- 284 young social entrepreneurs from 45 countries have applied to attend the inaugural Unreasonable Institute.
- The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, and Inc. have all provided flattering online coverage of the Unreasonable Institute.
- Innovative selection and financing models have been developed (see below).
- The Unreasonable guys have inspired almost everyone they’ve met with their love of life and passion for social change.
I have had the honor of becoming friends and colleagues with the Unreasonable founders and recently spent some time thinking about why they have been so successful. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- They are innovative. Rather than having a typical application process, they created the Unreasonable Marketplace. The first 25 applicants to raise the $6,500 needed to pay for their attendance at the Institute get to go. The public can vote with their dollars, the most driven applicants win, and the cost of the institute is covered for the participants before they arrive.
- They play full-out. The Unreasonable guys work hard and go big. They seem to be at every conference, post on every social media site, and put in incredible hours needed to build an organization as ambitious as the Unreasonable Institute.
- They have a compelling and loveable brand. From Tyler’s videos to Teju’s unreasonable word play, these guys found a brand that sticks. Start-ups don’t have the liberty to claim, “our track record speaks for itself,” so their brand has to fill the void. Unreasonable nailed it.
- They have fun. Someone at Ycombinator once said, “If you’re building something people want and having fun doing it, the money will follow.” If that’s true, Unreasonable is soon to encounter a windfall of capital. The Unreasonable guys love what they do, and their positive energy is contagious.
- They surround themselves with the right people. For the reasons listed above, Unreasonable has a number of strong allies. The best example of this is their partnership with Gray Ghost Ventures, which put up $150,000+ to fund some of the ventures that will attend the Institute this year.
Many people aspire to change the world, but never dream – or act – big enough. The Unreasonable founders have already made exceptional contributions to the field of social entrepreneurship, and their Institute has yet to begin! They are ambitious, but humble. They work hard, but have fun all the while. They unbelievably unreasonable, and yet I have no doubt that they will achieve their goals and we will all be better off for it.
To learn more about the Unreasonable founders, follow them on Twitter, @BeUnreasonable.