Blurring Lines

Welcome back to Wisconsin! Ben McDougal was visiting UW Stevens Point to deliver You Don’t Need This Keynote at the 2024 Think Like an Entrepreneur event. As part of a wonderful whirlwind, he visited a local coworking and makerspace to record this special “In The Wild” episode.

Kevin Neuman leads the way as Assistant Dean within the Sentry School of Business and Economics at UW Stevens Point, while Christopher Klesmith is the Neighborhood Planner at the City of Stevens Point. Special thanks to Dr. Elizabeth Martin for coordinating such a unique collision between ecosystem allies!

Together, we discuss how placemaking connects with higher education and how entrepreneurial ecosystems can integrate students. We also celebrate agility within the future of work, ask what is school for, discuss collaboration between educational institutions, and close by solving the power paradox. EP54 is a timeless reminder for those who are blurring the lines between the classroom and community, which paints a reality that activates innovative ways for leaders to interface with the world.

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Professor X

Andre Wright is a genuine father, designer, visionary, activist, and community builder. He was inducted into the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame in 2021, with work featured at New York Fashion Week, and collaborations with Politico, NPR, Target, Atlantic Records, Warner Music Group, and Facebook.

Whether it’s Wright House, Humanize My Hoodie, or having dinner with Banksy, Andre has dedicated his life to the underrepresented. Listen as we jam on the hope for our youth, telling the story of a project to expand trust, and uniting a movement.

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Visualizing Variety

For people who play 80 hours instead of working 40, a diversified career portfolio often emerges.

A variety of activities and the contemporary energy of popcorning between them, helps vanguards stay ahead of the innovation curve. Diversification of work can also provide stability when the volume of different activities are strategically adjusted over time.

As we diversify career portfolios, balance, transparency, being realistic, patience, perpetual learning, and avoiding The Headline Trap is critical. These real skills fuel focused progress on multiple fronts and help reduce the risk of diluting yourself to mediocrity. If you’re stretched too thin, the value of diversification can devolve into fragmentation.

Extra Shot

It’s easy to discount our potential, but life is too short not to love what you do.

When change is constant, visualized assessment helps track how time is spent. Below is the evolution of my own career portfolio. People who see this often want to implement this method introduced in the Side Hustles chapter of YDNTB, so let’s jam on how to visualize your diversified career portfolio.

First, organize the things you spend time building. Assign a percentage of time spent on each activity, then plot the data into a pie chart. I use Apple Keynote to manage the pie chart and Adobe Photoshop for added flare, but any spreadsheet or slide deck software can visualize data in a similar way. Once created, save the pie chart as an image. You now have a conversation piece that showcases how you spend time. Update it as your career portfolio evolves or use this method as an annual exercise to stay balanced with your own personal bandwidth.

Popcorning

There’s an energy that comes from jumping between different initiates in a diversified career portfolio.

An ability to popcorn between progress is what makes a diversified career portfolio work. Over time, the mental and physical exhilaration strengthens an elastic-type of energy that builds focus, even when it’s applied on multiple fronts and in tiny time windows.

This ambitious movement fuels action within different slices of a diversified career portfolio and should be celebrated. For example, the impactful days where we hammer on one thing, ship progress; pop to the next thing, ship different progress; and then pop one or three more times to fuel momentum on even more! This type of work is exhausting, but the flow makes us feel tenacious. With practice, this multi-modal focus is refined, increasing the leverage to explore exponential activities.

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I have a fun new phygital item for sale.
Video – https://youtu.be/6toglC21dwI

They’ll say you gotta focus. Only chase one rabbit. Maybe. If financial stability relies on a single income or paid employees depend on you to lead, less diversification will help support stability.

That said, who knows a leader who only does one thing? Leaders are everywhere, doing everything! We are efficient humans with super computers all around us. Even when different ventures don’t seemingly relate, there is a shared thread that sews efficiency into the work. YOU!

For anyone with more to build, there’s no permission required to add creative slivers to the pie chart of how you spend time. Does it take an extra gear? Yes. Might it require practice to stay balanced? Yes. Will you have to play 80 hours in order to avoid working 40? Yes. It is absolutely possible for anyone in our connected era? Yes!

Cheers to this elastic-type of energy that comes from popcorning between various initiates within a balanced diversified career portfolio.

Playforce Principles

Introducing a modern equation:

C + I + R + V = future of work

The “future of work” is something many people throughout an entrepreneurial ecosystem think about, talk about, and work on together.

When everyone is trying to figure out the future of work, how have we arrived at this simple solution to such a complex, important, and constant debate?

It began with 20+ years of collaborating through connection. This experiential wisdom is wonderful, but thinking/writing/talking about education through the lens of entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, and innovation has embedded perpetual learnings from students, educators, employers, and community builders. Along the way, “Playforce” was coined to describe a workforce that thirsts for significance through work that feels like play. In fact, an optional multiplier in this C.I.R.V. equation is actually having fun through an intrinsic sense of play. The depth of each variable (curiosity, initiative, real skills, and vocational knowledge) is also key to equalizing this complex equation.

This long-term focus has provided clarity, but this C.I.R.V. equation was refined through an ambitious collection of professional podcast interviews. In just three months, we orchestrated, recorded, and produced 55 fascinating episodes of You Don’t Need This Podcast. You read that right my friends. 55 thoughtful episodes of YDNTP were created in only 3 months, with a new episode now queued up to be released every week into 2024! During this prolific sprint, leaders boldly shared timeless insight linked to all parts within the educational system and related influences from throughout an entrepreneurial ecosystem. These were not quick chats. These were rich conversations with each special guest totally plugged in, sitting directly across me in a downtown recording studio! Navigating this many peculiar interactions sealed in the required comprehension that connects through pertinent perspectives.

Forecasting the future is hard, but action guided by the modern principles expressed in this new C.I.R.V. equation helps us activate exponential value as we continue building the future of work.