The Apprentice, Round 2

I have been overwhelmed by the quality of applicants for the apprenticeship!

In order to give both you and me a better idea of the fit (which is just as important as your personal skillz) I have five projects for you to complete.  To be true to the nature of the job — and so I can learn what I need to about you — I’m not going to provide any further instructions, parameters or clarifications beyond what you see here.

  1. Apply to attend TEDActive 2011 – if you get accepted and get the job with me, I will pay for you to attend.  I will also choose two additional applicants and pay $2000 towards their registration fee.  Email your acceptance letter ASAP to the mail link on
  2. Create a Prezi – my friends at unearthed the true story of the Statue of Liberty, which is not what the history books tell you.  Your task is to create a compelling presentation about how the Statue of Liberty came to be using then email it to
  3. Kickstart something good – Create a campaign on for something you care about.  Set the funding deadline to Sept 15.  Post a link to your kickstarter in the comments below.
  4. Write for my blog – Create a post for and submit it in the comments below.
  5. The meta-project – Come up with a project that you believe will best showcase the abilities of the perfect candidate for this apprentice position.  Post that project description in the comments below.  The one with the most “Likes” will be assigned to all applicants (including you) on Sept 16.

One final thought before you begin: if you look at the above list and are not excited by each of the projects, the apprenticeship is not a good fit for you.  However, if you complete any of them, I will add you to the beta community of Possibility Accelerators that my apprentice will help me curate….

  • Tim Golden

    Project Buzzworth

    Sept 16 – Oct 24

    Demonstrate your Buzzworth.

    1. Identify a campaign you feel passionate about (i.e. a local meaningful media initiative, a global disaster relief project, an environmental clean-up campaign, a new media innovation, an up-and-coming start-up, etc)

    2. Generate Buzz about it — Raise awareness, draw attention, incite action — Get the word out! (i.e. through PR, social media, guerrilla marketing, etc)

    3. Create a shared folder on Google Documents. Rename the folder as “ The Apprentice – Project Buzzworth – ‘YourName’ ” and share it with Rafe.

    4. Create a strategy — Share a document in the shared folder detailing your plan for effectiveness.

    5. Record and report — Create a spreadsheet in the shared folder charting your efforts throughout the project and where, if at all, evidence of your efforts can be seen. If actions are not documented online, document with photos, video, etc and upload to flickr or a “Media” subfolder (be sure to refer to these sources in the reporting spreadsheet).

    6. Reflection — At the conclusion of the challenge, send your written feedback on the overall structure of Project Buzzworth to Rafe by Sunday, Oct 24. Include:
    -The benefits of the project
    -Areas for overall improvement of the project
    -Opportunities for a Project Buzzworth in future
    -Challenges for a Project Buzzworth in the future

    Key Performance Indicators:
    – Quality of Recording and Reporting
    – Style and composure of plan and implementation
    – Creativity of approach
    – Method and quality of resource mobilization
    – Actual impacts and outcomes (as much as this can be determined)

    ** All Buzzworth initatives should not violate any copyrights or infringe any campaign or legal standards. Buzzworth initiatives should act as a source of pro bono publicity and awareness raising.

  • Jasmine Stine

    The Meta-Project

    This came to me a few days ago after a year booked with incubators, accelerators and entrepreneurial shindigs.

    The social innovation space is growing at a tremendous rate, yet a concern/complaint that I often hear is that investors remain – save for a portion of robust, brave souls – happy to entertain entrepreneurs' new ideas or unconventional approaches, yet largely unwilling to take the plunge. Capital remains highly constrained and most social innovators go to the usual suspects to seek it. To be sure, entrepreneurs bear some responsibility in this, but that isn't the whole story.

    A Proposal: Seems like a new program for entrepreneurs is cropping up everyday – Feast, Unreasonable, Dangerously Ambitious. Fantastic. Love it. But what about the other side of the equation? As an entrepreneur, I am certainly no expert, but I bet a lot of established angel investors are. An intensive peer-to-peer training for aspiring or potential angels could unlock a whole new era of innovative capital.

    Therefore I propose that the Ideal Apprentice stratagize, organize, and orchestrate an intensive investor-lead accelerator designed to both teach new angels into the space and win over life-long philanthropists unaccustomed to for-profit investing as mission driven. For example, pioneers who have developed their own flavor of investing (e.g. Kim Scheinberg of Presumed Abundance, Bob Pattillo of Village Capital, Rafe's Life Investments) might lead workshops on developing new capital platforms that speak to the values and interests of the investor while leading the way for others to follow.

    After all, as I have often heard Bob Pattillo say, “Investors are people, too.”

    • Phl Gordon

      Check out — we may not be investing hard cash in these companies, but we are actively seeking companies that need world-class technology and access to savvy business leaders and investors. If you know of any projects that need us, please let us know!

      Phil Gordon

  • Ryan Rabbass

    My blog:

    Does language create our world?

    What role does language play in shaping one's world? When we begin to profile differing cultures, ethnocentrically subjective biases immediately come to mind when thinking of different geographical locations. People in warm or naturally rich climates seem happier, which comes out in their language. More laughter is incorporated, and inflections vary wildly. People in cold or more seasonally barren climates tend to hold their emotions in more when they speak, resulting in more of a monotone verbal culture. I, for one, am from a colder area, and many people say i sound very bored and careless, although i beg to differ. So, although these stereotypes aren't 100% accurate, there is a bigger implication here. These verbal cultures, like any cultural evolution, are carried down through generations and evolve independently of any individual adoptee. They help us form patterns in our minds of the world, grouping objects and concepts. They even help us define space and time itself, which, as Einstein said, are relative. Language is meant to communicably serve a society, but also determines it's mentality. Members of any particular vernacular subconsciously take on all it's emotive dialogue as they learn definitions and meanings, which in themselves are often culturally biased. This in turn affects our behaviors, and more relative to this blog, our thoughts and our memories. Our thoughts shape our perception of the world around us, and affect our experiences in the present and the past. In my experience, when i think naturally (think without thinking about thinking), i don't consciously form English, but i believe that the logic and connotations of my language are so ingrained in my brain from an early age that my thought process is based mostly on English. And when i really want to commit something to memory, I speak it in my mind, or write it on a mental chalkboard. Now, if someone was unfortunate enough to never be exposed to language, it's my opinion that they would still have a generic thought process, but with no linguistic education whatsoever, their logic and mental description of the world would be limited to the point as unrecognizable to our language-oriented brains. Possibly more so than an animal, as animals still have complex language, be it body or verbal, and some are still communicable with us. So it is of my rookie opinion that without language we might be less defined as conscious as any cognitively simple animal. I think English, therefore I am English. If I was Spanish, I would see the world slightly different. If I was bi-lingual, then my consciousness would lie somewhere in between, heavily more so towards which was my first language growing up, as all emotion and logic will rely on the primary defining structure. And as for relativity, if time and space are relative to the human brain, and language shapes that brain, then language steers the intergalactic ship of all things in the observable universe.

  • Tim Golden

    Pro Bono Publico: For the Common Wealth

    Consider for a moment that that economy depends on the selflessness of the People. That in all walks of life, there is a flourishing breed of forward-thinkers who acquire abundance through the service of giving, rather than through the primary pursuit of personal material gain. These Agents of Community create abundance through applying effort and skill to support a common wealth and well-being – thriving solely on the sense of fulfillment by putting others above their own immediate desires and on the sense of connectedness with their social nature as a member of human family.

    Through presenting labor and skill as an offering, a whole new sense of wealth and worth is inherently developed in the self, independent of material return. In addition, the external value-creation of this selfless labor goes on to enable the effectiveness of systems and organizations to provide greater dignity, wealth and well-being in the livelihoods of others.

    In light of the elliptical nature of the economy, this injection of pro bono human capital in the economic pool generates a greater value for the whole. In their selfless contentment, these agents enjoy modest living as a choice and satisfaction – and thus, with consumption cured they demand with mere humbleness to sustain efforts of creating a greater impact of value-creation and well-being for the common good.

    Without these agents habits of self-concern and hoarding run wild, drying up resources and depleting livelihoods — inhibiting the health and well-being of all parts of society. With the sense of separation, a zero-sum game emerges as gain is taken at the expense of another. In a ''dog-eat-dog'' economy of haves and have-nots, abundance is impossible due to the fear of loss and the craving to acquire.

    The source of abundance comes instead from giving and the sense of economic interconnectedness — that by helping another in their livelihood, an exponential synergy occurs. With this act of giving, a sense of inner-fulfillment is developed that is far greater than that acquired through consuming and behaving in mere self-concern with the sense of social and economic separateness. Thus, the backbone of an abundant and thriving economy rests on the giving and selflessness of agents of the community. With this core, community will be revitalized and the ills of the world will be overcome – personally, socially and environmentally.

    With this consideration, every individual has a role to play on this global stage. As John Donne wrote, “Every man's death diminishes me because I am apart of the whole.” Livelihood thus depends on the efforts of each people.

  • Ryan Rabbass

    My Kickstart(awaiting approval):

    Mobile Music Merch Marketplace (M4)

  • Ryan Rabbass


    Design a “Social Mediaology”

    Social media is officially here to stay, and booming. Facebook, for one, boasts nearly a 1/4 billion logins daily. The growth of the social media global audience is at the knee of an exponential curve. The general public sees this as a convenience in bringing people together. Businesses see it as a auspicious tool in the online marketplace. But what is often overlooked is the underlying study going on and being newly created everyday; a new kind of Sociology, dubbed “Social Mediaology”. The assignment is to create a social media forum that primarily uses the principles of Sociology applied to the new technology and social transmissions of our wonderful new trend, social media.

    Purpose: While technology grows exponentially, it is ethically imperative that humanity keeps scrutiny foothold over it. As rapidly as social media grows, we fear that the increase may become negatively correlated to the “social”, and positively correlated to the “media”. For instance, relationships are becoming more quantitative rather than qualitative. We interact with thousands online, yet substance is easily eroded. While forging into this new Web 2.0, it is our goal to uphold the stone pillars of our cherished academic institutions. We want to embrace and strengthen the technology, while maintaining social solidarity as the primary canon.

    Basis: Create a forum from the ground up using the discipline of Sociology as a foundation from which to springboard. Hopefully, if sociological, psychological and social psychological principles are applied correctly, it impacts people in a newly successful way.

    Pre-requisite: Use what you have or will learn(see below reading) from the above three studies and apply to your assignment, whether it be introductory material, or a single focus (ex: Sociological Statistics of Sports sub-field applied to a sports or stats-related platform).

    Application: After the methodological platform has been presented and been approved by a Sociology professor i know, then the subsequent step is to find an appropriate way to implement and utilize it on the web.

    Strategy: Using the original framework as a guide, apply other forums, including but not limited to competing social networks, to attract and involve others.

    Goal: To gain a significant number of clientele, to the point that you can test your formula and see if this new approach of basing a forum on pure, “un-biased” academic sociological principles yields a higher order of social media. From here, your Social Mediaology can take on any direction you choose, whether it's purely for socializing, business advertisement, fundraising or knowledge sharing. The form is completely up to you, as long as the shape starts by fitting the mold that our Sociology expert approves.

    Sources for ideas:

    Max Weber: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
    Emile Durkheim: Rules of the Sociological Method
    George Lundberg: Knowledge for What
    Alvin Toffler: Future Shock
    Earl Babbie: The Practice of Social Research
    Daniel Nations: What is Social Media? What are Social Media Sites?


    The Professor's Rules:

    1) No linking, or merely forwarding, of info, has to be distilled yourself and re-sent out (no plagiarism). Meaningful sociological interaction requires you to be the source or the interpreter of data, not just a liaison.

    2) If one is the interpreter and not the source, cite source(s) upon distilling.

    3) Use the Scientific Method as applied to Sociology(See Babbie and Durkheim).

    4) Extreme cultural diversity, whether it be socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, age, or gender.

    5) The purpose of the media should be for positive and redeemable social and/or economic good.

    6) Must outline the anticipated social consequences – both positive and negative – of the forum you create.

    7) Address any ethical considerations that might be appropriate.

    8) Include social analysis of a current social media in your proposal.

    9) Outline the manner in which social interaction and the processes involved will take hold.

    10) Make up a rule that you think would benefit all other rules.

  • Ryan Rabbass
  • Ryan Rabbass