For a while I've wanted to identify some larger problem in the world I can solve. Most of the problems we tackle on the show are rather small, or don't effect the world as a whole.
And so far, something burning in my head has been after-college dread. Everyone I speak to says "college is the best time of your life, enjoy it" - and while I don't personally worry about that being true, I understand the sentiment. College is such a perfect social environment for most people. Everyone is of a similar age, they're all just as confused, they don't have to worry about many expenses, and they're all burdened similarly with class and homework.
This, in my opinion, creates a perfect stage for bonding. Why else do the friends we make at college typically stay our friends for life? So, the problem I hope to solve is the social separation after higher-education. While it's going to be difficult, the goal seems simple. I need to create an environment that mimics university.
I need to gather similar people of a similar age in a place they can be free to experiment with their futures. That doesn't sound very profitable or sustainable, though, does it? Here's where it gets a little crazier.
If you gather hyper-similar people in the same place, you can take massive advantage of the network effect. Let's say you gather people that are all attempting to build a career in tech. They all have tech skills and a similar goal, so now you can provide mass resources to the group as a whole - just like you do in university, but better. I provide job-skill training to techies, help them find positions, and I can do it with everyone at once. Then, after a little time, you have a mass of valuable, industry ready tech talent.
That's just an example, but where I think it gets really valuable is creative industries. Art, writing, music, politics, entrepreneurship. Imagine gathering a group of 50 budding painters, dropping their cost of living, and giving them all the resources they need to grow and expand their art. Then, you have an incredibly creative community able to take on large-scale art projects whenever they want. Then, you have a community that's pumping out high quality art pieces all the time. If you give someone time to experiment and grow (something we all have none of), and give them the community to do it together, you're not only going to build the tightest possible network, but you're now beating out with educational institutions in experience.
If you give an artist resources to build and experiment, and give them all the time in the world, you're going to end up creating something incredible. And if you have 50 or 100 of them in the same place, collaborating and creating together, I theorize something amazing will happen. Something you can build a larger following around. Something people can aspire to, look up to, aim towards.
Now, in most cases, art is difficult to market. It's considered a less-valuable skill than something more numbers-oriented like programming, or sales. But, if you have a massive community of truly amazing artists - and you build a network around the amazing art they create - then finding positions, gigs, or sales for these artists becomes exponentially easier. You can make connections with galleries, nonprofits, enterprise companies. Anytime anyone needs anything creative done, you get it done at the highest quality possible immediately.
If you want to talk about profitable - that's it. Building highly-specialized, enormously creative communities to solve creative problems, and grow as creatives themselves.
Now you're getting into entrepreneurship, and this is where it gets especially exciting. The biggest barrier to entrepreneurship, in my experience, is time. Time to experiment, to be more specific. It's very very difficult to grow a side hustle or a business while you have to worry about bills and a job. And since art, in my experience, overlaps highly with entrepreneurship...
Each of these artistic communities isn't just making art. They're solving problems. They're building companies. It's not a commune, it's an incubator. It's a talent accelerator. It's a highly productive community of tightly knit entrepreneurs.
And, if I can build an external network around these incubators, now you can give all the resources in the world to these creatives. If they need introduction, you make them. If they need funding, it's suddenly a little easier. If they need to grow, they have the best talent pool to hire from.
So, in order to make this idea insane, we need a few extra elements. First, the talent. You would undergo a rigorous application process, and active talent scouting would be necessary to make sure you recruit from a truly diverse talent pool in terms of background. You can't just recruit a bunch of recent art and tech grads. You need people that have never gone through traditional schooling, some who are self-taught, some who have already shown obvious talent in entrepreneurship.
Next, you need resources, and a truly impressive network. Hopefully, I'm building something like that right now, through the show. Ideally, all the awesome kids that help me build stuff on EntrepreNerd will be building their own companies in the future. And, if I have a community of amazing artists creating amazing work regularly, that's marketing gold. That's easy to build a social following around, and it's easy to build a network around. A community of 50 is 50 times easier to pitch than an individual.
Now let's assume we can find the talent and build the network around it. Now we need to give these artists total flexibility to build, solve problems, connect, and create. We do that by cutting costs, and we cut costs by vertically integrating everything a human being needs. We build a small energy farm, solar, or wind based. We create partnerships with local farms to source all our food wholesale, or work out a deal with a local Costco for wholesale food. If we're looking to support a community of painters, we buy paint supplies in bulk, and wholesale, to cut costs as much as possible.
We own as much of the supply chain as we can internally for food, energy, transportation, supplies, tech, shelter, everything. We buy land an hour outside a city, and hire our own shuttle operator for easy transportation in and out. We hire our own chef to keep everyone fed, and fueled. We build homes out of bulk shipping containers, and stack them in crazy, non uniform ways. We make the cheapest, wildest possible community possible, and give already hyper-motivated people every last resource they need to create and grow together.
That's what I want to do. And I'm doing my best to start tiny communities I can eventually grow right now.
I realize this idea is insane, and it's going to take a whole lotta cash out the gate, but I want to put this out there right now and state for a fact I'll be making it happen. If you have any suggestions, ideas, connections, or examples of similar experiments, I want to know about it. This is happening, it's just a matter of how soon. :)
Working title: The Everything Accelerator - TEA