $3,000 on Callaway golf clubs, though he could have bought a set nearly as good for a third as much. (“They make me feel rich,” he said.) A shipping clerk on $25,000 a year bought silk pyjamas from Victoria’s Secret. A couple making $125,000 ordered a $4,000 brand-name cooking range, even though their kitchen came with a free generic one.
If you read the book backwards, it describes what is going on today.
- Trading down: From decadence to discounts, The Economist, May 30th, 2009
Saturday’s Kiva Dev Garage was a huge success with a great turnout and real progress on both some existing and entirely new projects. We had people working on iPhone and Facebook Apps, a Kiva loan browser, and lots of other cool things. My team worked on a WordPress Widget that is both really easy to install and hopefully really compelling and will lead to more people lending to Kiva Entrepreneurs. Check out this great video from the event:
There are few things that we at the Apture team find as exciting as combining Technology and Social Impact. This is why we have been fans of Kiva since the very beginning. One of our goals behind Apture was to better inform people about the world around them but being informed is only one piece of the puzzle – real change requires action. Kiva is one of quickest and easiest ways to make a difference in the life of a hard working, small entrepreneur in a developing country.
Kiva is of course also a technology shop and this weekend they are hosting the Kiva Developer Garage at their offices this Saturday, June 6 starting at 1pm. If you’re a developer in the Bay Area and want to hack on cool Kiva related projects and meet other people interested in Social Impact, you should definitely attend. A bunch of us, including myself will definitely be there so if you’re coming please tell us on Twitter and come say hi.