“Ben Franklin…convinced twelve of his ‘most ingenious’ friends (as he referred to them in his autobiography) in Philadelphia to form a club dedicated to mutual improvement. Meeting one night a week, these young men recommended books, ideas, and contacts to one another. They fostered self-improvement through discussions on philosophy, morals, economics, and politics. The called the club the Junto (prounced ‘hoon-toe’).
The Junto became a private forum for brainstorming and a surreptitious instrument for leading public opinion. The group generated a bounty of ideas, such as the first public library, volunteer fire departments, the first public hospital, police departments, and paved streets. They also collaborated to execute on opportunities.”
If I had to guess, I’d say that you have lots of smart people in your network that you wish you had an excuse to talk with more often. Or you have an idea that you want to discuss with some people. Or you know people who know smart & interesting people. Who is going to get them together if not you?
Some examples I’ve seen around:
- “Soup Night” In Brooklyn, NY, one individual uses her love of soup to remedy the isolation that can happen with years in NYC. She hosts weekly Soup Nights, on Sundays, and uses these as an excuse to invite anyone she meets that week to socialize. The regular attendees are also encouraged to use it as an excuse to invite anyone they would like to spend more time with, in whatever capacity.
- This ‘Idea Brunch’ turned into the founding of a toy company, Goldie Blox, that creates “toys that develop spatial skills and teach basic engineering principles. By designing construction toys from the female perspective, we aim to appeal to a broader audience of children and parents who previously considered engineering a ‘boys club.'” All from a brunch!
- Or in San Francisco, this monthly meal/gathering funds creative projects.
- Need to use someone else as an excuse? The Feast, an annual gathering of do-gooders in NYC is encouraging people who don’t attend the conference in October to host dinners of 5-6 on October 5 at 7pm: a roaming, global dinner party to change the world.
In case you were looking for the push to make something like this happen, here it is: write the email today. Get smart, savvy, interested, engaged people together – make a new mix of friends from different industries & different walks of life. Have (fresh, delicious) food, a bottle of wine (or champagne, if its brunch), a mission or theme (however vague) and see what happens. Probably something good.