At the beginning of Facebook’s new podcast, “Three and a Half Degrees: The Power of Connection,” host David Fischer poses a rhetorical question to his audience.
“Remember that theory that everyone in the world is connected by just six degrees of separation?” the Facebook vice president of business and marketing partnerships asks. “Well today, three and a half degrees is all that stands between you and anyone else in the world with an Internet connection.”
Playing off its title, the podcast — which was developed over the course of six months and will have seven total episodes released every two weeks in its first season — focuses on bringing together young entrepreneurs with seasoned leaders in the business world.
Fischer told USA TODAY that observing the actions of the over 90 million business that use Facebook inspired him to create the podcast.
“I consider it part of our mission to help the businesses we work with learn from one another,” Fischer said.
Focusing on helping people
The podcast’s first episode, “The Power of Social Good,” brought together three entrepreneurs — TOMS’ founder Blake Mycoskie and Two Blind Brothers’ founders Bryan and Bradford Manning — to discuss how they’ve used their businesses as platforms to help others.
At a young age, the Manning brothers were diagnosed with Stargardt disease, which causes blindness over time. In 2016, the two created Two Blind Brothers, a clothing line that specializes in soft shirts and donates all of its proceeds to blindness research, as a way to reach the visually impaired community.
For the Manning brothers, making money has never been the goal in operating their business.
“We wanted to make every decision as if it would never grow into any sizable company,” Bryan Manning told USA TODAY.
Those decisions include donating 100 percent of their profit to finding a cure for blindness. To date, they have donated $540,000 — more than half of their original $1 million goal — to organizations such as the Foundation Fighting Blindness.
On the podcast, the Manning brothers received advice on social entrepreneurship from Mycoskie, who founded shoe company TOMS in 2006. TOMS is known for its “one for one” model — for every pair of shoes purchased, another pair is donated to a child in need across the globe.
“Once we proved that you could make money and help people at the same time, so many other companies have been started since then,” Mycoskie said on the podcast.
The Manning brothers told USA TODAY that talking to Mycoskie was “one of the coolest things” they’ve gotten to do, as he is the “forefather” to their type of business.
“He really started this whole idea that doing good, and having a good social vision, can actually be good business or even better business than traditional consumer retail,” Bryan Manning said.
Turns out some of the most popular new tech launching this year, isn’t so new at all.
Jennifer Jolly for USA TODAY
Follow USA TODAY intern Ben Tobin on Twitter: @TobinBen
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