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Ignite LA: Can Tech Geeks Save the World?

Tech geeks aren't just ruling the world; They're doing their part to save it. Ignite LA presenter and CrisisCamp organizer Chad Catacchio used his 15 minutes to talk about the power of the CrisisCommons community. Founded in March 2009, CrisisCommons brought socially conscious citizens and NGOs together to create solutions for crisis through technology. In January, hundreds of CrisisCamp volunteers gathered in four countries in response to the earthquake in Haiti.

Ignite LA:  Can Tech Geeks Save the World?
Jim Alden - Techfrog

"The first CrisisCamp was a group of people interested in talking about ways to ways to end crisis in the word," said Chad. "It really wasn't a response to anything specific.  But within 24 hours of the Haiti earthquake, and a ton of e-mails, we decided we needed to do something immediately."

While highlighting the work many of the CrisisCamp developers did in creating maps to aid Haiti relief workers, Chad made it a point to say that anyone can participate in CrisisCamp efforts, not just super-star technologists.

"We need people from all different professional backgrounds," Chad asserted. "We need people who can do project management, translate, Twitter, do data entry. It's limitless."

Through his work with CrisisCommons, Chad says he's learned that "human nature translates into technology, and the Internet enables that process."

"People really are willing to sacrifice their time and help," he shared. "A lot of people at CrisisCamp would have dug people out of the dirt in Haiti if they'd been there."

The amount of compassion among volunteers isn't the only thing Chad absorbed as a result of the Haiti CrisisCamp. He saw Corporate America show its humanitarian side firsthand. Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have all donated resources and technology to the CrisisCommons organization.

"It's really interesting because all of these companies have agreed to not profit from this grass roots movement," surmised Chad.  "They're really helping. They've literally said, 'we can make our money somewhere else.'"

No details have been released yet, but CrisisCamps are in the works in response to the disaster in Chile. To find out how you can help, check out http://crisiscommons.org.


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