We First. The book.

  • New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Amazon bestseller
  • Best Marketing Book of 2011: strategy+business
  • Top 5 Marketing Book of 2011: 800CEORead
  • Top 10 BBusiness Book of 2011: Amazon

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Announcing We First

What is We First?

We First is a new way of looking at the world authored by Simon Mainwaring. It’s a personal and professional response to a sea of fears that surround us everyday. Some of those fears are about the state of the world, including:

  • The U.S. economy is in trouble and it’s not getting better.
  • The middle class in America is shrinking as people continue to lose their homes, jobs and hopes for the future.
  • Millions of people, including children, die needlessly in the Third World every day.
  • It doesn’t seem like government and philanthropy alone can fix it.

Other fears are about the changing business world and the impact of technology, including:

  • How do we use social media and make money from it?
  • Technology is changing so fast. How do we keep up with it?
  • How will our businesses survive when technology is changing everything so quickly?
  • How do we fix our businesses so it stays relevant and profitable?

These two sets of fears might sound unrelated, but they’re not. Social media connects us in ways that can build businesses and a better world.
It can unite brands and consumers in a partnership that won’t just fix problems from the past but build a brighter future. It can help big companies and consumers ease the suffering of those on the other side of the world simply by buying and selling our normal wants and needs.

Why I wrote We First?

I was inspired to write We First for several reasons. As a father, I had reached an age when I started thinking about the world I would leave behind for my children. As a marketing professional, I was intrigued by how new social media technology would change the industry and our world. As an individual I was struggling to find a purpose to my own life.

It was then I read a transcript of a speech Bill Gates gave to the World Economic Forum in 2008. In this speech he challenged the private sector to think of new ways to help the less fortunate because governments and philanthropies can’t do it alone. I was intrigued by the irony of the world’s richest man now being its greatest philanthropist. I felt a responsibility to work on an answer.

Obviously this was a challenging task. I had to learn all I could about emerging technology. I had to understand not just the social crises we face and their causes, but what efforts were being made and why they were insufficient. I had to think my way through the delicate balance between the necessary self-interest of corporations and competing self-interests of consumers that want a better world. I had to come to a conclusion that was practical, actionable and served the different interests of all.

After two years of research, We First is the result. It presents a new vision for the practice of capitalism in which brands and consumers partner using social media to create a sustainable pillar of social change. It very consciously lays out why business leaders and consumers must reframe the way they think about their lives in order to avoid the destructive effects of Me First behavior that led to the global economic meltdown in 2008 and the humanitarian crises around the world.

Questions We First Answers

As I wrote We First I realized that social media technology is a great cause for optimism, especially as social networks continue to grow and the web itself becomes increasingly social.
So with the goal of a sustainable practice of capitalism in mind, We First lays out a very practical, step-by-step plan for brands and consumers that explains the following:

  1. How do we shift our thinking and behavior to better serve the interests of others and ourselves?
  2. Why should brands and consumers work together and how do they do it?
  3. How can companies make money from social media by building communities that increase profits?
  4. How can consumers think and act in ways that is good for them and the planet?
  5. How do we buy and sell to build a better world for our kids?
  6. How do we build a system that creates sustainable change?

The answers to these questions are both an exciting opportunity and important responsibility. We can make things better and it can start right now. Pre-order your copy of We First to find out the role you can play and the benefits all of us enjoy.


Chapter 1: Transforming the Engine of Capitalism
Chapter 2: Redefining Self-Interest from Me First to We First
Chapter 3: The Future of Profit is Purpose
Chapter 4: Creating Sustainable Capitalism in Five Ways
Chapter 5: Instilling We First Values into Capitalism
Chapter 6: Why the World Needs a Responsible Private Sector
Chapter 7: How Brands Build Their Business and a Better World
Chapter 8: How Consumers Build Responsible Brands and a Better World
Chapter 9: How Contributory Consumption Creates Sustainable Social Change
Chapter 10: The Global Brand Initiative: The Future of the Private Sector

5 Myths Exposed

Myth #1... "Capitalism will never change."

The truth is that capitalism has always changed to suit social, economic and political conditions. Right now it is practiced in dozens of different ways around the world. What causes it to change is new technology and shifts in what people want. Today we live in a world that has both: social technology that is changing business and connected consumers want a better world.

Myth #2... "The banks always win."

Almost every major shift in economic, political and cultural practices has been brought about by collective citizen or consumer actions. Just look at the environmental movement, recycling, or the dramatic turnaround in the auto industry that has now become a green tech race. Just as citizens leverage their voting power, consumers can now use their buying power to impact the thinking and behavior of corporations around the world. Especially when consumers reward the responsible companies with loyalty, goodwill and profits.

Myth #3... "What I do won’t make any difference."

Both how you act on your own as a consumer and how you act with others on the basis of shared values can drastically change our world. A corporation cannot profit without you spending your money on their products. That fact becomes even more powerful when consumers connect and communicate using social media to amplify their message to brands. Then, as more brands respond, others will follow their example. This is already happening with major corporations like Proctor & Gamble, Nike, Pepsi and Starbucks, which are taking their social efforts to a whole new level.

Myth #4... "I can never understand new technology as it changes so quickly."

In fact the opposite is true. Where you start has very little to do with technology. Whether you’re an individual or brand you must begin with the simple habits you use in your own life. And then you must share what you care about and how that has affected your behavior. That can be anything from mindful shopping where you consider what brands you support to sharing your views on Facebook and Twitter.

Myth #5... "You can’t make money from social media."

If you own a company you have to make sure that whatever you do leads to profits. But if you use social media to engage your customers, you can raise your brand’s awareness, grow your online community and expand your customer base in ways never possible before. Now this involves a commitment to engage with your customers and really listen to what they want, but there are great profits to be made and waste to be avoided by actually hearing directly from your customers. The big hurdle is just to see them as human beings with something to say, rather than ATM’s.

What people are saying

  • “Few understand the power of brands and consumers better than Simon Mainwaring. In We First he presents a truly compelling vision of how to transform that power to the benefit of society and the good of capitalism.”

    Jeff JarvisAuthor of What Would Google Do?

  • “We First is a critical resource for corporate leaders and will inspire consumers, individually and collectively, to recognize their inherent strength. It is an invaluable blueprint for building this new societal structure we so urgently need.”

    Philip SeibProfessor & Director, Center on Public Diplomacy, USC Annenberg School

  • “Mainwaring shows, with the rigor of an innovation researcher and the passion of a postmodern philanthropist, that capitalism needs not a revolution but an evolution.”

    Maria PopovaEditor of Brain Pickings

  • “We First is as prescient as it is visionary – a must read for marketers and consumers intent on creating a prosperous future for all.”

    Rishad TobaccowalaChief Strategy & Innovation Officer for VivaKi, Publicis Groupe

  • “Mainwaring is an inspiring leader that truly understands the dynamics in play in the new world of business, online consumer behavior, and how they can collaborate to rethink and rework paths to true global renewal.”

    Brian SolisAward-winning author of Engage

  • “We First is more than a must read - it's a must do. Buy it, act it, and most importantly – LIVE IT!”

    Gary VaynerchukAuthor of New York Times bestseller Crush It!

  • Nearly a century ago, Henry Ford said, "A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business." Simon Mainwaring explores that idea in depth, asserting not only that capitalism and social change should coexist, but giving examples of how they can.

    Scott MontyGlobal Digital & Multimedia Communications Manager, Ford Motor Company

  • Today's consumer has the power to hold brands accountable. Simon Mainwaring's We First is the ultimate how-to guide for 21st century brand-building.

    Robert Tercekformer President of Digital Media OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) & Founder, General Creativity

  • We First lays out a movement that looks to transform corporate America, providing plenty of food for thought for the business leaders of today and tomorrow.

    Tony HsiehNew York Times bestselling author of "Delivering Happiness" and CEO of, Inc.

  • In the most important business book since Freakonomics, Simon Mainwaring’s transformational opus illustrates that doing good and doing well go hand-in-hand for 21st century corporations.

    Jay SamitCEO SocialVibe and former EVP Sony Corporation of America

  • Simon Mainwaring is the new master of the 'three wins' - for your company, for you customers and for the planet.

    Steve HaydenVice Chairman, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide

  • Mainwaring shows how global brands can become a critical catalyst for creating sustainable capitalism and positive social change.

    Dave HudsonCEO NM Incite, Nielsen & McKinsey

  • Put meaning back into your business by buying this book. Actually, buy two and give one away to someone who is also yearning to take their business to the next level.

    Charlene LiAuthor of "Open Leadership" and Founder of Altimeter Group

  • The evolution of capitalism is putting We First. Mainwaring not only gets this, but helps us understand how to make it happen.

    Jay Coen GilbertCo-founder B Corporations

  • We First elegantly demonstrates the power of turning me into we by aligning brands and consumers as social collaborators

    Peter GuberChairman & CEO Mandalay Entertainment

  • We First will show you a path to creating a better world. Buy it today.

    Valeria Maltoniauthor of Conversation Agent

  • This is exactly the book that the world needs right now. It’s our GPS for reaching the destination we must achieve: an intersection of business and consumerism that drives not just big profits but also greater good.

    Katya AndresenCOO Network for Good and author, Robin Hood Marketing

  • By tapping into these powerful private sector forces, Mainwaring shows us how we transform capitalism to create a world we all want to live in.

    Ryan ScottCEO of Causecast

  • Simon Mainwaring’s insights and recommendations about the power of brands and consumers demonstrate how businesses can enhance the triple bottom line - doing good while making a profit and saving our world.

    Beth KanterCo-founder Zoetica and author of The Networked Non-Profit

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