Look up

I haven’t been here in awhile; in the physical and metaphorical sense. Not that I haven’t had the time to write, but I haven’t felt compelled to.

What’s compelling me now?

So many things to talk about. The one thing on my mind is really just appreciation. Taking the time to enjoy life for what it is, a chance, to experience everything the world, and for that matter the universe, has to offer. Take the time to look up, appreciate the stars, appreciate humanity, and most of all appreciate the people that love you.

Too often I take for granted the chance that I’ve been given to live and to love. Too often I keep my head down, focused and not often enough enjoying the journey; not focused so much on the destination.

Enjoy the journey, and remember to look up.

Balance

yinyang

For the longest time, I wore a yin yang necklace. After I had my surgery at 6 years old, it was given to me and I wore it for close to the next 6 years straight.

The symbol of the yin yang always stayed with me. I understood it as balance in the world. There is always light and dark, in almost everything we do, one cannot exist without the other. However, there is always a little bit of light in the darkness and vice versa.

I try to live by this tenant more and more every day; in work and in personal life. I can feel it, with an almost painful self-awareness when I am spending too much time being sucked into one or the other. It’s like when I put on the headphones and my favorite song comes on; whatever I am doing is the most important thing in the world at that very moment. Balance is important in every aspect of life.

Yin yang. We can not know what sadness is without happiness. We can not know what pain is without pleasure. We can not know what hate is without love.

Activating the #network

Techstars-logo

The power of networks is strong. I participated in a Startup Weekend event with a blockchain theme a little while ago. The week after, I was at the 10th annual Techstars FounderCon conference in Oakland, California.

Both of these events reminded me that the startup community and more specifically the Techstars network is alive, well and thriving.

Now is as good a time as any to be in the startup world. It’s not an easy road, and is an emotional rollercoaster to say the least.

However, seeing people come from all over the world (as far as South Africa) to pitch/participate in Startup Weekend and failed/successful company founders come together at FounderCon, is extremely motivating.

The power of technology

For the last week I’ve been on holiday in Peru. It is a beautiful country that has many natural landscapes, historic sites, and delightful food (Alpaca and ceviche being my favorites). 


I like to travel more as a local and stay in Airbnb’s rather than luxury hotels. It’s a great way to see the side of a place that people don’t traditionally see. By doing this, I saw the awesome power technology has to connect people. 

Uber, as much as I don’t agree with the ethics of the company, was a great way to see the city and speak with local taxi drivers that can recommend everything from restaurants and places to see. Other amazing apps for connecting, Google translate, Foursquare and TripAdvisor, each providing value in their own right. 

However, the civilization as a whole seems to have a ways to go in terms of infrastructure and technology. The economy seems to be for the most part based on tourism, which is great for travelers like me, but in my opinion needs to diversify more into the technology sector. 

As I visited many of the Inca ruins in and around Peru, it was amazing to see the achievements people were able to make without the mechanical tools of today. 
These archaeological sights get me thinking of what future generations are going to look back on and revel at our achievements. Obviously the building structures we create today are amazing, but I mainly see achievements in technology being the main generational accomplishments. The problem here being that people outside of the technology sector don’t get to see and appreciate everything that’s being built. I think this is a worthwhile problem to tackle so that future generations can understand all the work that it took to create great technology. 

Love people and use things because the opposite never works.

I just finished watching The Minimalists on Netflix. The movie struck a chord. I’ve been slowly getting rid of a lot of my things over the past year. Now I feel that I can put more purpose and deliberation behind that purge.

I enjoy having things, but realize that it’s not the things that I own that bring me happiness and peace of mind. It’s really the relationships that I make with people.

People over things.

Zero sum inbox

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I use the Inbox version of Gmail. And I’m a big fan. Seeing that partly cloudy Sun image bring a smile to my face.

When that Sun shows up, I know that I’ve hit zero emails. It forces me to either respond to emails or get them out of sight and move on to more high value work.

I’m a big proponent of forcing discipline on myself. It’s a motivating force to put myself into situations where I know I can be successful.

It’s a simple thing, but batching my email responses and keeping that zero inbox make me feel accomplished to a certain degree.

 

Neighborhoods

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I haven’t written about my dog yet and after watching “This is us” on NBC, I felt like it was a good time to start.

My dog’s name is Bella. She is a 1 year old pitbull, lab, terrier mix. I adopted her in July of 2016. She’s brought a lot of happiness, excitement and some stress.

But most of all, she’s allowed me to explore my neighborhood more. I’ve lived in  New York city for over 7 years now, and I’ve talked to more random people in the past 7 months with my dog, than I have in the previous 7 years.

When I walk her around the city, we see the same dog owners around walking their dogs too. It’s not something that I thought could be achieved in a city so big as Manhattan. When I started walking around, I began to stop and appreciate the little things, stop to just walk and not run in a New York minute.

Life can get very busy in a city so big, but when I break it down to little things, it doesn’t seem so big at all.