Telco Professional & Charity Food Delivery Rider: A Chat About Trying To Raise 100 K In 60 Days | Hacker Noon

June 12th 2020

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@rachelminnleeRachel Lee

mother of unicorns. not a hacker. social distancing since 2018.

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I remote chat with Anthony Houlahan, a telco professional who has been working in Singapore for the last 18 years. He initially started on his mission on the 22nd of April to use his time after hours and on weekends to do food delivery, both to stave off isolation, and to raise funds for a good cause. He ends his donation campaign and delivery activity on 21st June.

A glimpse into the statistics that govern the days of his cause.

8 May 2020

  • This is Day 15 and $27,000 was raised for donation in total to date.

9 June 2020

  • On Day 49, $85,000 has been raised for donation in total. Let’s chat with Anthony Houlahan now.

Hi, Anthony!

Many of us in Singapore, including myself, read about your journey to use your time outside of work – to work as a food delivery rider, to raise funds for charity. You just bought your bicycle in April, 2 months ago. I’m curious: Was your original intention to use it for food delivery?

No it wasn’t, I bought a bicycle just before the partial lockdown to keep active during this period. I figured a bike would be a good way to exercise. 
How did you decide to take the leap to become a food delivery rider then?
The feeling of not having physical contact with people, and the feeling of isolation. I wanted to change that. Deliver some food, I could go for that, I would do it at night or off work hours, but I’m not doing it for the money, so I’ll do that for charity instead and donate the earnings. 

I chose the Children’s Cancer Foundation (CCF), and if I do that perhaps people would support me and be on a mission to donate as well, it would become a spontaneous effort from there on.

Did you think of doing anything else, other than food delivery?

Well, I thought doing food delivery I would have interactions with restaurants, customers, dealing with people face to face, and have a sense of society, to fulfil personal social requirements for the most part.

And then what happened after you signed up?

Which charity, I was thinking I want to do something with children, it is important to me. I look at CCF, they ranked well, they create good impact with the funds they raised. There’s 150 – 200 new cases of childhood cancer yearly in Singapore, mostly under the age of 4.

CCF does amazing work both on the medical side and on the emotional and mental side to help the children develop themselves throughout the cancer, they also believe in a strong support for the family as a unit. I can’t imagine the stress families go through.

In this regard CCF is holistic – it is heartwarming to see the support they provide for entire families, both for the children and for their relatives. I believe I made a very good choice to make an impact. 

You said (in your blog) why you are doing this, when you first started:

Why am I doing this? A combination of boredom, the need for interaction and an opportunity to use my ample free time during the lock down to do something meaningful for children who need help. The Children’s Cancer Foundation does great work to help improve the quality of lives of children with cancer and their families. so I decided to donate my time to their cause.

Do you feel that now, you are creating more meaning than before?

The level of interest from the public and the media is unexpected! People are really complimentary with what I am doing, they say it inspires them to do more and they wish that people can do more to help others who need help. I didn’t really think about that initially, or expect that. I’ve got free time and have an opportunity to do more now, it’s been a real surprise to me about the level of support from the public and how strongly some people feel about it – it’s a pleasant surprise.

End of the day, my main goal is to meet my target to raise $100,000 for the CCF.

I’m sure you will hit it.

Yes, right now it is about $90,000 raised in the last 50 days. Foodpanda has helped a lot to promote the campaign as well.

I really wanted to know what goes on in your mind, that motivates you to carry on?

On weekends, I have free time, I can’t go to the gym, or to the cinema, or meet friends. I am happy to use the time to keep myself busy – I don’t like to be idle and it is a great way of using the time meaningfully. It’s never a real challenge for me.

The work is not easy, it can be tough but I think as long as I eat well, sleep well and stay hydrated, I really enjoy it! What I want to say as well, is that a lot of people ask the kind of question you asked.

It’s easy for me, but what I’ve done is to find a way that is convenient yet meaningful to raise the money for donations. I don’t know if everyone is able to do it, as they may not have the free time, or the capacity to be as active or to be alone. I think what I’ve found is something that is really easy for me to do.

For other people, my advice would be to find something relatively easy, that can fit into your lifestyle, that you can do to create some benefit for others.

When we all emerge from the partial lockdowns, what do you intend to do to continue on this path of calling attention to charities and using your time to create benefit for others?

Honestly, I have not thought about that, as I have not thought about anything else other than this campaign I started. So when things start to open up again in society and in the economy, I’ve no strict plans. My goal right now is to complete the campaign.

How will life look like for you after this month?

I work for a Telco networking company, Ericsson and we are a technology led company. My work is focused in strategy – the business strategy and not the technology strategy, I’m not an engineer the same way many Hacker Noon readers are.

It’s my job to figure out how technology creates value and I help the organization to position our products in the right way for our customers, enabling them to get new revenue, to help their future focus, and so on. To do this I would need to understand the functional benefit of technology. 

What are Ericsson’s 5G initiatives?

We are leading the 5G market in telco infrastructure, we work in every continent in the world, and are the first to launch in Europe and Asia, and in other continents. We are doing extremely well, we create 5G ready radio access network systems, these products increase our market share. We are the leading company in regard to deployment with mobile operators. 

How is the 5G deployment being done in view with our country’s 5G goals?

Our customers are mobile operators, we work with Singtel in Singapore, and we support similar operators around the world to deploy 5G. The offering basically creates an approach for customers we fully support, developing a high speed, low latency capability together with a significantly reduced cost.

If you look at the technology space, when we release new networking capabilities, it has driven innovation that we were not able to forecast prior to the jump. Innovation will happen that takes advantages of these capabilities that are big technological improvements.

It will be an interesting time for Singapore and the rest of the world! 

To donate:

  • Make a direct donation to the Children’s Cancer Foundation via the Giving.sg website
  • Join him on his quest by becoming a delivery rider yourself

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