Retire for the Evening is about a puppet who attempts to keep performing following the death of his puppeteer. Despite enjoying it immensely, I do not have a strong background in puppetry. The idea for the story came to me when I first applied to earn my Masters at the School of Visual Arts. The last time I applied to a school was for my undergrad at Bard College back in 2002. At that time I had the guidance of my parents but this time, for the most part, I was pretty much on my own. I’m in a strange place in life right now where the training wheels have only recently come off. As my 30th birthday rapidly approaches, I find it harder to include the word “young” before “adult” when referring to myself. That is a terrifying truth to digest and so I crammed that energy into my work. I decided to use my thesis project to explore the inevitable leap a child must take into manhood. In my mind, the puppeteer is the parent and the puppet a child that must take his first steps on his own. For all the creative types out there who dream of having their art live on after they die, this is a movie for you. I love crowdfunding and RocketHub. RocketHub is amazing because it allows one to fund a project and simultaneously grow a fan base or community. It is a unique experience for me and I’ve been honored to have the support of so many great people. I really can’t thank them enough. What do you want, people!? No, really, the process is both terrifying and exhilarating, as it should be. While researching puppetry during the writing process, I contacted local puppeteers. I found that making a connection with people prior to launching the campaign gave me a good primary group to start off with. Finding a core audience is essential when doing this sort of thing and should be cultivated early on. Basically, you are searching out your audience before they have anything to be an audience of. Those first puppeteers I spoke with have been the backbone of our campaign. - Ed Hellman, Filmmakers and Crowdfunding Success
Lincoln County Community Theater (LCCT), the resident theater company at Damariscotta’s Lincoln Theater, has embarked on new relationships and an innovative approach for its upcoming concert production of HMS Pinafore, with three performances only the weekend of March 8. According to Wikipedia, Community Theater “may refer to theatre that is made entirely by a community with no outside help, or to collaboration between community members and professional theatre artists, or to performance made entirely by professionals that is addressed to a particular community.” For LCCT’s production, the company is continuing the tradition of hiring orchestra members and is working to put together an ensemble of the best professional and amateur musicians. As part of that, LCCT is pleased to announce that Maine’s own Daponte String Quartet will be joining its group of 13 instrumentalists as the core of its “Never Never Sick at Sea Symphony Orchestra.” Our concert is a way of trying to give the best in entertainment we can to a very diverse community, by partnerning with as many folks as we can to put on a fantastic production. LCCT has inaugurated a crowdfunding project through the support of RocketHub to underwrite the purchase of the orchestral music, and to support the musicians. The theater company has launched a “commissioning the orchestra project” in the hopes of raising $5,000, one step at a time, by asking folks who care about support wonderful music to join as commissioners. It doesn’t seem quite so hard when you think of 250 or so people underwriting the project.For signing on, there are also multiple “goods” to be delivered - names on the ship roster, beers at King Eiders Pub, sailor’s caps, etc. The crowdfunding approach is new to Lincoln Theater, but has led to many successful artistic projects, and others, globally.It is a model that will certainly continue to grow and help organizations both large and small. So far the support has been strong. Out of the gate we reached a third of our goal - and continue to build. It will be interesting to see what other reactions we get as our network grows. - Lincoln County Community Theater Team, Local Crowdfunding Pioneers
The idea came from the struggles and frustrations that I encountered while trying to pursue a very short-lived acting career in New York City. After meeting many other lost souls trying to navigate their way through the entertainment/creatives industry, I came to the realization that the reason very few “make it,” is not because they don’t have the talent, but primarily because they don’t have the connections and means to do so. In other words, there is no real solidarity or network for rising talent. And as we all know, without a support network, it is more likely to become discouraged and be filled with self-doubt. In addition to that, many members of the creatives industry lack the resources and access to fully develop their craft. Consequently, industry pioneers are less willing to take a chance on new talent because their resumes and portfolios are “light.” That realization gave birth to StageBandit, an online platform that provides tools and applications for creatives from different branches of the “artist-tree” to work collectively, collaborate and network. While doing so, they are then able to connect with related businesses, showcase their talent, secure gigs and services, galvanize attention and support around various projects. All of which allows them take center stage with their craft, hence the name, “StageBandit.” I initially tried to use another crowdfunding source to gain financial support for this project. However, they did not support ideas that revolved around websites. When I found RocketHub, it seemed like the perfect fit. The StageBandit project is an intersection of the arts and the ever-expanding world-wide- web. RocketHub was the perfect platform for the campaign because RocketHub makes it very easy for supporters to donate. In my experience, I found that other crowdsourcing websites are limited in their capabilities. Some only take paypal, others require the funder to go through a fairly long registration process, which most people are not willing to go through. This, in turn, deters them from going forth with their donation. Although getting people to support started out really slow, once people found out about the project, and they saw how easy it was to donate and support, it really took off. Initially, I set a goal of ten thousand dollars, but it was brought to my attention that a goal that high would scare people off and they would feel as if it is unrealistic. Specifically since my network of supporters were recent college grads, most of which are still looking for jobs themselves, they don’t really have the means to donate more than a certain amount, not because they don’t want to, but because they can’t. This made my decision to lower my funding (via an updated project) goal very easy. I saw results right away. I watched the numbers grow from around $100 to $350, then $500 and now it is really get close to the final goal of $1,500. Although the project requires a lot more than the $1,500 goal to be sustainable, it is a good start to at least get it off the ground. My experience has shown me that persistence is key! Nudge friends, family, or any other affiliate that might want to invest in your idea. Many people have shared the project link on various social media sites to try and rally support around it. People get it, and when people get something, they are more likely to support it. Within the past month or so, the support has grown exponentially adding value and getting StageBandit closer to the goal. A lot of my supporters are people who are interested in the arts or know someone trying to pursue the arts. It essence, they have a personal stake in the project’s success. My advice to anyone trying to crowdfund is that they should not be afraid to reach out to their network. When people within your network support an idea, they are really supporting the individual behind the idea, n other words, they are supporting “you!” and not necessarily the project. If you reach out to friends, family and affiliates and you do a great job at pitching your idea in a sincere way (the pitch doesn’t have to be a perfect), people will support because they want you to succeed. In other words, don’t waste too much time on trying to make it sound right before letting people know what you’re doing, that will waste precious campaign days (I learned that early on). As long as you are sincere, you will get supporters. It is important to note that sometimes your biggest supporters may not be your close friends and family, so definitely do not be afraid to go to networking events and spread the word. Lastly, tell them how easy it is to crowdfund on RocketHub. It really is a fast and an easy process! Lastly, I’ll end with my favorite quote that I like to think I made up. “Success is when preparation meets opportunity.” Crowdfunding provides you with the opportunity to be successful, so prepare to take it. - Ricardhy Grandoit, CEO & Founder of StageBandit, Entrepreneurial Crowdfunding Success
While it will never be easy to start your own business, there seem to be more and more resources available to aspiring entrepreneurs that are truly committed to making a difference, and being successful along the way. The fact that you’re here reading this shows that you’re on the right path. But, there is always more to learn, especially in the fickle world of start-ups and business development. One often-overlooked aspect of creating (and keeping) a successful business is branding and brand protection. Most new business owners think of this much later than they should: after they’ve already started to establish themselves in the marketplace, only to find out that someone else has a priority use to the same or similar brand identification. National (and perhaps international) domination expansion no longer! Instead, you are forced to start anew. The reality is that protecting a brand name is a process that needs to start early—I mean really early. Most people know what a trade or service mark feels like – the name that people associate with your goods and service, the logo on your sneakers, that badge of coolness that (in part) separates yours from everyone else. It’s sometimes a color or a sound too, but primarily start-ups are most focused on names, logos, and slogans. The legal definition, however, is a bit more complex than the “this-feels-like a trademark” analysis. And registering your trade or service mark with the United States Patent & Trademark Office is the singularly most important step an entrepreneur can take in establishing a solid business infrastructure (outside of creating a stellar product or service, of course!). For entrepreneurs, registering your brand can make or break your business. Submitting an application yesterday is imperative. In addition to granting you nationwide protections to your brand identity, registration offers many additional protections: Grants Nationwide Protection. Even if your current brand reach is limited to a region of the country. Locks Existing Competition Out. Anyone using the same or similar mark prior to your registration (and not registered themselves) will no longer be able to expand their use of the brand. Precludes New Competition. Anyone wishing to use the same or similar mark for the same or similar goods/services will be precluded from (a) using the name anywhere and (b) obtaining a federal registration for the brand. Clearing your brand from the start also ensures that you do not wastefully invest your time, money, and sweat equity in a name that is already taken. We too often speak with entrepreneurs and start-ups after they have already received a cease and desist letter or refusal from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. This shouldn’t happen to anyone, and getting the right branding guidance when you’re creating your business enterprise will ensure it doesn’t. Being trademark-savvy can also save you lots of money. If you thought it was costly to start your business, imagine the costs of later having to rebrand it, just because you didn’t take the initiative to protect your business’s identity through trademark registration when you started up. Buying the rights to someone else’s name/logo you want can also be quite expensive—once someone successfully registers their mark (or, “your” mark), they have no obligation to hand it over to you, even if you were using it first. You will be forced to appeal to either their generous heart, or their soon-to-be heavier wallet. Giving due consideration to brand development at the outset will save you headaches, and dollars - now and into the future. The Trademark Academy is the brainchild of legal thought leaders creating a new dimension to hiring and working with a lawyer – Law Representation 2.0! The Academy is a comprehensive six-week workshop that allows you to work directly with an intellectual property lawyer, learn the steps to trade and service mark protection, interact with like-minded entrepreneurs to gain insights into business development, and actually submit your mark application at the completion of the 6th week. Oh yeah, and did we mention that it’s a fraction of the cost of hiring your own lawyer? It is our goal that by the end of the workshop you’ll be empowered with the knowledge and know-how to make in-house decisions on brand development without resorting to the up-front costs of a lawyer. To learn more and register for the next workshop, visit us here. - Brian Mencher, Entertainment Attorney & Entrepreneur The Trademark Academy is operated by the entertainment and entrepreneurial boutique law firm of Beame & Mencher LLP. The firm’s founding partner, Brian Mencher, has extensive experience in trademark law - focusing his practice in representing entrepreneurs in music, film, the culinary arts, fashion, new media and new technology, and product development. He is a leading voice on entertainment and intellectual property advisement, presenting at SXSW (and other conferences) and is a co-author of the forthcoming book chapter “Protect What You’ve Worked For: Nine Things You Must Know About Trademarks”. He loves empowering others by sharing his knowledge of the law. In his spare time, he enjoys brainstorming brand concepts for a line of baby products with his newborn son (born Oct. 26, 2012)!
For us, for a German band, it is incredible to be invited to perform at a huge festival like the Canadian Music Fest. To fly to Toronto, even for one show, means inspiration for our music, means doing something very special and means living a part of our dream. Last year we played about a dozen shows along the West Coast of the United States and Canada, from San Diego up to Vancouver. Being a German Singer/Songwriter Band, this is the holy grail of music. The musical scene in Canada and the US is so huge, so intensive and it gives so much inspiration to us. So every contact with it is worthwhile, even for one night. There are always supporters who immediately start their support when they read about the project. Then you have the ones you have to convince twice or the ones you have to remind. And especially in Germany using a credit card isn´t that easy for some supporters. So sometimes we got cash shipped by mail. Our older fans in Germany often don´t have a credit card or are not online that much or at all. And the younger fans don´t have that much money do be part of that support. So you have to look the personal need of every single supporter :-) We do not offer advice but a hint - that you should work everyday to get your project heard and seen. You need to post it every single day. Go tell as many people as you can about it. Keep it easy and simple. And communicate it as a deal not a question for a donation. We don´t want a kind of welfare. We offer something. - JOHNA, Singer, Songwriter, German Pop Artist, International Crowdfunding Success
The original project that involved the technology and software program - SketchUp - was connected to Google Project Spectrum (Boulder,CO). We have been working that team for many years now and they were instrumental in helping iSTAR get established with the software and working with our lead (and certified) SketchUp instructor Steve Gross (with Universal Creative) in Orlando, FL. Project Spectrum discovered the connection between technology interests and the computer 3D modeling program with youth with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). iSTAR (University of Utah) represents an expansion and continuation of the original project, but we also have a evidence-based approach such that we collect data on the experiences of the children and youth in the educational and technology program and this serves to drive the quality impact of the program for the youth and their families. We are strengths-based and family-focused and this means we emphasize the ability, talents, and interests of youth on the spectrum (e.g., computer visual-spatial skills) and we involve families and teachers in the program format. Our inspiration is also connected to Temple Grandin (leading advocate for autism issues) who believes that skill development is critical and crucial to the transition to adulthood and for quality of life for the adult with ASD. We are the typical academic types (Cheryl and Scott Wright) and almost all of our career course has been centered on the traditional platform of teaching, research, and service. When we learned of the RocketHub crowdfunding format and how this could help expand our programs and meet our goals for greater access to families - we were supercharged to learn more - and take the dive into the RocketHub experience. We have been lifted up - and we have a new energy about what we do and we get the feeling of community support and the fact that others believe in what we are doing by funding (fueling) our campaign - and by sharing it with others in their networks via social media and traditional streams of communication. We appreciate the support of our university - the University of Utah. The encouragement and the opportunity has been overwhelming - and RocketHub creates the opportunity to bridge education with innovation with distribution - married to a meaningful solution. We want to make a difference in our communities, across the nation, and in the world - and this opportunity creates a real effort to ask others to join in - and join us - in that effort. The empowerment is like a “ripple effect” - when we are supported with resources - then we can empower those who we work with - youth on the autism spectrum - and these individuals have so much to give in terms of talent, ability, and creativity. RocketHub is a dynamic force about funding - and creating awareness about creative ideas that are ready for for a new horizon and a higher level of impact. We believe that if someone can “line up” their plans - and their connections - in advance, then this will enhance the positive outcome. It seems to us that “ramping up” to a launch is the way to go - such that RocketHub can take existing momentum - and then bring it all to the next level of innovation, creativity, and outcome. After the launch, the campaign needs daily cultivation and attention - but this is a good thing. We think of RocketHub as a garden that needs stewardship and daily activity, but the ongoing efforts can lead to a fruitful harvest later on. The RocketHub experience is like collecting honey - it takes a lot of beehive activity to make it work - but the end result is is good for one - and good for all. - Scott Wright and Cheryl Wright, Researchers, Scientists, iSTAR Team Leaders
A BA staple, Andrew Knowlton writes features and monthly columns for both the magazine and bonappetit.com. He regularly appears on CBS, FOX, and The Today Show, and is a James Beard Award nominee for his blog on bonappetit.com, The BA Foodist. To get content for his features, Andrew spends the majority of his time on the road experiencing the most innovative food the world has to offer. We sat down with Andrew to hear his stories and see how the Food Innovator Awards might bring forth the “next big thing” in food mmttbusiness. "Love this collaboration because…" Q: Which ideas are most compelling to you? A: Rockaway Plate Lunch Truck: One of the things that Superstorm Sandy taught us is how supportive and caring the restaurant community is. Further we’ve learned that chefs and restaurateurs will go out of their way to bring food to people in times of need. What the Rockaway Plate Lunch Truck did goes a long way to healing a community. I see this as a viable model that can be built on for future relief. Indiscriminate Dining: Taking your children out to dinner makes them better citizens of the world, increases their understanding of other cultures, and, very simply, turns them into better diners. It’s crucial that children learn how to socialize in all environments. If this program is able to introduce kids to restaurants in a way that makes the experience enjoyable for everyone, then I’m all for it. Q: How did you end up in the food business? A: I moved to NYC after college and that was right at the time that food was becoming more than just about eating out. It was culture, it was entertainment, it was a source of conversation. I never experienced the Chez Panisse/Berkeley food revolution in the seventies but feel grateful to have seen the second wave that started in the late nineties. Of course, TV and the Web had something to do with that. And being in the right place at the right time never hurts either. Q: What is the most innovative technological advancement in food since you began your career? A: Do foam, air, and frozen prosciutto balls count? Seriously, social media is by far the most innovative tech advancement in food. The amount of information formation that chefs and I have access to with Instagram and Twitter is mind-boggling. Whether it is a restaurateur tweeting last-minute reservations, chefs sharing ideas for menus and dishes, food trucks tweeting their exact locations, or the buzz surrounding a new opening, it’s amazing. Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? A: Be passionate! Success has everything to do with having fun. If you are going to live and breathe what you do, you better love it. Q: What is your advice to young people looking to make it in the food world? A: It’s so important to realize that success does not come overnight. It takes hard work, and just because you are given the opportunity to do something, you still have to work hard at it. Whatever field you go into, look at the history of it and be a student of it. Always stay curious! Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? A: Make a goal and do not waver from it regardless of the problems and challenges that inevitably arise. If you keep your eyes on the prize, and believe in the rightness of your endeavors, you can achieve your goals. Q: What is your advice to young people looking to make it in the food world? A: Don’t allow the representation of the restaurant world on television to convince you that there is an easy way. As in any business, we have to go through things, not around them. Q: How is the RocketHub and Bon Appétit collaboration empowering a new wave of food entrepreneurs? A: The RocketHub and Bon Appétit collaboration is very of the moment in terms of mission and subject and in the way it uses the latest technology in fundraising. It rewards those with an entrepreneurial spirit and allows them to push the bar to the next level. We need more food-focused businesses in the marketplace. Click here to view the finalists!
The main inspiration behind taking our microtasking platform open-source was a mix of love and frustration. A love for microtasking and microvolunteering pushed us forward to create VineStove. But, frustration is what is drove us to the decision of making the platform open-source for our coming re-build . Every corner we turned when initially attempting to build our platform suggested that we had two options. 1. Spend over 10K on web development, or 2. Be web-developers ourselves. We went the latter route. As the founder, I was lucky enough to have a small scholarship (from my service in AmeriCorps) and I went back to school to study web-development. And, after much hard work and focus, I came out with a plan to complete our project. And, having to wait over a year to take our idea to reality has been beyond frustrating. That is why we never want someone else who has a cool idea for microtasking site to ever hit that same wall. This also worries us: The microtasking field is missing-out by having such a high barrier of entry. Imagine all of the ideas out there for motivating the crowd not yet tested… and all of unfunded activities that could be paid for by microtasking. And, the robot? Well, that’s pretty simple. We were sick of trying to save the world alone! In a world of crowdsourcing opportunities, cheap robots, and more and more caring people emerging online, there’s no reason we should be alone! Think about this too; It’s a rad way to set up mini-internships! And we’re psyched that we have already reached our goal to buy the robot and cover it’s mobile internet costs. Still can’t get over that, really. So far, it’s been all about the robot. People love it, and we already have a ton of people set up to ride around our office, including three people who chose the $50 reward to take the robot out on the pier to see the ocean. We’re a little nervous having to explain to everyone on the pier that our robot is just out for a walk, but excited to take technology new exciting salty places. I have only recently been contacting people and companies about the open-source microtasking platform. Microtasking is a pretty obscure topic, so I am talking with crowdsourcing companies directly to convince them that this is something our field needs to mature and experiment freely, openly, and quickly. I will also be consulting with them to make sure the platform is the best it can be. Luckily, too, crowdsourcing blogs are really enjoying the novelty and grandeur of the project. Those blog posts are in the works, and I’m hoping that they help give me a warmer introduction to the companies I am approaching for sponsorship. Stay tuned. Crowdfunding advice? hmmm… Well, I’ve learned it’s important to foster community ahead of time. If I had to restart my campaign, I would have contacted my audience before I had started the campaign to see how they could be involved. It’s easy to forget that, although the surprise of discovering a cool crowdfunding campaign can be exciting, it’s still better to not blind-side them. Take the time to warm-up your audience. Other than that, I can say prepare yourself for a huge adventure in content-marketing, relationship building, clear communication, and perseverance. Getting your project in front of the right people, the people who care, is a challenge, but it’s also exhilarating! I hope more open-source projects like mine turn to crowdfunding. It works! - Casey Armstrong, Technology Entrepreneur, Crowdsourcing Expert, and Crowdfunding Pioneer
Chicago native Culinary Master Kostow began his culinary career cooking at the Ravinia Music Festival just outside of town. He followed his food dreams to France, then San Francisco before becoming the Executive Chef at Chez TJ, and now heads the kitchen at The Restaurant at Meadowood. As a Michelin-starred chef before the age of 30, Culinary Master Kostow knows what it takes to succeed in food business. Since innovation has shaped his career, we picked his brain on everything from how he broke into the business to his thoughts on the Food Innovator Awards finalists. "Love this collaboration because…" Q: What are your favorite ideas from the top finalists? A: I love SHFT Mobile Kitchen Classroom because it provides practical, applicable insight for children. And SaucyKids because it empowers children. Instead of dictating to them what they should eat, it appeals to their competitive nature and allows them to make decisions that they will then be rewarded for. Q: What did you want to do as a youngster? And how did you end up in the food business? A: Be a writer. I became a chef when it became clear that I wasn’t very good at writing. I began cooking at Ravinia Music Festival during high school, went to Hamilton College and then worked with Trey Foshee at George’s in La Jolla. Q: What is the most innovative technological advancement in food since you began your career? A: The Internet as a means of disseminating information and learning about new techniques and products. Q: Where is the biggest challenge in the food business today? A: Scalability. The creation of methodologies and systems that are not as contingent on large staffs and therefore easier to reproduce. Q: What is the most cutting-edge food city right now? A: San Francisco Bay area. Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? A: Make a goal and do not waver from it regardless of the problems and challenges that inevitably arise. If you keep your eyes on the prize, and believe in the rightness of your endeavors, you can achieve your goals. Q: What is your advice to young people looking to make it in the food world? A: Don’t allow the representation of the restaurant world on television to convince you that there is an easy way. As in any business, we have to go through things, not around them. Q: How do you want to be remembered as a chef? A: As a teacher, and as one who created a culture that could engender greatness while allowing for humanity and individualism within the team. Q: What is your proudest achievement as a chef? A: The cultivation and motivation of great people united towards a single goal. Q: What was the riskiest thing you’ve done as a chef? A: Moved to Mountain View, California to take over Chez TJ. Q: How is the RocketHub and Bon Appétit collaboration empowering a new wave of food entrepreneurs? A: Any support given to foster innovative ideas can only help push the industry forward-it’s full of so many interesting, dynamic, and entrepreneurial people. This collaboration is a great way to give these people a voice and to enable them a chance to live out loud. Click here to view the finalists!
CareerLauncher was inspired by our own personal experiences. Brian Cunningham, my project partner, has enjoyed a highly successful career (former Naval engineer, NASA program manager, founder and CEO of a public company), yet he struggled throughout his school years. He could not see the point of it all, because when he asked why he was learning this or that, he was told “because you have to,” which was no answer at all. The first time he went to university, he was kicked out after just 43 days. I had much the same experience at school: It was all facts facts facts, with no connection to the real world, let alone my role in it. Little has changed. Many young people have no idea of what they want to do, or can do. Others find out far too late, after they have studied the wrong subjects. It’s no wonder that only two thirds of US high school students graduate with a diploma, only 22 percent of high school students meet “college ready” standards in all of their core subjects, and only 56 percent of students enrolled at four-year colleges graduate within six years. The root of the problem is so obvious that we all missed it: our educational system feeds stomachs that are not hungry. Another source of inspiration for this project was the work of Dr. Ken Robinson, a leading thinker on creativity and innovation. “We need to make sure that all people have the chance to do what they should be doing, to discover the Element in themselves and in their own way,” he says. By “Element” he means the point where personal passion and natural aptitude meet. CareerLauncher’s mission is to help young people discover their Element by connecting what they’re learning in school with the real world beyond, and help them identify potential career pathways. In practical terms this means offering a series of eGuides on a wide range of career tracks, with a special focus on knowledge-based professions facing serious skills shortages now and in the future, including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The United States faces a shortage of no less than 3,000,000 college graduates in the next decade alone. Most other western countries are in the same predicament. We view our eGuides as a means to an end. We hope to stimulate meaningful, ongoing discussions among students, parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers and counselors, because finding the Element requires a team effort. The research shows that the decision to drop out of school is the result of a long process of disengagement that begins at a young age. Therefore we aim to meet the needs of students across the educational spectrum, from preschool to college. We need to get these career conversations started as early as possible. Those who know about our project have responded enthusiastically, because they’ve all attended school and they all know exactly where the problem lies. Ed Zschau, Professor of Entrepreneurship at Princeton University reviewed an early draft of our college level eGuide on Entrepreneurship and said: “I really liked what you have created. Stories of real people conceiving of new ideas, launching enterprises, and overcoming the challenges of innovating and creating things of value from scratch, in various countries and at various stages of their lives are powerful ways to guide and to inspire. “ "The concept is indeed very exciting," gushed an esteemed research scientist at the National Center for Educational Research, US Department of Education. Lynne Crotts, a former school principal and now a doctoral student at the prestigious Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, liked the concept so much she’s joined our Advisory Board. Lizzy Duncan, illustrator for the acclaimed Tollins series of children’s books written by Conn Iggulden (co-author of The Dangerous Book for Boys) said, “I showed my 13 year-old son Maxwell the video on RocketHub and he said ‘these guys have a point: we really don’t know why we’re at school or where it may lead.’” We’re thrilled to have Lizzy join our team of illustrators. Joe Lieman, a pharmacist, wrote, “I’m excited to see this project take off and help young people to find and pursue great ambitions.” Nancy Luttrell wrote, “I am very interested in your project and will go online to help. Let me know if you need a healthcare expert. I’m your woman:)” “The implications of this approach are very exciting,” said Keith Tomlinson, manager and naturalist at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia. “This is a clever, but simple way to address this very real disconnect in our educational system, and more importantly, in how we learn,” said Chris Guiffre, a partner at Leading Path Consulting. “I’m pretty excited about your new project. I think it is a great idea and hope to be a part of making it a reality. There is a real need for people to find their element, and also to know that falling isn’t the same as failing,” said Peter Kronemeyer, a law student. The best advice we can give is to learn the lessons of RocketHub’s Success School. That is, start with a core group of fans who know and trust you and have a strong emotional connection with what you’re doing, and build from there. Also remember that people lead very busy lives and it usually takes several attempts to get their attention and lead them to take action, no matter how much they may empathize with your project. - Giles Jackson, Teacher, Entrepreneur, and Crowdfunding Pioneer