I’m Mike Sobol and I have a problem with authority. Or, more accurately, I have a problem with the way things are done. I simply can’t accept a solution as the solution. Once I figured that out, I became an entrepreneur.

For the past 20 years, I’ve helped launch or grow more than 11 organizations in nine different industries. Five times I started companies from scratch, including 2 startups and a nonprofit, and I’m a current or past advisor to more than a dozen startups.

This is the space I live in because, to me, it’s where the action is. To paraphrase Marcus Aurelius: The obstacle is the way. More often than not, we are our own obstacle– both as individuals, and as a species.

There is more we can do. Much more. I do not accept the future as given. The future is what we make it, starting today. Starting now.

People I work with tend to fall into one of two categories:

They are either building something new, like an early stage startup or a community project,


They are trying to do something new inside a larger organization, either as an official innovation team, or as a band of guerrilla fighters.

As different as they are, these two types of change makers always have one thing in common: no one has ever done exactly what they are trying to do. The answers are unclear. There is no map. No surefire plan for getting from here to there. But they’re sure as hell going to try because they have to– no one has solved the problem yet. The obstacle is just too big to ignore.

That’s what innovation is, after all:

Discovering important unmet needs and solving them better than available alternatives.

So, what obstacles are in your path? Should we talk?