Fabian Pfortmüller on How Sandbox Network Creates Sustainable Leadership

In Chapter 19 of 19 in his 2011 Capture Your Flag interview, Sandbox Network co-founder and entrepreneur Fabian Pfortmüller shares how Sandbox creates a sustainable leadership model by focusing on the platform and not on individuals.  Sandbox is an international under-30 young leader network.  By curating an environment of young professional leaders, the Sandbox can create a friend network whose bonds last and remain relevant as members enter their 30s, 40s, and 50s.  Pfortmüller is co-founder of Sandbox Network (www.sandbox-network.com).  He also co-founded an innovation think tank, Incubaker (www.incubaker.com), and is part of the group's first spin-off, Holstee (www.holstee.com), an apparel brand for people who would like to wear their passion.  Pfortmüller graduated from Columbia University and its School of General Studies. 


Erik Michielsen: How does the Sandbox network model make leadership development sustainable?

Fabian Pfortmüller: I believe that Sandbox and the model that we are leading with our members is a sustainable because we are trying to create a platform and we’re not focusing on the individual so we’re not just trying to teach individuals and try to grow individuals, we’re trying to provide a platform that grows individuals and I think that’s a big difference.

In terms of how it actually shapes out, for us the focus is on creating the environment where those people can really grow and if we do our job right we pick those people who are going to move and shake the world in their thirties, forties, fifties and what more sustainable thing than having those people meet really early and become friends, you know?

Because - yes, they’re leaving with thirty but their going to cut their friendships and they’re not going to leave all their experiences behind that’s only the beginning and obviously we don’t believe that our people are at the peak with thirty we believe that’s just where they really take off and so really focusing on a very early stage and then making sure that those people going to stay in contact and going to keep the relationship to us and to each other, that’s what we hope is going to have a sustainable impact because in the end you’re right, the impact is going to be when a Sandboxer who was part of our program twenty-five years ago meets when he is fifty another Sandboxer and starts something really, really big and have a he impact and one of them, I’m just making things up, leads a country, the other one leads a massive organization decide to work together and have a massive impact in that country, that’s the kinds of things that we really hope to achieve and at the same time we also hope to make it sustainable by plugging those people back into the younger generation.

In the end it’s also about giving back and from the very beginning making clear that what they receive is also to some extent what they should give back to the next generation of young kids who are going to come and want to drive and have the same ambition, the same curiosity and the same excitement that they did when they were twenty.