Software for Good
A simple code: do good for others
Software for Good : A simple code: do good for others
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By Casey Helbling
I wear my heart on my sleeve. I am who I am. I love being an entrepreneur. I love start-ups. And I love trying to create change and making the world a better place. It all came together with the idea of Software for Good.
Historically I’ve always been a programmer and software engineer. I enjoyed sitting at a keyboard and building cool software solutions. But one day I looked at my work and felt like I could be doing more. That’s when I had this revelation: Why couldn’t my day job make the world a better place?
Software for Good helps clients who need technology solutions for developing ideas that will ultimately change the world in drastic and dramatic ways. (Think medical research companies working on life-saving vaccines.)
We’re able to meet their needs thanks to our employees’ constant intellectual curiosity. They’re not afraid to try new technologies or new ways of doing things. I think it’s only fair that I approach running the company with the same openness to innovation.
I didn’t know what a social enterprise was prior to starting one, but it’s the idea of creating social change within your organization. I believe in treating everyone in an open and trustworthy manner, so it was a natural fit.
We enjoy a really transparent culture. We do things like open-books accounting, where we tell everyone exactly how much money the company is making or losing. We also do unlimited PTO, so if people want to take time off, they just do it. The idea is to treat everyone like an adult. Trusting people is a better way to treat employees. This is the way business will be in the future. We’re just getting a head start on it.
All bold ideas come with some level of doubt, but you just have to trust your values. Anyone who says they don’t have that voice saying, “Maybe this isn’t the right time”—they’re lying. We all have it. But we just need to tell it to go away and do what we need to do. Remind yourself that even if this awesome idea fails, it was worth it.
When things get overwhelming, one of the best ways to ground yourself is by getting a little exercise. Some of my best thinking happens out on a run. Get some oxygen, reset and figure out what you need to focus on. Don’t worry about the things you can’t change. Focus on the things you can.
Thinking of myself as a business owner (rather than a programmer who owns a business) has been a learning experience in and of itself. Time management is critical, and I’ve always known that I’m terrible at it. But I’m pretty smart about what I’m not good at, and I compensate by hiring people that are really good at those things. My advice for other people starting a small business is to surround yourself with intelligent people and never be afraid to ask for help.
“Don’t worry about the things you can’t change. Focus on the things you can.”
You can’t start a business by yourself. You need so many people to support you. Our company values are constantly being molded and shaped by the people within the organization, and I love that. I think that’s important because I certainly don’t have all the right answers. We’re still a young, small company, and everyone’s ideas help us grow. The more we grow, the more people we can help.
Motivation comes from many different places, but one thing that inspires me to keep going is wanting to see this experiment through. Where is this gonna go? What’s it gonna turn into? I’m really proud of what this company is now, but I can’t wait to see what it becomes.