Tag Archives: service

Spirit of Dutchess Awards

Last month I was nominated for a Spirit of Dutchess Award for the effort that I’ve done with the Poughkeepsie Farm Project. It’s something I’m very honored by. There are nearly 30 nominees, and all are quite impressive. In a field as good as that I finally understand the phrase “it’s an honor just to be nominated”. This letter to the editor (skip past the Harold Camping one) in the Poughkeepsie Journal drove that point home even more.

Tomorrow is the luncheon for the awards, which I’m really looking forward to. I’ve got no allusions that I’ll be one of the few winners from this field, but I am looking forward to participating in such a celebration of service in our county.

Best Customer Service Call Ever

I will hide the vendor’s name to protect the innocent. However I have a recurring order with a vendor, which is great, up until they got rid of a few items. I tried to modify my order online, and I got an error that said I couldn’t and to call the customer service number. Ok, fine, guess I need to use my cell minutes for something.

I explain the issue to the CS rep. He offers to reset my password. I explain that I can actually log in, but I just can’t modify anything.

“Yeh, the website has been like that since I started. Honestly, I have no idea what IT gets paid to do, because I’ve asked them about that a bunch of times and it’s still broken. Your best bet is to just call in your changes. I know it’s less convenient, but we’re available 24 hours.”

I thanked him for his time, told him I’d call back later, and had a good laugh. I appreciate honestly like that.

Thoughts on a new Era of Service

I, along with much of this country, even this world, was moved by Obama’s acceptance speech yesterday.  Two things really make me hopeful about this new administration.  First, that expert opinions will be listened to.  Many highly technical fields, including much of Science and Security, were completely run out of town in the last administration.  Secondly, that you don’t need to pass a loyalty test to get within 1000 feet of the president.  Rick Warren believes differently than President Obama on many fronts, many wanted him thrown out of the inaguration because of it.  But now we have a President that likes to have people around him with different points of view, to challenge his assumptions, and makes sure he’s seen all sides of an issue.  How refreshing is that.

And, throughout all of this, I am really impressed by this call to a new age of service.  This has been a consistant message for the last many months, and it personally inspired me.  Being a software guy, I have a skill that is massively needed by non profits.  The tech team of non profits, if they even have one, is usually one or two fresh college graduates, with a massive turn over rate.  It is a set of skills they don’t know how to hire, manage, or use, and one they can’t afford to contract.  The net result is that most non profits don’t really manage to leverage all these wonderful resources out there.  In the tide of this new age of service, I started thinking about what I could do to help on this front for our farm.  I offered my skills over break, and things are starting to kick off now.  Over the next few months I’m sure I’ll have some new experiences to post up here about the whole process.

If you are a Tech person, I highly encourage you to look out there at non profits or causes you are interested in, and step up.  Become their webmaster, or spend a few hours a month helping them on some tech front.  You have a set of skills they desperately need, and even a modest investment of your time and resources can do amazing things in helping out those organizations reach their goals.