We all like to belong don’t we? None of us like to be the odd man out – standing on a soapbox ranting and raving to change the world – only to find oneself on a deserted island with a couple of sea gulls staring intently.
For the last couple of years, I’ve felt that way as I was digging into my study of entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial eco-system. As my frustration about “the way things work today” grew, so did my desire to start beating a new drum.
But then the fear kicked in…
“What if I’m the only lunatic who feels entrepreneurship is broken in many places?”
“How will the established leaders of the eco-system respond when I start throwing hand grenades at the way things are?”
“Will I be the only guy out there?”
But then, to my absolute pleasure arrived the REBEL Alliance. A group of high-output CEOs, educators and researchers – all with a common mission to give old-school entrepreneurship a much needed “reinstall and reboot”.
It happened quite by accident. It started with Dr. Suresh Kumar (Inc 5000 CEO and educator) and Dr. Norris Krueger (Startup Weekend fanatic and world-renown researcher) sharing some of their thought leadership articles (we call em hand grenades) with each other. Then Tim Conway (entrepreneur and adjunct professor) joined the crew and put it on my radar as well. It wasn’t long before Gary Schoeniger (founder of the breakthrough course in entrepreneurship The Ice House) jumped in. And that was just the beginning.
The informal mission? To create a more fertile ground for entrepreneurship in the US and around the world while ridding the eco-system of mindsets and processes that simply don’t work. There is an old guard in the halls of power who are clinging dearly to archaic approaches to entrepreneurship. For example, the old guard is convinced that classroom teaching/reading books is what builds great entrepreneurs. We’re convinced that a 3-day or 3-month immersion experience does way more to foster entrepreneurship and create jobs.
I certainly found that to be true when I ran my startup incubator from 2005 to 2009. More sophisticated and recognized incubators like Startup Weekend, Excelerate Labs and Techstars further proved that point. Entrepreneurship is all about experiential learning. I was reading one of Dr. Krueger’s recent white papers where he claimed entrepreneurship is a verb.
I couldn’t agree more!
All that to say, it’s nice to belong. I can’t wait to see what the group comes up with for 2012 and how many new REBELs join our force.
There’s plenty of room on this bus…(or spaceship – depending on your level of geekness).