From squirrels to SurveyCTO

In this week’s Terms of Reference podcast by Aidpreneur, Dobility founder and CEO Dr. Christopher Robert tells the SurveyCTO origin story (fun fact: it involves squirrels), discusses why he founded Dobility as a for-profit company, and provides a critical analysis of the development landscape. Read on for a few of our favorite quotes.

On how it all started:
“When there are squirrels eating and nesting in your survey forms…, you know that it’s time for something better.”

On where software meets social mission:
“Our social mission requires that we make it easy for people to drop us as soon as they have a better option. Because we honestly don’t want people using our software if they are better served by some alternative.”

On why a “for profit” social enterprise isn’t quite what people expect:
“I make less money today with a PhD from Harvard and a wealth of experience than I did when I was 18 years old. And it’s because I made a conscious choice not to follow the path that’s most personally profitable.”

“When I started Dobility, my first instinct was to start it as a non-profit. But when I looked at how poorly the development sector had been served by technology and I looked at the millions and millions and millions of dollars that had been spent by donors and by various development organizations… and when I looked at what’s come of all that, it wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t reliable enough. It wasn’t accessible enough.”

“Donor-funded technology is just not efficient and it’s not sustainable…. You have people satisfying donor requirements rather than satisfying real user requirements.”

On the international development sector:
“There’s something fundamentally wrong about how this is working.”

Listen to the full interview on the Aidpreneur website.