A group of v4c attendees pictured with Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s. Image courtesy of [Bright Lights Photography][a_100330120154].
## Reaching out and making changes ##
[a_100330094308]Yesterday I had the great fortune to attend the [Venture 4 Change][a_100330094308] conference in North Dumfries, a summit designed to bridge the gap between the corporate and philanthropic sectors and to open the dialogue on integrating both into the community with greater efficacy.
I won’t get into just how awesome the conference was and how incredible the speakers were — [other blogs][a_100330082628] [will surely][a_100330082645] cover that today — but I will speak to the honor that was hearing the likes of [Tony Pigott][a_100330090139], [Sam Purdy][a_100330090500] and [Jerry Greenfield][a_100330090408] speak to us about how for-profit businesses can make a difference in both the community and to world charities as a whole.
But what I really took away from the conference was the fact that the conference itself was the embodiment of everything it sought to discuss. The room was full of community members from all walks of life — some of them seeking social change from businesses, some looking for ways to make social responsibility a viable solution for their business, but everyone looking for those solutions together.
## The big ideas ##
The themes in the conference boiled down to a few key components; embrace the community, learn what’s important to that community, find the needs of that community, offer a solution where you can and be generous. It wasn’t rocket science. We, as a community, do that everyday with our neighbors, our family, our colleagues… but applying these ideas to business has not always been an easily accepted idea.
So why did this effect me? I got to talk to a lot of people yesterday — some just to say they love my tweets and others to find out what my company is all about. But then there were some genuine conversations, people connecting with people.
One such encounter was with [Jacqui Murphy][a_100330094233]. Business was never discussed. We just talked about community events, meetups and other such gatherings (embracing the community), which led to a discussion about our kids (what matters to the community), how kids can be trying at times (community needs) and ways to cope with them (offering solutions).
This is what community is all about and why it only makes sense that business should be run the same way. Businesses are made up of people. People make communities. Communities allow business to exist by their market activity. Businesses need to pay it back to their people and their communities.
## Breaking it down ##
These are the idea I have followed in my own business operations since day one. I have worked very hard from the beginning to build a strong, helpful community around the products I make and sell. I have always been as generous as can be — be it my own time, money or opportunity — to that community which I owe my own existence to. I have embraced those local communities who seek to support other local businesses and I have reached out to communities who would seek to do me harm and embraced them with open arms. I give as much as I can to charity, as often as I can.
This is an exciting time we are in now. While surely there have been companies with philanthropic intentions since the dawn of commerce and trade, it’s not always been the height of fashion to do so. It’s my hope that the recent efforts of companies to openly go green, practice fair-trade and be more socially, ethically and economically responsible will be the norm in years to come.
Business + People + Community = Venture 4 Change indeed.
Last nights [Waterloo Region Web Design & Technology Group][a_100310141035] Meetup (also known by it’s Twitter hash tag, [#kwdm][a_100310141236]) was another well put together event, thanks to the always wonderful and gracious [@jooliah][a_100310141417]. This months presentations were exceptional and very well received.
First up was [@cdutson][a_100310141817], a veteran of the [#kwdm][a_100310141236] scene, with a thought provoking look at the oft maligned (by me anyhow) FireWorks. As one of Adobes applications in the Creative Suite lineup, I’ve only delved into FireWorks on the odd occasion — likely as far back as it’s MacroMedia days. For me, then, it *wasn’t* Photoshop and nor should it have been as [@cdutson][a_100310141817] pointed out last night. It’s just another powerful tool in the designers shed and [@cdutson][a_100310141817] did a great job pointing that out.
Immediately follow was [@tinyHippos][a_100310142921] with a brilliant demonstration of their soon-to-be-released mobile app testing platform. I have had the opportunity to hear Dan speak about his product twice before last night but in both cases the format and/or the forum were not ideal for [@tinyHippos][a_100310142921] to really delve into the possibilities of their project. Last nights longer form, more casual speaking platform gave the crew ample opportunity to show off their brilliant wares. [Learn more here][a_100310143729].
The next presenter can only be described as the face of the region, [@TheSignDepot][a_100310144009]. As one [audience member][a_100310144203] put it to them, “Are there any signs [in the region] that you haven’t done?”
With some of the most profound quotes of the night, Peter of [@TheSignDepot][a_100310144009] wowed the attendees with his dedication and knowledge of the sign making craft but also with his evocative words of wisdom and his mind for business and integrity, “There’s tons of work out there, especially if you’re a good company.”
And last — but never least — [@jooliah][a_100310141417] gave us more [facepalm][a_100310145708] tips and tricks that we should all know (but sadly don’t) in that venerable beast of all Adobe apps, Photoshop. She earned a [John Hughes slow clap][a_100310145949] with the “Crop and Straighten Photos” automation feature that has apparently been available since CS1. Classic falcepalm right there.
As always, a great many thanks to [@jooliah][a_100310141417] as well as [@aroundkw][a_100310150539] for putting on another successful [#kwdm][a_100310141236].
[a_100310141035]: http://webdesign.meetup.com/472/ “Waterloo Region Web Design & Technology Group (Waterloo, ON) – Meetup.com”
[a_100310141236]: http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23kwdm “Twitter”
[a_100310141417]: http://twitter.com/jooliah “Lover of all things tech”
[a_100310141817]: http://twitter.com/cdutson “Ontario-based Graphic Design/Web developer dude”
[a_100310142921]: http://twitter.com/tinyHippos “Mobile development startup”
[a_100310143729]: http://tinyhippos.com/ “tinyhippos”
[a_100310144009]: http://twitter.com/TheSignDepot “A Good Sign is a Sign of GOOD BUSINESS”
[a_100310144203]: http://twitter.com/CuteGecko “CuteGecko is a Creative Design Agency”
[a_100310145708]: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=facepalm “Urban Dictionary: facepalm”
[a_100310145949]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Not_Another_Teen_Movie “Origin of the slow clap parody”
[a_100310150539]: http://twitter.com/aroundkw “Kim Burnett”
March is always a big month in the seyDoggy camp, we almost always release a new theme and always, without fail, have the years biggest sales in celebration of my birthday. This year will be no different, in fact we’ll be taking it one step farther and taking the celebration to club!
On Saturday March 13th I invite you to join us at *The Flying Dog* on Marsland Drive in Waterloo for wild night of dancing and crazy antics. Come out and help me celebrate my 36th birthday in style!
Saturday March 13, 2010
9:00pm – 2:00am
The Flying Dog
341 Marsland Drive,
Waterloo, ON N2J 3Z2
[[map]](http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=341+Marsland+Drive%2C+Waterloo%2C+ON+N2J+3Z2&hl=en “341 Marsland Drive, Waterloo, ON N2J 3Z2 – Google Maps”)