Stories, Musings & The Vision Thing

Tag: entrepreneurship

Follow Your Dream Part Two

When you think back to that perfect time in your life, when everything seemed full of promise and life stretched out before you in a beautiful arc, what comes to mind?  Well, of course it’s different for everyone, right?  And for some, the looking backwards is a way of moving forward, too.

Carter Olcott

For Carter Olcott it was the years 93-94.  When, as he puts it, snowboarding was great and people did it because it was fun and cool.   And those two years represent a time in his life that he’s been trying to recapture.  It’s kind of a lifestyle thing.  And a chance to recreate the magic.  

So, following in the great American entrepreneurial tradition, Carter, who’s always marketed other people’s stuff, designed his own imagery and affixed it to clothing that personifies that time of his youth.  And he put 93-94 out there on the Web, hoping to catch fire.  

At this point I should mention that Carter is a family friend.  And yes, every day thousands of people like Carter follow their own dreams and try to create something from nothing.  It’s that “just-do-it” spirit which is so ingrained in our culture.  

But what makes 93-94 even possible is the Web.  It’s a way to share that dream that keeps you up at night and maybe build it into something that other people can connect with.  Or just create a new business and market something you believe in.  Or share the fun and pride of ownership because you’re doing your own thing and, with the Web, you can. 

Getting a Jolt from Kickstarter

Bloomberg Businessweek Oct. 2011

I wanted to write a little more about Kickstarter and what it has to offer.  For starters, the Oct. 24th issue of Bloomberg Businessweek has a neat little graphic about “The New Venture Capital” aka Kickstarter.  And its headline states that the site helped entrepreneurs raise $8.8 million in September.  That’s a lot of people interacting with a lot of projects.  And many of those projects raised more than their goals.  

Here’s one of their innovative concepts: you take your idea and use Kickstarter to help you find an audience.  If enough people like what you’re proposing, they’ll give you the money. And by contributing, they’ll also hold a stake in your creative concept.  So when it’s completed, you already have a supportive audience to build on.  Which makes the whole process more democratic and offers more opportunity to anyone with a great idea and a plan for making it happen.

Nora and one of the kids
An abandoned lot in Brownsville

Which brings me to Nora Painten’s Brownsville Student Farm Project.  She wants to turn this empty lot into a working farm to teach city kids about food, nutrition, teamwork, farming, the discipline and benefit of work, and the joy of growing your own food.  

This is Nora’s Garden Plot

She lays it all out in her video on her Kickstarter page.  Of course her concept is very appealing. Who wouldn’t enjoy an urban garden, especially one run by an experienced farmer with a mission to bring her love of the land and farming to city kids.  And many years ago I taught third grade in Brownsville.  Back then, it was mostly ruin and rubble.  So her effort to reclaim the land caught my eye.  And after I saw her video, I was curious about who might support her project.  So I picked one at random on her list of backers.   

And I found that one of her backers is Katherine Ferrier, who had her own Kickstarter project, Cultivate, to bring dancers, designers and musicians together as a creative community to perform in a small New Hampshire town.  And she has her own blog about dance-making, collaboration and the creative process.  

I love how exploring this site sends you on a journey.  Starting with an innovative idea to fund the creative process, moving to introducing kids and the local community to growing their own food and moving to a dance-maker with a vision of growing her own creative enterprise.  Each reaching out, sharing their experiences and creating community via the web.  It’s all about connections, and I love how one leads to the next and the next.  And before you know it, you’re discovering people and ways of seeing the world and living in it that you would never encounter, save through this amazing catalyst for innovation and vision, the Internet.