Bentoism: How to make decisions beyond short-term individualism - Yancey Strickler of The Bento Society & Kickstarter
Play • 42 min

Kickstarter and The Bento Society founder Yancey Strickler joins us today to talk about what it was like creating an impact-centered crowdfunding platform in 2009, what being a public-benefit corporation means (and what it doesn’t), and bentoism and why it’s something we all should practice. 

Initially beginning his career as a music critic, Yancey crossed paths with Perry Chen who would then go on to be one of his co-founders. With Perry’s idea of wanting to throw a concert without having to shell out cash at the start and further driven by creative projects, the two of them along with another friend, Charles Adler, put their heads together and founded Kickstarter.

Truly breaking away from the norm, instead of merely supporting projects that would make companies rich, Kickstarter was born with the goal of funding projects without a profit motive, meaning as long as a person found it to be of value to them, then that was enough. 

Kickstarter eventually became listed as a public-benefit corporation and this decision has allowed and is continuing to allow Kickstarter to succeed in the long term. He then goes on to talk about B Corps and C Corps and the differences between the three. 

Moving onto The Bento Society, Yancey talks about the bentoism movement and what the bento model or framework is all about. It’s not just about self-interest but taking into consideration those around you as well both in the present and in the future. Centered in this framework, Yancey has built a society of thousands of people that have adapted and now use this bento model. They hold weekly activities to allow members of the community to practice bentoism and support projects aligned with their mission through quarterly grants.

Yancey’s key lessons and quotes from this episode were:

  • “It's quite difficult to make a good decision, a righteous decision in a hard moment. Even the best person will have a hard time doing that. And so, how well is this really set up for long-term success if we are reliant on that?” (10:02)
  • “The idea should be you put the public good and your own personal good side by side, like you don't get to choose one and then the other.” (11:01)
  • “Creating a business is a very powerful way to change things, to do things. It's exciting. It's fun.” (12:23)
  • “The climate is going to make it unconscionable for us to only optimize for financial value.” (19:15)
  • “What solves what I need right now?” (24:23)
  • “Without a destination, you can't get anywhere” (26:28)
  • “In any good negotiation, what do you negotiate? You just shift the playing field.” (29:42)
  • “You may be wrong, but you have to be opinionated.” (30:07)

In this episode, we also talked about:

  • How Kickstarter was founded (2:27)
  • Being entrepreneurial and “personal good” and “public good” (8:26)
  • Public-benefit corporations (14:54)
  • Bentoism and how Yancey practices it (21:57)
  • How impact-driven entrepreneurs can use the bento framework (26:25)
  • Finding the balance between profit and impact (32:33)
  • The Bento Society (37:07)
  • What Yancey envisions the world will be in 30 years according to bentoism (39:41)
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