Paying To Be Pitched 'Crazy Ideas' For Systemic Change That Need More Of My Resources

Was excited to join futurist David Hodgson's EdgeLab social gathering at Hub San Francisco. IMG_9777

We heard  a handful of 'crazy ideas for a better world' and how to get involved in them.

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He describes the event as a way "to network with people interested in systemic change around inspiring projects we see emerging here in the Bay Area. Marc O'Brien of Future Partners and Valentine Giraud are helping prototype this experience."

We heard presentations from five people (Milicent Johnson - Helping Creative Communities Thrive; Andrew Trabulsi - The Global Civics Project; Terry Mandel - BioMedLink; Kathia Laszlo - Reciprocity; Lina Constaninovici - Startup Nectar) looking for help and then were invited to swarm them afterward to brainstorm ways to engage and offer our best set of skills.

My thoughts after the event: this is my first time attending an event like this and I understand these are early days for the EdgeLab venture. However, the concept is hard to parse, especially how it fits into the other pitch-startup-community offerings available in the Bay Area.

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The model of paying to be pitched-to seems off. A cognitive disconnect. Either the audience has something the pitchers want, or we don't. What are we paying for?

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In particular,  I wonder about the viability of charging the audience to hear people pitch their ideas that we're then also expected to help with. If we're paying for the space and refreshments, 45 pax x $20 = $900. $450/hr seems kind of steep for after-hours in a co-working space.

One of the speakers said she wasn't prepared and had no visuals which is unusual when people have paid to hear you speak. If a speaker is unprepared in front of a paying audience, perhaps a speaker should not speak?

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Another of the speakers said he was involved with the Brookings Institution, a prominent and established think tank with a vast network of resources, including governments and corporations. The opposite of a grassroots organization. Am I paying to hear a Brookings pitch that I am then asked to brainstorm to help as if I'm part of a grassroots effort?

I asked one speaker before the event who she was and what brought her to the event -- standard networking fare, an invitation to connect on shared interests of which we probably had many -- and she replied, "I'd rather not say. I'm going to cover that in my presentation."

Here's a crazy idea: don't bother reinventing the wheel.