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

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

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…


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…


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

This is the final post in a five-part series on missioneurs, a new community of startup and social entrepreneurs.

The premise is that startup entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs need each other. Alone, too many of their great ideas are struggling and failing. Together, they can fill in each other’s blind spots, build stronger companies and make greater change.[Missioneurship image]

A new post in this series will be published every day this week. Blog subscribers will receive them one day early by email or RSS.

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In this series, I’ve been talking a lot about bringing startup and social entrepreneurs together. Now it’s time to do it.

We’ve talked about how our startups and non-profits are dying needless deaths. Our startups are masters of execution. Our non-profits are masters of mission. Each is focusing on one at the expense of the other.

Alone they are struggling. Together, they can become unstoppable mission-driven entrepreneurs (or missioneurs for short).

They run their companies like causes and their causes like companies. They know exactly why they exist, and they execute like hell.

They each have almost everything they need to change the world. Everything except each other.

That’s why we so desperately need to bring them together. Read more…

This is the fourth post in a five-part series on missioneurs, a new community of startup and social entrepreneurs.

The premise is that startup entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs need each other. Alone, too many of their great ideas are struggling and failing. Together, they can fill in each other’s blind spots, build stronger companies and make greater change.[Missioneurship image]

A new post in this series will be published every day this week. Blog subscribers will receive them one day early by email or RSS.

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Entrepreneurs become unstoppable when they see the world through both eyes. That is, when they become more than a startup entrepreneur and more than a social entrepreneur.

This is the premise of missioneurship.

Earlier in this series, we talked about the social entrepreneur’s obsession with mission at the expense of execution. We also talked about the startup entrepreneur’s obsession with execution at the expense of mission.

The results are often fatal. We lose startups and social causes that don’t have to die.

That is, unless we do something about it. Read more…

This is the third post in a five-part series on missioneurs, a new community of startup and social entrepreneurs.

The premise is that startup entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs need each other. Alone, too many of their great ideas are struggling and failing. Together, they can fill in each other’s blind spots, build stronger companies and make greater change.[Missioneurship image]

A new post in this series will be published every day this week. Blog subscribers will receive them one day early by email or RSS.

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Yesterday, we discussed the startup entrepreneur’s obsession with execution at the expense of ideas and the crippling effect this has on their marketing, sales and HR.

Now let’s talk about social entrepreneurs, who have the opposite problem:

Social entrepreneurs are obsessed with mission at the expense of execution.

This is a blessing and a curse.

It’s a blessing because their mission can be a very faithful guide. It defines what services they provide, how they make decisions, how they communicate to donors and constituents and how they build their teams. Read more…

This is the second post in a five-part series on missioneurs, a new community of startup and social entrepreneurs.

The premise is that startup entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs need each other. Alone, too many of their great ideas are struggling and failing. Together, they can fill in each other’s blind spots, build stronger companies and make greater change.[Missioneurship image]

A new post in this series will be published every day this week. Blog subscribers will receive them one day early by email or RSS.

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Yesterday, we discussed the epidemic of startups and non-profits dying needlessly – and why it’s time to do something about it.

Now let’s talk about the startup half of the epidemic, beginning with the single biggest reason why so many promising startups end up in the deadpool: the obsession with execution at the expense of ideas.

Ted Leonsis, former Vice Chairman of AOL, said it best in a speech at the 2007 Wharton Entrepreneurship Conference.

“Ideas are a dime a dozen. It’s all about execution.”

The same advice could just as easily have come from dozens of the most respected thinkers on startup entrepreneurship. Read more…