Entries by Coder Ahmed

2019 Planning for the Year Ahead

New Years is the traditional time to take stock of where we’ve been in the last twelve months, and to develop plans for the year ahead. 2018 was a good year for many of the nonprofits I work with. A couple of weeks ago Giving Compass published an informative 2018 Philanthropy Year-In-Review . Among the trends they […]

Remembering George H.W. Bush

Just three months after the death of John McCain (which I reflected on in my September newsletter), we have lost another fine leader, perhaps the best of my generation, President George H.W. Bush. Bush was a seasoned executive before he served in the White House; he was a World War II veteran, businessman, congressman, ambassador […]

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Court Sense

I’ve always liked Kenny Rogers’ song The Gambler. It tells the story of a chance encounter with a man who he calls “the gambler.” In exchange for a drink of whiskey, the gambler agrees to offer him some advice. The advice? “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when […]

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Management Thoughts and Wildfires

Sonoma County and the city of Santa Rosa are holding a ceremony tonight in observance of the anniversary of last year’s disastrous Sonoma fires, including a memorial bell ringing for the 24 people who died. Just 60 miles north of San Francisco, this community has pulled together over the last twelve months to understand the […]

A Tribute to John McCain

I first met John McCain in 1987, when he was an Arizona Senator, in the early days of his political career. I had been in the military; it was something that we shared in common. I met with him and his staff on several occasions, both on behalf of Applied Materials and while on the […]

A Crisis at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation

In mid-April the Chronicle of Philanthropy published a story by Marc Gunther profiling leadership problems at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF). The story revealed that former staff of the foundation are accusing Mari Ellen Loijens, the foundation’s top fundraiser of “engaging in emotionally abusive and sexually inappropriate behavior.” This led to her immediate resignation. […]

A Crisis at Facebook

My friend Roger McNamee put it best: “It reads like the plot of a sci-fi novel: a technology celebrated for bringing people together is exploited by a hostile power to drive people apart, undermine democracy, and create misery.” This was in an article he wrote, “How to Fix Facebook—Before It Fixes Us,” published three months […]


Sudden Policy Shifts: Nonprofits and Washington Politics

Every time a federal or state administration shifts, nonprofits are among the most exposed, sometimes negatively (extra work, extra costs, or undoing needed protections) and other times positively (greater opportunities to fulfill their mission).The fast-changing political climate in Washington is creating a host of challenges for the nonprofit community. Nonprofits focused on climate change and […]


Problems in Washington

When I was in Washington, I was impressed with the politicians and the bureaucrats. As Majority Leader and later as President, Lyndon Johnson got a lot done. Presidents Reagan, Bush Senior, and Clinton were effective at accomplishing policy changes that made peoples’ lives better and made government work better. Part of the problem these days […]

Respect, Not Harassment

In my May newsletter I considered the stories about sexual harassment at the ride-sharing service Uber. At the time I saw the story in part as a crisis of management, of executives who adopt the posture of “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” Since then the accounts of sexual harassment have mushroomed, […]