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The Third Metric and Nerd Values

change ahead

The Third Metric is better explained in Arianna Huffington's Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder. This is my take on it.

Nerdiness involves a lack of normal social affect, where conventional ambitions, like money and power aren't such a big deal. The call to power doesn't make much sense to me.

Here're a few words from a nerdy perspective, which I live by to the best of my ability.

One needs the finances to live comfortably, and to help friends and family do that, but seriously, know when enough is enough.

In early 1999, I made a decision along those lines, and decided to avoid the usual Silicon Valley thing. That is, the bankers and VCs I knew told me to take their investments and cash out. However, I figured that my business model is "doing well by doing good" and that's worked out.

My guess was that I got on track to fulfill my very limited financial goals, and anyway, I figure, who needs huge money?

As a nerd, it's way more satisfying to make a difference.

I dunno if that reflects any kind of wisdom or path seeking, I ain't that smart, seriously.

Personally, all I understand is working from the bottom up, where I quietly nudge people to do the best they can, and then affirm their efforts publicly. There's no way to measure the results, it's all anecdotal.

It's just that a nerd's gotta do what a nerd's gotta do.

The Future of EK Radio

Folks, I'm still working with the Organic Health Response on IT support, and we just got an update in from the radio team on Mfangano Island, Kenya. They interviewed community members and asked them about the future of the radio station. The Ekialo Kiona Radio, EK FM, is proud to be Suba. "Turi alala," its slogan, means "together" in the local Suba language.

Here's what they had to say: 

The Organic Health Response (OHR) had a vision to establish a youth-driven, wind-powered, Suba language radio station on Mfangano Island, Kenya. On World AIDS Day Dec. 1st, 2012, OHR successfully launched the radio station EK-FM. Today they broadcast live from a hand-welded communications tower on Mfangano to over 200,000 residents in rural Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

EK-FM is grounded in the philosophy of open community discourse as a cornerstone of holistic and sustainable responses to cultural erosion, environmental degradation, infectious disease, and economic isolation among remote indigenous populations.  

EK-FM mobilizes youth activism, empowers marginalized groups, promotes HIV prevention and treatment services, encourages sustainable agriculture, and most importantly, preserves the endangered indigenous Suba language (Olusuba).EK-FM has had a very impactful first year of broadcast, putting OHR and the Ekialo Kiona Center (with IT support from Craig Newmark) at the center of the Suba cultural map in Kenya.

Last week, youth presenters from the station interviewed community members on Mfangano Island and asked them about the future of EK-FM. This is what they had to say:

      •  “I see EK Radio as the only communication tool for the people of Abasuba and that it will be the only way to help salvage the almost extinct Suba language,” paused Ex-Assistant Chief, Mzee Charles Kasera, a Suba elder who helps run the Ekidiori Radio Program focused on Suba culture.
      • “Aaaaaa …. This is our voice! No one can take it out from us. In fact is has given us, our men, children, and community at large to share together. So, EK is there to stay. It is for eternity,” said Suba, a Piki (Motor cycle) rider on Mfangano Island.
      • “This is the clearest radio station along the Lake Victoria region. It is even clearer than those with sophisticated equipments. I don’t want it to go away since it is my favorite station. Let it stay forever,” said Pema, a boat manager who resides at Kakiimba village in Mfangano Island.
      • “I see a radio station that accommodates thousands of people from different regions in the Island, who have come to seek and experience its services. With all the programs, I see a community that is well informed and equipped with first hand information,” says Nancy Sungu, a young radio presenter with the EK Community Youth Radio.
The newly built, ferro-cement studio on the island. The team moved into the new space in February 2014.

The newly built, ferro-cement studio on the island. The team moved into the new space in February 2014.

6 Women Who Are Disrupting the Startup World With Social Change

Folks, my team and I have compiled a list of 6 women who are really disrupting the startup world with social change. These women are in no particular order, but are listed here because their work is admirable, and they really have their boots on the ground, working to make a real difference.

disruption

Grace Garey: Co-founder, Watsi


Watsi is a Kickstarter-like website for medical treatments. Web visitors can go to the website, donate as little as $5, and 100% of that donation will directly fund medical care for a specific person somewhere in the world.

Grace says she's "obsessed with the idea that connecting people can solve the world’s biggest problems." She studied global development and politics in Santa Barbara, did refugee research in Ghana, worked at a hospital in India, and suited up to do humanitarian advocacy in DC before deciding that everyday people were actually the most powerful change agents the world had to offer. Now, she gets to spend her time connecting people from across the world and watching them change each other’s lives.

Rose Broome, Co-founder and CEO, HandUp


HandUp is a tech startup with a social mission. They’ve created a new way to donate directly to homeless people and people in need here in the US. Starting in San Francisco, they’ve partnered with Project Homeless Connect to help deliver new resources to the thousands of homeless and at risk people in the community.

Rose is passionate about using the power of data and technology to create positive social change. She believes we already have the tools, knowledge, and desire to create a better world, so let's just do it! Rose started the SF Homeless Innovation Meetup to help bridge the gap between new technologies and the complex problem of homelessness. She's also an organizer for Science Hack Day and works as a data science & research consultant for organizations, including SuperBetter Labs.

Servane Mouazan: Founder, Oguntê


Servane says, "I love helping women social innovators to be more influential and better connected." Servane founded UK-based Oguntê and the Global Tribal Network, to prove that women can solve pressing social & environmental issues and create commercial opportunities at the same time, when given more skills and space to do so. "Being part of an ecosystem where everybody is included, can contribute and support others, is the highlight and the mission of [Oguntê ]. My drive is about supporting, connecting and promoting women who work in social enterprises, networks and campaigns, and contribute to making the world a better and more equitable place."

Oguntê believes in social impact made by women. Influential and connected women with bold solutions to social and environmental issues, can create sustainable opportunities to make the world a better place. Influential and connected women are more likely to be listened to and valued as civic, political and economic citizens.

Joelle Berdugo Adler: Partner, President, and CEO, Industrial Revolution II


(We couldn't find a Twitter handle for Joanne personally…)

Besides being the President and CEO of Diesel Canada Inc and the Founder of the ONEXONE Charitable Foundation, Joelle is one of the founding partners and chairs of Industrial Revolution II. Industrial Revolution II is a different kind of garment factory.

They explain that, "Social advancement for our workers, their families and our neighbors is equally as important to us as delivering our customers the highest quality products and services. Our 'shared value' business model embraces the idea that not all profit is created equal. Profits involving a social purpose represent a higher form of capitalism, one that creates a positive cycle of company and community prosperity."

Anna Sidana: Founder and CEO, One Million Lights


(We couldn't find a Twitter handle for Anna personally…)

Anna has spent her professional life in high technology companies with careers ranging from marketing to business management. She currently works full time at Silicon Valley startups in marketing. Prior to that, she was at PayPal in San Jose as Director, Financial Products focused on Credit products.

Anna is also the founder of One Million Lights, an organization that distributes safe, rechargeable solar lights around the world, replacing dangerous and polluting kerosene lamps. While the organization is setup as a nonprofit, they have evolved into a more of an 'entrepreneur' based business model where donations are only a part of their business model to subsidize the price of a solar light to a level that is affordable in remote regions of the world. Their goal is to create a sustainable supply chain that can reach the people who need this the most. The retail price of a solar lights ranges from $25 – $50 and often that is too high for a family living at subsistence level. In most regions where the lights are delivered, the families live on less than $2-$5 per day.

Meg Wirth: Co-Founder, Matnernova


(We couldn't find a Twitter handle for Meg personally…)

Matnernova is an Amazon-type platform, but for global health technologies. They link doctors and midwives with low-cost medical supplies to use overseas. Meg Wirth is not only the co-founder of Maternova, but also a S.E.VEN fellow and a Cartier Women's Initiative finalist. She was named one of America's Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs of 2011 by Bloomberg Businessweek.

Meg has worked on women's health throughout her career in areas as diverse as starting a home visiting program for teen mothers in Appalachia to monitoring and evaluating a major Safe Motherhood initiative–funded by USAID and implemented by John Snow International's Mothercare project– in Jakarta and South Kalimantan, Indonesia. Meg has also worked as a member of the Rockefeller Foundation's Health Equity team and co-edited a major volume called Challenging Inequities in Health: From Ethics to Action. She was a co-author of the UN Millennium Project's final report on child and maternal health.

 

Who would you add to this list? I'd like to hear who you've seen disrupt the startup world with social change, and maybe you'll inspire a 2.0 list. Thanks!

Infographic Reveals Latest Data on Cracking the Crowdfunding Code

It's the third anniversary of craigconnects, and we've really tried to bring good people together to raise money for their nonprofits. We did a lot of support through crowdfunding, and  to celebrate, the craigconnects team and I created an infographic, Cracking the Crowdfunding Code, to show you just how effective and accessible crowdfunding is. Crowdfunding raised more than five billion dollars worldwide in 2013, and peer-to-peer nonprofit fundraising for charities is seeing explosive growth.

crowfundingblog

A few things that we discovered after researching crowdfundings impact on charities and interviewing prominent crowdfunding platforms such as Causes, Causevox, FirstGiving, Razoo, StayClassy, etc:

  • Over 28% of donors on crowdfunding platforms are repeat donors.
  • Fundraisers who use a video raise 2x more than those without videos.
  • More than $19M online donations were processed on #GivingTuesday in 2013.
  • Over $9,000 on average is raised on nonprofit campaign crowdfunding pages.

Other infographic findings detail various crowdfunding results such as the average online donation to campaigns, more data on the success of the crowdfunding initiative #GivingTuesday, and best practices of nonprofits that have raised a significant amount of money with this newer fundraising tool.

Folks, I’ve worked on four crowdfunding campaigns myself in the past three years, and I’m pretty pleased with the results. The campaigns included two that raised funds for vets and milfam organizations, another for Hurricane Sandy relief, and the Holiday Challenge that was open to all nonprofits. I've teamed up with prominent crowdfunding platforms to promote the campaigns and have donated prize money for the orgs that raise the most in order to stimulate competition and success. The campaigns I've worked on have raised an estimated total of $2.6 million.

I began the craigconnects initiative in March 2011 to organize my efforts to help support nonprofits working in my areas of focus. Crowdfunding's a natural fit for craigconnects' efforts to promote the use of tech for the public good because it involves grassroots efforts and involvement. I’m not much for top-down stuff. I only understand bottom-up stuff.

Please check out the infographic, and share it if you think it's helpful.

 

6 reasons to make a difference

Folks, I believe that it's important to help people out when you're able to, and that means making a difference. It doesn't have to be big stuff to really create change.

A lot of the work I do on craigconnects involves quiet, back-channel communications, which I might never go public with. Mostly you hear from me bearing witness to good works of others, or, if I think I'm funny. (I know I'm not as funny as I think, though by Washington standards, I'm hi-larious.)

Here are 6 reasons that I work to make a difference:

  1. Code is power, and it's important to encourage girls to learn how to code. Orgs like Girls Who Code and Black Girls Code are doing this.
  2. Vets and their families do a lot for us. If they're willing to risk their lives for me, I'm willing to give back to them as much as I can. It's one of the reasons I became the VA's Nerd-in-Residence.
  3.  Ok, I really just want news I can trust. Trustworthy journalism's far and few between lately, and that needs to change. Couple years ago, I blurted out that "the press should be the immune system of democracy," and I still believe that.
  4. The Declaration of Independence reminds us that everyone is equal under law, and I figure election integrity is a big deal. However, there are some bad actors that are trying to pass legislation that will keep eligible people from voting. I'm working with folks like Voto Latino to stop 'em. Here's an infographic the craigconnects team and I created about these issues: Think You Have the Right to Vote? Not so much!
  5. Consumer protection is needed to protect regular people from predatory financial institutions. That's like home loaners who'll make loans to people who can't pay the bills, or payday loaners who deceive military families. Check out the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to see how an effective government org gets stuff done.
  6. I'd like to help give a voice to the voiceless and power to the powerless. Everyone should get the chance to be heard. It's why I started craigconnects. My goal's to team up with good folks in an effort to connect people and orgs around the world to get stuff done.

I'm looking to help solve problems that exist now, while learning how make things work better in the longer term by motivating people in increasingly large numbers.

social change

Photo Credit: Aleksi Aaltonen

That includes figuring out how to get people to work together, particularly the people at groups with similar goals. Nonprofits with common goals normally find it really hard to collaborate, and that begs for a solution.

To be sure, I don't feel this is altruistic or noble, it's just that a nerd's gotta do what a nerd's gotta do.

Sure, sometimes I gotta be a squeaky wheel, or sometimes I need to be annoying enough to motivate people, but will do so reluctantly. What are your reasons for making a difference?