Posted on November 6th, 2013 by Craig Newmark
My first real job was at IBM, in the old Boca Raton lab, in 1976. (Important: IBM has become a very different company in the last twenty years, so please assume none of this applies to the current company. Also, this is all to my recollection, and memory is unreliable.)
The offer was made early, and sounded great. I've never been in love with the beach, but thought it might be fun to live near the ocean, and live in a city whose name means "mouse's mouth."
The job was in "advanced technology" and dealt with systems architecture.
It took a few years to sink in, but turns out that in corporate language, "advanced tech" is a euphemism: It isn't what it sounds like. But the software design process didn't include asking actual customers about usability. I discovered later on, through founding craigslist, that listening to people is about the smartest thing you can do.
I got involved in some software development. That led to some customer involvement, but I was too easy to read, and customers looked to my reactions to see if marketing was, say, stretching things. We nerds are not great salespeople.
After some years, the opportunity to transfer to IBM in Detroit was made, to be involved in a joint effort with General Motors to do factory automation work. Well, I took the offer.
Detroit was pretty good for me, I liked the people and got involved with the local science fiction community, and the local artists community.
After a total of seventeen years, IBM was going through a lot of changes. I took a really good buyout offer and ended up moving to San Francisco, where I got another job and a few years later started craigslist in my spare time.
Photo: Adam Jenkins/Flickr
Posted on October 22nd, 2013 by Craig Newmark
Folks, we are gearing up for midterm elections and that means that you should be aware of your rights.
There are some real bad actors out there trying to implement laws to stop eligible people, including women, from voting. What I learned in high school civics class is that an attack on voting rights is virtually the same as an attack on the country.
The New Civil Rights Movement writes, as reported by Think Progress:
"as of November 5, Texans must show a photo ID with their up-to-date legal name. It sounds like such a small thing, but according to the Brennan Center for Justice, only 66% of voting age women have ready access to a photo document that will attest to proof of citizenship. This is largely because young women have not updated their documents with their married names, a circumstance that doesnʼt affect male voters in any significant way. Suddenly 34% of women voters are scrambling for an acceptable ID, while 99% of men are home free."
Some politicians have tried to manipulate voting laws for their benefit, that's not right. We need integrity in our elections and voting that's free, fair, and accessible.
It's up to us all to ensure the integrity of our voting process by getting registered, speaking up against voter ID laws and the attack on voting rights, and to encourage everyone to vote, regardless of ethnicity or gender.
Disenfranchising voters is not a new thing, but has been happening across the country for some time now. Last year, I worked with some good folks to create an infographic about impact of voter suppression.
My team and I have compiled a list of voting resources; please check it out, and share any helpful resources that you think are missing in the comment section.
Posted on October 18th, 2013 by Craig Newmark
Hey, a coupla weeks ago I wrote a blog post about the Top 10 Women in Tech orgs. And recently, a lot of folks have been talking about the importance of women's leadership in tech. The Women's Media Center released a report with two big data points:
- At its current pace, it will take until 2085 for women to reach parity with men in leadership roles in government/politics, business, entrepreneurship, and nonproﬁts.
- Only 17 women at media and technology companies are on Fortune’s 50 most powerful women in business list.
I'm no expert, but I do have suggestions for some women in tech who really have their boots on the ground, and are doing good work. You should check out their work, support 'em if you're able, and follow them on Twitter.
(in alphabetical order…)
Kimberly Bryant, @6Gems: Founder of Black Girls Code. Black Girls Code purpose is to increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology. Kimberly is an engineer, social entrepreneur, technology junkie, and dreamer.
Shaherose Charania, @shaherose: CEO, Co-Founder, and President of Women 2.0. At heart Shaherose is a mobile and telephony junkie. She’s led new consumer products at Ribbit (BT). Previously, she was Director of Product Management at Talenthouse and JAJAH (sold to Telefonica/O2). Shaherose holds a B.A. in Business Admin from The University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business.
Sara Chipps, @SaraJChipps: Co-Founder, software developer, and organizer of Girl Develop It, which teaches women how to develop applications from start to finish. The org empowers women of diverse backgrounds from around the world to learn how to develop software. Sara is also the CTO of Levo League, where she focuses on developer happiness as a metric for success.
Kaliya Hamlin, @identitywoman: Founder of She's Geeky, which began as a haven where women who self-identify as geeky could meet in person to support, educate, and share experiences with one another. Kaliya is also Founder of the Personal Data Ecosystem, and is one of the leading experts in the emerging personal data ecosystem and user-centric digital identity.
Mary Hodder, @Maryhodder: Mary works in privacy and personal data technologies, and is also working on an Android rewrite for privacy (with crowdfunding to finance it). She founded Dabble.com in 2005, a social search site that helps people organize and playlist media they like, while discovering great media through other's recommendations.
Allyson Kapin, @womenwhotech: Founder of Women Who Tech and Rad Campaign, a web agency that develops websites for nonprofit organizations, foundations, and political campaigns. Allyson is also the co-author of the book Social Change Anytime Everywhere, published by Wiley. Allyson has been a featured expert on media outlets ranging from CNN to the BBC for her insight on tech and social media trends.
Sian Morson, @xianamoy: Founder and CEO of Kollective Mobile, a mobile development agency that helps start-ups design and grow their mobile business by providing strategy consulting and building mobile apps. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Sian makes video art, speaks about technology and mobile, and writes about culture and tech.
Holly Ross, @drupalhross: Executive Director of the Drupal Association, an educational nonprofit organization that fosters and supports the Drupal software project, the community, and its growth. Holly has a passion for change and has led a career focused on helping nonprofits create more of it.
Rashmi Sinha, @Rashmi: Co-Founder of SlideShare which was acquired by LinkedIn. Rashmi focuses on product strategy and design. Before SlideShare, she built MindCanvas, a game-like survey platform for customer research. Rashmi has a PhD in Cognitive Neuropsychology from Brown University and conducted research on search engines and recommender systems at UC Berkeley.
Wendy Tan, @wendytanwhite: Co-Founder & CEO of Moonfruit, a design-control DIY website and shop builder; recently acquired by Hibu. Wendy is also a 500 Startups mentor. Wendy writes extensively about the need for greater support and recognition for female entrepreneurs and women in business.
Amra Tareen, @amratareen: CEO of LittleCast, a mobile app and web platform that allows users to sell videos directly on Facebook. Prior to LittleCast, Amra, a former telecom engineer who grew up in Pakistan and Australia, earned a Harvard M.B.A., then joined venture capital outfit Sevin Rosen Funds, where she became a partner, and then left when she founded AllVoices, a citizen news site.
Kristy Tillman, @KristyT: Designer, Developer, and a Media Ideation Fellow. Kristy is building Project Phonebooth, a mobile app that aims to make applying to local government jobs easier for those who rely on mobile technology to access the Internet.
Padmasree Warrior, @padmasree: CTO of Cisco. Padmasree helps direct technology and operational innovation across the company and oversees strategic partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, the integration of new business models, the incubation of new technologies, and the cultivation of world-class technical talent.
Dr. Umit Yalcinalp, @umityalcinalp: Dr. Umit Yalcinalp is a former Software Architect turned Salesforce.com Evangelist with a Ph.D. in Computer Science, and is a self-described “seasoned technologist, fashionista geek and web technology veteran.” You can read Dr Yalcinalp’s blog at WS Dudette.
Who would you like to see on this list? Let me know in the comment section. Thanks!
Posted on October 15th, 2013 by craigconnects
Hey, Rosemary Freitas Williams, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy, discusses her concerns with rising stress during the gov't shutdown, and she refers to available resources. She talks about Managing During Stressful Times. The DoD's focusing on resources that are available to help military families deal with the challenges of the shutdown. It's a really stressful time for folks, and it's important to know that there are good people out there who are willing to help out.
"As the government shutdown continues, I am in awe of the patience and resolve shown by members of the military community. We have all been touched by the recent furlough. I know that some of our military families depend on a spouse's paycheck to help make ends meet. Additionally, some spouses are among the many federal employees waiting at home for the government shutdown to end. There is the lingering issue of the possible paycheck delays. Despite all these challenges – as always – you are managing these new challenges with characteristic resourcefulness and resilience. [...]
Most of us like to think that we can manage on our own, but reaching out for support is so critically important for our overall health and well-being. We are strong as individuals but stronger as a community, caring for each other and helping each other through even the most challenging of times. Reaching out for support – to a family member, a friend, a chaplain, the installation military and family support center, or Military OneSource – means you have the strength to recognize when new information, resources or skills will help you through life’s challenges. But it is up to you to seek assistance if you need it and to know where to refer someone if they are experiencing unhealthy stress.
We are here to help. [...]
To learn more about confidential non-medical counseling and financial consultation options call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or contact your installation military and family support center. To locate installation and JFSAP programs near you, visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS."
Read the full article here. More to come…
Posted on October 14th, 2013 by Perla Ni
Hey, I'm always excited about technology for social good. My motto for craigconnects is using technology to give the voiceless a real voice, and the powerless real power. Recently, I invested in GreatNonprofits.org to create a Yelp for nonprofits. I asked Perla Ni, of GreatNonprofits to write a guest blog post about this investment I've made.
Craig Newmark funds API to build user-generated nonprofit reviews into software
GreatNonprofits.org has a robust website with over 170,000 peer-to-peer reviews on over 16,000 nonprofits. GreatNonprofits.org is now building an API to embed these reviews into grants management and employee giving software and other programs so funders and grant makers can look holistically at their portfolios – incorporating the quantitative and qualitative data into decision making. To start, GreatNonprofits.org is partnering with Fluxx – a new grant management software with a lofty goal of bringing all donor management data into one place for better decision-making.
A screenshot of a Fluxx page.
Collaboration, Bi-Directional Knowledge Sharing and Beneficiary Feedback
With more and more CRM tools (like Salesforce) in the market, talk of collaboration and data sharing is rampant. Organizations are increasingly working with more data and more people—hence, the need for better tools. This is especially true in the nonprofit sector where grant makers have many data points to manage and consider—from financial to program data and even beneficiary feedback.
While, as humans we are always well intentioned to gather various data points while formulating decisions, the harder it is to gather and analyze this data the less likely we are to incorporate it fully into our analysis. Sadly, this is often the case when it comes to beneficiary feedback in the nonprofit sector. Well, that is about to change with this recent investment.
A New API; A Whole New World
GreatNonprofits – now the largest nonprofit review site of its kind – is building a write-a-review API. This new API will allow third party partners to integrate reviews into their systems in a seamless and automated fashion. One of GreatNonprofits first software partners is Fluxx—an innovative grants management CRM system that allows foundation officers and executive staff to easily make decisions by housing all pertinent data in one place.
“We’re trying to push all information to the program manager in one place. And once that data is available to the program manager, he or she can pivot on the view,” says Jason Ricci, CEO of Fluxx.
So whether you’re at a foundation and need to check the 501(c)3 status prior to writing a check or if you want to understand other charities that fellow foundations have donated to, you can do this all in one place.
The partnership between Fluxx and GreatNonprofits is one of the first of its kind to bring this bi-directional data together in one place. And this is key, because in all the data mining, some times the stories of the beneficiaries served gets lost. But with over 170,000 reviews and growing, plus this new API functionality — these stories will be made available to foundations and corporations all in one place. And this benefits not only the foundation or corporation who is trying to analyze the impact of the investment beyond financial metrics, but also to the nonprofit who needs a little help in demonstrating their impact to the world.
“What I love about GreatNonprofits,” says Ricci, “is that they’re collecting actual reviews from people in the field who know an organization’s work well—and those reviews are starting to tell stories about that organization’s work. So from a grant maker’s perspective, they’re not just looking at an organization’s financials to make decisions on whether to fund them, but they’re looking at real reviews from real people.”
So What’s next?
This is the first of many ventures for Great Nonprofits to extend over 170,000 nonprofit reviews to other sectors. Along with this, GreatNonprofits is looking to partner with employee engagement software providers, so employees of corporations can read and write reviews about the impact they are having on nonprofits, and the corporation can easily collect these stories of impact to marry with other information about their charitable giving programs.
Toward this goal, GreatNonprofits is also in discussion with Benevity, (www.benevity.com), a software social enterprise. Benevity’s award winning employee giving and volunteering solution, Spark!, is used by some of the most notable companies in the world to engage employees around causes. Benevity has committed to embed the GreatNonprofits.org API into its platform to help inspire and inform giving decisions for its end users. The soon to launch partnership with Benevity will help its clients engage their employees and add more information and interaction to their giving activities.
While we wait… (back to Craig)
As an investor, I think it's really important for the next advancement in the nonprofit sector to bring reviews and crowd-sourced information about beneficiary feedback directly to donors, foundations, and nonprofits.
While we wait for this launch, you're able to play a part in increasing beneficiary feedback and collaboration by writing a review at GreatNonprofits. And then, later this year, the information that you write about your favorite nonprofit will be available in the Fluxx grant management software, Benevity’s Spark! workplace giving solution software among others. This relates to my recent blog post, Supporting some nonprofits, and some not, here's the deal.
If you’re interested in learning more, you can contact GreatNonprofits' CEO and founder, Perla Ni at email@example.com.