DartBoston hosted a Rule53 episode last night with guest Alan Khazei and Ashli Stempel. The conversation centered around the topic of social entrepreneurship and what young social entrepreneur, Ashli Stempel should be doing to get her venture, PULSE off the ground. (You can catch the interview in full on the Rule53 website and why Alan is running for Senate at the bottom of this post)
As many of you know, Alan is a ‘dark horse’ candidate running for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat here in Massachusetts. According to the Boston Globe, Khazei is polling in 4th place with only 6% of the likely Democratic Primary voters. So when we pitched Alan to come and participate for an hour on Rule53 we figured he would be less interested in talking about social entrepreneurship and more interested in stumping.
When Alan rolled into Northeastern last night he introduced himself to each person individually. A standard political move as all candidates do it and what I thought an indicator for how the show would have a political theme. How wrong I was (and grateful that I was wrong)!
Alan is an all star social entrepreneur and he stayed on that topic for the entire 30 minutes. He had fantastic advice for Ashli as well as everyone in the room. Some of his points including thoughts I had never considered… i.e. start-ups need at least a team of 5 people to be successful.
The reason why I was impressed with Alan is that he took an hour of prime time (7pm-8pm) two weeks before the Democratic Primary to speak about social entrepreneurship rather than his campaign.
We were recently approached by the Pagliuca campaign to host an event with Stephen. I said we would love to do an event and have him participate but the program in which it would need to be done is through a Rule53. They said that they would prefer to have him speak to our community in more of a lecture format where he would talk about his entrepreneurial experience and running for Senate. After his talk he would answer some questions from the community which could be less about politics and more about his entrepreneurial experience.
I was told over and over that having Stephen speak would be a great opportunity for the Dart community. I would agree that this would be a great opportunity but would be even more beneficial for all parties if Stephen followed Alan’s lead to speak to our community through a format in which we know our community responds well to. By doing a Rule53 he could create a connection on a personal level with everyone in the room as well as those watching online, rather than political one.
Alan spoke about his passion for social entrepreneurship, why he got into it, why he left City Year to pursue another social venture. While we do care about health care, student loans, the economy on a macro level, right now we are all super passionate about creating something. If these candidates want to connect with the social influencers that are the Dart community, give us insight into the puzzle that is launching a venture. Take your very important time to help us unlock how we can take an idea and successfully bring it to market. Do that and you will earn our respect and of course tons of positive online chatter!
Because Alan did take the time to talk to us about his experience as a social entrepreneur we wanted to ask him why the transition from social entrepreneur to Senator. Here is what he had to say after the Rule53 episode…
Hi, my name is Cort and I live in Boston, working in the startup scene. I'm a co-founder of DartBoston and Terrible Labs. I am all about getting out into the community to meet other passionate entrepreneurs and see what people are working on.