If ever there was a heaven on earth, I imagine it involving unlimited food & drink on a beach. The world’s most talented and intelligent folks would be present, including David Muir and Anderson Cooper (my big news crushes). Cue the right music and they’ll change the world.
What’s described is basically one big cocktail party, only high-achieving and probably out of my reach. Since cocktail parties typically don’t accomplish much more than tipsy small talk (at least in this physical world), I can only hold hope that creating a productive (non-celebrity) one in the digital sphere is possible.
My friend Steve Spalding is working on a network that gets clever people together to discuss difficult (but solvable) questions, form thesis’ about how to solve them, and create actual solutions (papers, products, organizations, events etc…) to help chip away at them. Here are 3 examples of questions that this proposed network would attempt to solve (keep in mind there are a wide range, these are just the top 3 that piqued my interest):
Improving your diet is often as much about where and when you eat as it is about what you are eating, how can we develop way(s) to get people to include more vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and fruit in their diets without making the plan seem like a “diet”?
Crowdfunding technologies have been highly beneficial for small producers, artists, and engineers who need capital injections without the onerous terms often associated with them, however, they don’t allow communities to come together and share both their skills and their capital to create larger more complex projects. How can we develop a system of Crowddoing that brings people, their skills and their capital together to complete big projects?
The reasons for high unemployment are complex and varied, but one solution that has been posed is to increase the ease, diversity and scope of entrepreneurial ventures, allowing more people to build stable companies that help kickstart new industries that can support new employment How can we create better support systems to allow small entrepreneurs to develop more varied businesses faster, cheaper and more easily?
Eating healthier, enabling large-scale collaboration, and solving unemployment – who wouldn’t want this? Yet we need people to seriously think about how. Also, there are more problems that need solving. What would make each of us advance closer to our best selves? How can technology help rather than limit us? Steve proposes that we think about what we’d like to solve and pose it in a question. Perhaps presenting it to a group of other like-minded folks in the arena would yield tremendous progress.
I have a few questions which I will be sharing in the next post. If you have a question you’d like to pose or just want to learn more about this network – leave a comment, or drop Steve a tweet @sbspalding.
About half the professional contacts I meet are through friends. In some cases, these people introduce me to their friends which then makes these new contacts friends of friends of friends, or something like that. At some point, you stop keeping track and accept that we’re all just sort of connected in some…connected…way.
There have been quite a few studies about the importance of weak ties in building powerful, diverse networks. This weekend was a perfect example of that. I had three separate meetings with people I knew through friends, for three separate reasons. Turns out all three of them knew each other, or at least of each other, unbeknownst to them . Despite being in different fields (journalism, fashion, web developing), and attending different schools, our interests have since converged through tech, thanks to its unique capability of crossing previously insular industries.
I love where I am now for the sheer opportunity to meet people. It’s not about collecting business cards or climbing the social ladder because quite honestly, that’s annoying and not even all that helpful. Building relationships is intriguing. I do it out of wonderment, wonder at seeing how all these linked tiny nodes organically evolve into a live, buzzing web of activity. When you have our greatest resource – people – at your disposal, the possibilities are endless.