How UBFriends Started: What You Don’t Know

you-don-t-know-jackIMHO UBFriends gets a pretty bad rep from UBF. Discussions among some leaders invariably involve shutting down UBFriends or controlling it. It is also almost unanimously perceived to be nothing but negative, discouraging “UBF bashing”—carried out by a few bitter, ungrateful, unforgiving people who are clamoring for some attention which they are unable to otherwise get. As a result, many UBFers think that from its outset UBFriends was created with the intent of being divisive, and to disrupt and disturb the peace of UBF. But I found recent comments by Joe and Brian to be fascinating. So let me gently correct you about some misconceptions.

Ben Toh did not start UBFriends! There is supposedly a rumor circulating that Ben Toh started UBFriends with ignoble intent. This shocked even me! As much as I would love to take credit for having the ingenuity and creative genius to start UBFriends, but TBT and TBH and FWIW I am so sorry to disappoint you that I was NOT involved in starting UBFriends. In fact, I had never blogged when UBFriends published its first article on June 24, 2010 (my first article was published five months later on Nov 4).

Brian was a hardcore UBF loyalist when he joined Joe to start UBFriends in 2010. This might be most surprising to many people. UBF people think that Brian was a “really bad guy” from the outset of UBFriends. But Brian writes, “It is interesting to look back, Joe. When you asked me to join this effort (of starting UBFriends), I was a ubf loyalist, I was ‘in.’ No one, especially me, would have ever dreamed of any remote possibility that I would ever even consider leaving the ministry. Indeed I had no intention of ever doing such a thing.” I thought this is so interesting because of the things UBF insiders say about Brian. But the Brian who started UBFriends was as “harcore hardline UBF” as any other. Surprising, right??

Joe says that UBFriends today happened by default. What? UBFriends was not started to stir controversy?? UBFriends today was not what Joe originally intended. Rather, it happened according to the deep needs of UBF people who had no place in most UBF chapters to share their hearts freely, openly and safely. While responding to Terry about safe places where people can freely speak up, this is what Joe wrote:

“Because UBF never created the space for victims to process their stories, UBFriends has now become that space. When we started this website three years ago, that was not our intention. But that is what happened by default, by necessity, because there was literally nowhere else where someone who was hurt by ubf could tell the story and have at least a few current ubf members listen without being dismissed. As a founder of this website, it does pain me to see that this website has morphed into something other than what I had envisioned. But it pains me much more when members of the ubf community criticize this website as unproductive and unhealthy… Until UBF creates generous safe spaces within itself for these stories to be heard and validated and processed by the community, I will not discourage anyone from sharing those stories here.”

Can UBF people freely ask ANY QUESTION? My personal hope is that more and more UBF leaders will process and understand the above paragraph. The gist of it may be that some UBF leaders and chapters do not welcome any serious probing questions about their authority or about ongoing and long standing unhealthy or abusive practices. Until this changes, I predict that UBFriends will continue to thrive. I am surprised at the spurts of increased traffic and comments on this website, most recently over the past week. I am still shocked that there are 355 comments on my recent article about my concerns about the 2013 ISBC! This suggests just how much UBF people are unable to freely discuss their concerns in their own UBF chapter or with their own shepherds and leaders, either at present or in the past or both.

In brief, Ben Toh did not start UBFriends, Brian was “hardcore UBF” when he started UBFriends in 2010, and Joe’s intention was not what UBFriends has become today. I hope this clears up a few misconceptions. Any other questions? Comments?


  1. It is interesting to highlight that early articles were general theology, Christian living and social commentary on ministry that are relatable by all people. Nothing suggested controversy, but nothing detracted from it either.

    Ben, I think recently you spoke to my wife’s good friend. When I told her that you didn’t start ubfriends it was as though scales fell from her eyes. When I said that Joe started it she was startled for sure. She did not know about Brian.

    Joe said everything already about UBF and creating safe spaces for dialogue. I will add one observation after attending enough gatherings in UBF. If there is an opportunity for open dialogue UBF seniors should be willing to address any questions in a mature way. I have found on many occasions that if the theme for a panal discussion Q and A is broken seniors get fidgety and impatient. It seems that a whole separate panal needs to be created and scheduled. Why can’t people relax and go with the leading of the Holy Spirit? Why are they so suspicious that the innocent question of a junior are really calculated questions to challenge them?

    UBFriends has indeed been there when UBF has not. I would say, why it has been possible to open controversies amongst each other on ubfriends has something to do with the level of trust here. There are stated guidelines on this blog, but in most cases we already know each other in person. (I have met almost all of you at one time or another, but because I was never a poster boy maybe you don’t know who I am.) In UBF there is a lack of peace and a lack of trust – How then can you have such dynamic discussion?

    Just recently I am sorry for Terry. Indeed some things he said got away from him. Also, his anecdotes and analogies are not necessarily what we are used to. I hope he feels welcome enough to return since it was his pushing that started the discussion that has blossomed into many interesting comments on the article I posted. Wesley no longer posts, David sometimes posts, I do hope we can remind people not to give up to state their case, but be willing to back it up.

    UBFers should understand that the hostility felt on the blog is only a tiny aspect of what many of us on ubfriends felt on a daily basis inside of UBF. (I am still on the inside.)

    • A great great question for UBF, gc!: “Why can’t people relax and go with the leading of the Holy Spirit?”

  2. A great great question for UBF, gc!: “Why can’t people relax and go with the leading of the Holy Spirit?”

  3. Joe Schafer

    Ben, thank you so much for starting UBFriends to provide a place for bitter, angry people to write boring things that slander God’s servants and spread groundless lies about them ad nauseum, so that you can take over UBF. We all know that’s what you want.

    Some other things that people should know.

    Before starting this website, I worked very hard to enlist the cooperation and participation of many people in UBF, including all of the North American senior staff. Nothing was done in secret. Several top leaders assured me that they would participate and even write articles. But they never did.

    (Much later, James Kim submitted some articles, and we have published everything he submitted. Wesley submitted articles, and we published them as well. The invitation is still open for anyone to submit articles. As long as the article conforms to our guidelines reasonably well, we will publish it as is. Please see the submissions page, ).

    Another thing that readers should know is that we worked very, very hard to approach sensitive subjects with great care, trying hard not to offend anyone, maintaining a cheerful disposition throughout,lest UBF leaders take offense. The last thing that we wanted was to create conflict. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the first five articles that we posted. If you can detect anything in these articles that is inflammatory, unbalanced, mocking, demeaning or slandering, please point it out.

    Despite the extremely mild and (in my opinion) noncontroversial nature of the material, very early on — within just a couple of months — we were already hearing that some chapter directors in various places around the world were forbidding their members to visit this website.

    People can and will say what they want about what this website is and how it started. But for anyone who cares to look, the evidence is all right here, for anyone to see at any time.

    • Joe, you are correct. Even SB herself commented here in the beginning. Anyone remember that?

      As an expert in ubf ways, I can tell you that I’ve noticed three things that make ubf people nervous, four things they fear most.

      1. Group communication.
      2. The gospel of Jesus.
      3. Making your own decision.
      4. The loss of control.

      Korean ubf directors tend to be deathly afraid of such things. One director told me “We can’t talk about Jesus every Sunday!”

      ubfriends embodies all four of these things, and did so right from the start.

      This website was an initiative that would never ever be supported or even considered by ubf leadership, even though they might give an appearance of support.

      They love “one to one” communication. Why else would they ask the man who communicates the worst to share a lecture at the 50th Anniversary meetings entitled “Co-working and communication”? Why would they ask a man accused of child beating to share a 50th Anniversary lecture entitled “Empowering UBF’s next generation”?

      The answer is fear.

    • Joe Schafer

      “We can’t talk about Jesus every Sunday!”

      Another gem, possibly from the same guy: “What? You expect me to spend an entire message talking about God?”

    • Here’s another quote that I was told by a Korean director when I told him Joe asked me to join this effort: “Joe thinks he knows better than SL how to do Christian ministry. If Joe thinks he’s so much better then let him go do it somewhere else.” I was then warned not to take this website too seriously.

    • Then after that warning, I was later asked to make a presentation about ubfriends during the ubf staff conference (I didn’t know about this presentation until the day I was supposed to give it). Then during the presentation I was cut off after only about 10 minutes and the “interest group” moderator quickly moved onto an hour long discussion on the next topic.

      Is it no wonder why I’m “troubled and bitter”? How the heck would any of you respond to such a situation? Just roll over and be submissive like the female dog in Terry’s story?

    • Mark Mederich

      recurrent themes of evil spirit influence: control/deception

    • Mark Mederich

      gee talking about God too much or worshipping Him ALONE could mess up man’s self-serving plans; there’s a ‘revolutionary’ idea: just seeking God & letting HIm guide people’s reponse/plans (takes alot of trust in God & very ‘PRACTICAL FAITH’:)

  4. Thanks for sharing this Ben. I highly respect people who want to set the record straight. Other than the fact that now we have to look at two crazed eyes looking at me when I open ubfriends, I can confirm that what you say is true.

    One nuance I would add to me being a “hardcore” loyalist back in 2010… Last night I skimmed through 10 years of emails. I noticed that I did indeed begin questioning ubf seriously back in 2004 after going to Detroit. While I was defending ubf against Chris and his friends, I was also at the same time looking for truth. My emails the past 10 years reveal that even back in 2004 I was seeking advice from non-ubf pastors and reading Christian sermons from various churches. So yes I wanted to be “Tom Cruise” of ubf, but the reality was that my heart was very soft and seeking reality and answers.

  5. @Joe, For whatever reason, I love this!: “Ben, thank you so much for starting UBFriends to provide a place for bitter, angry people to write boring things that slander God’s servants and spread groundless lies about them ad nauseum, so that you can take over UBF. We all know that’s what you want.” – See more at:

    The reason I love this probably has to do with my personality type/trait. According to a personality trait survey called Culture Index I am highly autonomous and am in the top 1-2 % of people who are being driven by autonomy.

    If anyone is interested in taking this Culture Index survey (with a reported 98% accuracy), send me your email. After you do the survey, I will email you your results. I bought to use this survey for a year and have a few months left.

    • Thanks for sharing again James. You mentioned on of my “trigger words”. I hope the day will come when these trigger words don’t invoke fury, pain, sorrow and indignation. I am discovering that after leaving ubf I have numerous triggers in me, triggers that invoke high emotion.

      Sorry for the digression…The trigger phrase is: “My daily routine is like this.”… Daily routines. Ugh. I just live my life now. I threw off the entanglement of daily routines a long time ago. My routine now is to have a beer.

  6. James Kim

    Joe, thank you for your comment and for creating this website with the original intention to dialogue among UBF leaders. I commend for that. From the beginning I liked the idea of sharing and communication among leaders of UBF. But after few years it did not turn out as you intended. In my opinion there are several reasons.

    1. My daily routine is like this. For about an hour in the morning I check my e-mails, read FB and read ubfreinds and so on. Sometimes it is even hard to just read them, let alone to write a comment or to have meaningful dialogue within such a short time unless you really committed for this cause.

    I regard the most of the frequent commenters are highly intelligent and strong in logical debate who can express their opinions freely in no time including Chris, Vitaly even though English is not their mother tongue. But I also see the majority of UBF members are not like that.

    2. I thought about some of senior staff shepherds’ situation why it would be difficult for them to participate in this kind of public worldwide website. When their livelihood is depend on the church, I think it would be very difficult for them to express their dissenting opinions or even slight criticism in this public website. This is my personal opinion.
    I maybe wrong.

    Most of the constituents are very simple minded as you know. Many of Korean missionaries are not used to free discussions, debate and expression of ideas freely which are very natural in the American context.

    It took for me few years to understand Brian and Chris’ position even partially by reading many of their comments on the website.

    3. I remember in the early stage of the website Joe wrote about some book review and theology articles which I enjoyed them very much. Then there was not many comments. It was not popular. But when someone wrote about an article criticizing UBF the response was very high.

    Understandably many people stayed in UBF who committed themselves to the ministry gradually gave up their comments and less UBFers participated in the meaningful discussion. To many of the readers this may sound narrow minded, but it is reality.

    I learned a lot through this website and I appreciate for your positive contribution. Especially this website helped me to read many books which I think it is essential for all Christians.

    • Thanks for such a friendly comment, James. But I don’t think that I or anybody else who is writing here is really more intelligent than the average UBF member. It’s just that UBFers are not used to engage in logical arguments; they rather believe that discussions of any kind are unspiritual or waste of time at best (in misinterpretation of 1 Tim 6:4). UBF Bible interpretations are understood as something absolutely clear and unambiguous that has to be “accepted”, never discussed or questioned, just like orientation by leaders which has to be obeyed “by faith”. So there is no place for discussions in UBF, and therefore many UBFers have unlearned to think and argue rationally and logically over the years and decades. If you don’t use your muscles, they wither from underuse. Also, there is always fear you might think or say something “wrong”, or even something that could question your whole worldview. Therefore UBFers tend to think inside a box only, not freely. Deep inside, many UBFers know that if they would start to think freely and use some logic and common sense, their worldview would break together like a house of cards. They want to protect their house of cards, so they do not start thinking about these things and shy away from engaging in discussions with others whose house of cards has already collapsed. That’s my explanation. Of course, writing on the Internet is another hurdle. Many people (not only in UBF) aren’t used to it or don’t like it. My wife for instance, even though she is cleverer than I am and understands most problems much faster and more intuitively, would never write here. It’s just not “her thing”. Still, I think everybody in UBF should try. For most of us it is the only possibility to communicate because we are spread around the world.

      Your comment also reminds me that I wanted to refrain myself from commenting too much here in order to give others more room. I fear I have already scared Terry away by sharing my opinion about IK so frankly. At first I wanted to believe Terry’s account that his UBF chapter is so much different and IK is so different from other chapter leaders. But after re-reading IK’s response to the reformers and several testimonies from ex UBF members from the west coast, I don’t think this is the case, and I could not respond in another way.

      Terry, as an old-timer and maybe IK’s “first fruit” you may have some jester’s licencse in his chapter, but I still believe that fundamentally, UBF on the west coast has the same problems as UBF on the east coast. Sorry for venting my feeligns again. I’ll try to really stay away from here in the next time.

    • At the risk that my comments will be met with silence, (as they pretty well are – hence – why I usually ignore these contributions), I will draw out some curiousities I see in your comment James.

      ” … the original intention to dialogue among UBF leaders. I commend for that. From the beginning I liked the idea of sharing and communication among leaders of UBF. But after few years it did not turn out as you intended … ”

      Note that you emphasize leaders twice and not members. I will give the benefit of the doubt because English is not your first language, but I do believe you had in mind to say ‘leaders’ and not simply ‘members’.

      If this blog was for leaders alone it should have been made a closed registration except by invitation or clearance. Instead it is for the public and indeed Joe invites public submission according to guidelines. This means that anyone….and I mean anyone can contribute – past or present!

      As for point number one, please don’t condescend to us as being of certain level intelligence. Not only can many of us share our worldly academic credentials we can also openly discuss matters inside of UBF. You know, for former members I have seen a lot of contribution to confess how they themselves were instruments of the abuse. Therefore, when aspects of conflict or trouble are raised there is more then just smoke.

      Point number two says, “When their livelihood is depend on the church, I think it would be very difficult for them to express their dissenting opinions or even slight criticism in this public website. This is my personal opinion. I maybe wrong.”

      What do you mean by this? I am not stupid but please explain in plain simple language about livelihood. If they are full time staff then I would hope that they take seriously many of the allegations being made on ubfriends. If so, then they would be better to address everything openly and quickly. Not only can UBF be called a cult in some chapters but many behaviours are illegal – for example – lying to border guards and any other government officials in addition to the repeated stories found here.

      “Most of the constituents are very simple minded as you know. Many of Korean missionaries are not used to free discussions, debate and expression of ideas freely which are very natural in the American context.”

      Are you separating yourself from others? I ask because although you claim to be reading, you never answer anything clearly. Instead you always quote a verse here and there from scripture or from an author. You never make yourself or your feelings open and vulnerable. I would say you are among the others for the time being.

      You never replied to Ben on this article – why did you fail to do so? Explain.

      Ben already stated about point number three – so will not repeat the essence of his point.

  7. Thanks, James, for your comment. “when someone wrote about an article criticizing UBF the response was very high.” – See more at:

    I heard about a principle in journalism and what stories to highlight as the lead article: “If it bleeds, it leads.” So, yes, it is human nature to be attracted to something that is sensational, for it grabs your attention and your emotion.

    Don’t you think it is the exact same reason why people gossip in the church? When we hear something negative about someone, we say, “Let’s pray for so and so.” But the reality is that in “sharing prayer topics” we have just shared something negative–even slanderous–about that person that soon circulates all over the church, if not all over the world.

    Finally, your chosen phrase is “an article criticizing UBF.” Perhaps, if I had written that sentence, I would have written it this way: “when someone wrote about an article about how much they were hurt while in UBF the response was very high.”

    We both communicated the same fact. We both wrote it differently. You wrote it from the point of view of UBF. I wrote it from the point of view of the victim.

    So, yes, when we write personal, painful, problematic stories, it will receive a much higher response. This will not change. That’s probably why UBFriends gets more traffic and views than UBF websites that “only reports (unrealistic) good stories.”

    Also, notice that our top commented article is about whether or not to stay or leave UBF… It shows that this is what is in the hearts and minds of many UBF people, including me. Avoiding it will not make it go away. Addressing it will begin to promote healing and a spirit of love, trust and community.

  8. @Brian: “Then during the presentation I was cut off after only about 10 minutes” – See more at:

    The sad story of UBF community/fellowship/meetings/interactions is that it apparently MUST be scripted and controlled. When anyone goes off script, or when the UBF leader “looses control” according to their own perception, they simply can’t handle this (or go bonkers!). Of course, this may be just my own sick biased opinion, coming from one who is “bitter and wounded,” as well as “childish and immature.”

  9. Check out this hilarious 1 min+ video:


    1) Do UBF leaders/loyalists have a nail in the head they are clueless about?

    2) Do those hurt and wounded by UBF leaders have a nail in the head they are not able to perceive?

    3) Do both sides have a nail in the head??

    • lol Ben, that’s a hilarious video. Yes both sides have nails in their heads. That’s why we all so desperately need outside connections!

      I started removing the nails in my head back in 2004. I kept it hidden at the time, but Chris and the other former members saw the nails in my head, and I did begin removing them.

      I first began to see my nails when SB told me what she wanted me to put in the Wikipedia article about ubf. I realized the shockingly deceptive side of ubf leaders and of myself when I lied several times to Chris and other ex members, saying that the article was all my words and I had no help from Chicago ubf.

      The difference I see is that we former members freely admit we have nails and are working to remove them. I saw this back in 2004 also. Eventually this is one reason I concluded the former members were more trustworthy than my ubf acquantenances (who just spun everything into KOPHN).

    • So when Chris told me “You have a nail in your head” back in 2004, I denied it like the woman in the video. But then I started feeling my forehead…yep indeed there was a nail!

    • And I shouldn’t have said “we former members”… Surely ubf people can remove their nails as well as anyone?

    • Mark Mederich

      stepford wives syndrome: ‘it’s ok, i just had a motorcycle accident but i feel just fine now’

  10. @Chris: “Your comment also reminds me that I wanted to refrain myself from commenting too much here in order to give others more room.” – See more at:

    Yeah, Chris, that’s often how I feel. Sometimes, I succeed and refrain myself from commenting, so that others will not feel as though my voice and comments dominate—probably those times occur infrequently. Other times—like now—I do not and just let loose and comment!

  11. @Brian: “when Chris told me “You have a nail in your head” back in 2004, I denied it like the woman in the video.”

    If you haven’t watched it, here it is again:

  12. I’d like to express my gratitude to Joe and Brian and Ben for this site. I also thank Chris who made much effort even earlier.

    I didn’t read anything “negative” on the internet while in ubf. Still when I reread some of my ubf daily bread I saw that I lost any hope for ubf and its growth lonf before I left. I was very loyal and faithful to ubf. I was ready to die for ubf and its mission anywhere in the world. I thought about going to NK as a missionary. Even when I looked at other brothers I saw that none of them would be faithful and loyal as I was. I was a very “hardcore” ubfer.

    But now I thank the Lord who is so good to me and saved me from the slavery of ubf. ubf in Russia lost all its main native leaders. Those who stayed are good but fortunately they are not leaders (it is my hopefully objective opinion, not to offend anyone). I am a part of a healthy church now, too healthy I could imagine. I am happy to see my children grow in the Lord in the church. I have time to be a little bit “family-centered” now. At the same time I have freedom to use the gifts the Lord gave me. The pastor blesses me to start preaching sermons in the church. And I can officially share the gospel with people without the necessity to defend a cult-labeled organization.

    What I want to say is that I see ubf problems and I see how ubf people respond. I thank that Chris did something that later bore fruit in me and people like me. I thank Joe for his call to honesty. I commend Brian for his life decisions before God, not before people. Such thing don’t always bear immediate fruit. I participated in discussions on this site and I hope that it will be good at least for some people. I believe that some time later new names will appear on this site.

    I am glad that there are some places in ubf which are not so bad. Terry and Maria even have dogs! Still, if I would choose now, nothing, literally nothings attracts me in ubf. What would I do there? Hope for change? Be thankful for what I can have (possibly even a dog)? Pray for the change of Korean leaders and their Mother? I don’t think it is God’s will for me. I want to move on.

    I am sure that in Russia ubf won’t have even 1 new sheep. So let ubf go its way, and let me use my freedom with less participation in “about ubf” discussions. DK’s message and AK’s one show me that ubf will move on and the option for thoughtful and asking questions people will be to leave sooner or later (or to be a ubf director, like Joe, Ben, John and Maria Peace to be able to do your own thing). So let them leave and let the directors be left with no one to control over. “let him who does wrong continue to do wrong…, let him who does right continue to do right…”. Again, thanks everyone!

    I like these moments from “Shrek”.

    “You and what army?” – the future of the directors who love the heritage more than Jesus and people. (first 0:35sec)

    “Why don’t you go and celebrate your freedom with your own friends, mm? – But, ahh, I have no friends” (1:05 – 1:20) – ubfriends became a fellowship of friends for those who had no true friends in ubf.

    ubf directors are stunned at seeing that their former sheep who are flying away to freedom can talk themselves!

    • Thanks Vitaly. Speaking of Shrek, numerous children’s movies from Pixar and others have helped me regain my sense of self and to recover from the ubf heritage.

      I think it is worthwhile to point out that Ben, Joe and I are in 3 different states. We don’t meet together. We haven’t planned out goals for ubfriends. We just post as prompted and let the discussions take us places.

      I think we should also give a shout out to Mary J.K.D. who gave us this wonderful WordPress theme! There were also several ubf people who were on Joe’s first team of people for creating this website, such as Abe V. and Susan L. and Ben W., and also over 30 contributors of articles (nearly all of whom are ubf members).

    • Mark Mederich

      God bless your freedom in Christ & your decision to limit time spent on little changing things:)

  13. Um…(clearing throat)…I just want to point out that the UBFriends article “A Discussion Stuck in Limbo” is still the “Most Viewed” Article on this site. No one seems to be mentioning it, and it was also one of the early articles on this site. I mean, it’s not about the nail. I just want to be affirmed.

    • “A Discussion Stuck in Limbo”. That’s how I would describe the ongoing discussion between former members and UBF leaders.

    • Joe Schafer

      Is there an ongoing discussion between former members and UBF leaders? I’m not aware of any. Not on this website, and not in other places. (Unless “UBF leaders” refers to me and Ben.)

    • This is a generalization “the ongoing discussion between former members and UBF leaders”.

      This statement reflects my hope I suppose rather than reality. Here is the translation:

      “ongoing” – every few months since 2011
      “discussion” – an exchange of emails
      “former members” – me (i.e. BrianK)
      “UBF leaders” – one of the pastor team members in Toledo UBF and sometimes ATK or aw

      So really I shoud say:

      Every few months there is an exchange of emails between BrianK and one of the pasotor team members or ATK and/or aw in Chicago.

      Granted, this is like a spider’s thread of communication, but since that is all I have I’ll take it.

    • Joe Schafer

      Thanks for clarifying. I thought you might say that those discussions have moved to Limbo, a mythical place that does not exist.

    • Well, yes, most of these kinds of discussions do end up in a mythical place that doesn’t exist… oddly there are a lot of crickets chirping there…

  14. Darren Gruett

    After reading this, I happened to come across an article about Nokia, which has actually created a blog so that employees can speak freely and honestly about the company without fear of reprisal. (Check it out here: I think UBFriends provides that same kind of transparency that is badly needed in UBF.

    • Thanks Darren. I think there are important differences though between what we are doing here: 1) mostly former members feel free to comment 2) Rarely do UBF people comment here 3) UBF leadership in Chicago does not support this effort and most would rather shut us down.

    • I do LOVE this quote however:

      “No charismatic leader, genius algorithm, or cultural quirk explains Nokia’s dominance in mobile phones. Instead, company insiders credit its growth to a history of encouraging employees to say whatever’s on their minds, with faith that smarter ideas will result.”

    • Darren Gruett

      Brian, you are absolutely right about the differences. Maybe one day UBF, and other organizations for that matter, will come to the same conclusion as Nokia.

    • Joe Schafer

      What makes the Nokia effort work is not simply having a website where people can speak freely. It is having managers who listen carefully to what the people are saying and take it seriously, even if it sounds harsh. If the website was merely a place where disgruntled employees could commiserate and blow off steam with no response by the managers, then it wouldn’t work.