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Bridging Gaps: Part 4 January 10, 2010

Filed under: Vietnam — polyachka @ 7:58 pm
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Bridging Gaps: Part 4

Some serious mentoring

The next day Mon, Dec 21 I received the following questions from my new mentor:

1.What ideas are you throwing around for blogging up a storm, leaving Nancie Severs AND Caroline Meeks in the dust?…

2.WHEN will you introduce me to all 9 PhD’s orphans(as a result of my future work in Vietnam)?

3.What manuals/docs/chapters/external drivers were the veritable best to push you forward, so I can read them myself (my life depends on you & others helping me clean up: etc so we can clone your inexplicable wondrous fixation into 1000 others!!!)?

And many other questions… To say the least, I was impressed with seriousness of his dedication and constructive criticism… Of source, I thoroughly answered all his questions. Next thing I know –

My introduction to the support gang:

And you thought all Russian emails were spam?   Not!  Please welcome the 1st of 2 stars to join us today–Polyachka–a Babson/Finance MBA who joined our NYC event last month, and not only seems to be writing a book on the 2014 Olympics overrunning her hometown (Sochi, Russia, on the Black Sea) but is also just as insanely^h^h^h I mean wonderfully entrepreneurial as Nancie Severs, starting/funding her very own small XO deployment at an orphanage in Vietnam starting next month:

Polyachka will surely use our help (and offer her own) along the way–even
if connectivity is sketchy in the Vietnam–please do contact her here:…

Then directly to me:

Dear Polyachka,
Kindly introduce yourself to the group, with a very short personal
statement of what you are working on, your interests and/or photos…

Add a link to your name and hometown in the roster here if possible:

All questions are welcome here on this non-public mailing list, during our
Sunday 4PM EDT/EST conference calls, 2PM Friday project reviews,
and over live chat (our “volunteers only” IRC channel is #olpc-support-gang
on irc).  Remember ask ANY question anytime here. Thank you for joining ”

For some reason, I felt very exposed and overwhelmed and wanted to hide in a shell pretending I didn’t hear his request or I was too busy.

Now that I think about it, I was afraid of speaking up as a reflex from hiding in the corporate world for too long. I didn’t know who exactly Adam introduced me to and who comprises the body of the support gang, or that “giant nebula”, as Ahmed called it. It is like public speaking fear of being misinterpreted, judged, or ridiculed. Later I found out that I’m not the first person to feel that way, as the support gang grew from single digits to more than 225 people who receive updates.

People become more cautious about what they say and how they express themselves, by not knowing how their responses will be used and taken by others. I didn’t know if the nebula was happy to have me as a member or had mixed feelings. I received welcome emails from two individuals and answered them discreetly by responding only to the individuals but not to the whole gang.

Why can’t I just open up and be friendly with my new volunteering buddies? It is time to change. Welcome to non-profit world, Polyachka!


One Response to “Bridging Gaps: Part 4”

  1. Kevin Mark Says:

    as a member of the support gang, we dont bite (much) 🙂
    I hope you take the risk and introduce yourself to our gang and ask a question. We are all here to help with the OLPC mission, not to demean or criticize random strangers. I have never heard a single word berating any member. Good luck with your OLPC pilot and dont hesitate to get help or ask for advice from any of us.

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