"The very institutions whose charter is brokering social trust—banks and governments—have in many parts of the world spectacularly failed to do so." - Natalie Smolenski
I just finished reading The Starfish and the Spider. The book derives its name from the fact that Starfish are decentralized organisms, they have no central nervous system. If you were to cut a starfish in half, it would live on as two separate organisms. And that's what the book is all about - how decentralized structures are more resilient, flexible and powerful than centralized structures. This book helps put the events of the last decade into a broader context and defines the global movement we are witnessing and participating in.
As each day passes, our reality is becoming more like a sci-fi book, and less like non-fiction. The policies described in 1984 are debated in the halls of government, the tools from the original Star Trek are all around us, and the centralized institutions we understand to be staples of our society are fighting for survival as they are disrupted by decentralized organizations (examples include Uber, Wikipedia and PirateBay, to name a few).
Much of the talk about how financial institutions are being disrupted comes within the context of "Bitcoin." Yes, Bitcoin has proven to be a powerful global monetary force, but Bitcoin is just one of over 2000 digital currencies. Unfortunately, the current focus on Bitcoin revolves around its market valuation, not the infrastructure that makes it possible.
While it is exciting to watch Bitcoin's value rise, I am far more excited about the technology Bitcoin is built upon and its implications. I am talking about the blockchain (a.k.a distributed ledger technology). The blockchain is creating more resilient communities, a more secure digital life and expanding access to services of all stripes to anybody with an internet connection. This technological evolution we call "blockchain" is about social equity at its core.
1992 is to the internet as 2017 is to blockchain. But with the blockchain, we all have the opportunity to benefit from and participate in the global evolution towards disintermediation, decentralization, and equity (in all senses of the word). If you want to learn more, please check out the below links:
If you have any questions about the blockchain, please let me know. If you have friends, colleagues, parents or students who want to learn about the blockchain, let's organize a workshop. If you want to brainstorm potential crypto-investment opportunities, let's grab a drink. If you want to wax philosophic about the implications of the blockchain, let's get it on the calendar!
So to tie this all together... for Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, Solstice and all the other winter gift-giving holidays I am unintentionally leaving out, consider getting that special someone a blockchain wallet, some coins/tokens or this book. All these are foundational tools to help that special someone thrive in 2018 as our global economy and industry evolves onto the blockchain.
Have you read Thomas Friedman’s new book, Thank You For Being Late? It is all about how we can thrive in the age of acceleration; this period of time when change is gaining momentum at ever-increasing light-speed pace. This break-neck evolution of all systems -- globalization, technology, migration, etc. -- is the new normal.
If you think 2017 has been a crazy year, just wait for and see what’s around the corner in 2018. While I am not a futurist, I am an early adopter, and if 1% of the global economy and my intuition are right, we are in for an exciting transition that began in 2007, has been gaining momentum over the past 10 years and in the next decade will be reaching mass adoption.
I just realized that I am a millionaire.
No, I did not win the lottery, get drafted by a professional sports team or have a tremendous stock portfolio. As of yet, there has been no financial windfall for me in 2017. I am a millionaire in a resource that is far more indispensable - relational capital. My greatest source of wealth is you, the people I am connected to, my network.
After each workshop, intervention, and training I lead, I have participants fill out an evaluation. This is important to me since I work in a myriad of industries, with various sized groups, and with different problems to solve. Evaluating my performance and the impact of my work on my clients is vital. The more feedback I receive on what went well or what could use improvement supports me in enhancing my work with every client interaction. That being said, as I review my latest batch of evaluations and reflect on the many other sources of feedback from previous workshops, I have a clearer understanding of the many ways I can evaluate my impact.
“Job creation” is, once again, a major national talking point. The U.S. economy is strong, yet while unemployment is at a record low, poverty is at a record high. This is because many of the jobs that are available are low-paying, contract-based and/or routine-based (e.g. Lyft driver, cashier).
While our president boasts of bringing back jobs, there is a more sustainable way to support workers. Bringing back manufacturing jobs to the U.S. is not the solution. Those jobs are no longer relevant or reliable. Besides, workers in Taiwan, China and Vietnam, our current manufacturing workforce, will soon lose their jobs too, not to cheaper labor, but to robots.
Requests are powerful tools for making things happen, and we often avoid them in our hyper-individualistic culture. Yet, to expand our impact, we must enroll others. When we make effective requests, expectations get clarified, needs get met and thus the objective and relational aspects of our work are improved.
CNN reported that Hillary Clinton took 54% of Millennial voters and that 37% of Millennials voted for Donald Trump. In 2008, Barack Obama won 66% of the Millennial vote and in 2012, Barack Obama won 60% of the Millennial vote.
You’ll notice that Millennials were less liberal in 2016 than they were in 2012, and even less so than in 2008.
Are Millennials shedding their liberal values? Have Millennials given up on hope of positive change after eight years of Obama-filled with gridlock and some serious liberal letdowns?
To engage your stakeholders, you must first ignite their imaginations, which will increase their participation, which will foster their commitment to your shared work and the desired results. These three pillars of engagement are broad, so to help ground these concepts in practice, I am excited to share with you the following list of ways to ignite your stakeholders’ imaginations and get you moving down the road to meaningful engagement.
We are at a time when we face many challenges and stakeholders are increasingly polarized in their thoughts on how to solve the issues at hand. This makes engaging certain stakeholders even more difficult. This is why we need become more creative in how we engage each other - our colleagues and our peers across “the aisle.”
Generational stereotypes abound, leading us to believe Millennials are entitled, boomers are tech-phobic, and so on. Yet, these stereotypes, just like generalities about race or religion, limit our thinking. Whether conscious or unconscious, the biases that stereotypes perpetuate lie somewhere between inaccurate to extremely harmful
American culture supports & rewards the analytical left-brain thinking; yet it is in the right brain where the magic happens. We can logically think through problems with our left-brain, but how often do we become blocked or stuck on an issue? Or, how often do our solutions actually solve the problem as we intended without creating new problems?
It’s been said that creativity is the survival skill of the 21st century, -- creativity is the multiplier of intelligence and it sharpens our competitive edge. In this day and age, everyone must learn how to be a better problem solver. And this is vitally important because, after all, aren’t we all paid to solve problems?
Just as vital as clear goals are for teams to perform, are quality relationships between team members. People working together well need to respect one another, trust each other and feel seen by their colleagues. Recent studies have shown that the most effective teams exhibit the following behaviors:
Who is responsible for what? If a team member doesn’t perform, what happens? How do our distinct roles play together in pursuit of our shared goal? Who holds the authority here? If the Warriors didn’t know who to look to when calling the plays, why certain skilled players sat on the bench while others got to start and how they could leverage their individual skills, collectively, this season would have looked a a lot different.
Networking, that essential business skill, is undergoing a makeover.
Instead of corporate happy hours and awkward special events in hotel lobbies, workshops, co-working and collaborative events are bringing folks together, with creativity and casual fun along the way.