03 April 2009

Room To Read ~ John Wood on Education For All

Since I was helping with organizing the 2009 International Development Night over at the MIT Museum (check out photos!) -- our fourth since I started these IDNights back in 2005 with Fleming Ray and Michael Brown and Beryl Rosenthal! -- I missed the IDC Keynote address by John Wood, founder of Room to Read. Thankfully the Harvard-MIT COOP was not only a generous financial sponsor of the IDNight but they also were selling books connected to the conference, so I decided to buy Wood's book Leaving Microsoft to Change the World and read it afterwards. Fantastic stuff! His saga of starting and growing a global kids-focused education-oriented social enterprise was alone interesting, but I especially liked his tips, including these:
  • Think Big -- Boldness is a self-fulfilling prophecy and incremental solutions don't solve the immense problems facing the world;
  • Share Results -- Quantify, constantly update, and widely share your impact;
  • Seek Passionate & Prepared Talent -- Hire only the most motivated people who immerse themselves in everything relevant to the organization and mission;
  • Ask For the Order -- Spontaneous commitments to pay or donate are rare (although delightful) so ask for support (and don't settle for "No" as an answer;-);
  • Organizations Scale, Individuals Don't -- To have a shot at achieving impact at scale, attract talent and build an organization that can grow beyond your personal capacity;

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