How Do You Photograph an Idea?

Garrett Melby, CEO and co-founder of GoodCompany Ventures

I am no expert in business…or entrepreneurship, more exactly, the creation of ideas that go on to be developed into world-changing endeavors. I sometimes say that the reason I am not rich is that all of my ideas are too good. If I were to go into business, I would want to do things like develop classroom management iPad applications for teachers. What I don’t think of is Silly Bands. Or sitting myself in an outhouse and launching it into the air with giant elastics to film myself getting splashed with that blue fluid with the creepy odor. That is why I’m not rich. And it is also why so much of business doesn’t actually do much to change the world or make it a better place.

Enter GoodCompany Ventures, a Philadelphia non-profit incubator for social entrepreneurship. Before I completely butcher what they are all about, you should just head over to their website.  There, you can learn a bit about people with other ideas I would never have come up with. I definitely don’t come up with ideas like mushroom-shaped omnidirectional wind turbines, creating no-carbon energy for commercial urban applications, or solar-powered cell phone chargers for the hundreds of millions of households in Africa that have mobile phones but live off the grid, or a website that matches people wishing for something to people wanting to grant wishes, or websites linking “citizen scientists” to real science projects they can assist with.

Last Thursday, I had a chance to photograph some interesting social entrepreneurs as they pitched their business ideas to investors as part of GoodCompany Ventures’ 2010 graduation event. There was also a dancing pseudo-cowboy who happens to have a very worthwhile website as well (the cowboy get-up was a dare, and you can learn more about dares at

Be sure to check out the recent graduates and what they are working on, and then think about how you support ideas that could change the way we–or others–live. Thanks again to GoodCompany for having me out to shoot for them, and I wish all the graduates all the best as they continue building their ideas and businesses.


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