Dabble. Dabble allows you to take a class in something you're interested in without the commitment of a large fee or an ongoing program. You like wine? Take a wine tasting class. One night only. Next week you want to learn how to use Photoshop? There is a class for that. Or, say you are an expert knitter and want to teach other people your mad skills. Dabble can set you up as a teacher within their network. I think the idea is terrific. Especially as someone living in a new city and looking for ways to socialize, I was immediately drawn to this concept.
But, the harsh reality is that even amazing ideas run into trouble. Dabble is not generating enough revenue to continue on with its current model. In the world of start-ups this happens all the time. But, and this is a big but, no one talks about it. Entrepreneurs face a great deal of pressure both externally (from investors, potential investors, family members, friends, advisers), and internally (from their own intense drive to be successful and to make all the sacrifices birthing your own business requires worth it). So, within the start-up community it's highly unusual to talk about potential failure, especially in a public forum.
This is where the fearlessness comes in. Erin, the co-founder of Dabble, and her partner have started a blog called "Thirty Days of Honesty" chronicling their 30 day journey to decide the fate of their company. I think this idea is brilliant and I have loved reading along (they are on day eleven), but it is also risky. What if a potential investor sees that the company is in a serious financial pickle? What if the teachers who teach with Dabble react poorly? What if the community of other entrepreneurs is critical of this move?
All the what-ifs are the things that stop us from being fearless, from being vulnerable. This is something I've been thinking a lot about after giving a lecture on the power of secrets. Frank Warren, the founder of Post Secret, articulates this idea beautifully (watch this second video) when he says that it's our secrets that connect us, that in being open and vulnerable we connect to our deepest humanity. This is true of life, and it is reflected in Erin's project. I admire her fearlessness and willingness to be vulnerable, to shut out the what-ifs because of a belief that pulling back the curtain might instead lead to a road of possibility. So, check out Erin's blog, think about Dabbling in something if they are in your city, and this weekend, be fearless.