TED Conversations

James van der Walt

Social Entrepreneur, Ugesi Gold

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What makes for a fun business?

I've just started my open-source project and I realise it's harder than it looks.

After watching Steve Keil's talk about making a business fun I realized just how pivotal it is to an open-source project. Good intentions aren't enough. You might have the best idea or promise the most profound impact and it won't matter, people will not take notice if it's not interesting or fun.

Nothing is for free. We might not want payment but then we want something else. Enjoyment.

So what makes for an interesting open-source project? How do you get people to take note of a social idea? What would make you stop and give your time to a project?

Here are some ideas I've received so far:
1) Offer prized for the best ideas i.e. material compensation.
2) A leader board to appeal to people's egos. Just show who is the smartest and can solve the problem the best i.e. credit and a sense of community
3) Compassion. Show how much this can help the world.

I would love to hear your ideas.


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    Nov 26 2011: So then the next question is how do you find out what appeals to people? How do you get people to buy into what you are trying to do? Do you determine the direction or do you let the "crowd" determine the direction of the business requirements?
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      Nov 29 2011: That is the million dollar question. Some one out there will love to help design whatever project you have in mind. But how do you find them...
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        Nov 29 2011: James, that is another great question. In some cases, synchronicity will help guide those folks to a common creative space but sometimes you have to really dig to find other folks. I always thought you could use social tools like Twitter or Facebook to find those folks but those tools need to be focused on the types of people you are seeking, similar to what TED.com does with their site. They are out there and all they need is a compassionate incentive and they will dive right in.
    • Dec 9 2011: @ Kevin You don't find out what appeals to other people. You do what appeals to you, with all of your passion.

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