"Second, I love using matchmaking to solve problems. It's the way I make my living. A person comes to me with a problem and, for a flat fee, I put them together with the person who can solve it. But I've been thinking for a long time about trying to use matchmaking to wider problems. The value of doing so was crystallised for me, a few months back.
"In November, I sent Seth Godin [author of must-read tech/business innovation books including Purple Cow], out on a date with someone I thought he'd love meeting. Seth's been an advocate for education reform for a long time and I was convinced he'd hit it off with one of the great polemicists on the topic, Alfie Kohn. He thought Alfie was wonderful - but Seth told me he doesn't like professional blind dates that don't have a specific agenda or goal attached. He meets plenty of new, interesting people at conferences, talks, and dinner parties. If he's going to carve out time to meet someone specific, he wants there to be a problem attached - something he can help the other person solve. God love him for that.
"It got me thinking. What would happen if I sent a bunch of influential, interesting people - all of whom want to solve the same problem - on an extended, group blind date? And what if I made the date long enough that they could go beyond talking about it and actually solve the problem together?
"Thus, the Meddle was born. A solid excuse for me to eavesdrop on great conversations - and a way to solve wider problems with matchmaking."
NB: Could you give us a bit more detail about what you mean by 'personal passion projects'? For example, that could be interpreted to mean non-commercial projects or purely ones for the betterment of others - but I'm guessing you have a broader definition.
TP: "In my mind, [it's] what people would most like to be doing. One of my favorite questions to ask people is: "What might I find you doing, say, on a Thursday afternoon at 2:30, if you had so much money, you didn't need to earn a living?"
"The answer to that question is almost always a description of the person's passion project - what they'd most like to be doing. People who are doing what they most love to be doing are really, really fun to be around. And [nothing is more gratifying than] helping people who are not doing that thing to actually do that thing.
NB: How did you choose the first group to come meddle?
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