Tuesday, June 10, 2014

25 Websites, Blogs, Books, & Courses I'd Like to See

  1. CouldBe
  2. MaybeMaybeNot
  3. ConfirmingMyBias
  4. A Sample of One
  5. Unbiased But With a Variance of Infinity (HT Jeff Hammer)
  6. Optimizing Around the Wrong Mean
  7. Embroidering on the Head of a Pin
  8. Much Ado About the Wrong Thing
  9. What Is The Role of Intelligence
  10. Things We Used to Think (and Might Again in the Future)
  11. What Do We Know, and How Do We Know It?
  12. How Should I Know?
  13. Maybe I am Wrong
  14. Fifty-one Percent
  15. Until Proven Wrong
  16. MostLikely.com
  17. OnTheMargin.com
  18. Not The View of the Author
  19. Stealing Home
  20. Causation, not Correlation ;)
  21. Drinking My Own Kool-Aid
  22. Eating My Own Dog Food
  23. Less Quantity, More Quality
  24. Mean Time to Moron
  25. Push to Failure

Monday, June 02, 2014

100 Days of Gratitude, Day 36 - Barbara Gee

The Awesome Barbara Gee
There are many early but unheralded heroes of GlobalGiving, such as Randy Komisar and Debra Dunn.  But none played a more important role than Barbara Gee, who sat Mari and me down at her kitchen table in Menlo Park in late 2000 and said "So you don't have a business plan? That's ok; let's write one right now."

Barb had been recommended to us by Randy, who knew her from their days at the legendary Silicon Graphics (and before that she was at Hewlett Packard).  He knew that Barb was a bleeding heart who wanted to put her hard core business skills to work for good.

Starting a new organization from scratch after fifteen years as a bureaucrat was terrifying, to say the least.  We knew absolutely nothing about marketing, website technology, product development, financial statements - not even about how to establish and run a payroll or HR system.  All of those things had been done for us at the World Bank.  Startups require a lot of bluster, and in the early days that was pretty much all I felt I had.

No matter.  Barbara was our guide to how to think about and run a business.  She was extremely matter of fact, and taught us how to delve into new areas and just make decisions, knowing that we would have to revisit those decisions in the future.  She helped us work on pitches, think about business development, manage tech firms - you name it.  She even put us up in her garage apartment (the one with the bathroom in the kitchen!) on our first few trips to the west coast.

Barb has done many interesting socially innovative things over the past decade, and she is now VP of the Anita Borg Institute, a powerful network of women in technology.  The other day I realized that, for all the help she gave to us - and by extension to the 10,000 projects in 144 countries that GlobalGiving has supported - we paid her the sum of exactly zero dollars and zero cents.

This was not our intent; in the early years we had no money.  But I still feel bad about that, because  I for one believe that highly committed and competent people should not have to always "do good for free" by volunteering their time.  So I will be looking for an opportunity to re-pay Barbara part of what she has earned.  (I seem to recall that Barbara is a Buddhist, so the good news is that I can pay her in my and her next life if not this one.)

Thank you for everything, Barbara.

Share on Facebook