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America, September 16, 2007

Bye Bye Geekcorps, Hello Mercy Corps

I gots me a brand new technology job!

a geekcorps start
A Silhouette
geeking in Taiwan
A Stance
bust a move!
A Style
when you're good...
A Success
Yes, as you may have read in the Associated Press article on the OLPC price increase, I am now:
"the former director of the Geekcorps international tech-development organization and current editor of the OLPCNews blog."
Friday was my last day as head geek, able to stop entire conversations with the simple, "I'm with Geekcorps," which inevitably lead to a half-hour discussion on technology in the developing world.

For three years, I led Geekcorps, starting with a handful of CD's from the previous staff and one program in the field. Through blood, sweat and a few tears, we built it into a successful organization by winning several large contracts:

  • Accessing International Markets thru Information Technology: a two-year $4.5 million cooperative agreement with the United States Agency for International Development to increase the economic contribution of the Information Technology sector in Lebanon.
  • Smarter Technology for a Smarter Business: a two-year $1.6 million contract with the Hewlett Packard Corporation to develop a highly practical and global training curriculum that enables small businesses to be more profitable and efficient, using technology
  • Last Mile Initiative: a two-year $900,000 cooperative agreement with the United States Agency for International Development to expand the use of information and communication technologies into underserved areas of Mali.
And I leave Geekcorps at a high point - we just won a $600,000 one-year contract to bring needed communication technologies to underserved areas previously excluded from Mali's active social and political systems.

Olivier Alais will be leading Geekcorps in developing five new radio stations in Mali's far north, expanding on Geekcorps' success in improving rural radio stations. He also has the opportunity to add ten additional radio stations in another multi-year contract with USAID if he is successful with these five.

I am confident that Olivier will be successful in achieving the Geekcorps goal of expanding private enterprise with sustainable information and communication technologies, and as much as I will miss the cachet of Geekcorps, it is time for change.

Tomorrow morning I will "be the change" at Mercy Corps, a large humanitarian relief and international development organization based in Portland, Oregon, but with offices worldwide, including Washington DC.

I will be the change, the Director to be exact, at MicroMentor, an online microenterprise mentoring program focused on helping small, start-up businesses in the USA grow through mentoring relationships with experienced business professionals.

My first task will be to bring the current MicroMentor website into the 21st Century with cutting-edge interactive technologies like social networking and user-generated content. Think of it as a cross between Linked In,, and focused on pairing thousands of emerging business owners with successful entrepreneurs from communities across the United States.

Over time I hope to broaden MicroMentor services to help entrepreneurs gain access to a wide array of resources and products that could help strengthen their businesses, but for tomorrow, I hope just to get my email working and meet my new colleagues.

So while I am sad to leave Geekcorps, and its amazing volunteers, I can't wait to take on this new, different, and hopefully richly rewarding challenge: Being the change.

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Congratulations! I'm sure we'll have more opportunities to work together.

Regards from Skopje,

Congrats on the new job! Sounds like you'll be traveling less. At least not internationally. I'm sure that's a welcome change...

Hope you are having a great first day! Congrats.

Congrats on the new gig -- sounds great, but will you get to do as much traveling in the new job?

Sabeans & David,

SO far it looks like I will not be traveling so much, and at this point, I welcome the change. I'm beat from all my trips and would love to spend more time in my new home with my soon-to-be wife.

how's the new job? did you find your office and get the email to work?

I am happy for you that you are starting a new job challenge. Change is good for you and will keep you from getting bored with a job.

Good luck to you from afar.

Wow, Wayan, when you want change, you definitely go for the gusto! A new house, soon to be married AND a new job! For most people, one of these factors is stressful enough.

Will this new job entail travel like the last one? Or does this mean with settling down matrimonially that you are also keeping your ass in DC more? I can see a plan for little Wayans on the horizon! Your mom must be happy.

Congrats on all fronts and best wishes for all great to come. Hopefully, you'll still get to indulge your wanderlust once in a while.

Congratulations Wayan! This is a big year for you - new job, engaged... Anything else up your sleeve? I am so glad that life has been so good to you and happy we remain in touch

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