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Stanford Diaries: the “Smi ...

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:02pm

The conference of Online Giving Markets held at Stanford University came to a close on Wednesday, after 4 very intense days of discussions, “unconference” meetings – where the debates evolved around issues raised by the group – and inspiring talks.

The aim of the conference was to share best practice, grow our network – but most importantly – try to find common ground that can help grow each of our online giving marketplaces and explore ways of cooperating.

In many ways these goals were achieved.

We take home with us to Berlin inspiring ways of growing and scaling the platform, with the aim of giving our users a stimulating and “addictive” user experience.

We have built friendships and found ways of cooperating with existing platforms in other markets, thereby expanding our global reach.

However, of the many great lessons learned – it was a very simple, yet powerful lesson that I take home with me: changing the world starts with a single act of kindness.

We were not only showed generous acts of kindness by complete strangers though out our trip (like Hitesh and Pooja who generously invited us into their home), the conference kicked off with a “Smile Revolution challenge”:

We were each given a “smile card” – and with this card encouraged to show an anonymous act of kindness to a stranger. So after giving flowers to a romantic couple, leaving money for the next person at the phone booth, and buying a stranger a cup of coffee – we realized that even on the campus of one of the worlds most elite universities – there is nothing as contagious as a smile.

This trip was an initiation into the “Smile Revolution” – find out more on: www.helpothers.org

The conference of Online Giving Markets held at Stanford University came to a close on Wednesday, after 4 very intense days of discussions, “unconference” meetings – where the debates evolved around issues raised by the group – and inspiring talks.

The aim of the conference was to share best practice, grow our network – but most importantly – try to find common ground that can help grow each of our online giving marketplaces and explore ways of cooperating.

In many ways these goals were achieved.

We take home with us to Berlin inspiring ways of growing and scaling the platform, with the aim of giving our users a stimulating and “addictive” user experience.

We have built friendships and found ways of cooperating with existing platforms in other markets, thereby expanding our global reach.

However, of the many great lessons learned – it was a very simple, yet powerful lesson that I take home with me: changing the world starts with a single act of kindness.

We were not only showed generous acts of kindness by complete strangers though out our trip (like Hitesh and Pooja who generously invited us into their home), the conference kicked off with a “Smile Revolution challenge”:

We were each given a “smile card” – and with this card encouraged to show an anonymous act of kindness to a stranger. So after giving flowers to a romantic couple, leaving money for the next person at the phone booth, and buying a stranger a cup of coffee – we realized that even on the campus of one of the worlds most elite universities – there is nothing as contagious as a smile.

This trip was an initiation into the “Smile Revolution” – find out more on: www.helpothers.org

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