The 1:1 Model Can Do 1:5 – and Should

The model was pioneered by Toms, then Warby Parker. Buy a hip and sexy product, and they’ll ship off another to someone needs it.

Shoes. Glasses. And now, thanks to Porteur, bikes. Buy a $1200 fixed gear bike (comes with a pack) and they’ll send another to someone in Africa who needs it. Like the others, 1:1.

When I asked them if they send exactly what I buy to the needy – that is, the $1200 bike – they said no. Which, I’m perfectly fine with. There’s no need for a colorful hipster bike to be used as a cargo/commuter on a dirt.

But that’s where they lose the plot. If you’re not sending the exact same shoe/glasses/bikes, but a (much) cheaper variant, send more.

Send five instead of one. Profit margin drops by maybe 10%, but you’re making a 500% greater impact.

Further, if you really want to enhance community you’re marketing as helping, use the cash you would use to build and ship those 5 products to instead produce those goods locally. You’ll do a billion times more good and still make plenty of money.

And, if you really want to be a great business, pool a percentage of equity (1%?) or better, revenue, to help boot up new businesses that commit to the 1:5 rule.


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  • Liz Blackman (@LizsHub)
    Apr 26, 2012

    Great concept! Agree wholeheartedly The 1:1 Model Can Do 1:5 – and Should | Shlok Vaidya http://t.co/NTpPI20q #thinkhealing

  • I think you might’ve just sold me a bike 😉 LOVE the concept here although I agree 1:5 > 1:1!! I’ve been looking at getting a fixed gear (blast from my Amsterdam past) and am pretty intrigued by this company

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