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How To Reimagine Capitalism With Nathan A. Stuck

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Nathan a stuck tedxfolsom

This interview with Nathan A. Stuck is part of the TEDxFolsom Reimagine Series, showcasing global changemakers, innovators, and thought-leaders who will be speaking at the upcoming TEDxFolsom event.   

Share with us a little bit about your background and what inspired you to apply to speak at TEDxFolsom? 

While it seems like I am a traditional businessperson (BBA, MBA, etc.), I entered an MBA program all but burned out by and disgusted with capitalism as we know it. Layoffs, bad bosses, unethical operations–you name it, I saw it. In my 2nd semester, I stumbled into a B Corp certification project. That led to almost six years working for a great boss and company and immersing myself in growing the B Corp movement and reimagining what capitalism could look like. 

Without giving away too much – Can you provide a short summary of what your topic for Reimagine is about? 

Capitalism is nothing more than an economic system that is privately owned (i.e., not government-owned). It is up to us, the workers and consumers, to define the rest. We have incredible power to shift the demand curve of what’s acceptable, right, and sustainable so that capitalism can work for everyone and for the long term. 

What was your inspiration or reflection point to generate this idea worth spreading? 

In the past six years, I have gone from working on a B Corp project to owning my own consulting business that helps companies certify (and transform). Along the way, I got heavily involved with the B Corp movement. I founded and chaired B Local Georgia, served on the board of B Academics, started and still run a B Culture Call, have planned two regional conferences, helped plan a B2B B Corps call, and teach a B Corp class in the same MBA program I studied at. Simply put, I fell in love with everything the B Corp community stands for and works every day to build. 

The people I’ve met, the business owners that have mentored me, and the students that want more from their careers have all inspired me to give this talk and unite us around an idea worth spreading. 

What are you looking forward to most with your talk? 

While the call to action is focused on workers and consumers, this talk also lays out the case for reimagining capitalism and how businesses operate and conduct themselves. Helping business owners get ahead of a quickly shifting demand curve and understand the direction our free market is taking is the big ripple I want to make and what I am looking forward to the most.  

I truly think that business owners who embrace this shift will survive, and those reluctant to do it will disappear. The free market is doing what a free market does, and the toothpaste is out of the tube. I hope I can indirectly make that argument to business owners and get to understand that purpose and profits, mission and margins can harmoniously coexist. And not only that, it is good for business. 

How do you foresee your TEDxFolsom talk impacting viewers both locally and globally? 

I sincerely hope it helps everyone understand their power to make real change in the world. Putting our own values behind our employment choices and everyday purchases can tip the scale, move the needle, whatever analogy you want to use. But at the end of the day, we (the collective we) have an incredible opportunity to redefine and reimagine capitalism and how it operates. 

This isn’t woke capitalism but rather simple economics at work. In a free market economy, consumers and employees decide that other valuable variables (beyond price) factor into their decisions. We all have the power to shift the demand curve and bring this new version of capitalism with us. 

If there is one nugget of information you want someone to walk away with that views your TEDx Talk, what would that be? 

In a world where every business has realized the need to have a commitment towards the environment, their community, diversity, and inclusion, do your research before you sign that offer letter or swipe that credit card. If we reward the companies that do business the right way and don’t reward the companies simply putting lipstick on a pig, we continue to build the ROI (return on investment) case that gets all businesses on board. 

If you read a company’s “about us” page and their commitments appear vague, lack any quantitative data, or seem to contradict common sense, ask questions. If their certifications seem vague (e.g., all-natural food), dig deeper. Is this a good marketing campaign or a sincere effort to set goals, measure progress, and improve? 

What’s the best way for people to reach out to you to learn more about your TEDx talk topic? 

I am very accessible on LinkedIn, as long as you don’t immediately try to sell me something. And I know a good number of B Corps around the world, so I am happy to make connections that make sense. You can follow me at https://www.linkedin.com/in/nathanastuck 

Matthew Loughran is a columnist at Disrupt Magazine, he specializes in Tech, Finance, Wellness, and Startups. He has been featured in Forbes, INC, Entrepreneur, Today Show, BuzzFeed, and several other news outlets.

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