Tuesday, January 03, 2012

100 Days of Gratitude - Day 16: Sombit Mishra

Many years ago, we hired a young guy named Sombit Mishra.  He brought to GlobalGiving a nice three-piece suit but pretty much zero experience.  In those days, we had little money and a lot of unskilled labor.

Shortly thereafter, I was out in Palo Alto at the offices of Kleiner Perkins talking with our advisor Randy Komisar.  "Do you have a dashboard for keeping track of your progress against targets?" he asked. "Of course we do," I replied. "I'll send it to you when I get back."

Upon my return to Washington, I called Sombit into a conference room and said, "Sombit, I want you to put together a dashboard for us." His bottom lip trembled, and he said nothing.  Finally: "What's a dashboard?"  "It's progress against targets," I replied. "Just do what you think makes sense, but be ready with a draft for the staff meeting next week."

Thus was born the GlobalGiving dashboard, which has been the centerpiece of GlobalGiving's weekly staff meetings for the past eight years.  The dashboard started off crudely, but Sombit made steady improvements.  Every week after the staff meeting I gave him feedback and pushed him to create analytics that he had no experience with. In retrospect, I was a little hard on him - I probably put him under a little too much stress, which I regret.  But Sombit never said never.  Head down, he pushed ahead.

After a couple of years, Sombit went on to business school at MIT and founded a company, EveryFit, of which he is now CEO.  But he left behind at GlobalGiving an exceptional legacy of focus and discipline.  When he created our dashboard, we had facilitated just a few hundred thousand dollars of donations.  We closed the year 2011 with a cumulative total of over $85 million raised for 5,000 organizations in 129 countries.

All of us owe Sombit a tremendous debt of gratitude. As the year 2012 opens, I want to say this publicly:  Thank you.