Monday, October 18, 2004

I've had many opportunities to give talks over the last few weeks, in a wide array of venues. Usually, I'm giving the general Benetech social entrepreneurship story, talking about how technology can be benefiting humanity even more, to audiences as varied as the Palo Alto Rotary Club, a Stanford Business School class, and a cocktail party for one of our funders. At the Venture Philanthropy conference, Robert Levenson of Social Profit Network and I talked about the relationship between venture philanthropist and investee. At the Haas Business School at UC Berkeley, I was on a panel with three other nonprofit CEOs talking about board relationships (Benetech's board is much more like a venture capital company's board than a typical nonprofits!). At the National Repository Summit held in Princeton, we covered the challenges faced by organizations trying to serve disabled students with textbooks. Last week in Kansas City, I talked to college reading centers about the same issues.

And, sometimes I don't talk and that works even better. The Skoll Foundation invited me to the 50th anniversary lunch for the Community Foundation of Silicon Valley, where Jeff Skoll, Bill Gates, Greg Avis (CFSV chair and prominent Valley VC) and Peter Hero (CEO of CFSV) spoke. Jeff talked about his foundation's support for social entrepreneurs and pointed out me, Martin Fisher of ApproTEC and Eric Weaver of Lenders for Community Development. A very nice gesture!

There's a lot of positive energy around talking about these issues. People love to hear about how technology makes lives better.

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