Writings by a younger, less handsome man who shares my name

Next week, I’m moving from Philadelphia to the world’s second greatest city, and also a place where I hear the apples are pretty good.

Yes, New York City. It’s not because of a new startup or a job or anything like that. I’m moving for a more personal reason: because my muse is there. Literally, she lives in New York. And in the more literary sense, my muse is there too. My imagination lights up in New York. I’m drawn to create there.

I’m not surprised to feel this way. I’ve been in Philly for five years now. It’s been an amazing run, and I’ve felt as inspired as I could have felt anywhere. I’ve never called a place home before. Now this place will always be home.

Five years later, I’m comfortable here, and it’s time to be uncomfortable again. Read more…

Sometimes it takes a cowboy to put them social entrepreneurs in their place.

Thanks to the social entrepreneurs at Good Company Ventures for an awesome summer. My title was entrepreneur-in-residence but I’m convinced that I learned way more from them than they did from me.

If this list sounds familiar, you belong in next year’s class.

The Top 10 Reasons “You Might Be a Social Entrepreneur if…”

#10: Your bottom lines have bottom lines
#9: VCs think you’re a hippie and non-profits think you’re a capitalist
#8: Your products are more sustainable than your cash flow
#7: Your pitch made a grown man cry
#6: You invited Al Gore to join your advisory board
#5: You’d sleep at Whole Foods if it was closer to the office
#4: You have more interns than customers
#3: You are going to impact a billion people…even if it takes you a year
#2: You have more ex-developers than ex-girlfriends
#1: Your friends wonder when you’re going to get a real job. Your parents flat out ask you

Some of you may have noticed a cowboy riding around Philadelphia. He may have even said “howdy” to you.

Well that cowboy is me, thanks to a crazy fundraising dare we ran on my new online fundraising startup, MyDunkTank. This dare raised $2,095 for an amazing non-profit called Startup Corps.

I’ll be sharing all my cowboy adventures on the MyDunkTank Cowboy Blog so be sure to follow me there.

And don’t miss this funny video of my transformation produced by my friends at Revzilla:
 

I’m super excited to announce that less than 48 hours ago, my business partner Chap and I launched the first version of our new startup, MyDunkTank.

MyDunkTank is a humorous twist on non-profit fundraising. It allows you to do a fundraising dare in support of whatever cause you choose.

A fundraising dare is a simple game that takes place entirely online. You list a few dares that you’re willing to do and your friends and family vote for their favorite dare (they can also add their own creative dares). You agree to do whatever dare raises the most money.

Here’s a picture from my fundraising page and a link to Blake’s dare and Chap’s dare:

Read more…


Most of the time, it’s noisy inside my head.

Noisy with things I need to do and things I don’t want to forget. With emails I wish I had worded differently. With new ideas I want to follow to maturity. With interruptions I invite by leaving email and Facebook open. With phone and text message interruptions I don’t invite at all.

My guess is that it’s noisy inside your head too. Especially if you’re successful. A lot of people depend on you, and you probably have the bloated inbox to prove it.

The problem with all this noise is that it makes it hard to hear anything.

Read more…


The market isn’t listening to you and you don’t know why.

Your product will change lives. Your company will make investors rich. Your idea has to spread.

But no one cares.

You can tell because every sale is a struggle, investors won’t return your calls and your customers aren’t telling their friends about it.

So you have two options.

The first option is to think like Sisyphus and keep pushing the boulder uphill. The second is to think like gravity and use the hill to make the boulder roll faster.

Read more…

Forgive the crickets and tumbleweeds on this blog during the last few weeks. I’ve been pulled every which way in the rest of my life and have sorely missed you all while I’ve been away. This community keeps me smiling and thinking, and I’m looking forward to sharing a life update soon to reignite things on the blog.

In the meantime, here’s an update on the Missioneurs Movement, one of the many things I’ve been working on. Building movements is hard, and one of the hardest parts of this movement has been agreeing on answers to tough existential questions about what we believe and what we hope to accomplish together.

I’m just one voice in this conversation. Here’s my most recent take on missioneurship from a presentation I gave at the Philadelphia kickoff event for Good Company Ventures.

You’ll notice that I try to be funny with my slides. This is new for me, as I’m sure you can tell. They say that comedians have to try out a new joke at least a dozen times in front of audiences before they nail it. We can only guess where that leaves me!

Presentation Video


 
Read more…

Google’s deadline has passed for communities to apply for an all-expenses-paid gigabit test network. So now what?

The 600+ communities who rallied for Google gigabit have fallen silent, including here in Philadelphia. This silence speaks volumes. If gigabit really matters, shouldn’t we still be talking about it on our own?

Do we really want gigabit, or do we just want to win Google’s favor?

I think we really want gigabit, and this is a golden opportunity – not only to bring gigabit to Philly, but also to show communities around the world how they can do the same.

The world needs someone to fill the gigabit vacuum left by Google. That someone should be Philly.

Gigabit is not about Google

Gigabit was never about Google. Google is only installing gigabit in one portion of one community. That leaves the rest of the 600+ communities who applied for Google’s gigabit experiment to fend for themselves.

Google drew worldwide attention to gigabit. Now the rest is up to us.

In Philadelphia, we know exactly what to do when people with money and power don’t step up to help us. Hell, that’s what’s been happening here for decades.

We do things ourselves.

I’m not saying that a bunch of entrepreneurs and hackers can wire our entire city with gigabit fiber ourselves. What I am saying is that we can create so much demand for gigabit that the people with money and power would be crazy not to invest in gigabit.

That’s the vision for Gigabit City.

Read more…


I’m writing from Warsaw, Poland just one hour before leading a “masterclass” on missioneurship at the European Creative Cities Conference.

I’m surrounded by young social entrepreneurs from places like Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, England, Ireland, Thailand and, yes, the good old United States — although I’m one of only two Americans here.

The social entrepreneurs here get missioneurship, they really do. It’s intuitive to them to put mission at the center of their universe and to treat entrepreneurship as a means to that end. They get the importance of driving revenue from their core services, even though they don’t know how to do it. They understand that by building mission enterprises, they can revolutionize their communities, even when governments and established institutions aren’t willing to help (or actively oppose them).

What don’t they understand? Above all, me! Sometimes they ask me to repeat myself because they can’t understand my English or I talk too fast. I adjusted my presentation slides to make up for this, with lots of text slides so that they can follow along when they have trouble understanding me.

Read more…

We snapped some lovely photos of the mob of missioneurs who attended the first ever Mission Mob event this Tuesday. I hope these smiling faces make you half as happy as they make me!

> Visit missioneurs.com to see a full event recap with videos