Francisco Noguera

3 Reasons Why “Unreasonable is the New Reasonable”

“The paradox of an instant, worldwide, connected marketplace for all goods and services: All that succeeds is the unreasonable.


The market now expects and demands an unreasonable effort and investment on your part. You don’t have to like it for it to be true.

In fact, unreasonable is the new reasonable.

* * *

Seth Godin wrote these lines less than a week ago. Immediately, I sent the link to my friends at the Unreasonable Institute, who are receiving applications for the second version of the program until the 15th of December.

Teju Ravilochan, one of the unreasonable co-founders, was kind enough to answer three questions that will hopefully convince you to put your hat in the ring and apply to be part of this incredible platform. Teju, remind us what is unique about the Unreasonable Institute? What’s its “secret sauce”?

Teju Ravilochan: The secret sauce of the Unreasonable Institute is no secret: it’s that all our Fellows and our mentors live together under one roof. This past year, 22 Fellows hailing from 6 continents and launching ventures in 15 different countries shared rooms, shared meals, and shared their lives for an entire 10 weeks. They called themselves a family within the first few days of the Unreasonable Institute beginning, forming relationships they believe will last them a lifetime. And Unreasonable Mentors join that family.

Unreasonable Fellows make omelets with Kamran Elahian, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist and founder of 10 companies, several of which were valued at more than $1 billion. Paul Polak, who has enabled over 19 million farmers to lift themselves out of poverty, drops by to host an impromptu workshop in the living room. Fellows sit by the fire, sipping hot tea on a rainy afternoon, and talk with David Bornstein, author of How to Change the World. They brush their teeth next to Gregory Miller, co-founder of They leave the Institute with deep human relationships that translate to impact.

One example of the power of those relationships: Of the 15 entrepreneurs seeking funding at the Unreasonable Institute this past summer, 9 received or were offered the funding they were seeking. And of those nine, 7 received funding from mentors at the Unreasonable Institute, built upon the relationships they formed with them while living under the same roof. What did you learn in the first version? Will anything change this time around?

Teju Ravilochan: We have just announced some changes to our model based on what we learned earlier this year. Here’s the short version:

  • We are launching an unprecedented new form of partnership, the Capital Partner, in which we are bringing globally recognized impact investment funds and foundations to the Institute to build relationships with the entrepreneurs.
  • We are shortening the length of the 2011 Institute to 6 weeks (down from 8) to assure entrepreneurs can more quickly return to their teams and customers. Because of this, entrepreneurs will be challenged to raise just $8,000 (down from $10,000) to attend the 2011 Institute

You can read more details on what’s new here. Who should apply? How can NextBillion readers get involved?

Teju Ravilochan: We are looking for entrepreneurs that are completely obsessed with meeting the social or environmental need they are addressing. We want to know that they wake up in the morning and go to bed at night thinking about the people they are working to serve. We want to know they have the grit to endure scathing skepticism and seemingly insurmountable obstacles to measurably improve the lives of at least one million people.

We want to know they are serious– that they have rallied the support of at least one full-time teammate, completed a prototype or at least begun a pilot, and ideally generated at least $1 in revenue from the sale of their product or service. Most importantly, we want to know that they will never stop.

We want to hear from NextBillion readers with referrals and applications! Surely most of the people who fit these criteria are the ones following the NextBillion conversation already.

Apply now!

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