ZigZags and Zebras

ZigZags and Zebras

It’s fair to say that I am addicted to podcasts, and one of my favourites is ZigZag.

In the words of host Manoush Zomorodi, it’s about “the changing culture of business and work” – but I’d say there’s a bit more to it than that. There is a business thread that runs through the episodes, but the themes they talk about have much wider applications. Really, it’s a podcast that asks questions about the impact we have on the world.

One of my favourite recent episodes was called “An Alternative to Silicon Valley’s ‘Unicorn’ Bullsh*t”. A ‘Unicorn’ is what all investors are looking for – the company – the Facebook, Google, Uber, whatever – that takes over the world, and provides a massive return on your money.

But at what cost? And is there an alternative?

Well, according to Manoush, and her co-host Jen Poyant, yes there is – Zebras. Listen to the episode for the full explanation, but essentially a ‘Zebra’ is a company that doesn’t prioritise profits above everything else – they are run on a more ethical, sustainable foundation.

There’s a growing body of research that suggests this isn’t just a nice thing to do. More and more people are paying attention to what companies do – whether as customers or employees – and any business that isn’t thinking about these ideas is likely to get left behind.

Like so many of the people I admire, there is a thread that runs through the work Manoush and Jen do. Whether it’s a TED talk about the dangers of being too attached to our phones, or their other podcasts Note to Self and In Real Life, Manoush and Jen [after a couple of episodes, they will feel like friends of yours, too!] take a reasoned, nuanced look at how technology is impacting all of us, every day.

(Oh, and if you listen carefully to Episode 12 of Season 4, you might just hear a little bit of me!)