Creating Social Value Blog / Food

You Can’t Eat Online

I’m asked a lot:  “When are you going to take what you do online?”

Photo Credit: Babson College

Photo Credit: Babson College

At Food Sol, everything we do is through relationships. We believe that creating inside of a community is more resource-efficient than flying solo, and that the most effective communities share a common spirit and desire to gather face-to-face.

That said, the logic of the question is valid:   theoretically, Food Sol could help more entrepreneurs more often if we facilitated an online conversation so that entrepreneurs could connect and share resources at their convenience.

But as Babson teaches in its Entrepreneurial Thought & Action, everything starts with desire.  Food Sol does not have desire to build and maintain an online forum – however, we know entrepreneurs who do and eagerly seek to understand what they offer so that we may refer entrepreneurs to them.

Food Sol is in the business of creating in-person contexts for eater-entrepreneurs to come together and support each other’s work.  Our Community Table and Quick Service Incubator are signature examples of this.  Even virtual office hours with Babson Entrepreneurs in Residence Andrew Zimmern and Gail Simmons are designed to include.  So while the value to the individual entrepreneur of 15 precious minutes of one-on-one consulting with Andrew or Gail is protected, others have the chance to listen in and absorb the learning too.

Most of what we do, we do in person – usually over our lunch.

Food is a natural and ancient medium for human connection. Technology is great for communication.  There is a vast chasm between the two.  (The concept of “technology” is often accompanied by a notion of “staying connected” – however, I would argue that as the number and sophistication of tools and apps and devices go up, our capacity to listen and share in the most human of ways is going down.)

Besides – you can’t eat online.   So many of us are eating alone, yet within food itself lies the opportunity to share resources and ideas and relationships and feedback – over bread – in the flesh.  Why do you think so many business leaders take each other out to lunch?  They know they will forge better outcomes if they do.  Just ask Babson Professor Lakshmi Balachandra who writes on the power of food in negotiation.

At Babson Food Days, you will find no WebEx, no livestream, no online chats.  Folks who wish to share what they are seeing and learning and tasting over social media are welcome to use the hashtag #babsonfood and collect conversation in that way.  But all content will be delivered in person.

So please come and sit down at our table.