- Buy a calendar. I cannot believe it is already late-January… On this note I want to be more realistic about what can be accomplished in a day, week or month. Continue to be unrealistic (an optimist / idealist!) outside of those time frames. Hopefully this will lead to a less sleep-deprived year in 2012
- Move—I love dancing. I miss the art of movement! I have already taken two Horton classes at Alvin Ailey so I’m making some progress there
- Write! I have ideas for children’s stories at least once a week. Questions pop into my head daily that require a pen, notebook and quiet place to be explored. Within this goal is the hope that my scribbles will lead to some more frequent blog postings…
- Make the time to read….and I don’t mean more blogs, articles and tweets, but the stories that whisked me away to another world when I was little. I’ve started reading stories on the subway…we’ll call that progress!
- Rise above it all—or try to at least. I found that while my emotions help me to express my passion for an idea and can create a drive that motivates me to get anything done my emotions can also complicate situations. It’s about taking a deep breath, smiling and taking the high road.
- Stop buying group deals! This just had to be written down. It’s an addiction.
I have many other things I’m working on and hope to accomplish in 2012 but I consider them to be more “once in my lifetime” projects rather than continuous habits / behaviors (or lack of) that I am trying to work on: Unbound, continued exploration into our complex food system (reading Just Food right now), and travels to exciting places!
Attended this event—it was fantastic! I hope to be more involved with New York for Acumen in the future.
DignityNYC was a huge success!
$11K+ in prints sold and $20K+ raised overall for Acumen Fund in partnership with NY for Acumen. Final #s coming soon…
In the meantime, here are some pre-event setup photos, including our awesome volunteers Courtney Schoon and Christina Lappas, who were invaluable in helping hang the show. Thanks guys!
Growing up I always had two passions: (1) Doing things that would provide benefit and (2) doing things efficiently. For example, in third grade, while all of my fellow classmates were spending their recess playing tetherball or kickball I organized a “Clean Up Club” that would clean the playground and school grounds during our break. I started out on my own and slowly recruited others to help create a more pleasant and clean environment at our school. In regards to my passion for efficiency—let’s just say that after asking my mother to sign the allowance agreement I drafted at age 10 in reaction to delayed allowance payments she still tells people that she is holding on to the document to proudly display the day I graduate from law school. You could call me a little….different from my classmates. Little did my mother know that it wasn’t law that would attract me, but the appeal of creating value in society through the creation of new efficiencies.
In college I began to search for ways to merge my two passions. I took courses in economics for the first time and enjoyed learning about the logical models that could seemingly solve the world’s problems. However, the worlds in the economic models I was learning about were not similar to the world that I wanted to live, work in and improve; these theories required environments with specific materials, environments or behaviors (think guns & butter). I found my niche in my university’s public policy studies program—here they took economic models and applied them to problems faced in our world. I was starting to discover a subject where I could merge my two passions. Unfortunately, many of the problems I wanted to solve were being worked on by nonprofits or government organizations—institutions my economics professors routinely used as examples of “inefficiencies”. On the other hand, the lauded efficient private sector was not addressing the problems I wanted to solve.
Upon graduation I decided to enter the private sector with the intention of learning how to effectively operate and run an organization to then bring my knowledge to the public sector. Continuing to study instances of how and when the best of the public and private sectors merge I learned about the concept of social entrepreneurship. Finding profitable ways to make positive change felt like the ultimate combination of my two passions. I have since started this blog and thought through many different ideas to start a social business of my own before coming across the opportunity that has lead me to work on Unbound (about.me/unbound)—my first true attempt at developing a social enterprise.
AKA: My longest post ever.
There are three main attributes of entrepreneurship which appeal to me: (1) the potential to make a large impact, (2) the unique working environment and (3) the sense of ownership. Since I was quite young, I had the fortune to travel and understand that the world extended well beyond my own backyard in St. Louis, Missouri. I wanted to do something big enough in my life to affect people in a positive way. My senior year of high school I decided that the best path to making an impact on the world would be achieved by studying international policy and working for the United Nations. Once in college at the University of Chicago, however, I studied economics for the first time and came to understand the power of markets, incentives and demand to create change and make an impact in people’s lives. Entrepreneurship, new ideas and change are what keep the economy fueled. I believe that challenging the norm through the creation of new innovative businesses is the most impactful way for an individual to make positive change in the world today and is my new path to finding a way to make my mark.
In addition to the appeal of the impact that a good business idea can have in the world, the value that the life experience of building a company from scratch can have on one’s personal development is something that I want to experience in my lifetime. Though I have only been working on my startup, Unbound, for six months, the challenges of decision-making, product development and the everyday unexpected occurrences have been a welcome challenge and learning experience. I relish any opportunity to learn and grow and I feel that I have already learned so much by working in such an unstructured environment with a partner as passionate as I am about seeing Unbound succeed. This work environment and these experiences are an aspect of entrepreneurship that I have wanted to experience for some time and I am excited to continue learning as Unbound develops.
Finally, one of the strongest draws that entrepreneurship has for me is the appeal of ownership over an idea. I remember when the first nugget of the idea of Unbound took form in my mind, through discussions with my partner we grew Unbound from an idea to what we are working on today to turn into a company. Knowing that Unbound would not exist at this time in this exact way without my involvement and dedication is a very rewarding thought. Failure is almost irrelevant—I want to take the concept of Unbound as far as it will go to understand the potential of this piece of me, of my idea. While my experience working in a large company can provide a sense of ownership on a specific task or project, it is rare to have such a complete sense of ownership and responsibility—and my sense of ownership over the idea of Unbound is an aspect of entrepreneurial enterprise that is very rewarding.
It is these three features of entrepreneurship that drive me to continue loving to work on Unbound every evening after already putting in a full day’s work at my day job. I know that Unbound can change the world and truly impact the way that visual learners experience the internet. I am thoroughly enjoying the growth as a professional that I am experiencing through working in such a unique environment and fall asleep happy in the early hours of the morning knowing that my idea is moving forward. This is how I know that I want to become a true entrepreneur.
“you can’t save the world”
but i can help one or two things
that will maybe help one or two things
“how are you going to make any money?”
but that’s fine
how are you going to make any happiness?
“you’re too young and too idealistic”
that’s the point.
but it’s better than the alternative
and i hope i stay both forever