FutureStack14 Day 2 Keynotes Focus on Giving Back

After new product announcements and our first acquisition took center stage at Day 1 of FutureStack14, the Day 2 opening keynote presentations had a different theme: How software can make a difference around the world and make everyone’s life better.

New Relic for non-profits

The biggest news was the New Relic Non-Profit Program, which will offer qualifying 501c3 non-profit organizations up to five hosts of New Relic APM Pro for free, with significant discounts on additional APM hosts and other New Relic products.

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Yvonne Wassenaar, our senior VP of operations, told keynote attendees that the program, which starts January 15, 2015, is “a step in institutionalizing who we are,” and solidifying our commitment to give back as we continue to grow.

New Relic works with a lot of non-profits that do a lot of cool things, Yvonne said. They make everything we do better, and who better than New Relic to help them do that?

To demonstrate the awesome thing those non-profits are doing, Lew introduced representatives of two organizations dedicated to improving healthcare around the world.

Cure.org relies on software in surprising ways

Joel Worrall, CTO of Cure.org, explained how software helps the world’s largest provider of surgical care for children with correctable disabilities like clubfoot, bowed legs, cleft lips, untreated burns, and hydrocephalus. Software allows Cure.org to invite people to participate in the process, he said. Not just contribute, but follow stories, and see that Cure.org is doing what they say—in real time. People can send get well messages and see the impact on the child they’re helping. “It’s helped us introduce ourselves to thousands of people,” Joel said, and the organization is hoping that figure will rise to tens of thousands of people.

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And New Relic plays an important role: “We couldn’t do what we’re doing without what you do,” Joel said, adding with a tech team of just four people, it would be frankly impossible without the services New Relic supplies. He’s particularly excited about what Cure.org is doing with New Relic Insights by tracking engagement with all the stories of the kids and putting that data in the hands of the marketing and social media team which then exposes it on the website so site visitors can see it.

On the back end, Cure.org has also launched an open source project working to address the challenges of doing electronic medical records in the developing world. HospitalRun is designed to create open source, modern software for charitable hospitals in the developing world. “We’re committed to cloud solutions,” Joel said, but connectivity can be iffy in many locations, so the project is working on automatic syncing technology so doctors and nurses can keep working even if the connection is broken because the system will automatically sync everything when the connection is restored.

In addition, “usability had to be key, we’re not in a situation where we can spend millions to train people,” Joel said.

Watsi: Spreading the health

Watsi, meanwhile, serves as a channel to connect donors to people who need medical care in developing countries, working with a variety of organizations like Cure.org that actually provide the care. Founder Chase Adam, said Watsi is all about complete transparency: 100% of every donation directly funds life-changing healthcare, we never take a cut… We even post screenshots of our bank account!”

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Specializing in low cost/high impact healthcare, Watsi is a tech-focused, non-profit startup that uses New Relic to track not just whether the software is working well for donors on the site, but more importantly that it’s also fast and reliable for the doctors and nurses who upload patient info into the system for donors to support. “Every minute they spend waiting for the software is a minute they’re not saving lives,” said Chase.

Code.org is thinking big

In order for software to change the world, of course, someone has to write that software. And right now, software engineering remains a largely male, mostly white and Asian pursuit. But for keynote speaker Hadi Partovi, president and co-founder of Code.org, that’s not a problem, it’s an opportunity to help schools across the country teach coding to kids from all types of backgrounds who are not getting this kind of instruction in school.

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Just one of Code.org’s programs, the Hour of Code, has introduced more than 40 million kids to basic programming concepts, by getting teachers across the country and around the world to teach one hour of computer science during regular class time. The idea, Hadi said, is that even a quick introduction will help kids get over the main barrier, the idea that “this is not for me,” that “I can’t do it,” that ”I don’t want to be that guy in the basement.”

Code.org is gearing up for an even bigger #hourofcode during Computer Science Education Week, December 8-14 this year. Hadi hopes to get 100 million students involved, and is working on a $5 million Indiegogo campaign to fund training for 10,000 teachers.

After that, it’s all about creating full-year courses in grades K-12. Code.org is working to teach computer science to 1.5 million kids (40% girls) in 40,000 classrooms around the world. In U.S. high schools, the organizations is working with 30 school districts and 13,000 kids. The pfs14 day 2 erograms including 60% black/Hispanic students and 34%, which Hadi said works out to more girls than are enrolled into the entire Computer Science AP program nationwide.

Perhaps Lew put it best: Whether it’s in education, healthcare, or any of the myriad other ways software can make a difference, “If you’re in a non-profit, we want to provide you the software you need to succeed. We’re honored to serve you.”


Fredric Paul (aka The Freditor) is Editor in Chief for New Relic. He's an award-winning writer, editor, and content strategist who has held senior editorial positions at ReadWrite, AllBusiness.com, InformationWeek, CNET, Electronic Entertainment, PC World, and PC|Computing. His writing has appeared in MIT Technology Review, Omni, Conde Nast Traveler, and Newsweek, among other places. View posts by .

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