I am constantly disturbed reading the newspapers lately. The front page of each and every one always seems to be yet another update on how the very rich and powerful are attempting to justify waging a war.
That said, I hope you are continuing to read your ARN! Yes, there are some resellers going out of business here and there, IT giants reporting large losses and your typical spats between competitors, but there are also big deals going down as well as stories of companies rebuilding (see the National Consumables Suppliers story) or expanding (Dicker Data).
I’m writing this after speaking to a few people in the IT channel who have donated their time and, in some cases, money to more philanthropic causes than keeping company stakeholders happy. I think their stories make for better reading this week.
The first of them is Harris Technology’s David Foster. His interview will appear in next week’s ARN. Foster has just returned from Canberra where Harris Technology (with a little help from some vendor partners) presented the Rivers Bushfire Brigade with an IT package worth about $20,000. This particular unit includes two firefighters that lost their homes — as well as their fire station — in the recent tragedy. Alongside some discount vouchers Harris handed out to the local community, the company put together a kit including personal computers, multi-function devices, digital cameras and printers for the brigade, and a few fun items like DVD players for the firefighters that lost their homes. “Our people down there saw the devastation that happened,” Foster said. “There were a lot of people that weren’t insured. We drove past Duffy [one of the worst affected Canberra suburbs] and it was unbelievable. The fire just ripped down that hill and destroyed everything in its path.”
Foster said his team felt an enormous amount of satisfaction being able to help out. “The community spirit down there is excellent,” he said.
The other person I spoke to was Max Goldsmith, a director of storage reseller XSI. When Goldsmith and fellow director Stephen Simpson ran the private company prior to it being acquired by Powerlan, both directors would commit up to $100,000 to their chosen charity each year. Most of this money went to youth support charities such as the Ted Noffs Foundation and the Exodus Foundation.
In 2002 and 2003, Goldsmith has committing his resources to the Bear Cottage, an initiative of the Westmead Children’s Hospital. It accommodates terminally ill children and their families in a hospice facility in Manly.
Harris Technology and XSI are great examples of groups that feel a need to share their success with others. There have been many more such stories in ARN over the past year. Staff at HDS, Nortel and a number of small Dubbo resellers did their bit by shaving their heads for various charities; distributors Express Data and Dynamic Supplies each made cash contributions to children’s charities ($25,000 and $40,000 respectively). Even those drinking games at LANMania put a few thousand dollars to good use.
“It amazes me when some people say that their only concern should be to return a dividend to shareholders, not people in need,” Goldsmith said. “Our whole philosophy is that we recognise we are fortunate. We have been looked after. If you’re as lucky as we are then you should really put something back in.”
We like hearing stories of the IT community giving something back. If you have any fundraising activities in mind and need to connect with the channel community, be sure to let us know.