Sunday, November 16, 2008

Reservations About Kiva Gifts

One of my friends wrote me today for advice on Kiva. Please comment here with your thoughts. For context, my friend does research on sustainable fisheries in the Philippines, so she knows what she's talking about:

Matt,
I'm interested in giving my family 'presents' in the form of money to spend on Kiva, but I really want to make sure that the projects Kiva supports/advertises are 'good'. They should be sustainable! I've heard lots of nightmares about lending programs from developed to developing countries and seen 1st hand the destruction they cause when, for example, rural, uneducated people get 'loans' to 'develop' and really don't realize they will have to pay the money back in the end. That is much more of a World Bank model and Kiva seems to be better at that, but when I found this http://www.kiva.org/app.php?page=businesses&action=about&id=73470&_tpos=f&_tpg=h I started to wonder again. Tell me if you can see why I think this is a very bad idea.

I think that the idea of microfinance is great, but I'm not convinced that it works yet. All these devleoped country people who feel great having contributed to what they think is a worthy cause may just be contributing to the ultimate demise of the people they thought they were helping.

Do you know of any other organizations that have a better 'sustainability' check on the programs they support?

Thanks

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Layoff to Jackpot

I just overheard a great quick story in the barbershop this morning. The woman sitting next to me getting her hair cut told the woman cutting her hair that her mom got laid off from Boeing, moved to Reno and got a job in a casino. Casinos pay employees weekly because there's such high turnover. The day the mom got her fist pay check, one week after starting, she asked her boss if she was allowed to gamble in the casino. her boss said no, employees aren't allowed to gamble in the casino, so she took her paycheck across the street to another casino, hit the royal flush on video poker, won $375K, walked back across the street and quit. Her boss said that people sure do turnover pretty quickly, but usually that quickly.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Black Friday Deals on blist

Now you can track 2008 Black Friday deals on blist, search for specific deals, stores, or items and ultimately save money. This data will be continuously updated as new deals get found and surfaced:


Black-Friday-2008

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Grab this Black Friday widget yourself and post it on your blog by clicking the 'publish this blist' button at the bottom of the widget.

blist lets you take data that is available on websites, squish it down to the essentials, and leave out all the junk that you don't care about.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dalai Lama Via Pico Iyer

"It’s no good offering people peace if those same people lack food and water; and it’s no good offering them food and water if our forests and rivers are polluted. It’s no good, even, to clean up our environment if we’re still polluted within. In short, the solution to all of our problems, economic, environmental, political, spiritual, can only be addressed by going back to the fundamentals. Reforms on the surface make no difference whatsoever."

The Dalai Lama via Pico Iyer in The Open Road

Great book - highly recommended.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I'll be at Defragcon Nov 3 and 4


I'll be at Defragcon tomorrow and Tuesday November 3rd and 4th with lots of smart, cool people in Denver.

Kevin will be speaking on the democratization of data.