Replicants

A friendly futurist and DAO developer within our web3dsm community shared this Ray Kurzweil interview that triggered my continued curiosity toward our neon future.

One tangent they take is interacting with replicants. There’s no single definition for what a replicant might be, but I imagine my replicant to be an artificially intelligent, bioengineered entity that has consciousness rooted in the human (or machine) it originated from. This humanoid would index everything I ever created, map the complexity of my network, understand the difference between internalized vs. externalized thoughts, have empathy for how I matured over time, and gain contextual insight from storytelling to form a foundational identity. This identity would support an operating system with core characteristics, essential rules, and different permission levels to guide autonomous growth.

With seemingly limitless advances in technology, interactions with different versions of our past and future self seem inevitable. We’re already speaking to holocaust surviving holograms, watching monkeys play video games with their brain, growing synthetic realities, and experimenting with nanorobotics. As the bandwidth of technology reaches escape velocity, what’s stopping us from pressing the record button to store every angle from every moment? At that speed, how can the linear evolution of humanity’s intelligence fuse with the exponential trajectory of machine learning? Even when it’s possible, do humans want to extend our lifespan?

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Days feel long, but years fly by.

There are more questions to ask and variables to consider, but as we think about futuristic interactions, how might we reconsider the way we spend our time? Would you live your life differently knowing future generations may interact with your own replicant? I have to think our thoughts and actions would be less careless with such a forward-focused mindset. It would also seem that staying in the moment would be more natural when every byte counts.

With a future that gives humans an opportunity to merge with machines, let’s avoid the numbness of endless distractions as we collectively consider ways to transcend time with purpose.

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“…if tomorrow I wake up and I’m sixty years old,I hope when I look in the mirror and ask have you lived,I look right back and say, “shiiit, you tell me!” -Machine Gun Kelly

Breakout Valuation

Breakout valuations are achieved when a business is valued based on how it makes people feel and its future potential, not just what it’s done in the past.

The nine components of a breakout valuation are confidence, vision, curiosity, people, communications, cash management, financial forecasting, capital strategy, and business design. Whether or not you sell your company, business owners who optimize in these areas, position themselves to capture a breakout valuation.

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This caffeinated contribution is a special adaptation from Breakout Valuation, which is the #1 New Release in Venture Capital and was written by my good friend, Patrick E. Donohue. Patrick is an entrepreneur, mentor, advisor, investor, valuation expert, and community builder who offers unique insights into the dynamics of money and business.

While you’re running a company, breakout valuations make everything easier. It attracts talented employees and quality customers. This expands your market position, makes financial capital less expensive, and invites vendors to extend better terms based on your surging trajectory.

Knowing what your ownership of the business is worth helps you make important financial decisions and becomes increasingly important as a business matures. If a business grows to the point where it becomes valuable to acquire, academic and finance professionals attempt to make valuation objective, but the complexity of each transaction makes valuation subjective in the end. Along with all the objective data, valuation is highly influenced by the environment, relationship, and personal views of the participants in a transaction. Knowing how investors and lenders use objective valuation tactics is crucial, but understanding the potential value of the business, articulating it to potential partners, and having them buy into the vision will arm you with an advantage to get what you want—a breakout valuation.

Breakout valuations are not aspirational. They emerge from what you are doing right now. It’s all about being clear with your mission and vision. It’s knowing your numbers and how everything comes together through a shared mindset, communication, and workflow. The pursuit toward a breakout valuation compounds, requiring attention today, and every day moving forward. This aggregates understanding and builds confidence. When the day comes to part with some or all of your business, the confidence from a breakout valuation will maximize the payout or deliver assurance in walking away from the deal.

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What are we doing today to support our goals for tomorrow?

Feng Shui

Welcoming the unpredictable forces of life, provides ease and creates space for energizing adaptation. Peace awaits those who appreciate all that is, without worrying so much about all that is not. That said, we know this doesn’t mean everything just falls into place. It takes initiative, consistency, awareness, and sacrifice to find your own version of equanimity.

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It’s not a rainy day. It’s free water.

As I felt the warm wind of this sunset cruise on a glass lake, Kid Cudi mentioned feng shui and got me thinking about this week’s writing. Similar to how one may setup the space of a home to harmonize with nature, we can connect elements of our own career portfolio to feel the universal benefits of feng shui.

The places you visit, the people you’re with, and the art you generously create all connect through you. Over a lifetime, you become an environment for others, and this becomes your legacy. If there’s passion, diversity, intellectual humility, and overall harmony within your environment, your impact on the universe can be serendipitous and my hope is that the way you spend your time, will add up in the end.

Tenured

Recognize, connect, and support those who consistently delight those they serve over a prolonged period of time. Rewarding such an initiative makes sense, but at what point does the comfort of a rewarded role devolve into a willingness to sail into the sunset?

When starters run into the aloof, misaligned energy can lead to a standoff. Time is the ultimate release, but what if progress is needed now? Every situation is different because of the complexity of an environment and the people/organizations involved, but here are tactics that seem to work no matter the circumstance.

The first uses social currency. It requires a change maker to set their ego aside, and instead, celebrate all that’s been achieved by the accomplished, yet tired gatekeeper. Use respect, kindness, and appreciation to form a bond. Relationships that feel less transactional often create leniency toward new ideas. When a crack in the wall of inactivity is created, be glue that maintains the integrity of the existing system. For example, “I’m too busy” is a common qualm, so lean into that pain by offering to execute on the idea that has sparked mutual interest. It’s important to be realistic in these moments, because when promises are made, credibility is on the line. As you not only light a path toward progress, but also champion change by evolving ideas into reality, trust is gained and your ability to continue making a ruckus increases. Want to extend your leash further? Take responsibility for failures, but give all the credit away when success is achieved.

If a larger organization is involved, another interesting tactic invites the tenured leader to level up the team by activating a colleague. This provides a new hire the chance to get involved within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, while the organization is seen as engaged within their community. It’s hard for some to understand that time spent in the wild is often more valuable than clocking time in the office, but if the organization allows this person to show up without limitation, everyone wins. The new community member feels the innovative energy and brings more intrapreneurial vibes into the organization, while the community benefits by having another trusted organization in the mix.

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“The way we make things better is by caring enough about those we serve to imagine the story that they need to hear.” -Seth Godin

If you’re reading this, you may be tenured, but it’s unlikely you’re tired. That said, we’ve all found ourselves in a motivational rut or lacking a clear sense of purpose. Along with a few solid sleeps, when I feel the urge to settle, it helps to have fun, build into other areas of your career portfolio, take a few days to rest if necessary, and then get back into the startup community. This creates opportunities to #GiveFirst, ask for help, or get extra curious about the creative work of others. Soon you’ll find new opportunities to collaborate.

New connections that emerge can bring you out of the motivational rut. They can boost your care meter and will add fresh personality to your work. Along with sparking fresh direction(s), you’ll be motivated by others and soon find new ways to be generous with your art. If you’re still thirsty for motivation after tapping into the entrepreneurial ecosystem, I’m here for you as well. Together, we can refuel the idea machine to avoid wasting any more time with being tenured, but tired. Sleep when you’re dead, my friends. Let’s keep building.

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“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” -Louis L’Amour

Ask For Help

I was raised to “go figure it out”.

This DIY mindset was reinforced through years of education and employment in traditional, corporate environments. If there was a problem that I didn’t have the answer to, I would naturally slide into problem solving mode to independently determine different ways to ensure progress. By and large, this mindset has served me well. It has taught me to be resilient in the face of challenges, even when it’s not the popular path forward. It’s left me with an open, achievement-oriented approach with less limitations, because I am a DIY business woman.

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This caffeinated contribution was written by Laurie Brown. I had the pleasure of collaborating with this operational savant through her work inside the Kauffman Foundation and with 1 Million Cups. Laurie is now helping fellow founders optimize their own business operations, so let me know if you’d like a warm introduction.

Lately, I’ve been re-thinking this approach. Perhaps my DIY mindset should include more asking for help?

Within a recent career transition, I’ve been exploring this new attitude through an experiment. On numerous occasions, I’ve encountered unknowns. In these moments of uncertainty, I’ve resisted my life-long instinct to figure out every answer on my own. Instead, I have started asking myself, who in my network might be able to help me learn?  As this experiment has unfolded, I have three key takeaways.

  1. Asking for help drives results. I can learn from others who have pioneered effective solutions, which saves me time (and pain) along the way.
  2. The collaboration from these exchanges go beyond the problem at hand. Many times it strengthens relationships, the fun of helping each other forms friendships, and mutual professional growth is a welcomed side effect.
  3. By leading the way to ask for help, I serve as a role model to my peers and open the door from them to ask me for help in return.

My DIY ways will continue to serve me well, but I’ve learned that an added dose of curiosity and willingness to listen can add fresh layers of potential. I’ll continue to carry forward my resilient, solution-driven approach, but plan to incorporate more inclusive problem solving and an “AFH attitude” within my engaged network. This will keep problems from staying problems, while also creating a new catalyst for prosperity.