ENTREPRENEUR BIZ TIPS: The poor know how to overcome poverty. | Robert Hacker | TEDxBocaRaton

ENTREPRENEUR BIZ TIPS: The poor know how to overcome poverty. | Robert Hacker | TEDxBocaRaton

Here’s Great Tip: The poor know how to overcome poverty. | Robert Hacker | TEDxBocaRaton


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For almost 40,000 years governments have failed to solve the problem of poverty. Now is the time for individuals with Internet connectivity to become empowered entrepreneurs. Robert Hacker relates the lessons he learned about poverty at One Laptop per Child.
Robert Hacker is a consultant and author and teaches social entrepreneurship at FIU and MIT Sloan. Previously he built a billion dollar public company in one of the poorest countries, Indonesia.

Robert Hacker works at the intersection of creativity, entrepreneurship and complexity as a consultant, advisor, professor and writer.

He worked in Asia for twenty years, including seven years in Indonesia where he built a billion dollar publicly traded company. Bob returned to the U.S. in 1999 and later worked with One Laptop per Child where he sold over a million educational laptops to foreign governments to freely distribute to children.

Today he manages GH Growth Advisors, a Miami consulting firm that offers “pragmatic growth strategies for middle market companies with complex problems”. He teaches entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship at Florida International University and MIT Sloan School of Management. Bob also acts as an advisor to early stage high tech companies and is actively involved in the Endeavor and Demeter advisory networks.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

11 Replies to “ENTREPRENEUR BIZ TIPS: The poor know how to overcome poverty. | Robert Hacker | TEDxBocaRaton”

  1. how do you explain the deep despairing poverty encountered in the US? the kind of poverty where three children share one pair of pants for most of their youth. this US is not as marvelous as you state.

  2. Great talk 🙂

    I think an equally important aspect of this phenomenon you saw is asymmetric access to NETWORKS. Because you can have the greatest idea/insights and/or products in the world, but if the only network you have access to is a small, poorly organized, and perhaps governmentally hobbled one, then you are not going to be successful on anything but the smallest of scales. The One Laptop Per Child provided these families access to information, sure, but I think the access to infinitely larger and more complex networks through the online connectivity is the more important component to success in creating these new entrepreneurs. When you live in a small, isolated, and poor community (or any combination of two of those things), you have a limited customer pool. Even if your business is awesome and everyone wants to buy from you, you have a limited pool of customers before you run out and further growth is impossible, assuming those in your community can afford to buy anything from you if you are all poor. But access to the internet and a huge network of wealthier worldwide customers provides the unique opportunity for these entrepreneurs to bring FRESH money into their communities. Rather than the same units of currency just being traded back and forth in the closed community, they now all can have the opportunity to increase their wealth. I think the concept of trickle down economics shines in this setting (where it fails in more complex markets) because raising the wealth of even just a few families in a poor and isolated community will raise the wealth of the other community members as those wealthier families now have money they will want to spend, and will most likely spend it locally, as blowing it all on stuff from Amazon.com may not be an option where they live. Access to markets outside their traditional community is the key to increasing the community's overall wealth (which would be the consequence of any of these new entrepreneurs becoming successful).

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