Crowd Funding

Graphic, Courtesy of Rita Koivunen

Graphic, Courtesy of Rita Koivunen

Crowd Funding: Although Crowd Funding is a recent innovation, (Sundance Film Festival, circa 2007), it is a modern (and welcome) approach to solving an age-old dilemma that goes like this:

A person or a group of people have a vision in which they passionately believe. Despite their enthusiasm, they can’t get backing. Of course, passionate visionaries don’t give up. They search high and low for what we will call ‘believers.’ Today, given the advent of the Internet and social media, it is possible to reach out and build a global constituency

The trick, of course, lies in finding what is now being referred to as your “tribe.” At PAXNRG, our tribe consists of ordinary people who believe that, together, we can make the world a better place.

Please … suspend your doubt for just a moment! Admit that great strides in human history are very often achieved when visionaries, despite the many obstacles that life places in their path, seek and find their believers.

If you live in America, you are the heir to just such a story.

The Visionary & The Believer

Take Columbus and Queen Isabella. Each played their respective roles.

Columbus & Queen Isabella -- A Crowd Funding Prototype from long ago.

Columbus & Queen Isabella — A Crowd Funding Prototype from long ago.

  • The Visionary
  • The Believer

The Problem: In the 1400’s, Europe depended on trade with Asia — silks and spices and foodstuffs and precious metals and gems were transported from East to West. One of the routes was called “The Silk Road.”  Over time, brigands and highwaymen figured out they could lie in wait, and then rob and plunder and kill. Lives and fortunes were lost, and it became increasingly difficult for Europeans to conduct trade between East and West. This was a matter of no small concern.

The “Earth is Not Flat” Solution: A Florentine mathematician, Paolo Toscanelli, had a solution — sail west and eventually you’ll reach the East. Once you are there, voila! Load up a ship with cargo, and sail back the other way.  This was an incredibly exciting and practical idea.

Toscannelli's Map Captured Columbus Imagination

Toscannelli’s Map Captured Columbus Imagination — obviously, Toscannelli was not a “flat-earther”!

Christopher Columbus was already an experienced sea captain, and Paolo’s premise captured his sense of adventure. Further, Columbus had always believed that he possessed a divine mandate. This became his quest — it was the reason he was born!

In the process, Columbus learned that inspired quests are accompanied by obstacles and hardship. For more than twenty years, he traveled throughout Europe trying to drum up support. He approached bankers and kings and wealthy merchants — to no avail. Time and again, he met with rejection and even scorn.

Columbus was penniless, and at an all time low when he knocked on the door of Spain’s La Rabida Monastery. He didn’t even have food for himself or his son, Diego. Yet with that one knock on that one door, his luck turned.

A monk, Father Juan Perez, took Columbus under his wing. He believed in Columbus vision, and he had connections. Father Perez was the Confessor to Queen Isabella. He made the introduction. You know the rest of the story.

Rabida1

La Rabida Monastery, Spain — This is where Christopher Columbus luck began to change.

At PAXNRG, we are in the business of bringing visionaries and believers together.  We’re starting with a single project — Koins for Kenya’s Hands-Up Academy.  It will be followed by others.

While it is unlikely that any single PAXNRG project will have the dramatic impact achieved by the partnership between Columbus and Isabella, if we work together, perhaps we can work together to make the world a better place.

Isn’t that what life is all about?