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Posts tagged ‘people’

OurPangea As A Team

OurPangea is built by people. And transforming an idea into reality is a process, a fun one. What I’ve learned is that it’s a process best done by a team.

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Teams are interesting. Everyone brings their strengths, but also their weaknesses. It’s a matter of figuring out how to motivate everyone towards a single goal and helping each member apply themselves in that direction. Celebrate strengths and help with weaknesses.

Networking around Austin has opened my eyes to the wonderful diversity of people, but what strikes me most is that everyone has something that makes them happy. It’s incredible how diverse these things can be, and it makes me wonder how many people out there share the same interests with me? If only we had OurPangea to help.

While networking around Austin has opened my eyes to the granularity of people, the granularity of people has opened my eyes to the similarities. Austin is a weird place. So weird they probably take that as a compliment… There are so many people here, but at the root of everyone lies the same hopes and fears. It’s kind of wonderful.

At the root of OurPangea, we hope that each user finds a similar experience. That of difference and acceptance. When everyone is working towards the same goal, in this case representing culture we will have to accept the differences along with the similarities, both strengths and weaknesses.

Teams are interesting because of their diversity. United toward a single goal we learn from the strengths of others and hope to improve our weaknesses. It’s an interesting experience where we learn the value of others, but most importantly we learn how to value others.

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One Question That Will Prepare You To Change The World

looking head sea sun forward world change organe

‘How people have changed the world’ was the initial prompt I was working with for this article. It’s a fascinating topic and one that can be approached and expounded from almost any angle, but I realized what I was more interested in exploring – and hopefully what you’ll be more interested in reading – is the human desire to innovate. Why do people want to make an impact and what pushes some to extraordinary lengths to be impactful while others are content not doing so?

This not a new question and in fact it’s something that’s been explored philosophically, psychologically, and scientifically for decades. Referred to by many thought leaders including Dale Carnegie, Tony Robbins and Abraham Maslow, this exploration topic is intrinsically linked to core concepts behind Hierarchy of Needs, Six Universal Human Needs, and the philosophy of Self Significance. After doing some research I find I agree to a large extent that a large part of the underlying motivation to impact is based around selfish reasons of upping your own self significance (which, in the right hands, is definitely not a bad thing). There’s no question that everyone – even the most innovative and impactful thinkers throughout history like Newton, Galileo, Franklin, etc.—is aware and driven to an extent by what we think the outcome of our pursuits will do for our personal reputation and legacy.  That, after all, is a part of one of the most basic and powerful human desires of all: to belong.

But I think there’s much more to this than simply being self-fulfilling.  Being out to improve yourself can only take you so far. Once things stop going smoothly, you might realize that that initial selfish motivation isn’t enough to make you really care and bring you through the finish line. And when talking about making world-spanning change, not caring is not good.

I’m young and still have (hopefully) most of my life lessons to learn, but here’s my take: To really change the world, whether it be as an individual, a company, or whatever, you need to be driven not just by something that will preserve your legacy, not just by something you think will improve the world. Not even by something you think is critically important to the future of ‘us.’  You need to be driven by energy that cannot be contained short of a nuclear meltdown.  And there’s only one question you need to know if you’re ready or not.

Is this one of the most exciting things happening in the entire world? 

Don’t ask your parents that. Don’t ask your investors that.  Don’t even ask your business partners that. It matters exactly zero percent what they think because at the end of the day, they aren’t the ones pursuing the change you are.

The reason I think an unquenchable driving energy is more important than anything else is because to many world-changers, burnout is a constant.  Will doing something important get you feeling excited again? Does the legacy you would create by changing the world push you through frustration and exhaustion? I think not.

Truly answering ‘yes’ to the question this does a few things.

  1. Eliminates Alternatives. The possibility of quitting is negated because you know nothing will be more exciting.
  2. Makes the Journey the Destination. This makes your pursuit about the journey itself, not about where you end up with it. You are no longer as discouraged by denials and rejection. It’s not  a matter of making money or being recognized.  The energy and excitement you feel ultimately becomes a reward. Getting burnt out no longer seems as bad because you’re so jacked up about what you’re doing.
  3. Spreads Your Excitement. From personal experience I’ve started great professional relationships simply by exuding a lot of energy and passion.  You become someone people want to be around and hear from. Suddenly what you’re working on is never boring, no matter what.

Not thinking what you’re doing is the most exciting thing is not the end all be all, of course (although I think you’d be hard-pressed to find people out to change the world that are not excited about their work).  You’re still going to get burned out and still need to backtrack, sidestep and crawl over obstacles that get in your way. But being completely propelled by your excitement certainly helps and gives you a step up.  When it comes down to just you and that one other person who really really wants to get rich, you’ll come out ahead 9 times out of 10.

The Incredible Energy of Startup Cultures

Startup. It’s a word that has many different meanings to many different people. A word that is synonymous with other words like “entrepreneur”, “enterprising”, “co-working”, and “venture capital”, among others.

While all these other buzzwords are being thrown around, there’s one word interlaced among them all: energy. There is an energy surrounding those entrepreneurs, who share energy when they co-work with other entrepreneurs to create game-changing (yes, another buzzword) products and applications that will energize venture capital companies during a seed funding presentation.

That energy that encompasses these co-working spaces filled with entrepreneurs who put their entire lives on hold to create what they hope to be disruptive startup companies is the same energy that permeates out to the cities that play host to these entrepreneurs. We hear of the energy in Harvard dorm rooms, Silicon Valley, and new startup cultures in Austin and Seattle, along with international startup hubs like London and Tel Aviv.

But there’s one city experiencing it’s own startup revolution. One that doesn’t dominate the Mashable or TechCrunch airwaves.

detroit roadsign green startup label enter

That city is Detroit. The same city known for its innovation relating to the automobile industry at the turn of the 20th century is also one where that same blue-collar mentality is permeating itself in the downtown startup culture.

Detroit is not Silicon Valley, the “it” place built on the ever growing world of tech startups- some which produced an ungodly amount of success (re: Facebook, Google, Hewlett Packard, Twitter, etc) and many that failed miserably. Detroit is an old Midwestern city that since 1960 has lost more than half of its population (according to the 2010 US Census) but has experienced a revival of sorts, with businessmen looking to revive the local downtown scene by moving their business from the suburbs, and non-profits engaging in creative outreach to areas such as civil rights, the environment, and young professional engagement.

Take one startup in particular: CommunityNext. It’s an organization sponsored by a longstanding Detroit institution, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, and is designed as a way to keep young Jewish adults in Detroit.  While the young adult vibe is present in Royal Oak and Huntington Woods, among other metro Detroit enclaves, CommunityNext works with budding entrepreneurs to offer them subsidized housing in downtown Detroit IF their company/product is one that is a grassroots initiative promoting social change for the city of Detroit.

Think of what  a $500-$3,000 does for a budding entrepreneur. Think of what a housing subsidy does for someone who puts their life on hold to find a way to promote social innovation and change in the place that they grew up. Think of how that same housing subsidy could attract another socialpreneur, who might live in Silicon Valley, but desire to move to a place where he or she can have a greater hand in initiating social change.

This type of action creates that same community of energy present in Austin, Boston and Tel Aviv. However, the startup buzzword that epitomizes Detroit isn’t necessarily ‘growth’. It’s ‘revitalization’. Connecting the old and the new. Putting the “motor” back in “Motor City”.

The Individual’s Role Within The Community

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It all begins with an idea. An idea is the most precious, valuable, and influential possession anyone could have. Ideas build people, build groups, build communities, build worlds. Ideas turn small sparks into dazzling spectacles of light, drops of water into vast oceans of potential. Any one of us can tap into the amazing framework of imagination to create wonderful things. This is why it is so important for the world to come together and embrace each other – not only to celebrate the great differences of the people, but the great similarities we all possess.

Our ideas create communities within our minds, and those idea-communities bring into real value to the real-life communities we live in. It’s a constant cycle – ideas bring community, community brings ideas, which brings more community. A community could do nothing without the  people to set these ideas in motion. What community could exist without individuals to further their goals?

That is why the individual is so vital and important to establishing strong communities. Everyone, from leader to follower, brain and brawn, most important to least important – every individual plays a great part in each of their communities. They are the sum of their parts and so much more, yet could not function without the strength of great individuals to play their roles in each idea. A community could never succeed without them – without you. We all have our roles to play in the great idea that is the human equation, each of us just as important as the last. Together, we can create the greatest community of all.

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