Who wants $5,000?
by Shai Sachs, Sat Jul 14, 2007 at 06:47:21 AM EDT
Earlier this week, Blogpac announced a series of $5,000 grants to support entrepreneurs who develop proposals for building progressive infrastructure. Having spent a bit of time discussing liberal entrepreneurship on this blog, I was very excited to read the announcement. This kind of effort is exactly what I want to see more of from progressive organizations, and three cheers to Blogpac for leading the way!
I will probably be sending in my own submission to this contest, and for the moment I'm holding my own hand close to the vest. But in the spirit of friendly competition and encouraging other budding entrepreneurs, and in hopes of flooding the panel of judges with good ideas, this diary is dedicated to helping others develop proposals for the contest. Follow me across the flip...
First, let me suggest a general framework, for those of you who want to participate in the contest, but have a bit of writer's block. Read my diary from March, How liberal entrepreneurship can help solve the progressive money problem; the larger part of that diary includes a catalog of all the various structural and cultural problems which are facing the progressive movement. If you're looking for a problem to address, this is a good place to start. Once you've picked a problem and developed an idea for addressing that problem, check out my diary from early April, Revenue streams for liberal entrepreneurs. This diary catalogs a number of revenue streams available to liberal entrepreneurs, and can help get you started with sustainability approaches - that is, methods for making your idea into a full-fledged, profitable enterprise. (Blogpac's rules require that you describe how you will fund your project, since presumably your idea will cost more than $5,000.)
Second, I'd like to support any potential contestants who'd like some help refining their ideas. Use the comment threads on this post to hash out your ideas, and ask for help from your fellow MyDD readers. I will read through your comments and promise to provide my own thoughts about how to strengthen your proposal. If it makes sense, I might also post another entry next weekend, soliciting more comments, ideas, and refinements to promising ideas. (Please note, I'm on the road this weekend, so it might take some time for me to respond to your comments below.)
Finally, here is a list of ideas which I think might make for interesting entries into the contest. These are all ideas which I developed by myself, which (as far as I can tell) have not been surfaced elsewhere. Anyone is free to take these ideas, adapt or tweak them, and enter them into the contest.
- A daily talk show featuring strong, progressive spokespeople debating policy issues, distributed on YouTube. The talk show could be supplemented with a speakers bureau which represents and promotes the spokespeople, and garners some percentage of their speaking fees to support operational costs.
- An ActBlue for liberal churches or for labor unions - i.e., an online tool which makes donating to these organizations easy.
- A website which "grades" candidates according to the consultants they hire, and actively encourages issue groups to take these grades into account when making endorsement decisions.
- A consulting firm which helps bloggers develop business plans and advertising strategies for making their blog a self-sustaining business.
- A competitor to Blogads which places ads on liberal blogs. There are a number of ways such a competitor could offer unique features which Blogads can't. For example, such a competitor could offer "cost per action" advertising, in which the blogger earns a fixed amount for each donation made on ActBlue.
This list of ideas is just a first pass for now, and many of them are half-baked. If you have your own ideas, and your looking for feedback, drop them in the comments below, and I (and hopefully others) will help refine and strengthen your ideas. I promise not to use your idea in my own entry, but of course, this is a public forum, and other people might nab your idea. So, commenter beware.