Video Transcript

00:09 Ben Rattray: What I wanna do is I wanna tell my story, the foundations... Personally what drove me to start change.org and a bit about our trajectory, and then a bit of how I think that illuminates what's possible in the future of business, not just for social change companies but the fact that every company is in some way a social change company. So, my story, when I was young I wanted to be this guy, Gordon Gecko, because Gordon was cool, and slick, and rich, and powerful. And though I lived in Santa Barbara, I wanted to wear a double-breasted suit as often as possible, which is like ridiculous as a wool. My partners thought it was crazy, and while everybody was running away from Wall Street, I was running toward it. And this was a consistent story line my entire youth, so much so that I felt the same way all the way until I went to this place at Standford. It's like a summer camp that extends for four years. And when I went to Stanford I found that there was an even more rapid way in which you could make the kind of money that would allow you to retire by age 30, it was called the internet.

01:18 Rattray: And this is 1998, my freshman year dorm was the same dorm of the Yahoo guys, the founders of Yahoo. And I remember the first quarter there was a guy in the fraternity ended up joining who after about four months of starting his company ended up being worth $600 million on paper and that paper ended up burning up. But at the time, it was phenomenal. And so I worked at a venture capital firm my freshman year, and after in the summer I saw all these possibilities. And so when I came back my sophomore year, 1999, this epic year for the internet and for all these companies going public, I was in a computer science class and we had a project. And my roommate and I created what we thought was this brilliant business which is a sports betting website. We were obsessed with sports at the time, obsessed with money, and we thought we could actually in real time place bets on sports in a market place while you watched to augment your experience.

02:14 Rattray: And so we got really excited about this and started counting like what the business model would be and how much money we could make, until we found out that it was illegal, [laughter] which, of course, was only a minor deterrent. And we looked more and more into it and found out that you could actually do this in a place called the Virgin Islands. But if you did it, you could never come back to the United States.

[laughter]

02:35 Rattray: And so we literally, and this is no joke, we literally spent about two hours that night deliberating about how much money it would take for us to be willing to never come back to the US. And we like really thought about this, thought about our families, in particular our moms and their sentiment was the deterrent primarily, regrettably. And so we kept on thinking about these ideas until, of course, that spring 2000, epic fail in the NASDAQ, a massive crash and it crashed the hopes of many internet entrepreneurs.