I’m really enjoying watching Casey Helbling and the team at Software for Good evolve their mission and business. They just transitioned to a B Corp structure.
We’re celebrating the new year in a big way: Today, the much-anticipated Minnesota Public Benefit Corporation Act went into effect, and Software for Good was one of the first to file as a benefit corporation in the state of Minnesota.
If you are not familiar with a Benefit corporation, Wikipedia of course has a great overview.
The purpose of a benefit corporation includes creating general public benefit, which is defined as a material positive impact on society and the environment. A benefit corporation’s directors and officers operate the business with the same authority as in a traditional corporation but are required to consider the impact of their decisions not only on shareholders but also on society and the environment. In a traditional corporation shareholders judge the company’s financial performance; with a B-corporation shareholders judge performance based on how a corporation’s goals benefit society and the environment. Shareholders determine whether the corporation has made a material positive impact. Transparency provisions require benefit corporations to publish annual benefit reports of their social and environmental performance using a comprehensive, credible, independent, and transparent third-party standard. In some states the corporation must also submit the reports to the Secretary of State, although the Secretary of State has no governance over the report’s content. Shareholders have a private right of action, called a benefit enforcement proceeding, to enforce the company’s mission when the business has failed to pursue or create general public benefit. Disputes about the material positive impact are decided by the courts.
Allowing a company to pursue things beyond pure profit and shareholder return, without having to be a non-profit, makes a lot of sense. It provides an opportunity for companies to be better citizens.
On Tuesday of this week I got to be part of the SPS team ringing the market bell to start the trading day on NASDAQ! It was a ton of fun. There should be a bunch of additional pictures coming soon. (see me on the left side of the photo)
This is a guide for CTOs and other technology managers responsible for a software engineering organization. The purpose of this checklist is to help the CTO cover the areas of culture, technology and operations in their teams. It is presented in the form of a memo to direct reports.
I’ve got a ton of respect for Rajiv and anyone in a technology leadership role should read this whole article.
minnov8 wrote an overview of the SPS Omnichannel event last week. I know Steve and he highlighted my joining SPS and the big stuff we are working on!
I’ve been cleaning through old files and found the copy of the April 30, 1999 issue of the Star Tribune that I had saved with the article about BigCharts being acquired by CBS MarketWatch. I couldn’t just recycle this before running it through the scanner. Phil sure had some hair back then. :-)
For Christmas the brother-in-laws on Tammy’s side pick names. There are only four of us but we like the simplicity of just getting one name to pick better. For a couple of years now we’ve used a website called DrawNames.com to handle the name drawing, sending emails and even handling exclusions so you don’t get the same person every year. They sent an email asking for feedback and I felt like sharing some thoughts with them and decided I should share them publicly too.
I like your service a lot and if I had more name drawing groups at Christmas I would use it for sure. I’ve suggested your service to others and I know that at least some of them have used it. Everything went very smooth and I think you have the right email confirmations in place to make sure you don’t get “busted” email picks in spam folders.
With that said, I have a concern that your service makes enough revenue to be around. My alternative to using your service is to write a small script that will pick names and send emails. It would be ugly. Probably break a lot. Would likely not get delievered right. I’d rather use your service! I see that I can keep a wishlist and I’m sure that generates affiliate revenue, but I’m not sure many people do that. I know we don’t.
I would rather just pay a small fee for each name drawing group that I have. Maybe a $1? $2? I’m not sure what the right amount is, but I have a hard time seeing how you would make $1 off of our group now, so at least for us that would be an increase.
While I have your ear let me also thank you for not littering the site with link ads. Thank you for not requiring the use of Facebook connect or login with Twitter stuff.
That’s it. The service is nice and works really well. Just charge me something. :-)
My hope is that they have thought about charging before but assume that nobody would pay. It’s the Internet right? Nobody pays. But they do. They pay in droves for the right thing. This website is worth as much to me as many iOS apps I’ve bought for $0.99. Maybe if they hear customers saying they would pay, they can see the path to something that pays the bills and is worth keeping around clarify a bit.
Our remodeling project is scheduled for 12 weeks. I’m very familiar with project execution, that is a big part of what I do for a living. Watching the progress of our remodel I’ve been thinking about real versus perceived project progress. The chart below reflects the relationship.
When we build software there is a decent amount of time getting groundwork put in. You have to get the build process working right, get your integration tests working, get version control working the way you want it. You probably need to use some framework code. It is a lot of stuff that doesn’t really feel like progress to a non-technical person.
Then you start framing out the software. Big swaths go in place, but mostly just stubs. Everything looks like it is coming together really fast, but it is largely a façade. Things are just in place to make sure it all comes together right.
At the end, it feels like the thing is so close to done but it just keeps dragging on. The edge cases have to be handled, error handling needs improvement. You need to log things. Not to mention that final design of the visual elements. This is where people get frustrated.
I fully expect the same thing to happen with this remodel. It seemed like a long time to get the structural stuff rolling. This week it seemed like a lot started to happen, and with the framing right around the corner it will feel like we are almost there. Then, things will take a very long time to get the light switches all wired up right and all the final punch list items completed.
While I ride the Perceived Progress line I’m going to try to keep a good grounding on the Actual Progress line. It is the only one that matters after all.
A while back we were traveling and I noticed that this coffee shop, Kavarna, didn’t just have its name in its WiFi network as most do. They smartly were telling anyone that could see the WiFi signal to come on in and use the network.
Smart. More places should do this. How about “Free Refills” in your WiFi network name?
inDinero. Like Mint, but for small business. Very smart.
Earlier this week Split Rock Partners did a press release regarding my entrepreneur in residence (EIR) with the firm. The first question friends of mine have asked is “What exactly is an entrepreneur in residence?” Wikipedia highlights an EIR as:
The EIR role is often designed to fill one of three primary functions:
- To launch a new entrepreneurial venture, often with the backing of the parent firm or organization;
- To assist in the evaluation of potential investments where the entrepreneur has a particular expertise; or
- To provide functional expertise to assist with an existing investment.
That is a great recap of what I will be doing with Split Rock. The partners have given me a place to office and the opportunity to get and give early feedback around potential business ventures.
A couple of other items about EIR roles. There are other “in residence” programs. For example, artist in residence seems to be a fairly well established. I’ve also seen writer in residence as well as journalist in residence pop up. Lastly, just to be clear, the EIR role is a partnership. I’m not an employee at the firm, and this isn’t a “job”. It is a formal collaboration and a vehicle for us to work together.
I am excited to work with the partners at Split Rock and will make the most of such a unique opportunity!