Thursday, June 12, 2008

10 minuites to go

Decided to drop into chills to play on the internet and pretend to look intelligent in cyberspace, which is pretty difficult, especially when you think that I've been involved with all sorts of funny people. Life as they say is internesting and I'm just trying to make the most of the hay that comes my way.

As weeks go, this one has been fairly productive. Managed to attend two new business meetings. One is an SME business, which should be fun and the other is a furniture industry association, which looks less fun - I think it could be a case of lots of work but not enough money to justify the time and effort that one will have to put into dealing with this sort of thing. If being a teacher for 3-months taught me anything, it was a healthy distatest for comittee meetings, of which the furniture guys will require us to do. I await the SME chap with a reasonable amount of eagerness. I'll just go through the motions with the furniture people.

On a more interesting note, I meet with the two founders of Ammado.com, a social networking site that is dedicated to the NGO sector. The main partner is an Irish Entrepreneur. This is "facebook" for NGOs but it will grow into something else by the sounds of it. I think one of the most interesting developments in the last few years has been the revolution of the "non profit" and NGO sector. Business people are moving into the sector and applying basic business principles to being good.

Of course, charity as a business has something of a negative connotation in Singapore thanks to the now jailed Mr Durai of the National Kidney Foundation (NKF). The man managed to ensure that only 10 cents on the dollar went to charity - the rest of it went to his bonus's and perks. But outside of Singapore, charities run along business lines has worked wonders. Look at the Gates Foundation - the former world's richest man is making a major difference to the lives of many.

Yes, Gates did hoist the inferior PC on the rest of us but he's done allot of good things - namely to make getting rich accessible to the masses (Seattle is filled with guys who made millions by simply going to work for Microsoft and collecting their stock options). Now the man is doing the same to the charity sector. The best thing about this is that giving away money has become something of a trend in the USA and the developed world. Suddenly giving away money is becomming an industry in its own right.

For me, I don't have money to give away. Hell, I'm really stuck for cash most of the time. But I've noticed that people who give away money to the needy tend to be rewarded back many times over. Dad once said that he's been in situations where, just when things look bleak, someone gives him a job - he tells me this is how Karam works when you give away time, energy and money to others - you get it back with interest - somehow or another.

So, although I don't have much money, I do make it a point to try and give a bit here and there. My main forray into the being good business was to work on a site called Kiva.org. This is a site that allows one to play at being a microlender. Used the money that mum had sent me as well as some spare change I had made from clicking emails and discussion groups to finance two pig famers in Vietnam (no Han Li is not involved, though if she knew I suspect she'd become a pig farmer for the moment) and a furniture maker in Cambodia. Well, its not like the money earns me vast ammounts of interest sitting in PayPal and it was certainly not enough for me to transfer into the bank and pay them charges.

Anyway, do feel free to contribute to my PayPal account and I'll help to lend it out to the less fortunate if you will. Or better still, join Kiva yourself. I'm trying to think of what I can do with Ammado. I think there are clients who will be able to get something out of the place. I guess one of the perks of being in the business of relationship building is that even if you don't have the money or power to be good, you have the ability to influence the people with the money and power to make a difference.

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