Since I was a boy, I’ve been tormented by questions like “what should I do with my life?” and “what is the meaning of it all?” Growing up in upper class suburbia in the 90’s, I felt like a widget going through an assembly line towards a vague finished product that could be characterized as “successful” with all the trappings of dominant western culture. I reluctantly aimed to study business because nothing else felt compelling enough to abandon the conveyor belt, or that doing so would somehow mean a lifetime of failure and shame for not living up to the models of those around my given community - family, friends, school, synagogue. I found the undergrad business school curriculum to be dreadfully boring, but again couldn’t bring myself to abandon the golden escalator to study something I was actually interested in like philosophy or anthropology. Fortunately unfortunately, entrepreneurship had seeped into my awareness, and enabled me to justify the business thing as something slightly different. Something creative! Impactful! Less formal. There was an expansive feeling. And an empowering feeling - since I knew that I enjoyed starting things and wasn’t half bad at it. And a relevance feeling - as when I graduated in 2012, “startups” had become this exciting space that I had a bit of a head start driving into. I spent my first few years after college working at early stage tech startups in operations roles. Hospitality, FinTech, logistics. New York, Southeast Asia, San Francisco. Each super relevant to my interests at the time. I learned a lot. And I constantly struggled with burnout, senior management, and alignment with the mission as the layers of the sausage were pulled back. After a few months I didn’t feel valued, safe, seen, motivated. While simultaneously expanding my horizons as an individual, learning about and caring more about self-care, ethics, culture. Only a matter of time before something led me out the door. Then came the Siempo years. After getting fired from a unicorn tech company for trying to make it a better place to work and a better corporate citizen, I vowed that I would never again work on something that wasn’t nourishing my soul and serving the whole. I wound up hacking on a wearable to help me balance my relationship with technology, that led me to hardware meetup where another founder and I pitched different products but with an conspicuously similar problem statement and vision. This led to a four year journey into purpose, self-discovery, leadership, community organizing, the birth of the humane tech space, a rollercoaster that matched HBO’s Silicon Valley. From the jungles of Peru to the offices of Sand Hill Road, and activist spaces of Oakland to eco-village in high desert of New Mexico. At some point, I legit thought I was tasked with saving the world. The opportunity made sense intellectually, and I would have numerous synchronistic and ineffable experiences that seemed to affirm this mandate. And so I heeded the advice of the thought leaders around me and tried to do all the self-work I could muster while still moving the mission forward. After all, wasn’t that living the mission? Isn’t that something that matters - that can be sniffed out by investors and customers alike? So I went deeper into meditation, yoga, acupuncture, nature connection. But it wasn’t enough just to create “mindful tech.” So I went deeper into energy healing, community living, plant medicine, transformational festivals, anti oppression, gender exploration, systems thinking, authentic relating, regenerative culture. Because I was saving the world, and so I wanted to make sure that all the right ingredients were in the mix, because I knew that whatever I created would be an expression of my values, fears, biases, traumas. And I wanted to serve as a model for Silicon Valley to create in a better way. What does society / life on earth invite of the next generation of founders? I’ve been living into this question for several years, stumbling and learning and celebrating and networking along the way. It seems like an important question to ask. I don’t portend to have the answers, but enough clues that excite me about explore the question further and with others. This course is a next step on that journey. In the process, I seek to embody the principles that will be espoused, to double down on the notion that how and why you do something is as important as what you do. In service of further shining light on personal blindspots and insecurities, so I can integrate lessons learned and offer a more holistic experience to you. Together we can reimagine entrepreneurship for these precedented times.
and, practically speaking:
- I seek to create value in the world that can sustain my lifestyle - through courses, coaching, consulting etc
- I see opportunity in the startup education landscape for an offering like this
- I want to lift up great people in my network
- I like creating maps and want to curate great resources, people, tools
- It feels like this is mine to do
- I want to further my own education! We teach what we need to learn..
- I have some experience in curriculum development (creating a training program for40 people in the early days of a now unicorn tech co)
- I'm not doing this to create the next big thing. It now feels like enough for me to impact just a few people.