Known Unkown Values

Hello, I'm Nathan Williams. This is my website/newsletter, where I'll discuss value and social good.

Known Unkown Values
Good waterproofs and good business models are useful when the weather turns

Hello, I'm Nathan Williams. This is my website/newsletter, where I'll discuss value and social good. I'll be going broad and covering, digital, writing, environment, arts and other places in life where people find value...

I'll try to publish semi-regularly with some analysis and links. This website is built in Ghost which is open-source and run by a non-profit.

I work for ProMo-Cymru, a social enterprise plus charity working in digital and cultural spaces. I often omit the charity part and tell people we are a social enterprise because it's a simpler conversation.

The vogue of ethical consumption has seemingly put charity in the shade, at least in positive media narratives. So, it was interesting to hear the recent news about the clothes brand Patagonia becoming a charity (or, to be technically correct, the first company holding a newly created non-profit legal status). There is a lot of writing about this change, mostly positive and some critical. I've brought together the most interesting takes on this new non-profit model.

Patagonia round up

Article from Climbing magazine
Discussion on the new structure which was created to transfer ownership of Patagonia to a non-profit. Interesting to read that Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard had previously argued that such a change would not be possible if Patagonia had developed an employee ownership scheme.

Why there is no such thing as a good billionaire
A deeply critical analysis from Adam Conover argues against the system that creates billionaires and allows them and their families to have tax breaks and undue political influence.

Article from Why philanthropy matters
More nuanced coverage from Rhodri Davies discussing the historic context of similar foundations and the goodwill generated from Chouinard having demonstrated a clear ethical position on the climate emergency.

Cooperation, Punishment and Organized Crime
Experimental investigation into cooperation and how the mafia reacts to the Prisoner's Dilemma in real prisons.

Social norms and rice farming
Research on the impact of rice farming on social norms across cultures

Headless Brands
The concept of headless brands to explain the community-driven brand dynamics of projects which have no centralised managerial body

Ghost the nonprofit publishing platform
How Ghost's status as a nonprofit, letting people have control through code, and, choosing not to pay big name writers has resulted in more stable growth.  

Catch you again soon.