Should Your Company Be Volunteering For Bravado? (This Company Is)

As a sign of their technological and business prowess, iTeleport employees volunteer one day every week with the Khan Academy, a non-profit working to provide top-level education for free to anyone with access to a computer.

It’s not a marketing or publicity ploy and it’s not a recruitment tool (directly, at least). ¬†iTeleport founder Jahanzeb Sherwani explains that it’s bravado. ¬†By giving up a day of work, he and his employees make a statement to themselves and to their competitors (market stalwarts GoToMyPC and LogMeIn) about just how good their operation is. Of course, they also benefit from the creativity and inspiration that comes from working on diverse projects.

While an important outcome of volunteering for Jahanzeb and his employees is self-esteem, it’s clear that he’s also working within a larger framework. iTeleport’s three values are technology, self-growth and “hackers with a heart.”

Jahanzeb’s story captivated me because it’s honest and refreshing. In a market where companies are structuring and publicizing large-scale EVPs (which I think, unequivocally, is great), it’s memory-catching to see that businesses and employees can have different relationships to volunteering and modes of exercising a social mission.

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8 Comments

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  1. Heidi Massey July 22, 2010 at 12:19 am #

    Olivia,
    I always LOVE reading your posts. It is always something I haven’t read anyplace else and it is something that is incredibly interesting…I learn everytime I read your blog!

    iTeleport rocks! My favorite part of what they do is by volunteering they make their competitors wonder how they work a shorter week (kind of) and still compete effectively. That is something I would have missed. And it is so interesting that sometimes the companies that are doing the best with things like doing social good, seem to trumpet it the least…happy to help trumpet what they are doing!

    Thanks for putting this out there…it is truly a great story!

  2. admin July 22, 2010 at 9:32 am #

    Heidi,
    thanks so much. It’s great to hear that you find value here. I agree–I love iTeleport’s reason for volunteering. I know they benefit from the social impact of it, but isn’t it fun to play with more unorthodox approaches to a social mission?!

  3. Andrew Warner July 22, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    They’re competing against big names in this space and instead of working 24/7, they’re taking time off to go help non-profits?

    Sounds absurd, but it’s it’s working.

    iTeleport has a solid product. I pay monthly for GoToMyPC and they still don’t give me iPhone access the way iTeleport does. I think it’s time to cancel GoToMyPC.

  4. admin July 22, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    Andrew, exactly. Thanks for stating it so clearly. Cool strategy, right?

  5. Feyyaz July 22, 2010 at 4:05 pm #

    Hey Olivia!

    Very interesting post, but why the Arnold picture? :)

  6. admin July 22, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

    Feyyaz, thanks. Bravado can be illustrated with muscles in my mind:)

  7. Carlos Barboza July 22, 2010 at 8:36 pm #

    Great story. I use to use log me in, but decided to stop using and see what came up next. You just helped me choose my next option. Thanks.

  8. admin July 23, 2010 at 2:12 pm #

    Carlos, is it because of the company (and employees’) bravado or the volunteering aspect–or both? Thanks for commenting.