Update: I was glad to be interviewed on this topic. See the Q&A

A beautiful friendship: Nirvan (left) with Caine

Have you heard of Dylan? How about Caine?

You will.

A persistent and creative 6-year-old, Dylan wrote a book called Chocolate Bar to raise money to help fight his buddy’s rare liver disease.

Amount raised: An astonishing $1.3 million, all of which goes directly to a research institution.

My first two thoughts:
1) What an amazing kid!
2) Who is his Nirvan?

Nirvan, as you may recall, is the film maker who walked into an auto parts shop in East Los Angeles to buy a door handle and met, before he even knew it, his next film project — an imaginative kid named Caine who had created his own magical arcade out of cardboard boxes. Nirvan made “Caine’s Arcade,” a short film that became an Internet sensation.

Yup, it went viral.

Caine, then 9, went from having no one visit his arcade to hundreds of arcade customers on weekends. Meanwhile, Nirvan Mullick has raised $235,000 for a college scholarship for Caine and launched a nonprofit foundation to foster kids’ imaginations around the globe.

To get heard, you need a Nirvan.

That is, a marketing champion — someone (or, better yet, a team!) passionate about your cause and willing to find allies everywhere.

As a producer named Ted Hope said at South by Southwest about radical collaboration:

“You have to find a way to conspire with people you have yet to meet.”

Here’s what I learned about Dylan’s team. His mom is a professional organizer and his dad has serious marketing chops — he works at Disney.

Who is your Nirvan? Are you your own Nirvan? (Sidenote: Nirvan says he’s his own Nirvan.)


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Kat Gordon

5 years ago

My Nirvan is Cindy Gallop. She has done more to spread the word about my passion project — The 3% Conference — than anyone else. I hope to pay it forward and become someone’s Nirvan in the future.

Roberta Guise

5 years ago

If you’re even remotely connected to advertising, going to Kat’s 3% Conference is must-do/must not miss. It’s about how to get more women creative directors at agencies, that now stand at a mere 3%. Let’s hope the conference needs to rebrand soon to higher and higher percentages!

Linda Tarr-Whelan is a Nirvan in her clarion call for a “30% solution” — 30% women on corporate boards and in leadership.

Sheryl Sandberg is a Nirvan for reclaiming the word “feminism” from the mucky depths of negative perceptions.

And my Thought-Leading Women Initiative is Nirvan to women who want to develop their voice, make a lot of noise with their ideas, and change the balance of influence.

A Kid, a Cardboard Arcade, and a Champion for a Cause – Why Everyone Needs a ‘Nirvan’ - Keeping it Human

4 years ago

[…] graduate of Dartmouth, Laurie lives in the Bay Area. Laurie wrote about Caine’s Arcade on her blog as […]

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