Going Where You’re Needed

There are a lot of things on my mind lately. Everything from working with immigrants to conquering my ADHD to getting the next phase of our homeschooling done. The immigrants we work with are migrant workers through a government agency, everyone else is a freelancer. My ADHD is an ongoing battle, and probably a fight that will never be done. Now, the next phase of our Knowledge Conduit department and helping homeschoolers, on the other hand, is something I can work with and make progress on. The other topics can wait for a different blog when I have more answers.

In the world of business you often get two lines of advice: Provide a service to others and have a niche audience. 

These two lines are not necessarily conflicting advice, but occasionally you get a few scenarios when it is. That is precisely where Insanitek is at, yet again, at this moment. The service in question is our teaching and training services. Our mission is to bring science literacy and training to everyone while providing science services. Key word: Everyone.

Trust me, we gave this a lot of thought. The geek goes deep with us, and this means we want to share our love of sciences with anyone and everyone that will listen. And even those that won’t.

This means that our niche is

  • Anyone that loves science and wants to apprentice in it
  • Kids and adults that want a little extra help in class — or a lot of help such as homeschoolers.
  • Clients that have us process their samples and do the science.

That’s pretty broad in terms of people. The theme? Like science and technology. Tolerate exceptional geekiness that may infect you with enthusiasm for the topics at hand.

When I first got started with Insanitek, this wasn’t good enough. 

The business “coach” I talked with and every one of those freebies you can download as an ethical bribe for getting on their email said I needed to refine that further. I needed to get more explicit about the people we wanted to work with. Somehow I needed to narrow it down and exclude people.

I found this difficult then, and I find it impossible now. My first, true love is science. Everyone deserves a chance to see my passion and understand how awesome it can be. (It is probably this enthusiasm that prodded the core of Insanitekians at the beginning to push me into the CEO position…)

How was I supposed to exclude people when my pure love of science doesn’t want me to?

At the time I was on my own, so I thought, “Who do I want to work with?” I remember some of my favourite students at the museums were secular homeschool students, so I started there. It wasn’t a thing against religious folks, per se, but I’m not comfortable teaching any religious twist to science. Religious twists should be taught by the church leaders and instructors, not an outsider. Least of all an atheist.

I stuck to my comfort zones then, but it it kept Insanitek (and myself) from growing.

For the last 3 years Insanitek has been growing in small ways by serving one secular homeschooling family and a handful of public school students that need a bit of a push. Now, in Insanitek’s 4th year I may have a chance to open up our services to more — it’s just that I have to drop a word and expand the audience.

By dropping the word secular, I can team up with Apprentice University to serve more people. To teach lab classes. To make a bigger impact. To spread the passion of being a geek. Yes, they serve a religious community of homeschoolers. These students are dedicated to their lives and futures. They choose to go to Apprentice because they want to, not because they have to. They choose to push themselves and hold themselves up to a higher standard.

I will not put religious tones in the debates, labs, or lectures. That’s not my job. I can open up the doors and world to science with them. I can help them explore objectively, grasp the cool part of science, and give them the space to apply their own religious twists to it as they wish.

The point of business is to serve people.

Any good business grows and adjusts to the needs of the market. Even a science business must grow and change as the market demands. I started Insanitek with things that I knew and was comfortable with at the time. As we perfect our offerings and refine things, I hope Insanitek grows. I hope we can meet our mission of science literacy and training to everyone.