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Showing posts from August, 2013


I'm on the Chicago airport, sipping coffee and listening to unfortunate jazz while checking email. I just picked up the 13" Air, so I'm enjoying the size of the screen and relative comfort of the keyboard. And I'm hoping I filled it out with enough software and old code to do some damage on this trip. Traveling can be clarifying. I've been in a funk off and on for 5 years. The past year hasn't been great personally or professionally (until we started BigLeap), and I've let a few things slide that deserved more attention. Six weeks ago I started jogging, kind of like Forrest Gump in that there wasn't any reason for it. Health in my case, but I'm not a fan of running, so it was surprising when I just did it. Having running shoes on put me in the frame of mind. Bear digs it because I'm not lagging behind, and I dig it because our hikes are shorter and more productive. Carrying a bag puts one in a different frame of mind, too. I'm looking

Thoughts on The Sale of GiftWorks

A week ago FrontStream announced that it had acquired Mission Research, makers of GiftWorks (the company had changed its name to GiftWorks so that's how I'll refer to it herein). I'll try to carve out some brief insights. I'm writing this from the perspective of an entrepreneur to entrepreneurs.  When I started the company, nonprofits had only high-priced, poorly designed software to choose from. Our mission was to give small nonprofits powerful tools for an affordable price so they could focus their resources and time on their missions, and not on software. I feel we accomplished that with the 2006 release, and since then positively impacted over 10,000 nonprofits. The company is taking great care of its customers--more now than at any prior time. In deciding whether to accept an acquisition, we had to consider what scaling the company would like, whether our customers would be better off or not, how all stakeholders would fare, and whether we had accomplished

The New Next Thing: BigLeap

I've been working on something with my friend and now co-founder Victor Cho . Forbes blogger sums it up nicely. BigLeap is a platform for changemakers (someone who sees a problem or issue and is willing to act to solve or improve it) to rally help by holding a competition with a crowd-funded reward--as though they were raising funds on Kickstarter for the prize money. The pilot test is running now, which is what Forbes talks about. A neuroscientist from Berkeley is the champion (changemaker) behind the challenge. It's very early in our development and we have a lot to figure out, but the basics of the app are built out and we have more challenges on the way. What I like is that it gives us the power to focus attention on a problem and get the brightest minds around the world working on it. The games challenge reward is relatively modest at $25,000; you can imagine 500 people contributing $50 to catalyze an outcome. But we think it can work at scale, too, with global