Saturday, July 14

ooh tents at basecamp - hello all!

Ahh, someone turned the light on at the end of the tunnel - thank you xxx
Well, not quite true - several people all put their lights on and made a lovely chain of lights to make a path for me to follow, but best of all it feels like we're holding hands along the path.  The easiest way to describe it you know when it goes dusk and you're not sure whether to put the garden lights on or not?  It's that half light where you can still see, but the details have all gone a little fuzzy round the edges but because you know where things are you don't actually see them anymore? That kind of describes where I am right now.  And because these people are such a diverse bunch all the lights are different shapes and colours and some twinkle. 
There is still a huge mountain to climb, but suddenly it feels like there are loads of little tents appearing at base camp.  And this time I need to explain the route a little better which I fully intend to.  These past couple of weeks have been a wake up call to me too in terms of needing to be much more open about shouting for help, and also being much more assertive in saying 'this is what needs to be done'.  Not in a horrible way, but I have such a clear long term vision for the Hippos and where we will be in five years that it would probably be helpful if I actually told a few people! The cat, whilst a very clever cat, is not in a position to tell you because lets face it you don't offer him tuna on a regular basis :)
Sadly for reasons of top secrecy I can't actually reveal the next stage of the cunning plan - itching to, but can't due to boring legal stuff that has to be sorted out first.  However, if all the phone calls necessary next week are helpful I should be able to tell you something rather fab, if not err umm ... quickly thinks of something that sounds interesting ...... will come back to you on that one!

Wednesday, July 11

Think I'm runnning out of puff

Apologies if this is a negative blog, it probably is but I feel slightly like I'm drowning a little.  The Hippo name is becoming quite well known in our little circle which is great, but we didn't really think through the business model in terms of a community business and I'm starting to struggle to hold all the strands together.  As a start up there are 500 things going on at once and all happening in my head alone which is confusing me let alone those around me!

For instance, if you sell with us why on earth should you then give your time and money to essentially help us have a living?  No-one in their right mind would do that, especially if ultimately it's what you want to be doing yourself.  You're stuck in a 9-5 while I appear to be swanning around meeting lovely new people and having cups of tea and biccies with groups that I find, and then I have the audacity to say please help me? Not on your nelly is the gut reaction - and think it would be mine too!!!
So, we are going to have to have a re-think about the structure of Little Hippo.  Because as a community worker at heart I think what's happened is I assume that everyone understands what a social enterprise is, but the reality of it is that most don't.  Why should they?  Again, it's like expecting me to understand quantum physics just cause you've mentioned it once - err nope, not happening.  Also, it's not clear what the sellers get out of it for themselves because at heart whether we like it or not we are selfish creatures.  That isn't a criticism - after all I'm selfish in that I want to work for myself, want to poodle around and meet lovely new people and play with glass.  However, the other thing that has come to light is the level of risk that each deem acceptable.  I didn't realise how much of a risk taker I actually am until seeing others more cautious approach and thinking come on, get on with it, make a decision!

So, Little Hippo is going to hole up for a while and do the usual divving around to try and explain the logic and actually put it down on paper for people to read, understand and then decided if they want to play or not.  It has been pointed out on more than one occasion that I can be a bugger for not giving you the whole picture but assuming you get it and then being confused that you don't!