The Capitalization of Community

Late last year (as if it was so long ago) I attended a keynote presentation featuring Larry Brilliant of Google.org and Malcolm Gladwell author of The Tipping Point. Larry Brilliant shared his inspirational story of leading the first organization of doctors to rid the world of smallpox and how it eventually lead him to his current role managing Google’s Global Philanthropic efforts. He termed the practice of weaving service into a corporate culture – hybrid philanthropy; meaning providing 1% of profit, 1% of employee resources, and 1% of product to non-profits and community projects. The goal is to make the philanthropic mission so intertwined with the corporate culture that it can no longer survive without it. Malcolm Gladwell brought it down to a more personal level, encouraging the audience to consider, Human Capitalization. The limitless possibilities as individuals when we put our entire heart and mind into our work or a single mission.

Malcolm related stories about Bill Gates programming at the age of 13 on a mainframe at the University of Washington campus, or a team of students tackling a tough math problem and how, through persistence and honest effort, great results are achieved. Leaving the session, I considered how many of our VerticalResponse non-profit customers I meet take the time to thank me in person for our free service offering and discounts for non-profits (VR’s version of 1:1:1). They are so passionate about their cause and their story, it can’t help but inspire my team in our efforts to provide better service and share in their success. Whether it’s our non-profit customers or business owners, it’s the passion behind our customer’s intellect that catapults their success.

A point I think both the great speakers failed to note is the contagious nature of attitude. Like the smallpox virus that can just as easily spread to destroy, the more we share and hear about other’s efforts to affect the greater good and fulfill our dreams, the more likely we are to push ourselves just a little bit harder – putting our heart and mind behind our own work. Then, collectively, we are one step closer to achieving the capitalization of an entire community!

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