Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem


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Plywood’s Social Entrepreneur Curriculum

Plywood FilmingA couple of weeks ago I sat in on another great Plywood People event. I always love seeing what they’re up to. And currently, they’re working on a curriculum for social entrepreneurs to be released at their annual event in August. It’s going to be great!

So, a few friends and I showed up to be audience members, and were able to hear from a number of experts on character and building a business.

Here are my take-aways:

Doug Shipman

  • Don’t just tell people your story, create a way for them to be a part of it.
  • Meet people’s needs.
  • Map out your conversations if you’re making an ask.
  • Make the ask about them, not you.
  • Make a small ask, then a bigger one. Start small with people and get them in the door.
  • Ask friends and family for connections.
  • Events build momentum and show people you can get stuff done. It allows them to have an emotional connection.
  • To invite people in, and make it relatable to them.
  • You cannot innovate by committee. Bring in few decision makers.
  • Your principles are your boundaries.

Ryan Gravel

  • Solve both current and future problems.
  • Think holistically.
  • Find people with the skills who both compliment and supplement yours. Multiple voices make a better project.
  • Define what’s special about your project, and protect that.
  • Think less about what your doing, and think about what you want to be.

Leroy Barber

  • Love your neighbor. Love the person in need along your roads.
  • Don’t take over a space in which you are trying to help. Provide dignity for those you are helping, or an exchange.
  • To evaluate your program, ask those who have gone through it first-hand.
  • If you’re getting bored on a project, bring in other voices to breathe into it. Don’t let it go stale.
  • There’s a big difference between ending something and quitting something.
  • Listen and learn first.
  • Celebrate the small wins.

Brad Montague

  • Your failures don’t define you, they prepare you.
  • Ask people, “What do you love about what you do?” instead of what they do.
  • Your life is a work of art.
  • Community keeps you grounded and on mission.
  • Define your mission before someone defines it for you.
  • Every person deserves to be celebrated.
  • “I hope what you do comes out of a deep sense of who you are.” – Fred Rogers

Andy Levine

  • Use the lows as learning opportunities.
  • Take care of your fans, so that it creates a gravitational pull for them to come back and bring others.
  • Craft a moment (above and beyond, make it right, hold the line—customer service)
  • Be a friend, not a fan.
  • Think about the “wake” you leave behind you.
  • Choose people who embrace your culture first. You can teach skills late.
  • Promise makers need promise keepers.

Callie Murray

  • First ideas. Then a plan. Finally, put it on your calendar. To make it real you need to get it on paper.
  • Have a plan for quitting so there is no impulse decision.
  • I am not my business, and my business is not me.


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Plywood Presents 2013

Plywood logoThis week I attended Plywood Presents for the third year. It’s a really fun and unique Atlanta conference, in a city where conferences seem to happen around the clock. Plywood centers around social innovation, with the motto, “We will be known by the problems we solve.” Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

Plywood Swag

Plywood Swag

While the speakers are great, seeing friends from other local orgs is fun, and some days you just need a break from the norm, my favorite thing is always simply learning about people and companies doing really great things. To me, it’s most inspiring just to share air with people who are changing the world. It’s as if there’s a new horizon, and we’re all standing at the edge of it together.

I can always count on this community to challenge me to be better. And in an every day way, it helps me see new places to put my money where my mouth is—companies and people I can support with my voice and dollars that share my values.

Here are the amazing places and people I learned about this week:

Do yourself a favor, and check out these companies. They are doing some great work, and they need our support. And don’t forget to join us next year at Plywood Presents!