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Success: The Intersection of Influence and Impact


by Ribhav Gupta

Impact vs. Influence, what is the difference?

Each year Forbes releases a list of the 100 most influential companies. But does influence imply impact? The answer is no.

Influence is defined as the capacity to have an effect on someone or something, while impact is the ability to have a strong effect on someone or something. Without a large influence, a valuable impact will not reach the masses; without a beneficial impact, a far-reaching influence serves little purpose. The most successful companies, in terms of societal benefit, are those found at the crossroad of impact and influence.

The Impact Engine provides many tools to entrepreneurs and corporations to learn to best put their resources towards addressing the biggest challenges faced by society. They follow a simple belief that success is derived out of providing a positive return to the world. They list many different “successful” companies, notable for both their popularity and positive impact upon society. Despite the growing controversy of the boy one, give on business model, both Warby Parker and Soapbox Soaps have made a name for themselves. Each exercises a large influence in the US while then using profits to provide a measurable impact to those in need. By giving glasses, soap, water, and much more to already existing charities, these corporations make sure that their influence in the US is converted into a maximum impact upon the lives of others. If we look at Google, we often see a behemoth company, consistently ranked amongst the most influential companies in the world. What Forbes also explains however is that Google donates billions of dollars, almost 10% of its profits. This money goes towards scholarships, innovation, refugee relief programs, counter trafficking, and disability support. Yet Google does more than just donate, they raise awareness.

Many of Google’s resources, such as their famous artwork, are used to raise awareness of current problems in society. In a similar sense, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and other social media outlets often apply their influence and resources towards rallying the world together in support of those afflicted by problems. Whether that is the Earthquake in Haiti, awareness for ALS, the Terror in Paris, or anyone of dozens of other events. Raising awareness works to educate even the most distal of people about the potential to make a difference.

So at the end of the day, a company isn’t measured in terms of its size, net worth, or even just its desire to give back. Success is determined by the extent to which a company will exercise its power, size, and general influence towards making a positive difference in the world.