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Struggling with the Third and Fourth Classes

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Oct 15 13 5:55 AM

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We held the third class last night and it was a bit of a struggle. During week two, we had talked about things that were broken in the world and what it would take to fix them. I saw this as a good exercise in figuring out how to solve a problem. In the prep work for Week Three, we are supposed to go back through our list of projects and pick one to do. During this week's session, we are to talk about why we are doing the project and what it will take to power through the Dip. During week four, we fill out the Shipit Journal. On top of that, all of the exercises focus around how we would need to make this our central passion and how we would become the best in the world. I found that our group was not ready to make that big leap.

The discussion was still interesting. By now, the group is quite familiar with the idea of the Dip and Fear. This common vocabulary allows us to discuss potential projects and ideas. We debated whether we should continue our discussion of solving a big problem, pick a project that we could do as a group, or have each person focus on an individual project. In the end, we talked about two project ideas and what would be involved in implementing them.

In retrospect, I should have focused more on the Poke the Box concept--not how to start a big project, but would could we do to start something new right now. Putting aside the big problem issues from last week, what could you start today without asking permission from anyone. This would have given us a more manageable topic and one more likely to lead to us shipping something concrete.

I've also started emailing the week's lesson to everybody in our group. I copy the text and links from the pdf and add a brief introduction. This serves as a good reminder of the what is in store. Below is what i sent out for Week Three:Dear all,After a brief hiatus, it is time to restart. Week One concentrated on Fear and what holds us back from stepping up. Last week, we looked at big problems and what it would take to solve them. We focused on how poorly Congress functions and the lack of compromise. As we talked further, we realized  that we were part of the problem in that we didn't talk politics with those who disagreed with us. =12ptThis week, the focus is on actually starting something. We're meeting tomorrow (Monday) at 7pm. I look forward to the discussion. =12ptPreclass Reading/Listening:• What Did You Do During the 2000s? (7 mins) [color=#1155CC]http://www.fastcompany.com/46555/what-did-you-do-during-2000s[/color]• Poke the Box, pp. 1-12 (12 mins): [color=#176093]http://www2.smartbrief.com/hosted/seth_godin_poke_the_box.pdf[/color]• Startup School by Seth Godin: Episode 12 The Dip (22 mins): [color=#1155CC]http://www.earwolf.com/episode/the-dip/[/color]Think and writePull out your list of project ideas from the last class session and then answer:       Is it more important for you to care deeply about the solution itself or the people you are serving? Come to class prepared to defend your point of view.·        How long is the dip for each of these projects? Or, in other words, what is the time required to ship each project?       Which of the projects on your list do you care about enough to actually start and carry through the dip? If none, conduct a personal brainstorming session to come up with new ideas that re"ect who you are and what you believe.       Which one is most important to you? Pick one.Read “8 questions and a why,” ([color=#1155CC]http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/12/8-questions-and-a-why.html) then answer the 8 questions based on the project you care most about, and after each answer, ask 'why?' Here are the questions:[/color]1. Who are you trying to please?2. What are you promising?3. How much money are you trying to make?4. How much freedom are you willing to trade for opportunity?5. What are you trying to change?6. What do you want people to say about you?7. Which people?8. Do we care about you?Bring your project idea and the answers to the 8 questions to class

Dan ONeil
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Oct 18 13 5:36 PM

Thanks for your insights Dan,
I took them into consideration when hosting my week 3 class on Friday night. I sent an email around to my group asking them to think of a project they might start and work through the 8 questions in writing and included the reading as attachments - this definitely improved the homework completion rate. At the beginning of the class, I started by acknowledging that the previous week's exercise in identifying what was broken (these were mainly big topics that bugged us but were not really anything that we were keen to tackle) was a warm up to thinking about projects that we were fired up to do. 3 members were able to put new projects on the table and we ran through some of their answers to the 8 questions. We also talked about Poke the Box in general terms and discussed the size of the dip and how it influences which projects were were willing to start now. We have tended to only loosely keep to the curriculum and don't always check off every box in the course notes. However, the ideas are flowing really well and I am happy for the classes to find their own structure and momentum according to where the group's interests lie. I am lucky to have a group where everyone is either already in startup mode or is getting ready to commit to something new and this really helps with the energy and excitement. At the end of each class I give a quick preview of what the next week has in store. I made sure that everyone knows that we are leading to the shipit journal next week. Overall, I am thrilled with how this is unfolding, we have had no-one drop out and everyone leaves the class totally psyched up and rearing to go.

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