What happens when technology can do great things for humanity, but doesn't make a lot of money? Jim Fruchterman explores the social entrepreneurship side of technology applications: how to get great tech tools to the people who often need them the most, but are least able to afford them!
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I am just back from the Africa Economic Summit in Mozambique. I was very impressed with President Chissano, the former Marxist revolutionary who is stepping down next year after leading his country for 18 years. His embrace of business development, reform, and advancing the interests of his people made quite an impression on me. He also has a terrific sense of humor. I usually doze off when politicians start their pre-programmed speeches: Chissano was riveting and real.
I've been privileged to meet so many awesome social entrepreneurs around the world, doing fabulous work without much recognition (and often, even less funding).
Jamila Hassoune is one of those social entrepreneurs, and we share a love for books and the power of access to books. We've been in touch for almost fifteen years, and I met her in person in 2014 when I was attending the diplomatic conference that resulted in the Treaty of Marrakesh. She's known as the Librarian of Marrakesh, in recognition of her dedication to books and her role as Morocco's first woman bookseller.
She leads Book Caravans into Morocco's rural regions to share knowledge, books and history with students and women.
She just sent me the announcement of her new Book Caravan:
The 13th book caravan
Under the theme: The valorization of our heritage is a responsibility of our present and our future.
Jamila Hassoune is pleased to announce the 13th Edition of the book caravan from April 16 …
I had a very unfortunate reminder of the fragile state of each human being this week. Just after returning from India and Bangladesh, I received word that one of my key contacts and hosts had suddenly passed away.
Professor Vinod Sena was a retired professor of English literature at the University of Delhi. Visually impaired his entire life, he was a tireless advocate for the blind and visually impaired as well as a shining role model. He has been described as the pioneer of Talking Books in India, and had been campaigning for a copyright law change to make it easier to provide access to accessible books. While I was in India, I picked up the newspaper and saw that he had just received a Helen Keller award for his work.
I know that the advocates for the blind and visually impaired will continue his work, initially with a heavy heart, but with the confidence that they are following in the footsteps of a great man.
I first met Paul over thirty years ago. My first (successful) Silicon Valley company had Sevin-Rosen as lead investors, and Roger Borovoy was our board chair, the former Intel General Counsel. Roger thought that outside board service would be a good experience for an up and coming Intel executive, and that our startup would really benefit from Paul's input. The company went on to great success, and today is still represented in the product lines of Nuance (NUAN).
Paul was there on the fateful day when I presented a reading machine prototype to the Calera Recognition Systems board. The board's veto of the project (because it wasn't a big enough financial…