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:

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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


 
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Great cities have a soul. They have a set of dominant values and priorities that shape conversations, influence ambitions and attract like-minded people to live and work there.

[Image of man with megaphone]
New York’s soul is, without a doubt, capitalism. It’s flavored by a countercurrent of artistic and creative ambition, but it’s capitalism’s influence that you feel everywhere.

L.A.’s soul is entertainment, with all the vanity, opportunism and dazzling innovation that comes with it. Las Vegas, its neighbor to the east, is built around indulgence, with simple vices made digestible and nonthreatening for everyone from fraternity brothers to their grandparents.

Philly’s soul is harder to capture. I have some thoughts on it but they are still too murky to share.

Last weekend, with all this in mind, I went to Washington DC to get to know the soul of its startup scene. Startups there are immersed in a city of advocacy, where idealists flock to make change and cynics flock to take advantage of things as they are.

So what does this climate of advocacy mean for startups and innovators in Washington DC?

The short answer is, I don’t know. I spent just one short weekend there, which is long enough to notice a few things but not long enough to be confident in any of them.

So why write at all? Read more…