If the world is a circus, Shift Sight is peddling a three-ring version. As a triple-bottom-line startup, there is an emphasis on people, planet, and profit. This is a difficult balancing act – if it was simple, it would have been done already.
It is clear that focusing on only profit is increasingly a bad idea in the electronics sector. People are angry that their devices are made obsolete by software updates. Digital addictions are stealing our creativity, capability, and enjoyment of life. Conflict Minerals is a nightmare. The planet does not digest electronic waste nor the plastics so frequently attached to them.
Only Shift Sight seems to have a vision that matches the magnitude of the challenges. I would love to be proven wrong.
The Lion Tamer
Shift Sight must be financially viable. Insolvency translates to no impact. I have written previously that the business problem solved by Shift Sight is personal, relevant, and has a growing market.
Parents complain that their children are learning throwaway skills. Teachers complain that drag-and-drop programming combined with blinking, beeping electronic blocks do not provide an environment for mastery. But this is all that is on the market today.
In terms of competition, Shift Sight is up against some lions. Rather than fight them, we will tame them.
Summary of Shift Sight's Triple-Bottom-Line
The FIN column above captures how each item affects Shift Sight's profitability. For example, giving to 1% For The Planet (#8) is money that leaves Shift Sight. The red "X" conveys that giving away money is financially detrimental. As you might have guessed, SOC is social / people, and ENV is environment / planet.
Most of these eleven items should be familiar if you have been following Shift Sight's story as it unfolds.
The "impact fund" in number eight is exactly what it sounds like. After Shift Sight is self-sustaining, there will be an internal fund used to bootstrap other impact entrepreneurs. Shift Sight employees will serve as the investment committee.
Number nine has not been described in detail yet. Jade is bringing a new experience to the fundamentals: items that have been around for 40 years and show no sign of slowing down in importance. This means an avoidance of the latest and greatest simply for the sake of technology. If conventional technology is advancing too quickly for an average person to learn and too quickly for the Earth to support, what are we doing?
Number 11 is the logical conclusion of Jade doing well in the market. By design, Jade will displace many existing STEM edtech products. Jade and its add-ons are tools for creating a sustainable future; it is up to the students and customers to create the future they want to see.
Acrobats and Magicians
Triple-bottom-line startups are very apt for this circus metaphor. They are acrobats, needing to bend and flex as social and environmental issues ebb and flow. They are magicians, solving systemic problems while making money in the process.
Next time Shift Sight is in your town, come and see us perform. You won’t be disappointed.
Ty is a Founder of Shift Sight, LLC.