No. 9: Capitalistic Incentives Solve Social Problems

BILL ACKMAN SPENDS the bulk of his time fixating on return on investment. So when it comes to giving back, he focuses both on nonprofits with the potential to scale–and for-profit investments that do good while making money. For the latter, Ackman wants them to have the same mind-set and motivations as a Silicon Valley startup. “You can build a valuable business that can incentivize management and solve a problem,” he says. “I think of social impact as someone who has devised a business plan where they can return your capital with a return and solve a very important problem. And when you think about how profits are going to be made in the 21st century, they’re going to be made solving problems.”