Apologising to Wonga

Being Human, Society

For the ‘personal growth’ diaries:


Dear xxxx

I was having a chat with xxxx today who brought it to my attention that I’d been a little rude to you during the mentors evening, ripping on you as hard as I did about your decision to work with Wonga.

I apologise unreservedly for making you feel at all unwelcome as a guest at Wayra. Your intellect, insight, competence, and generosity of spirit were never in question, and that you have chosen to freely volunteer these talents to help startup companies is tremendous, kind hearted, and virtuous of you.

In that decision I admire you and hope to emulate your actions where I can.

It is your decision to sell these same talents to Wonga that I find so perplexing. It’s the dissonance between understanding the problems so clearly and the chosen solution which leads me to question intensely and challenge remorselessly.

Sometimes – all too often – I do this less constructively than I’d like. I’m not at all happy with this personal and social flaw and am actively working on reconciling these facets of myself. Again, for my tone I apologise unreservedly.

I should be working with you to build upon your innate inquisitiveness, to challenge you to greater answers and to point out to you the larger opportunities Wonga is missing. A more beautiful world is surely possible. I know you believe this because you’re a generous giver who is passionate about how Wonga provides a better solution.

But I believe you can find an even better one.

I remember we were talking about the nature and characteristics of money: who is permitted to issue it, who decides how much they issue and why, what money actually represents – or could represent, whether and how much interest it bears, its implicit need for economic growth, and what levers could we apply to money to make it work more effectively for us. After all we designed it as a tool to help us get things done, yet currently it seems to be holding us back from doing so much that we need to do.

I hope you’ll be interested in this paper by one of the contributing architects of the Euro, Richard Douthwaite:

It’s a quick read, contains some great examples, and provokes a great deal of thought about aspects which people often go their entire lives without questioning. I’d love to know what you make of it if you have an hour to read it.

Have a very happy Christmas, and all the very best for the new year. I look forward to meeting again and promise to do my very best to talk only from a place of enthusiastic support for excellence.

May 2013 bring you new and inspiring opportunities,


Ed Dowding

Ed Dowding

Founder, strategist, writer, gadfly, TED talker, world-record holder, and (foolishly) reality-TV farmer. DOES: Innovation, Product, Advocacy THINKS: Regenerative Systems, Institution design, 300 year horizons

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