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Payam Zamani's Book 'Crossing the Desert' Redefines Capitalism

Payam Zamani's Book 'Crossing the Desert' Redefines Capitalism

Delve into Payam Zamani’s new model of capitalism and inspiring journey that transformed him into the spiritual entrepreneur he is today.


3 min read

March 15, 2024

He’s the father of lead generation and the co-founder of AutoWeb, which became the “most-traded stock in a single day in the history of the Nasdaq” Stock Exchange. He’s our very own founder of One Planet GroupPayam Zamani.

Payam Zamani shares his journey of escaping religious persecution in Iran to securing a billion-dollar IPO in the United States in his new autobiography, “Crossing the Desert: The Power of Embracing Life's Difficult Journeys.

Despite his successful career, Payam felt like something was missing.

“The American Dream, that optimistic view of the future and what it can bring, is a powerful source of hope. But had capitalism lost its way?” asked Payam in “Crossing the Desert.” 

“Crossing the Desert: The Power of Embracing Life's Difficult Journeys” releases on June 18, 2024.

“Somewhere along the line, it seemed as if the greed of a small few had eaten the core of the Dream itself, leaving only scraps and peels for the masses. …Economic inequality was growing. The middle class was suffering and almost disappearing by some measures. And here I was, leading a company that was feeding into the very system that I now felt was failing us all. I was fed up with practicing capitalism as we know it.”

As Payam explains in "Crossing the Desert," he couldn’t stop wondering: “Why is it that for-profits stand for greed, and nonprofits stand for the betterment of the world? Why can’t we blur the lines between the two?”

And Payam decided to do exactly that — integrating his spiritual values with the work his company was doing. He encouraged his entire management team to read the book “Spiritual Enterprise” by Lawrence M. Miller, shared the profits with all his employees, and strived to create a respectful culture by attempting to eliminate gossip and encouraging honest communication in the workplace. His team memorialized spiritual principles into the culture manual that aligned with how they wanted to conduct themselves in the business world, making these values the core of everything they do. They are:

  • Unity

Payam wrote, “We may have a great idea, or a new way of manufacturing something, or a breakthrough creative concept—but the people we gather around us will help us bring it to reality. No one accomplishes anything entirely on their own, so unity of intent and purpose is absolutely necessary.”

  • Intention

Payam asked, “Why am I interested to start a business? Why would we invest in one thing vs. another? Why do we market in a certain way? The point is we need to check our intention every step of the way. Are we being self-serving? Are we driven by greed? Are we motivated by power? If so, how can we change that, so our intention is better aligned with the other values and principles we’re aiming to live up to?”

  • Independence

Payam believes that “an independent mind” is one of the “cardinal qualities of every good entrepreneur,” which is more than just thinking outside the box. Payam explained, “Instead, it means fostering creativity, the courage to depart from the crowd, and the ability to truly think for ourselves. Independence also calls upon our willingness to question the status quo.”

  • Love 

“If we really love our employees and our customers, we will treat them as the noble beings they are,” wrote Payam. “We will elevate them, and elevate us. …this love should not be limited to those I work with but also my clients, my community, and even my competitors.”

  • Truthfulness

“Would you shade the truth a little or even lie to get that deal signed?” asked Payam. “Many people would—but I believe we should not ever go down that road, because it’s always a dead end. A lack of integrity will only cause grief in the end—lawsuits, broken partnerships, and financial ruin. Why trade a short-term advantage for long-term grief?”

  • Justice

Payam wrote, “Unfairness seems built into business life in many ways: huge disparities between the lowest wage earners and the executives; a big gap between compensation and job responsibilities for women and men; greed-driven approaches with little regard for impact on environment and communities in which we live and work. Fairness and equality, at every level of a business, will always pay off, and they should not be left for another day.”

Now, Payam noted, One Planet Group is worth “hundreds of millions of dollars in value” and “the Better Business Bureau named One Planet Group the most ethical company in the Bay Area.”

If you’re interested in delving deeper into Payam’s new model of capitalism and the inspiring journey that transformed him into the spiritual entrepreneur he is today, preorder his book, “Crossing the Desert: The Power of Embracing Life's Difficult Journeys,” by clicking here.

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