Sometimes software companies can appear to be pretty downright mean
I would say that most of these conceptions are a product of misleading media, the over-exposure of crumby companies (who usually end up going bust), the fact that "bad" or "negative" news sells, and a general difficulty in communicating technical concepts to the general public
Here are some pretty cool companies that I strongly believe are indicative of the greater software community at large. Remember software isn't just an industry, but it's a kind of universal tool
Have Your Voice Heard
Many people feel disillusioned and powerless today - that their political leaders, for example, are deaf or unwilling to hear what they have to say or respond to what they need
I'd argue that while there are still improvements to be made, most of the disconnect simply has to do with people not knowing where to have their voice heard
Here are several petition sites that allow people to bring about change in a democratic, peaceful, way - such sites are not the end all be all but represent the idea that technology tends to increase direct participation wherever it spreads and progresses
Paladin PBC - get pro bono legal help!
Here are several cool sites that are using technology to bring about very positive changes in the world - The Hunger Site enables people to make a click and provide a simple meal to somewhere in the world (I've fact-checked this and believe it to be highly reputable)
Charity Navigator - Accountability for 501c3's and the ability to give through their trusted network
Gentrification is probably desirable overall but has had the undesirable outcome of leaving many residents behind - here's how they're tackling that in California
There's been some confusion about Google's original, though unofficial, motto
The Corporate Renaissance
Better jobs, higher wages, more fun, concern for employees, and social responsibility to boot!
Harvard Business Review - tons of articles on what has collectively been dubbed The Corporate Renaissance
LinkedIn - half the reason to join LinkedIn is to get access to their custom content which further details The Corporate Renaissance
Today's Software Leaders
Empathy, dynamism, philosophy, and humor!
Stewart Butterfield - Slack / Flickr
Elon Musk - Paypal / SpaceX / Tesla / Solar City
Peter Thiel - Palantir / Paypal
Marc Andreessen - Andreessen-Horowitz
Sheryl Sandberg - Facebook
Open source means that the creator is credited by passing along their license
Open source means that the creator retains ownership of their original work
Otherwise it's free to use or modify in any way!
Lowers business costs, helps to educate, spreads innovation
A future blog post will cover this in greater detail