Free Geek

Free Geek is a non-profit community organization that reduces the environmental impact of waste electronics by reusing and ethically recycling donated technology. Through community engagement they provide education, job skills training, internet access and free or low cost computers to the public. There are dozen autonomous Free Geek organizations located throughout the U.S. and Canada. The original Free Geek was founded in Portland, OR, in 2000.

Case Study


Key takeaways:

  1. Busy phones, sales orders, and a workforce that is working day and night seem like a dream, but growing fast may affect the long-term survival of an organization. As Richard Seymour, That Man Behind the Curtain at FreeGeek, puts it: “We are currently asking that new startups do not use the name Free Geek.  In order to protect the value of the Free Geek trademark, we need to be in constant communication with other groups using that name, and we do not have the resources to do that at this time.” So make sure you plan for growth and be as prepared as you can without losing your objectives and your brand.
  2. Their Organizational Structure has undergone several reiterations over the years; however, Free Geek still struggles to find a better way to engage their employees and keep things democratic.
  3. Make sure you plan for the future: Free Geek is moving slower than the technology they are recycling. This has presented a challenge for the organization as new electronics enter the market faster than they can train their staff to recycle the new technology.


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