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Jacob Colker

March of the micro-volunteers

Published in 2010clockTime to read: 45s
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By combining old-fashioned altruism and 21st-century technology, a young trailblazer from California has given the world a new model for philanthropy.

locationUnited States

Inveterate entrepreneur Jacob Colker has pioneered a new form of activism based on the busy daily routines of today’s youth. Building on the benefits of crowdsourcing, Colker’s model allows anyone with a few spare minutes and a smartphone to work for a worthy cause. More than 800,000 volunteers have now signed up for micro-volunteering.

Sprinkle these 'do good' moments throughout the week, then multiply that figure by the many thousands of registered users comprising the network, and suddenly you're dealing with an enormously effective movement.

Colker is still involved with his original project (skillsforchange.com) but he is now Chief Marketing Officer for Lighter Capital, which assists software and technology entrepreneurs to build start-ups. He is also a Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Washington, based in Seattle. Among his other achievements, Colker co-founded an innovation hub, Impact Hub Seattle, which brings together a wide range of people with new ideas, promoting collaboration and creativity.

Colker rejects the idea that years of experience are the best preparation for hatching good ideas. “I honestly think some of the most innovative people are in their early twenties, so it’s not all about experience. The world-changing companies were founded by people when they were 19 – [Mark] Zuckerberg and [Bill] Gates. The best advice for a young person to get started is walk out of your door and start doing. If you see a problem, fix it.”

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