Monday, January 29, 2007

Being nonprofit and entrepreneurial

It's not online yet but the February issue of Inc. has an interesting interview with Second Life founder Phillip Rosedale. Second Life is the virtual reality world that became a phenomenon in 2006.

I'm still a little queasy about venturing onto Second Life but other businesses and nonprofits are so one of these days...

I was more interested in some of Rosedale's approaches to running Linden Lab, the company that created and runs Second Life. At first they simply told their engineers to e-mail everyone in the company what you are going to do that work, then work on it, and then e-mail everyone how you did it.

That system has evolved into a huge database of "stuff to do. You choose your own work from it."

"I am pretty critical of traditional business styles," Rosedale says. Me too.

Companies encourage their people to be entrepreneurial. "But the way you are really entrepreneurial," Rosedale says, "is that you have to set your own strategic direction. That's what entrerpeneurs do. You have to take risks and you have to be held accountable."

Even though Evergreen Leaders is a nonprofit I get to be very entrepreneurial. Each week I e-mail the board what I call Monday Morning Coffee and in it I describe what I am going to do that week and how my work went the previous week.

When you get to choose your own things to work on your naturally choose to do things that fit your talents.