In the past week I’ve been reminded of the rockstar team who, for some reason, continue to work for me.
In both cases of awesomeness the common factor (besides always funding their bar tabs) was their ability to convene people who wouldn’t necessarily come together to do just that: come together.
In the first case, Aya organized a coalition of some the biggest education minds in the country to come to TEDActive in Palm Springs to work for four days on a singular question: how do we enable kids to improve the educational system in this country? 30 people including folks like Steve Barr (CEO of GreenDot schools), Steve Hargadon (Classroom 2.o), Sarah Elizabeth Ippel (Founder of a fascinating school in Chicago) and many more spent hours between TED talks and around firepits to answer the question. At the end, besides the connections that were made, the group pulled out a new site overnight – http://elev8ed.org/ to give kids a voice to show where things are going well. We need to both listen to and scale these ideas – but this is a start. And it’s magic.
The second case was something Betsy did last month. She (and her buddy Angus from Windows Live) started calling in favors. She started calling people at Google, Facebook, Twitter, WebTrends, and a dozen more competitive companies to come together for a day to help a non-profit get to the next level. Not just any non-profit – but DonorsChoose.org who was gracious enough to open the kimono on their business and say “hey, we need help in these areas of business and technology.” The result? The “Goodness Engine” ebook that documented the work of the group for the day. We’re making it available via Creative Commons license to everyone around the world hoping to help non-profits, startups, and even big old dumb businesses learn from some of the best minds in the tech and marketing arenas.
The point? We often get caught up in the minutiae of our daily jobs. The beauty of my team is that we’re able to step back a little bit and ask “what can we do – better?” And in this self-reflection, flashes of inspiration seem to appear that push the team to do something that we, as a tech/search company, would not normally do.
And that, friends, is why today is awesome.