I commute about 90 minutes a day, total, on an average day. I spend most of the commute listening to some combination of local talk radio (WBT 1100), NPR, Fox, and the BBC World Service. I think of it as a sort of yin-yang radio diet.
Yesterday afternoon, Marketplace on NPR had a fascinating segment on what they referred to, in the bumper, as ‘peer-to-peer lending’. I’ve seen several articles on microlending banks which provide small (generally less than $1k) loans to individuals with small businesses in the 3rd world so the concept wasn’t new to me. What was new was a website called Kiva that allows you to become a microlender yourself.
On the website, you can find various loan applications from people all over the world (handled by regional microlending organizations) and, if you choose, fund part of the loans to those applicants. You can also track the progress of loans that were made, including their repayment status and updates on their business.
I’m surrounded by technology all day long, but using a website to connect small businesses in impoverished areas with individual lenders really struck me.