A crash course in changing the world.
So I emailed Adam Boesel of the energy-neutral gyms I blogged about here: http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/pedal-power . I asked if someone involved with the gyms might check out EVOKE as a mentor. He did respond, and while he thought that the site was pretty interesting, he didn't have enough free time to join and get involved in the community. I wonder if one problem with the EVOKE network as it stands is that the people who are already working on social entrepreneurship are too busy to come play along with the game. But I asked if he might share some thoughts on how he got started and if he had any advice for people with ideas. He responded thusly:
"I still feel like I'm in the early days. I started this project over 2 years ago, and it's been a great experience. I would advise anybody who wants to do something different to start early, and throw ideas out there. Fail fast. That means, don't overthink the idea, throw it out there, try it out, and see if it works or not. If it doesn't work (which it probably won't), move on to the next idea.
Don't believe the 'experts'. Most experts in electricity and renewable energy didn't think my idea was a good one, but I figured out how to do it cheap and it worked, and then the media got involved. the media doesn't care if it works or not, they just want a good story.
Make your idea remarkable. Don't try to make it "normal" or "look professional". Make it look fun and interesting.
Don't believe you have to hire an 'expert' to do important parts of the project. They probably will charge too much and you'll have to do most of the heavy lifting yourself anyway because all good, new ideas are more unique than you might think.
Don't listen to friends and family all that much. They may like your idea or not, but they're not objective. Find out what people who have no interest in you think.
Pick up the phone and start making phone calls to try to get what you need. Entrepreneurship is not for people who are going to wait for things to come to them or happen for them. It's for people who are willing to go out and make it happen every day.
Finally, don't think about how much work it's going to take (you'll quit). Think about the goal you're trying to achieve."