Kiva is an interesting company. They are in the business of “micro-lending.” Here’s the basic jist: individuals like you and me can donate small amounts of money (e.g. $10 or $25) directly to businesses in developing countries. Kiva processes the money, and connects to the organizations that provide financing to small (often entrepreneurial) businesses. It’s a great startup, and I’m proud that I’ve (finally) joined Kiva as a user.
But I’m even more proud that my cousin Sam is the Chief Technical Officer of Kiva. (For those keeping track at home, Sam is actually my cousin-in-law, but since I’ve known him for many years, I’ve now adopted him).
Sam is the perfect software engineer. He’s got the geek thing totally down: the type of programmer who talks to himself as he’s coding and who sees the best solution for any problem. The Kiva job is great for him too. It appeals to his sense of responsibility for the world and offers its fair share of technical challenges.
Sam is a very generous person. I’ve been to San Francisco four times already this year, and I’m going again this coming week. Sam not only picks me up and drops me at the airport, but he gives me a place to sleep at his apartment (usually for a week at a time). If that wasn’t enough, he provides me his car so I can shoot up and down the peninsula. Sam has literally saved me thousands of dollars in hotel stays, airport transfers, and car rentals. On my last trip, he wouldn’t even let me pay for gas. Well, sorry Sam—I’ve just made the first of many donations through Kiva in your honor. If you won’t let me pay it back, I’ll pay it forward.
I hope all of the readers of this blog will visit Kiva.org and sign up for a free account. And if you see any problems with the site, let me know. I know the guy who can fix them.