jeffOriginal article published on Points and Figures.

One of the things that I totally love about working with startups is that they enable everyone to achieve goals that they want in life. It’s one of the reasons that I loved trading too. It was me against the world. A microscopic Coaseian world. Everyone trying to maximize their utility in concert with everyone else. Self determination.

Great startups that I love enable people to have freedom to choose and to maximize themselves. It’s one of the reasons I am invested in a lot of the ones I am in.  Dabble is one of those that can take you to the next level.

Dabble is a three sided marketplace.

1.  For small and medium size businesses, it’s “Tom Sawyer” marketing. Instead of offering half off or reward points to entice people to come into your shop, people actually pay to listen to what you have for them. When they walk through your door, they are already engaged and interested. That helps small and medium size businesses create lifetime customers. Dabble stimulates an engaged relationship.

2.  For individuals, Dabble is a platform where their inner entrepreneur comes out. Anyone can teach a class in anything that they are passionate or know something about. They can do it on their terms-anytime of day. Right now, there are Dabble teachers earning a decent amount of money teaching on the platform.

If you think that advanced degree in literature turned out to be a waste of time, try distilling different parts of it into a Dabble class.

The other thing Dabble does for both the SMB, and for individual teachers is their social media. Follow them and see how they Tweet, Instagram, Facebook and email thousands of people. That can integrate with your existing marketing.

Dabble also has a feature where you can show your willingness to take a class. Suggest a class, and they will find a teacher. Last night, I checked and there were 448 people that wanted a class in welding. If you know how to weld, you could teach it could make some extra money. Suppose you hosted a class for the Dabble average of $60 and all 448 people took it over time. You’d clear over $20K! As much if not more than an Uber driver.

Cooking classes do really well on Dabble. I would love it if someone that was good a BBQ would teach classes on smoking meat. Or on how to make delicious soul food. Or how to do french bistro food.

Best part, no certification. The crowd certifies that you are a good teacher.

3.  For people that want to learn about something Dabble is awesome. We are always stretched for time. Who has the time to do a class that meets one or two times a week for a few months? Do I really want to invest in all the material that might be necessary?

For example, I really love to fly fish, but I suck at it. One of the reasons I suck at it is that I am really bad at tying fishing knots. I have tried and tried to watch videos on YouTube to learn. I have had salespeople at stores quick demo me knots, but it doesn’t stick. I really need an in person class for a couple of hours that is dedicated to teaching how to tie knots. I would pay $50 to take a class at a fly fishing shop to learn how to tie the appropriate knots. After the class, I am sure I’d buy a fistful of flies and other things that I needed to make sure I was doing it right in the river.

At that class, I’d get to meet people like me. People that I would have never met before that live in the same city as me. Maybe we would work through the shop and do some fly fishing trips together. You never know.

Dabble is launched in Chicago, Denver and St. Louis right now. There are other cities that have classes too, but the density is in the first three cities. All I know is you can’t be interesting without interests, and Dabble is great helping you cultivate your interests.

Dabble allows anyone to pursue their passion and make some money off of it. Sort of like the American Dream.


Jeffrey Carter is an angel investor and independent trader. He specializes in turning concepts into profits. In April of 2007, he co-founded Hyde Park Angels, one of the most active angel groups in the United States. He is a former member of the CME Board of Directors. Currently he is trying to raise a small VC fund, West Loop Ventures. You can see the companies he is invested in at that site.  He is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Business, and has an MBA from the University of Chicago, Booth Graduate School of Business.  Mr. Carter is a long suffering fan of Chicago pro sports teams.  He will attend White Sox games at United States Cellular Field if you have good seats and the first beer is on you.