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Freelock Computing: Open Source Altruism

| Thursday February 19th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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Freelock Computing, an open source consulting firm, was built on the same premise as open source itself. Tapping into the open source community to find the ideal solutions for clients, Freelock is in the business of sharing. They share their skills, their knowledge, their network — and even their salaries — with a pay it forward approach that benefits everyone. For John Locke, founder, it’s about spreading the wealth where his company, customer, causes and planet all profit. And that’s a life hack worth installing.


1. How do you define for-profit philanthropy?
We define it as recognizing that our success is built upon the works of others, and that we are an inextricable part of the fabric of our community. We need to be good custodians and do what we can to help those around us in need.
2. Please describe your philanthropic business plan and your current charitable activities.
We donate 10% of our profits to open source projects or charities. We also encourage our employees to devote 10% of their work time to volunteering on open source projects or charities.
3. How do you communicate the impact of these efforts to your customers?
We haven’t much, yet. I do see charitable contributions as good marketing but that’s not the impetus behind our efforts. We will, however, begin posting regularly about who we’re helping on a charitable contributions page on our website, and asked to be listed as donors to the projects and charities we support. And, of course, we’ll happily talk about for-profit charitable activities when asked! We’re very passionate about the good we do, and I’d like to see more businesses put philanthropic activities right into their business plan. I’d like to see buyers and consumers asking why such things aren’t the regular activities of a successful business. After all, no successful business got that way all by themselves so there should always be a focus on giving back. But I also think talking too much about what contributions you’re making takes away from the purpose of giving, and dilutes the meaning behind it. I’m happy to promote charitable causes, but I’d rather show you what we’re doing than tell you that we’re doing it.
4. Why do you think it’s important for companies to adopt philanthropy as part of their revenue model?
We have some dire problems we face on this planet – climate change, water issues, social justice, economic problems, health care issues, pollution, and many more. Any business that fails to account for their impact in these areas is not sustainable in the long run. Our current
economic collapse, I think, is in large part because too many businesses, for far too long, have ignored the true cost of their business, making everyone else pay the consequences. We can no longer afford to do so.
5. What would you say is the most critical element in successfully implementing philanthropic endeavors?
Supporting other people and businesses who make a conscious effort to solve problems in the world around them, and choosing not to support businesses who are motivated solely by greed.
Name: John Locke
Title: Founder
Company: Freelock Computing
Website: http://www.freelock.com
Contact: 206-577-0540, computing@freelock.com


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