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March 05, 2007

Inside GoodStorm with CEO Yobie Benjamin

Yobie What's your mission?  Set up a Women's healthcare unit? Sell sustainable products? Yobie Benjamin, Founder and CEO of GoodStorm wants to eliminate poverty by providing free selling tools within everyone's reach. That makes him a good guy member of the softer side of business, and someone we want to support.

"It's not about bringing selling to the Internet," he says, "It's about bringing the Internet to selling."

Just like easy and free blogging platforms turned millions into writers and publishers,  Yobie's hoping that the GoodStorm business platform will enable millions to sell anything they want, wherever they want, any time they want. They call it "Capitalism done right." (I'll let you surf the site to get a feel for it, but check back in mid-April for a major update and a far more inclusive platform.)

GoodStorm's a terrific service for women who are just starting out with a home-based business or a non-profit looking for ways to raise funds beyond dinners and solicitations. What if you don't have a home to base yourself from? No problem. Yobie reports that one of GoodStorm's users is a homeless woman who goes to the library when she needs an office. He also admits that major corporations use GoodStorm as well.

Helping individuals, help themselves become self-sustaining is the beginning and the end of his mission. "Once you have cash, then you can do other things," he says. "Poverty is generational," he continued. "Being able to sell is fundamental in any business, GoodStorm is positioned to remove the barriers and help those with ideas, but no financial backing, to succeed."

Andy Yobie and his fellow enabler and partner, Andy Rappaport aren't new to product launches and business plans. They've been doing it quite successfully for the last 20 years. As the former Chief of Global Strategy for Ernst and Young, Yobie worked with AOL/Time Warner, General Motors, Sprint, Merrill Lynch, Boeing, Walt Disney and many others. Andy has been a founder, investor, and/or director of venture-backed start-ups all while serving on 30 public and private company boards. Both of them "retired early" per se, but when the GoodStorm idea hit, they knew they had to put it out there. Within days they had a team of eight working on it.

Yobie owns a T-shirt making business. Admittedly GoodStorm is a front end marketing tool to bring more business to it. The difference between the GoodStorm model and other online T-shirt manufacturers, however, is that GoodStorm gives back 70% of the profits instead of the typical 20-30%. That means more money to more people to do more good work or just pull themselves out of poverty. Everyone makes a living and that's "Capitalism done right."

GoodStorm's other benefits? It's incredibly easy to use and you order ONLY what you need, one shirt or thousands it doesn't matter, you'll get the same price break.

With a slant towards social good and such generous payouts, I had to ask, "Are you a .org or a .com"? 

"We're a .com," says Yobie. "I believe that you must be financially sustainable if you are going to help yourself or your business. The same is true of non-profits, if they aren't funded well, they can't continue their mission."

Mom's Rising is a great example of launching and funding a mission. Their working mom group started in May, 2006 and already has over 80,000 members. All the products you see on their site are produced and drop shipped via GoodStorm.

You have to admire the GoodStorm business model. It's capitalism done VERY right. Who knows, maybe three years from now we'll all be wondering, "What did we ever do before the Internet, email and GoodStorm"?

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