Conscious Capitalism and the Birth of Sign-Speak

Sun Jun 13 2021

All around the world, some of the mightiest companies are beginning to understand the importance of society to their brand sustainability. A new form of Capitalism is taking hold in the heart of America, brought about by a generation of people who are fed up with a system that has so often left them behind. This novel form of Capitalism is a revolution aimed at providing services that seek to expand access and foster greater equity among those communities that an outdated economic model has left behind. In the past, businesses were catered to the middle class, and increasingly, we fear, aimed at the wealthiest, ableist, and most privileged in society. Conscious Capitalism is that revolution, and we will bring that consciousness to the field of communication, which has left some of our citizens far behind.

Conscious Capitalism has long been a force in social democratic movements in the transatlantic world, but it recently gained both its name and prominence when John Mackey, Whole Foods' CEO, coined the phrase to describe his company's aspirations. Too often, Capitalism seeks to weigh up supply and demand to create a product priced to gain the adulation of a company's shareholders while enabling a broad number of customers to purchase that product. This is done without care or consideration to the wider society or climate, often leading to the marginalization of poorer communities or those disenfranchised on account of an immutable aspect of their person. It has had horrifying implications for climate change and the health of our oceans. Conscious Capitalism is a movement that enables profits while minimizing harm. Sometimes, it can even redress a past wrong.

Mackey laid out four principles of Conscious Capitalism, all of which are supposed to guide a company towards making a difference in the world beyond the exchange of commodity for currency:

  • A company should be oriented towards a higher purpose of society, such as meeting some unmet social need.
  • A company should imagine that it is a stakeholder in its local community, meaning that it cannot ignore the negative results of its actions and should, if it can, do something positive instead.
  • Company leadership should avoid monopolizing individualized power, making the company a group effort (this is sometimes referred to as focusing on "we" instead of "me.")
  • Your entire company should be focused on that higher purpose. Your purpose cannot, and should never be, a marketing gimmick.

We understand these principles and espouse them for our own company. Indeed, Sign-Speak was born because we wanted to bring the revolution to the domain of communication.

When we think of people left behind by the march of progress carried on the back of the free market, there are few that have been as left behind as the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH). Think of voice recognition software, video conferencing, television, and even the telephone. None of these technologies were designed to take into consideration the needs of D/HH individuals. We at Sign-Speak seek to redress this historic wrong and provide a software service that enables D/HH individuals to engage with the broader world. Our tech allows for organic conversations in real-time between those who use American Sign Language, and those that can only speak English. We can no longer stand by and allow millions of our fellow citizens to be marginalized, and we believe we have the tool to foster positive change.

Later this week, we will introduce you all to our technology and its story. It will also give you a sneak peek into how we are already carrying the revolution to the realm of communications.