Being unreasonable about working on projects

I am adopting a philosophy I learned and came up with this past weekend at the Unreasonable Climax.  It is an event with a funny name, but a huge impact.

The event: It was 4+ hours of listening to awesome companies who are established and doing extreme good in the world while turning a profit. Amazing!

What I learned: That I want to make a difference in the world and that efforts I put forward should go towards this goal.

What I am going to do about it:  From now on, whenever I come across an idea of my own or a project that is pitched to me, my involvement will be based on the following questions both to myself and to the person pitching their idea to me.

  1. Why do you want to do this project?
  2. Will it make money?
  3. Does it do any good? and/or Who does it benefit?
  4. What is the MVP? How hard will it be to get there?
  5. Who else is excited to work on this with me?

I already ask myself “Why do you want to do this project?” and usually my answer is “because it sounds cool”. That’s not good enough anymore.

“Will it make money”, is becoming more and more important to me but this is one that I am willing to concede on if the project is small and does a large amount of good.

“Does it do any good?” is the most important question I am going to ask. Because if it doesn’t do any good, what’s the point? Yes, money in my wallet is great, but it’s an empty feeling unless that money was gained by helping someone out or by doing something awesome for a community, a group of people, or the world. Is it inspired?

“What is the MVP?”, this is very important as well because I like the idea of “fail often”. Not because that has been the unintended mantra of every idea I’ve had, but because I want to spend time on something that has a big impact and if it can fail quickly then I know it won’t have a big impact or that there’s really no interest. MVPs help to get the project to a point where you can see if it is something worth pursuing further. Can it make money right away? Do people like it? Will they use it? these are all questions that come out of an MVP.

Who else is excited to work on this with me? If I can’t get anyone excited to be involved, then I probably won’t follow through. I need someone to bounce ideas off of, someone who is going to push me to move forward and who I can push to move forward. This needs to be someone who is actually excited, who actually wants to do something, and who has as much energy and as many ideas as myself for this project. If I can’t get at least one person excited, is this something that is worth pursuing?

Please as always, tell me your thoughts and ideas. I am open to suggestions and willing to modify my thinking if someone gives me a better idea!

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  • Raine

    I left Unreasonable Climax with the same feeling. Best quote: If you’re not trying to solve a big problem in the world, what’s the point? Thanks for the reminder ;).

  • Raine

    Also, my version of your 5 Questions are the 3 I’s:
    * Intention
    * Implementation
    * Impact

    Good intention, effective implementation, and social impact must all be in alignment.

    • Matt Bernier

      I love it.