From the Archives: Virtual Business Isn’t Just Great for Me, It’s Saving the Planet

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July 15th, 2018

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EarthI recently read Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard.  A friend recommended it to me and I found it very interesting.  Chouinard is the founder and owner of the outdoor company Patagonia.  Prior to reading, the only knowledge of Patagonia I had was that they made expensive outdoor equipment that I heard was high quality.  And there is a Patagonia fleece jacket in our coat closet which my wife occasionally wears.

My initial reaction to the book was that I love Patagonia’s business concept.  They aim to produce the highest quality products in their field, designed with unmatched expertise and simple elegance by people who use the products.  Patagonia’s premium products and tremendous customer service allow them to grow continuously, but they choose to manage their growth strategically – aiming to be great rather than huge.  These are the exact goals of my organization – deliver a high quality product, exceptional service, and strive to be great not big.

As I read on, I learned more about Chouinard’s philosophies toward environmental concerns as well.  He has a very pessimistic view of the resource consumption and waste created by the citizens of the world and hopes to be a catalyst for change.  To lead by example, Patagonia donates 1% of their total annual sales to environmental causes.  I found this to be very impressive, but it also led me to be reflective.  I have never put much consideration into my environmental impact.  I recycle – but is that enough?

I then realized that I made a career change that had an unplanned yet significant environmental impact.  As a traveling salesperson, I was driving 30,000 or more miles per year.  Wearing out suits, cars and diners while consuming vast resources.  Now that I have transitioned to a virtual organization, this consumption and pollution had dropped by approximately 80%.  Maybe more.  This virtual opportunity was great for me personally, and in a very small way is helping save the planet.

Virtual Business Isn’t Just Great for Me, It’s Saving the Planet was Originally Posted on October 22nd, 2010 by John Scranton