Linchpin

We are often told being extraordinary makes us special. We each write our own story in life, but as Neil deGrasse Tyson suggests, perhaps the sameness of our cosmic composition is what makes each of us fundamentally special from start to finish? This eliminates the need for permission and invites us all to be remarkable.

Our connected era has evolved society away from the industrial age. The factory (existing organizations that have an established system in place) and replaceable cogs that follow instructions to keep the vast machine churning has faded in favor of those who unite tribes, are champions of change, and willing to make a ruckus. Back in 2010, Seth Godin gave those who choose to be indispensable a name: Linchpins.

Linchpins are artists who consciously care enough to go beyond mediocre. Linchpins solve interesting problems and make judgement calls without a map. They welcome weird. They are scientists who stay curious. They are generous and passionate about the art of connection. Through an inclusive, positive-sum lens, linchpins lead and let others lead without seeking credit. They are fearless, in that they are unafraid of things they don’t need to be afraid of. Linchpins leave resumes behind with work that transcends time as they build at speed of trust and relentlessly #givefirst, knowing that accelerating others generates unmatched energy.

The skills of a linchpin are hard to quantify with tradition metrics, but a willingness to bring your true genius to work is an open invitation for us all. Over time, the linchpin’s art often becomes meaningful to many, which makes work less about trading time for money. In this centered state of career nirvana, nobody can compete with being you. Cogs in a machine are replaceable and can therefore be paid less. When you are a linchpin, you have leverage and there is no option but to reward you for work that is a creative expression rooted in lasting purpose.

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“Leaders don’t get a map or a set of rules. Living life without a map requires a different attitude. It requires you to be a linchpin.” -Seth Godin

If indispensability is so accessible, why doesn’t everyone accept the invitation to be a linchpin?

One primal reason is the indoctrination of an education system that was designed to produce factory workers. From an early age, we are brainwashed to pursue perfection, to color in the lines, to follow instructions, to care what others think, and to define success by worldly consumption. Educational transformations are all around us and great teachers willing to be linchpins are activating students to go beyond the system. Instead of molding obedient factory workers who’s only hoping to be taken care of by factories built on promises of the past, we can teach people to take initiative. To invite doubt. To passionately explore one’s superpowers. To solve interesting problems while leading us with reverse charisma and confident humility.

Another reason why some stay complaisant, is the outdated promise of an American Dream. Gone are the days of clocking in on time and keeping your head down just long enough to climb a ladder built to resist change. The factory worker’s willingness to play it safe may extend a sense of temporary security, but this is a choice that makes you easy to replace with cheaper labor, faster tools, and advancing technology. Whether it’s fueling innovative action as an intrapreneur at an organization that prefers linchpins over factory workers, diversifying your career portfolio with an inventive side hustle, or building pain-killing projects as an entrepreneur, we may only live once and life is too short not to enjoy your work.

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What makes you indispensable?

Minting

I’ve been hinting about minting.

TL:DRI’ve minted a new NFT collection!

As a community builder and hybridized translator of technology, I’m proud to be surrounded by remarkable artists and nerds you need to know. As trailblazers continue to push boundaries, the decentralized, community-driven aspects of blockchain technologies has me in a curious state of pure wonder.

To test a blockchain technology, Nathan T. Wright and I teamed up to learn through action. We decided to explore non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”) by creating a new NFT collection called Roasted Reflections!

This caffeinated collaboration commemorates one year of YDNTB and is dedicated to connecting entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and community builders. Only 100 NFTs will be minted on OpenSea throughout the month of April. We’ve established two small, more exclusive categories of tokens that include bonus materials, VIP access, and tradable value. A third category has more NFTs minted as free airdrops for those who pickup the new YDNTB NFT Bundle to share.

This special NFT collection is now live, as the first NFT was minted on April 1st, 2022. This rare collectible comes with all sorts of perks and was appropriately titled, Hello World – #1, with a .412021 ETH price that pays homage to the 4/1/2021 publishing date for YDNTB. Two more tokens will be released into the RR collection each Wednesday until all 100 tokens have been minted!

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Did you catch the subtle hint for this emerging NFT project in Launch? This learning expedition was also the inspiration behind Perpetual.

What’s next? Watch your inbox for more details on this interactive NFT project, including a special invitation to a new Discord channel built for all of us to continue building together. My hope is that along with a fun way to collectively enjoy this digital treasure hunt, the Roasted Reflections NFT collection will be remembered as how my family and friends secured their very first NFT! In the meantime, here are a few of the lessons learned along the way.

– Humans enjoy collecting things together.
– Value is often based on supply, demand, and a sense of belonging.
– NFT minting creates a unique item connected to a smart contract.
– A smart contract for each NFT is then data stored on a blockchain.
– The first NFT was minted in 2014.
– Think less about how NFTs look or sound.
– NFTs represent ownership verified by data.
– These digital assets can also be used for various types of access.
– Categories in a collection provides scalability and diversifies value propositions.
– You need a digital wallet to receive, buy, or sell NFTs. (I use Coinbase)
OpenSea is the largest marketplace to learn, create, buy, and sell NFTs, but Coinbase NFT is coming soon.
– Floor price is the lowest priced NFT in a collection.
– Weekend minting is often less expensive.
– Computing power for the verification process creates a harmful environment impact that needs improvement.
– Successful NFT collections are community-driven.
– The most expensive NFT sold for $91.8M.
– Airdrop is a fancy term for giveaway.

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I can’t help but to think, perhaps the NES generation who grew up wasting all our allowance on sports cards as kids, was destined to bring this technology to life.

I thought NFTs were silly at first. Talking with others and thinking about smart contracts can transparently certify proof of ownership has made me think again.

In the future, perhaps NFTs (or similar blockchain technologies) will be applied to verify event tickets, legal documents, and personal property? What if a birth certificate came with it’s own NFT that had a smart contract secured to the same person’s death certificate? Weird stuff, eh! Tokenomics is still the wild west and NFTs are considered a speculative asset, but it’s fun exploring uncharted territory and it’ll be interesting to see if a community-driven NFT collection like Roasted Reflections allows more explorers to own a small piece of this new frontier.

Perpetual

It’s hard to stop anything that repeats so frequently it seems endless. There’s infinite ways perpetuity could be good or bad, but never ending happiness, trust, love, hard work, fun, generosity, action, wonder, and learning seem like safe bets.

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It’s not whether you know how, it’s whether you will.

Being inspired by so many remarkable people (like you), has instilled a lasting appreciation for consistency within the entrepreneurial lifestyle. Perpetual feels like a cousin to persistence, so without airdropping the final chapter, here’s a short excerpt from the closing moments of You Don’t Need This Book: Entrepreneurship in the Connected Era.

As entrepreneurs traverse through the unknown, setbacks are inevitable. Each conquered setback makes an entrepreneur more resilient. As resiliency bonds with experiential knowledge, focused determination makes setbacks less distracting. Eventually, setbacks become more like interesting challenges for problem-solving entrepreneurs. This hardened mindset welcomes endless suffering. Such willingness to suffer unlocks a key to entrepreneurship. Passion.

Passion fuels persistence, and persistence is a wild card. Passionate persistence combined with obsession, allows anyone to achieve entrepreneurial success.

You’ll build when others don’t. You’ll savor projects longer and you’ll fight through dips that made others quit. You’ll be comfortable with uncomfortable and you’ll enjoy making a ruckus every step of the way.

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Belief in one’s self is contagious.

Dark Matter

Something that looks like nothing can still create gravitational effects.

Invisible forces may not get as much attention as the shining stars of our evening sky, but they fill our universe and impact everything. This metaphorical dark matter may be a misguided mindset. Maybe it’s an experience that altered the trajectory of your life. Perhaps it’s a habit, a relationship, or a mysterious feeling you often sense, but don’t yet understand?

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“The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.” –@NeilTyson

No matter how your own dark matter manifests itself, the gravity it wields will attract the light of your life. As the renewing energies of Spring begin to bloom, we’re invited to look up and reflect on dark matter that may be pulling us in the wrong direction. Even the slightest reduction on a negative charge, creates a refreshing void that welcomes positive growth.

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Let’s stir in a friendly welcome and thanks again to all who tap into this weekly blog for entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, educators, students, and community builders! After the release of YDNTB in 2021, the soon-to-be minted NFT collection commemorating its one year anniversary, and now 67 consecutive weeks writing into these Roasted Reflections, my hope is that this innovative energy keeps us all creating art in ways that feel like play to you, but looks like work to others. Stay curious and keep building!

Launch

A successful launch rewards hard work.

No matter the audience or how heavy the news, introducing what’s next is your opportunity to spark energy. This milestone will soon be celebrated, but rocket ships do not launch without intention.

The excitement of sharing something you’re proud of can be intoxicating, but we can only be new once. Launching before you’re ready can lead to carnage. Limping into a launch without a connected cadence will also reduce excitement as attention becomes diluted.

Let’s first look at how to avoid launching before you’re ready. There’s value in shipping your art often, as this is the only way anything is set free to evolve toward product-market fit. This, however, does not give us permission to be careless. Research, internal planning, strategic development, thorough testing, and working with true fans is the easiest way to stress test whatever you’re building. When we normalize a nimble, but detailed-oriented approach, you’ll create confidence in what’s being launched while also allowing your art to connect within the market you seek to serve more often.

When the time is right, planning a strategic launch sequence can initiate a boost loud enough to create attention and also long enough to push through the thick atmosphere of endless distraction. Instead of a single celebration, think of your launch as a connected collection of memorable moments.

The most common misfire is overloading your audience too soon. This may be part of the strategy with a short launch sequence, but when a launch lingers, duplicative content will numb an audience before the intended culmination arrives. One tactic for staying patient is mapping the overall launch sequence. This helps sync development with the timing of communication. Such planning also provides internal clarity and connects valuable context to each transmission.

To map a launch sequence, start by creating intrigue with as little information as possible. Think of this subtle stage like a notice to save the date. Next, create excitement by leaning into the pain. Leak a little on why the audience should be excited for what’s to come. No need for too many details quite yet. Those will land next.

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Ready to own your first NFT? To celebrate one year of YDNTB, get your crytpo wallet (I like Coinbase Wallet) ready and stay tuned. We’re minting a special NFT project in April!

As the countdown ticks toward zero, fortify the team to determine how you can effectively respond to every type of inquiry during launch. With internal operations ready to rock, release one final burst of hype before delivering the payload on launch day. As thrusters fire and liftoff occurs, you’re now set free to release your art into the universe. Congratulations!

Within the early moments of flight, keep messaging sharp. Deliver on the promise, include singular calls to action, and track analytics to stay strategic.

A thoughtful launch can create a flurry, but attention is hard to earn and it’s gone before you know it. As the loudness of a launch begins to fade, hit the free prize inside button to activate a few more extraordinary insights built to fuel lasting momentum. Once in orbit, maintain a smooth onboarding process for late arrivals and enjoy the view knowing elevation makes us all feel successful.