Santa is Real

Humans tell stories.

Storytelling is the way we communicate and a key to humanity’s evolution. The stories we share come in all genres, but each one builds a different type of connection.

Stories often exist in the moment, but some are passed for generations. The most successful stories humans have ever told may be science, religion, mathematics, or money, but holidays may also land somewhere on this list of extraordinary, generational storytelling.

In the United States, 11 federal holidays are all observed in their own way, but Christmas (and comparable year-end celebrations around the world) creates a special atmosphere. In fact, the entire calendar and our fundamental sense of time seems to revolve around this cozy time of year. It’s when we pause to remember the year that was, and then look forward to what’s next. With such a shared inflection point, the year-end holiday season has created many recognizable symbols. Many holiday traditions revolve around religion, and just as many do not, but the legend of Santa seems synonymous with the holiday spirit. Whether you believe in Santa or not, it’s hard to argue with how well this jolly character embodies the essence of joy and generosity.

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Balancing this reflection made me feel like a scientist without a clear thesis, but watching our little one lean into the holiday spirit makes me grateful and full of pure wonder.

Our generational stories, decorations, music, events, letters, gifts, movies, and all that is the holiday season, can spark an undeniable truth. Great stories bring us together and if the result is anything close to the beautiful innocence of a child’s sparkle this time of year, I’m a believer and thankful that Santa is real.

Neon Future

I’ve always been fascinated by technology and how humanity interacts with what’s next.

Whether it’s artificial intelligence (AI), space travel, computer vision, machine learning, biotech, transformative energy, quantum computing, cerebral transcendence, or synthetic materials, math, or physics we have yet to discover, the deep future is one of my favorite day dreams. I don’t often get to talk with others about these questions we can not answer, but TV shows, movies, books, and music provide fun ways to personalize each paradox.

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Year Million, Cosmos, Altered Carbon, Foundation, and NOVA are a few TV shows that lean into what our neon future may look like. The Matrix, Ghost In the Shell, Finch, Transcendence, Dune, Ready Player Two, Interstellar, The Martian, Lucy, and Ex Machina are a few of my favorite sci-fi movies in this realm. I can’t say I’ve read many books that connect on this front, but when it comes to music, a lot of EDM feels futuristic. In fact, the inspiration for my title comes from Steve Aoki’s latest odyssey and I’ll close with lyrics to maintain this state of trance.

As I think about the future and what technology may allow humanity to achieve, my mind drifts through an eternal field of abundance. Our destiny will naturally change the future of work. My hope is that instead of stealing jobs, the heightened infrastructure will advance our kind and provide more humans the chance to scrutinize their own creativity. Instead of worrying about turning a knob all day, society can focus more on what the turning knob accomplishes.

It’s hard to reflect on such vast unknowns. It’s even harder to find closure. This doesn’t do the trick, but one interesting question that I’ve asked many people, is “does everyone have an entrepreneurial spirit?” I’ve been surprised with how many people say no, but one of my favorite responses included a thoughtful caveat. Perhaps everyone has a creative spirit, but those who are able/willing to tolerate risk, unlock the opportunity to decipher their entrepreneurial spirit.

That said, when it comes to this discourse, I’m interested less about business, and more about the enjoyment of deep thoughts, interesting conversation, and pure wonder.

There’s light years more to unpack here and this was never meant to be a scientific summary. Think of this flickering spark as more of an invitation to cut loose for the neon future is entirely unpredictable, expect for one thing: that before you know it, the neon future, will be the past. Stay wild my friends!

Life has limitless variety
But today, because of aging, it does not have limitless scope
In the neon future life will have opportunity to explore its limitless diversity
Life will have no boundaries

Generosity Builds Trust

The art of connection aged in a readiness to consistently Show Up and #GiveFirst, often leads the willing to endless opportunity. Let’s explore the why.

Long story short, generosity builds trust. Such benevolence also instills wonderment from others. When our practice includes perennial actions that accelerate others, the ability to deliver on a promise is proven. This earns credibility and allows curiosity to spark new ways to collaborate, which over time, equates to endless opportunity from/with/for people you trust.

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Delivering on a promise sounds heavy, but passing this test can be as simple as suggesting a strategic introduction and following through, arriving on time, or providing the product/service/value a paying customer expects.

At a community level, when more people assume positive intent, tribes are tightened and become able to support more people with bigger ideas. The vulnerability required may introduce new challenges, but the risk is worth the reward when we’re set free to collectively build at the speed of trust. This can be hard to understand for those who have been hardened by the competitive nature of capitalism, but for those who see through the lens of abundance, when more people find their own definition of success, it translates into fresh ways for everyone to thrive.

One & Only

The weight of one is heavy. Something so rare makes us feel like we only have one chance to get it right. If it’s inanimate, we never want it diminished. If it’s alive, we seek the futile tranquility of immortality.

These desires pressed against the tension of time can make the uniqueness of one feel overwhelming. This can devolve into a fear of change and selfish preservation, but perhaps there is freedom within the timeline of now.

Being present is hard when we’re always reflecting on the past and thinking about the future, but what choice do we have? Altering the past is not an option. All we have is now, and yet, the present never stops passing.

Within this endless transition, gratitude provides peace. It invites us to cherish our one and onlys in life. Such appreciation acknowledges the past, allows the present to be a gift, and instills hope for what’s next. For all that is one and only, I say thank you.

Bookmarks

Anticipation, fear, and excitement. These are healthy sensations that emerge as we create bookmarks in life by experiencing new things.

It’s easy to forgot for those who often look forward, but we are blessed by many renewing moments throughout life. The start of a new day, first dates, holidays, weddings, vacations, the arrival of a child, birthdays, the first day of school, a new job, the launch of your own company, and perhaps when you fully accept that we may only have one life to live.

This reflection on fresh beginnings and how we’re invited to create bookmarks in life spawned as I embark on my expanded role with Techstars. As a tech founder and entrepreneurial ecosystem builder, Techstars is an iconic organization I’ve always admired. They support entrepreneurs with education, resources, and mentoring that is exponentially compounded by a global network. What started as exploratory ecosystem building, quickly transcended into a more involved role with the Techstars Iowa Accelerator.

I’m grateful for this opportunity to be the entrepreneur in residence focused on ecosystem development. As you hear me often say, the energy of accelerating others is unmatched. Supporting more inspired founders while connecting a community of remarkable mentors is such a gift and yet another bookmark I’ll always appreciate.

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Visualizing your career portfolio as a dynamic pie chart is something I write about in YDNTB. Along with this healthy exercise to reflect on your own personal bandwidth, having this graphic on your phone adds a quick reference for introductory conversations as well. Here’s a peek at my current career portfolio.

As you marinate on your own state of now, be thankful for the bookmarks in life that you’ve established by exploring something new. Think about what you started and how’s it’s evolved. Remember everything can change so if it’s time to create a new bookmark in life, avoid the natural temptation to wait.

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Someday is dangerous. Today is all you have. Start.