This is the second of three spoke word pieces I composed and performed at Ushahidi team retreats over the years. Have been working up the guts to share these with the world. Ushahidi has been a source of inspiration, this poem in particular focused on how we measure success. So often funders are exclusively focused on the growth of quantitative impact metrics, but i've personally found this to be emblematic of the cliche "missing the forest through the trees." So much of what we have done at Ushahidi is about building a culture and changing a paradigm about what a technology and/or org working on humanitarian problems looks like. Sure we have lots of impact numbers we can throw around, but so much more important was what we have helped to inspire a generation of technologists from both the developing and developed world to use their technological super powers to do good and do more than just sell ads. This feels particularly relevant right now, as we see many of the tech giants who came to scale at the same time as us (Twitter was founded 20 months before us!), now being held accountable for putting profits above purpose. Meanwhile orgs like ours, who stay true to mission, open source, and humanitarian value, struggle to get foundations and philanthropists support without having growth impact metrics that look a whole lot like the revenue curves VCs require.

From 33 to 53, in one year we’ve grown to half a century.

Four founders were the gene, now we’re a multiplying community.

100 different ways we could measure success,

But one unit out there, growth, tends to rise above the rest.

But isn’t it funny that we measure our self-worth by counting…

How much, how many,

but really, how wanting.

One, two, three, four.

When you burnout and hit the floor,

That monkey on your bank still asks for more.

And I know how much you all push to do more.

But when your contributions begin to feel like a chore…. We got problems.

Luckily, growth is not the only way to measure self-worth.

I like to count friends made and moments of mirth.

Late nights up laughing with this goofy group of bandits -

We are lucky it’s the rule, not the exception, in fact it’s almost the mandate.

Where else are you going to have Henry teaching you how to Azonto,

Or Dr. Data and DoubleO toppling jokes like dominos.

O wait I messed up….

Toppling jokes like….Kenyans skiing at Bellagio.

Sorry sorry, maybe that was too low.

I remember Uncle D narrating the epic rise of of Angie Wan Kanobi;

Meanwhile Limo is made to down sambuca shot number 3, then 13…

See he’s still smiling gleefully!

I mean let’s get real, Juliana makes earrings out of USBs!

That’s cooler than a BRCK powered ROV.

Such good times we’ve all had.

But to let you know, if I get too drunk in Austin,

I’m going to start quoting the New Yorker and extravagantly waving my hands;

Meanwhile the WhiteAfrican will be over there doing the running man.

And it’s a well-known fact that Zack can sing the entire Frozen soundtrack front to back.

Look this isn’t a hack -

It’s all of us together along these train tracks.

In June you’re going to get tired.

And that’s when you got to reacquire the fire.

I’m honored to work with all of you to change paradigms,

There is nothing I would rather do with my passion and time.

I’m surely not going to make a living with these rhymes.

You all do so much more than build software, manage projects, or write code in lines.

We are inspiring the world to change it’s mind

To believe that people deserve more than “just fine.”

It's why people come from all over the world to be part of this tribe.

It’s why our intern Arushi who studies computer science at Stanford University

Took a year off to work with us in Nairobi.

Because she felt that when it comes to technology

That this was the most exciting place to be, not Silicon Valley.

Just sit on that and wait and see,

Because that really means something to me.

That is how we are going to measure what we achieve.

That’s proof that we are creating this ecosystem of opportunity.

That we are creating a new industry.

Not by counting one, two, three,

But by helping people to be free.

And helping the rest to see.

By being the beacon, not the decree.

By being the one who goes first so that all others can believe --

No, in fact, to know -- that this journey is possible for anyone who dreams.

That’s how we should measure our success;

Not by years, or people, or money no less.

But by those who come after and after and after, until the paradigm is changed for the best.