Thursday, October 27, 2011
I am not surprised by the revelation in the new Steve Jobs Biography, written by Walter Isaacson and described in a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy article, that Jobs turned away from philanthropy because he was annoyed when the person he hired to manage it kept talking about "venture philanthropy," how to "leverage giving," and the promotion of "social entrepreneurs." As I and others have written in various academic publications, drawbacks of the Fourth Sector include the breathless rhetoric that its promoters employ in describing it, coupled with their insistence that everything about it is innovative, even revolutionary. Over several years of observing the Fourth Sector, I have noticed that the MBAs often are comfortable with the language of "leveraging" and "outcome metrics" and "social return on investment," while many of the lawyers -- even those who are excited about the development of the Fourth Sector -- roll their eyes and grit their teeth. Maybe Jobs would have been more accepting of the Fourth Sector rhetoric if he had gone to Business School.