Finding the unicorns
Creating something that barely fits into existing categories is a weird thing. There's no meetups to go to where everyone else is doing the same thing. There are no email lists, no established community*.
So I made the community. It was the best thing I've done all year.
I went through 15,000 LinkedIn profiles, made a list of 400 people, then went through each of their work and life experiences and rated them on six metrics. I sorted 150 people into four tiers and searched for mutuals on Facebook.
The question I was really asking as I searched: is this a project you have been dreaming about? Is this a project you have been preparing for your entire career?
A keyword search just wasn't possible. I was looking for people who love storytelling, art, and community, are also accomplished executives in tech and media, and get marketing and social media dynamics. I called the person I am searching for a unicorn, but I knew there must be hundreds of people who fit the description, I just had to find them.
And what did this search turn up?
I am meeting with fascinating, dynamic individuals from many industries, whose unique combinations of life and professional experience have led them to a place where they really get this project, each in their own unique way. They are introducing me to others who are similar. I am jazzed about what we are doing in a way I haven't been since the very beginning.
The point isn't just to find a co-founder. It's also to build the community of people who will work together on this new form of media we are creating.
The moral for me? Sometimes problems are hard and require brute forcing. Sometimes you need to just pound the pavement. When a needle is in a haystack and you need the needle to move forward, find the damn needle. And most importantly — seek out the people who are on the same page. They are always out there somewhere.
*There are plenty of established communities that are slightly adjacent to what we are doing, but few that are quite the same.