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Melinda French Gates: What nonprofits can learn from Coca-Cola

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Published on Oct 12, 2010

http://www.ted.com At TEDxChange, Melinda Gates makes a provocative case for nonprofits taking a cue from corporations such as Coca-Cola, whose plugged-in, global network of marketers and distributors ensures that every remote village wants -- and can get -- a Coke. Why shouldn't this work for condoms, sanitation, vaccinations too?

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the "Sixth Sense" wearable tech, and "Lost" producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on TED.com, at http://www.ted.com/translate. Watch a highlight reel of the Top 10 TEDTalks at http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/top10

Comments • 353

Ray G. Penner
My hat's off to those commentators with the intellectual capacity to understand this is not about Coke, or how Melinda Gates looks.
Thomas Levi
Why can Coke get soda into every nook and cranny of the planet and no one can get condoms where they are most needed?  Because there are no churches banning Coke, there is no religious ban on Coke, because no one think Coke is in defiance of god.  That's why. Why is Coke so ubiquitous?  Because you can't link it to any religious or political view, because no one is against Coke.  Sure you can learn a lot by how Coke does things but far more can be done by showing how helping those that are at the bottom of humanity will in fact help everyone.  By bringing education in addition to health to those that have very little, the burden is lifted off everyone, not just the people being helped. Unfortunately there are too many people addicted to power and the feeling of being powerful, and they are stupid enough to believe that you can not be powerful unless someone is powerless. Johnny Carson would have given a GREAT Ted Talk because he knew that to get the best out of people was to let them be better than you. The only path to true happiness is one where everyone has a chance to be happy.  The only way to stop fear is to ensure everyone has what they need. But... we all have to be on the same page, we all have to know this in order to implement it because it is hard to be motivated to make people happy and to give them what they need when you know there is someone else working even harder to oppress them, diminish them and to take everything away from them. it seems that for the poorest of the poor, the world punishes those who help themselves.  Just look at the United States, our system gives people the choice of getting some help and allowing them to take care of their family OR to work and try to get ahead and taking them away from their family and taking away what little help they were getting.  Given the choice of just barely getting by on welfare and being there for your family or  working hard, barely getting by and not being there for your family and knowing that any little hiccup be it illness or accident can take away the work... Which would you choose. OK, I'll step off the soap box now.
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Mary Sherman
You and your foundation confuse me. You donate so much time and money but Coke with all the sugar and chemicals are causing so many deaths. Obesity is #1 and the addictiveness it causes to keep eating sugar. You are so intelligent how do you justify your thoughts?
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Kelsey A
I've watched many children in small villages in Ethiopia walk in to a local shop, and, for the cost of 5 birr (25 cents USD), purchase a bottle of coca-cola. These children would not even consider buying a bottle of clean water at 8 birr (40 cents USD), when they had unclean water to drink for free. But my question then was, why purchase coca cola at all if they had something to drink at no cost? The answer I got over and over and over again: "because it fills me up." When experiencing a great amount of hunger and often starvation, sugar can definitely create a satisfied feeling. Coca Cola has not reached all of these places by simply using real time data, tapping in to local talent, and producing great marketing. Coca Cola has reached so many places because the product itself is addictive by nature and a cheaper, faster alternative to clean water and hunger.
Tigerex966
SHe want abortion killing babies and sterilization of those less fortunate. Like Bill Gates parents who ran planned no babyhood she is about population decrease at all cost for those not in the elite class using sterilization drugs in vaccines, abortion baby killing before and after birth, gender selection etc. Their is a reason behind her madness and poverty and helping the poor is not one of them.
William Shaw
I think it is a hypocrisy that this woman uses the company that invented santa claus to push an addictive consumable product (caffeine and sugar) as a model for marketing in impoverish 3rd third world countries. A substantial part of her wealth came form her husband's products being sold for christmas presents.
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Vlad Dracul
Millennium goals that we set? Who is we? You mean You and Bill right? She uses arguably the most harmful product in the world , linked to diabetes, dental decay, heart trouble and of course the number one problem in America obesity as her role model for business? Try helping America first, if you are successful there then maybe you will be qualified in changing cultures where you don't even speak the language.
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actsrv9
so in effect, she is suggesting that a condom / tablet pack should go with every Coca Cola carton into Africa
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Herb Neufeld
Melinda Gates may find poverty in what she terms "developing" nations to be jarring.  I find her wealth jarring and disturbing.
ChimaE
Somali hip-hop artist is Canadian!! That is where he lives, that is where he pushed hi demo, that is where he works, his family and all.
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