Christian is a core part of the Sandbox team - a global community of hand-selected young achievers and innovators under 30. It is a fantastic concept and is really working well. They recently wrote a blog post about it -http://www.sandbox-network.com/hippies-20/" rel="nofollow"> the Passion Industry - awesome stuff.
I am heading up the community development at Sandbox, a global community of hand-selected movers & shakers below 30 which we founded three years ago.
We are providing a trusted environment for entrepreneurial minds from diverse backgrounds, bringing together best-selling authors, designers, young global leaders, top entrepreneurs, artists, and researchers, and helping them to build meaningful relationships (besides opening up access to resources, seniors, opportunities).
We leverage this creative capacity to support governments and large organizations to solve their most challenging problems. Connected to this, I am working on a PhD at the LSE, trying to understand the networking patterns of successful social entrepreneurs in emerging markets.
I am mainly managing our global ambassadors - highly active members who organize local events in over 30 cities all over the globe. It's the most inspiring thing I have done in my life, as the passion and creativity of them is amazing me every day.
I had the luck to study and work in a variety of countries, and had short gigs as a consultant and in government.
Since I started travelling more extensively after high-school, I had this feeling that there needs to be something for assembling these people who had a real impact on my life; who inspired and motivated me.
When I met the other Sandbox co-founders who had already thought about similar ideas and a global conference, we put the pieces together and formed the community we have today.
After graduating from a Master's at LSE, and after having endured the ordeal of numerous 'milk rounds', I had to decide between Sandbox and quite well-paid jobs in consulting/multinationals. I chose to go full-time for Sandbox, both for our vision and the great team around it.
Later, I complemented this with the PhD, as my 'reflective side' needed some expression as well and as the boundary-spanning opportunities in terms of content and contacts seem to be unlimited.
I did a lot of scenario-planning with my co-founders; looking at how we could finance ourselves, what the alternatives were (e.g. part-time), etc. In the end however, all the planning was mostly used to justify the gut-feeling that it would be the right decision ;-)
At this time we did not yet have investor-backing, so all of us were basically relying on income from our 'personal stakeholders': our own savings, family, friends, and good people around us who believed in us.
Personally: Overcoming the 'opportunity cost thinking', constantly comparing to the alternative options you could have chosen.
Professionally: Convincing the people around us of our vision, constantly questioning ourselves if it was the right path to go down. We had a very healthy trial and error process, which brought the team together very closely.
We have quite different personalities, but the great respect and sympathy for each other and the strong vision and motivation channelled into a constant 'mutual re-enforcement', particularly in tougher times.
The feeling of having created something new, of giving birth to something which we envisioned. I cannot imagine any crisper feeling than seeing the positive impact we can now have on the great people around us.
Don't complain about what doesn't work; think about how to make it work (my dad).
Try to choose the people you work with at least as selectively as you choose your girlfriend; you will most probably spend more time with them than with her ;-)
Follow your passion, but be clear about the basics.
The key for us at Sandbox was the team. We had the great luck that we all had a similar vision when we met, and that we have a similar drive and passion, which allows us to make a lot of compromises for the common good when it comes to key issues such as money etc.