Yes, really. You’d be amazed at the enormous range of research topics on which our Clients consult with our Members. In fact, if you’re a Maven or a potential Maven, you might be surprised at just how interesting your knowledge is to other people- not to mention all of the different types of people who would find your insights valuable. If you’re doing research and having trouble finding someone who knows about the topic you’re researching, we invite you to try us. With Mavens in over 80 countries and from all walks of life, it is fairly certain that we can find the “right person” to help answer your questions.

 

Speaking of curious topics, last year we got involved in a chickens**t project. Well, not chickens**t exactly, but new, cleaner processes to convert it and other animal waste products into electricity. A while back, Maven was approached by a farm owner who was deeply interested in learning more about technologies used to convert his biomass waste into energy. Now, chickens**t is pretty nasty stuff- toxic to humans and unsuitable for fertilizer, it pollutes the groundwater, takes a long time to decompose, and smells REALLY bad (if you’ve ever driven past a chicken farm, you know what we mean…). Until recently it literally just piled up. As governments have become more aware of the growing need to dispose of farm wastes in an environmentally sustainable way, countries like Japan and Korea have led the charge to find alternative uses for this noxious material.

Unfortunately, the technologies being developed are still in their infancy and had not yet been commercialized in North America when the Client approached us. Esoteric? Indeed. Easy to find somebody in the United States to intelligently discuss the topic? Hardly. Actually, pretty much impossible.

At the time the Client submitted his request, Maven’s network was still fairly small, with Mavens in only about a dozen countries. However, the Maven network is very connected, and by leveraging our Members’ expertise and professional connections we are frequently able to get to the “right person” very quickly. When the client couldn’t find exactly what he was looking for on his own, he asked for Maven’s help. With just a bit of effort leveraging existing relationships, Maven was able to quickly engage a highly-regarded and very senior Japanese researcher at the forefront of developing farm-waste-to-energy technologies.

As you might imagine, the Client was quite pleased. Over the next several weeks he spent several hours conducting Telephone Consultations with the new Maven. This in turn led to a fairly lengthy consulting engagement, with Maven providing the legal, technical, and commercial infrastructure needed to enable the ongoing consulting relationship. The Client was exceedingly happy- through Maven he was able to quickly connect with somebody he had no luck finding on his own, and was provided a mechanism through which to engage the expert and compensate him for his time. The new Maven was also quite pleased- he earned thousands of dollars for discussing a topic he knew very well and forged an important new cross-border business relationship.

At Maven, we never know what our Clients will ask for next- some days require rolling up the sleeves and really getting into it (including the chickens**t). So if you’re on the fence about joining Maven because you think your knowledge is too mundane or obscure, consider the above example and remember- EVERYBODY knows something that others might find valuable.