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Influx interview- michael karnjanaprakorn- founder all day buffet

August 15, 2007

Michael Karnjanaprakorn is a planner at Trumpet in New Orleans and the founder of All Day Buffet, a new organization devoted to doing good and having a good time doing it.

I sent him a few questions to learn more about the initiative.

1. Quickly tell us about your background.

Went to UVA and VCU Adcenter. Short stint at Naked Communications in London and moved to New Orleans to work for Trumpet when they were looking for new talent post-Katrina. They started the job description with this Shackleton quote and received tons of resumes from the craziest people in the world. I was lucky enough to be one of them that they selected and the rest is history…

“Men (and women) wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.”

2. What is ADB and where did the idea come from?

The idea came after recognizing two forces that are currently affecting our world. The first thing is the rise of the Creative Class brought on by Web 2.0 tools such as Flickr and youtube. We noticed an explosion of creativity and an awareness of design, art, music and the DIY ethos that extended all the way from subcultural communities to the corporate boardroom. Couple that with the second thing – trends in culture to do good such as the rising popularity of the Fourth Sector, and brands such as Method and (red); it was obvious to combine the two forces to form All Day Buffet.

We noticed that even though people wanted to do good, the options to do something were very limiting. People are willing to subscribe to Good Magazine but may not necessarily want to spend their weekend planting trees. Up until now, there’s always been a separation between the things we like with the things that matter most. We want to break the conventions of doing good by infusing the somewhat prude non-profit/charity industry with the creativity and energy of the Creative Class. If we can make it easy and accessible to do good, as well as infusing creativity in everything we do, we can help raise awareness and inspire young people to take active steps to making change. All Day Buffet will be equal parts event filter, party planner, social network and think tank. Right now, we’ll have a monthly newsletter that will go over the most interesting articles from our blog, events that we screen for the month and our own events that we host. There’s a buffet of good options to choose from; our goal is to get you full on good.

3. What are you hoping to achieve?

To be honest, we have no idea. We just want to have fun while changing the world but we have plans to launch in every major city. Yeah, we know, Big Hairy and Audacious.

4. What’s an example of something that’s come out of it?

In two weeks, we’ll have our first launch event in NYC and NOLA called Cause for Drinks. It’ll be held on Wednesday, August 22 in Gallery Bar in NYC and LePhare in NOLA. $2 from every drink will go to buying school supplies for underprivileged kids in Ghana and NYC.

Our second event in October will be a “Doodle Party”. We’ll have a group of pre-selected artists seated in a room. We’ll invite people to inspire the artists and in turn, the artists will be doing timed drawings or “doodles” with prompts about relevant issues in New Orleans. We’ll be broadcasting live feeds from NYC to NOLA and vice versa. It’s both an interactive art and social event. A party with a purpose that gives people more than a hangover the next day.

We’re looking to auction off the pieces at an art gallery in NYC and NOLA and put a couple pieces up on ebay. The proceeds will go to an organization in New Orleans which will are still in the process of selecting.

We’ll always infuse creativity in everything we do, including donations. We want to focus our money where it can have the biggest impact. For example, we plan to make loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries through Kiva and fund ideas that other young social entrepreneurs might have. We’ll be able to see the direct impact of our donations, something we can’t get from donating to a big charity. We have a bunch of other projects in the works which involve hot air balloons, karaoke machines and clowns.

Just kidding. Well, kind of. But you’ll see more exciting things coming from us.

5. Who is involved?

We have an awesome team in NYC and NOLA. Scott Hechinger who is a former NYC Teaching Fellow, Adrian Lai who works at Honest, and myself have been working for the past 2 months in our free time to get ADB launched. We have support from a bunch of cool people like Victor Jefferys [LVHRD member, social butterfly], Risa Grais-Targow [Assistant Director for Bard Globalization and International Affairs program], Abby Goldberg [Communications and Development Coordinator for Global Justice Center], Tara Keheler and MacGregor Harp who works as our designers, Nikki Bagli who is our event planner, Robert LeBlanc who owns Republic and LePhare in New Orleans and Lauren Baum [Idea Village] and a ton of other people. Too many to name!

6. How can other people help?

“Now that we can do anything. What will we do?” – Bruce Mau

We’re just a collective group of likeminded people that’s trying to change the world. We can’t be the only ones. We know there are more people like us out there so help us spread the word. SIGN UP ON OUR WEBSITE at http://www.alldaybuffet.org. Tell all your friends. SIGN UP ON OUR WEBSITE. Help us make this grow organically. Email us if you want to help in anyway possible. Submit crazy ideas for social events. Charities we should help out. Clog our inboxes with ideas. We welcome it with open arms.

And, oh yeah, people can start by drinking Absolut New Orleans. It’s really tasty. I vouch. All the proceeds go to the Gulf area. Crazy awesome.

Posted by Ed Cotton

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