There is a coaching question that gets asked all the time. If you could be doing anything and you know it would succeed, what would you do?
I ask myself this question at least once a month (in a formal way).
The first answer is ‘exactly what you are doing right now’.. which is the fund that I am working on, which fills a huge gap in the innovation and finance ecosystem.
but, I often keep coming back to a crazy idea. It came up again this week, and it was probably ‘top of mind’ for me given all the discussions I have been having around ecosystem development.
I have probably read every book or paper on startups, incubators, economic development, venture capital, innovation, etc… So much so that I am still processing all of the information that has come into my head over the last 15 years. When talking to others, I often struggle to explain concepts in a simple way, as, thus far, there has been no simple explanation. The complexity of the task is daunting.
I know that I have had success both learning and teaching my kids through videos and documentaries. When they were very young, I bought the DVD version of Guns, Germs, and Steel, and was happy that they got something out of it. My son still likes to watch all the Cosmos shows, and I myself have not yet seen a series that tops the original Carl Sagan Cosmos series.
These documentaries have the capability to demystify complex topics. Cosmos did this for science, and was entertaining and relaxing to watch.
I have watched ever documentary on innovation, and there are quite a few good ones out there. I have watched a lot of documentaries on economics, and there are not that many that are super entertaining for the general audience.
What is lacking is a documentary series that walks through the last 250 years and tracks innovation, politics, law, and economics and creates a cohesive narrative that would both entertain and educate people to this complex series of interwoven topics.
So, if I could do something that could not fail, I would bring together the best writers and thinkers on these topics, and they engage Jon Favreau (or someone similar) to help produce and direct a 13 part series to bring it to life.
I know as someone trying to explain all of the ‘stuff’ to someone, be it venture capital or entrepreneurial ecosystems, I could just say ‘watch this’ and they would get enough insight to have a conversation without me feeling like I am mansplaining for an hour to set the context.
If younger children were exposed to these concepts earlier, and it percolated in their heads, the collective output of ideas and solutions to the myriad of problems we are dealing with might come quicker.
Enlisting a generation of activated people with a sense of agency to change the world, and a background in how all these systems interact would be a game changer.
I have learned a lot over the past 15 years, and I think my biggest failure (or biggest challenges I have yet to complete), is to distill it all down into a package that is digestible. I am slowly in the background working on it. I have ideas of chapters and high level concepts that I am exploring. The scope of the task I have undertaken is a little overwhelming, but that has not stopped me from constantly trying to move it forward, inch by inch.