An Alternative to Silicon Valley Unicorns


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By Center for Humane Technology, Tristan Harris, Aza Raskin, and The Center for Humane Technology. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

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 Co-Op. 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.

Two corrections:

  • The episode says that the failure rate of startups is 99%. The actual rate is closer to 90%.
  • The episode says that in 2017, Twitter reported 350 million users on its platform. The actual number reported was 319 million users.


Zebras Fix What Unicorns Break

A seminal 2017 article by Zebras Unite co-founders, which kicked off the movement and distinguished between zebras and unicorns — per the table below.

Meetup to the People

Zebras Unite’s 2019 thought experiment of exiting Meetup to community

Zebras Unite Crowdcast Channel

Where you can find upcoming online events, as well as recordings of previous events.
A Renegade Solution to Extractive Economics with Kate Raworth:

Bonus — A Bigger Picture on Elon & Twitter:

Here’s Our Plan And We Don’t Know with Tristan Harris, Aza Raskin, and Stephanie Lepp:
Your Undivided Attention is produced by the Center for Humane Technology. Follow us on Twitter: @HumaneTech_

78 episodes