Like many of this generation’s most successful businessmen, Daniel Ben-Horin foresaw the Internet tech boom. Except, instead of working it purely for his personal gain, he founded TechSoup, a nonprofit designed at helping other nonprofits. TechSoup provides nonprofits with free technological resources and also offers donated technology products. More recently, they created NetSquared, which helps nonprofits use new tools like blogging and podcasting to spread their influence.
Before founding Tech Soup, Ben-Horin worked as a journalist for The New York Times, The Nation, Mother Jones, and numerous other publications. He has consistently featured in the Nonprofit Times list of the 50 most influential leaders of the nonprofit sector.
He took some time to answer a few of our questions.
Why TechSoup Global? Why try to help out NPOs and NGOs?
I was trying to come to terms with my values of the 60’s and 70’s and the reality of the 80’s and I kind of fell in love with the helping spirit of computer geeks, who were fairly maligned as “nerds” at the time (1987). And in a conservative time, it seemed to me that if social change were going to happen, NPOs were going to be the agents, so they needed all the help they could.
Are you a good man? Why or why not?
In some ways, yes; in others, not so much. A lot of things went right for me that enabled me to stay positive and make people laugh. When you get older, those traits get more and more admired. “Goodness” is very contextual.
What makes a good man, in your eyes?
Mostly circumstance. You have to be dealt cards to play them.
Who has been the ultimate good man in your life?
Timmy “the Freak” Lincecum! Just kidding. I’ve been fortunate to have many great male friends, but “ultimate good man”? I can’t really relate to that question.
What other men would you nominate as a “Man of the Day?” What guys, like you, are doing equally awesome things?
Two guys come to mind. One is Eugene Corr, a filmmaker. His one feature was “Desert Bloom” but he’s worked on a jillion films and now is making, largely on his own dime, a documentary about youth baseball in Oakland and Havana. He takes care of people, has unwavering integrity and is a lot of fun. The other is Bill Finnegan, The New Yorker staff writer. I’d describe him much as I describe Gene. I appreciate people who bring it consistently over time and keep their sense of humor.