I’ve been hosting open source conferences and events for more than a decade now. I chose open source because of the technological and collaborative opportunity it provides to so many people around the world. I chose conferences and events because they often serve as a gateway to the technology industry for those very same people. Together they provide the one thing I’ve been obsessed with since I started – access to opportunity for everyone.
While the events I’ve hosted, as well as the organizations behind them, have taken on many forms over the years I’m excited to announce All Thing Open is pursuing a new one – the B Corp certification.
So what is a Certified B Corporation? Technically speaking they’re companies that have been certified by the nonprofit B Lab to have met rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. Less technically speaking they’re organizations that have put their money and time where their mouths are, something I greatly respect.
For about 6 months now we’ve been pursuing the certification by going through a process, the B Impact Assessment, of identifying and measuring internal processes, assigning points accordingly, and meeting minimum standards and guidelines identified. It’s been tough and very thorough, and we don’t honestly know whether we’ll meet minimum requirements or not, but it’s been very well worth it.
Why are we voluntarily going through the process? It can really be boiled down to three things:
The certification is aligned with our values
Since we started All Things Open nearly 5 years ago, and really since we started hosting open source events a decade ago, we have held the believe you can deliver great events while delivering amazing value benefiting everyone – and that has guided every step of our journey. In B Lab and the certification process we found another organization, as well as a network of people and companies, that feel the same way – and created a process around it. We wanted to be a part of the movement and part of the network.
By going through the assessment and documenting our processes, and knowing we will (hopefully) be recertified in the future, we are forced to hold ourselves accountable.
Setting a good example
We strongly believe leadership is in short supply these days and has been for a long while now. We also believe it is incumbent on us to become the leaders we want to see and by all rights should expect. Achieving certification, and proudly setting a good example, will hopefully enable us to inspire others.
While absolutely nothing will change for our community and attendees – we’ll still host world-class events that are extremely accessible and inclusive – we feel we gain two important things. They are illustrative of our strongly held belief that doing well can result from doing the right thing.
First, we firmly believe purpose is essential to building something sustainable, and long term value only results from sustainability. After all, without a sense of purpose efforts and people are rudderless. Our purpose is to use business for good by delivering incredible value to others through our events and platforms, and do it in a way that benefits everyone.
Attracting great partners
Going forward we very much want to work with world-class partners, which includes both organizations and people. In a noisy world we figure there is no better way to attract like-minded partners than being the kind of organization they’d want to be partners with. Our moms taught us this many years ago – first be the type of friend you expect others to be – and it’s as true today as it was then.
Moving forward I and the company will continue to provide an update on our progress. And by doing so we really do hope to set a good example for others – something that is very much needed at the moment in so many ways.