Monday, April 30, 2007

Are we missing the point? Free IT as in Free Kittens and nonprofit as a business?

I have been so wrapped up in sharing my own thoughts and my wants that I have missed some great conversations. No wonder noone commented on my last post, they were reading these better ones.

There has been a recent string of postings that all seemed to have started because of some IT library post that has an awesome quote in it:

all of these technologies are “free” as in “free kittens,” not free as in “free beer.”

Doesnt that just say a lot on it's own? I wish I would have come up with that. But often as soon as someone comes up with a great quote or tag, it immediately gets reused, misused and overused. Like when the President used the "Shock and Awe" in the war. Suddenly that was everywhere, each time meaning something a little different and then almost as suddenly it stopped because it became a joke. I would hate to see this well thought out idea end up like that.

I suggest we all take a minute and read the IT and Sympathy post at:
http://www.techsource.ala.org/blog/2007/01/it-and-sympathy.html

But then that is where the commentary and reuse starts, some of it is unbelievably insightful, other is just taking a great quote and misapplying it to just take another jab at Open Source. See the conversation in the link below.

IT and Sympathy thread on ISF
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Information_Systems_Forum/messages/8566?threaded=1&m=e&var=1&tidx=1

I dont think the original idea of the post was to start another open source banter or salesforce (even as examples). I think what was interesting is something that we all face. People often want to seize technology when it is fun or cool, but dont want to spend the money and time on the infrastructure, support, staff or basic systems.

I dont want to dilute that great insight with more examples or anything. Take it as is.

The other great conversation that came out of this was the old debate of nonprofits running more like a business. This reminds me of the debates around applying the concepts in the book "Good to Great" by Jim Collins to nonprofits. Then Collins came out with the Social Sector version, then the ASAE & the Center came out with the book "7 Measures of Success" for nonprofits application of "Good to Great." But that my be too much to talk about in this blog, maybe next week. But if you want to get a head start, look at these conversations below.

For Profit vs Nonprofit management?
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Information_Systems_Forum/message/8599

Should a nonprofit organization be run as if it were a business?

http://blog.deborah.elizabeth.finn.com/blog/_archives/2005/4/1/629936.html

Anyway, I wonder that as we read posts like this, that we already have an idea in our head what we want them to mean, so immediately bend it to our needs. And if it doesnt fit our thoughts, we dismiss it, rather than taking it as a learning opportunity. I have learned that I do not know everything, and yesterday's perceived truth is today's new opportunity for growth.

OK, I think I really overdid the randomness of today's post. I think I need to follow the example of the better bloggers of the world and create some order and flow to my posts. Oh well, I guess that is my opportunity to learn and change.

12 comments:

Tanesia said...

Good post.

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