Slight Adjustment, Huge Results

I'd been riding pretty hard.  100 miles in the past two weeks. And in between rides, I'd been feeling the burn. And then yesterday I blew out my back tire a couple miles from home.  Anytime I go from riding to walking that quickly, I feel like an infant, unsure of their next step and as though I am moving so slowly.  Instead of being home 10 minutes later, it was more like 45. My urge to get out and ride this morning was hundred by the blown out flat tire that awaited me. I walked my bike to Ride Brooklyn (best bike shop in the city IMHO) and asked an enthusiastic bike mechanic named Ricky to help me out.  He not only fixed my flat, but he tightened my breaks, cleaned the chain, and pointed out that I was severely underutilizing my bike because of one simple adjustment that he could make for me. He told me that my seat was way too low and that he wanted to raise it up and see if I could feel the different.

Now, he wasn't the first person this week that had mentioned it. My sister Katie, the bike pro in the family, pointed it out and said I should make the tweak.  So two people I knew knew their stuff both mentioned it, I was game to see what kind of adjustment should be made.

Six whole inches later, my bike seat looked awkwardly tall and almost dwarfed the height of the rest of my bike. I wasn't so sure that Ricky was overestimating how tall I actually am and that we'd need to scale back the adjustment once I hopped on.  And sure enough, it felt as awkward as it looked. I was hunched much further over to reach the handle bars and sitting on the bike in the shop, I felt like a giant riding a trike. But, Ricky told me to take it out on the road and give it a shot, if we needed to change it we could, but to take it for a spin and lean into the adjustment and see if it wasn't a welcome fix after the awkwardness subsided.

So I took it for a spin. I headed up the slope of Park Slope and realized I wasn't struggling near as much as I had been in previous rides. My legs were getting fully extended and I was using the whole rotation of the pedals to power up the hill. My posture was leaned forward and my core was much more engaged.  So I keep riding and before I knew it, I was 10 miles into my afternoon and barely breaking a sweat.

All because of one adjustment that aligned everything else.

It almost seemed to simple.

But there it was. As a result of a blowout requiring me to slow down in order to get back up to speed, I was back in action utilizing all of my potential with much more intention and far more impressive results.  I was aligned with natural ability and height and making my bike do the work for me instead of slouching in my seat and only getting 30% of the power that I could.

Sometimes it just takes a little time and some outside help to understand where you are, what you have, and the higher potential that you could be achieving if everything was aligned.

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We'll be talking about achieving that potential with all the resources, tools, and natural abilities you already have at this month's Exobase here in New York City. There are still seats available and I'd love to have you be a part of the experience.  (SIGN UP HERE)

 

Exobase - New York City

I will be leading the New York City Exobase June 14-15,2014. Sign Up HERE or read more below. ----

Exosphere, a learning and problem solving community founded in Chile in 2012 by a group of international entrepreneurs, is announcing today the launch of Exobase, an intensive two-day program led by the founding team of Exosphere.

Over the past two years, more than 100 entrepreneurs and life-long learners have taken part in the Exosphere community, primarily through its flagship program, the Exosphere Boot Camp, with the latest class currently underway at the Exosphere campus in Vina del Mar, Chile.  The Boot Camp has proven that many people share the founding team’s conviction that there are two fundamental pains in life that cause most everyday suffering: doing work that is out of alignment with our calling, and broken relationships with other people. With entrepreneurship, we can resolve the former, and in community, we can heal the latter.

Exosphere incubates people, not companies.  Over the past two years, Exosphere has thrown out the playbook on what education means and pioneered an accelerated system to unlearn the lies we’ve all been previously taught to tell ourselves and to bravely choose a road less traveled toward the life we are called to lead that brings our talent and passion to the world through creation, innovation, and business.

Exobase is the evolution of the principles and lessons learned by the founding team and our global community of members and advisors. These successes and failures have been distilled into two days of intense, focused learning. The Exobase experience is coming to a handful of cities across North and South America and Europe in 2014.

Exobase will introduce the experience of the entrepreneurial mindset, intentional community, and self-reliance, as it relates to life-long learning and personal growth. Participants in Exobase will gain new perspective on their current career trajectory, understand what skills and ideas will be most valuable for their future endeavors, and be exposed to the real-life  lessons from others who drew a line in the sand and took action on creating the life they wanted.

There are only 50 seats available for the New York City Exobase, so sign up now!

The Comfort Of Possibility

When I walked into the office on a Monday morning and looked at my funnel of future deals, I felt really good. Like "get another cup of coffee and chat about the weekend with the receptionist" good. I had over 50 open deals. 50! Far more open deals than anyone else in the office and I walked with corresponding swagger. Now, fast forward three weeks. I'd only closed two of those deals.   All of that possibility had only materialized into results twice.

That comfort and glut of potential had robbed me of the urgency of converting possibilities into results.

Turned out I'd believed my own hype and that blankie of possibility was robbing me blind.

So I got rid of 30 deals in three days. I asked the honest question: "Is this actually a deal, or does it just look like it could be at some point down the road?" I called and turned the screws on the prospects I thought were open deals and directly asked for the business. I applied enough pressure to learn if they were just being nice or actually seriously considering my proposal.

You know all of the possibilities that the world has presented to you? All of the things that lie ahead of you and all the amazing things that you believe you'll do with your life? Rubbish. You probably won't do them. You probably won't put in the work to close the deal. You probably won't lean into the pain long enough to break through. You might, but, let's be honest, you probably won't.  You're used to getting participation trophies for trying and that is how we've been trained to look at results. "We gave it our best shot."

There is a very real chance that this amazing feeling of having all that potential, all those possibilities ahead of you is the reward that will be enough for you.  That feeling is intoxicating and is so much easier than actually realizing your potential.

But a feeling is all it is.  And for some, that will be enough.

But, for others, that feeling will be demon they wrestle for years, for decades to come.

The demon that says, "you don't have what it takes to actually do those things, do you?"

The demon that says, "think about how much you'd have to give up to even try, just to TRY, when you know you'll probably fail!"

The demon that says, "your possibilities are your reward, those results are for people with more talent than you."

But those demons don't know how to deal with the soul willing to risk comfort for the chance at capturing potential.   While they may grow louder as you take that first step, they're quieted by the second. And silenced by the third.

It is only in action that our possibilities are worth acknowledging. It is only in daring that our potential has any worth.  And it is a choice that we must learn to make every single day.

So here's to you and to the possibilities that lie before you.

But most of all, here's those brave enough to see those possibilities become your reality.

A Fresh Start?

It is okay, you can say it, "I hate my job." It is okay, you should say it, "I know there is more that I can be doing with this life."

It is okay. We've all been there.

And you know what else is okay? Finding a place to ask the questions that come next and taking some time to explore all the possibilities for the adventure that awaits.

From asking the right questions, to thinking through the possibilities, to getting started on building the life and work that you're thrilled to be working towards, Exosphere's Spring Bootcamp might just be what the doctor ordered.

Starting in March and lasting for 12 weeks, this Bootcamp is a chance to take a step towards a much brighter future and much bigger story.  We've had a couple of last minute spots open up and, if you identify at all with the questions above, maybe you should take a look at what we're up to and apply to learn more.

Maybe?

If you have any questions, I'd love to help point you in the right direction. Just email me or leave a comment below.

Entrepreneur Bootcamp

A year ago, I wrote about Exosphere for the first time. We were just getting started recruiting team members, building out the scope of the idea, and finding a location to house our burgeoning entrepreneurial education community.  Since that time, we've taken over a palace in downtown Santiago, Chile, added team members from around the world, inked partnerships with other Latin American focused organizations, and co-hosted a conference for developers with Facebook and American Airlines. As we continue to build a community around the belief that education will be one of the most disrupted industries in the next decade, we are launching our first Entrepreneur Bootcamp beginning this fall.  (APPLY HERE) We will be bringing 30 aspiring entrepreneurs to Santiago (Why Chile?)  for a 3 month intensive program focusing on the skills critical to take an idea from the back of a napkin to a reality. I am incredibly proud of the mentors and workshop leaders that will be flying down to Chile throughout the fall to share their own experiences in design thinking, programming, and income generation.

Because this all inclusive program is intentionally capped at 30 participants, we know it will fill up quickly. If you've considered taking the leap into building something and diving into entrepreneurship, there are few places better than Exosphere to take those first steps. To read more about the Bootcamp and why spending three months in Chile this fall might be just the thing for you or someone you know, check out Exosphe.re or drop me a note and I'll be happy to tell you more about it.

Teaching at NYU

As big brands continue to seek out and partner with small start-ups, everyone gets excited about the possibilities. The fuel that a big brand can provide for proof of concept for the latest new start-up is unmatched. And the innovation that small start-ups can bring by being outside the red tape and bureaucracy of a big brand can be essential to moving at the pace of consumers. I could rant about this for days.

Which is why I am extremely excited to announce that NYU is going to let me. Starting this fall, I'll be teaching a course call "Big Brands, Small Start-Ups: Equal Partners?" and digging into the strategies and tactics that I've seen work and the ones that haven't. Drawing from the hand to hand combat that we did at Gowalla to land 67 brand partners in the last 18 months before our acquisition by Facebook, there were definitely some lessons learned. And hopefully, through out this course we'll be able to draw from some other great hustlers in my network to uncover their game plans as well. To find out more or, if you're feeling adventurous, enroll yourself, go HERE.

Now the only question is, can I find a pocket square to match my tweed jacket with elbow patches?

 

Entrepreneurial Education Community

If I were to go back to college today, knowing what I know now, how would I have wanted my upper level education experience to be different? What would I have majored in? These questions swirled around in my head and then made it to my notepad. And from my notepad, they've made it into conversations with others who I felt might consider them relevant or at least worth a hearty debate over a couple beers. Unfortunately, that is where a lot of those lines of questioning usually finish up: journaled, contemplated, and discussed, but not actionable. But this set of questions had legs. This set of questions was uniquely personal to just about everyone that I talked to. From those that graduated top of their class at an ivy league university to folks that never went to college but had early success in their endeavors, everyone weighed in on what they loved and what they'd do differently if they had it to do over again.

One of the people that I had this conversation with is my long time friend Skinner Layne. Skinner and I met 7 years ago shortly before he took his first company public and became the youngest board member of a publicly traded company in America. He had the foresight to sell high in early 2008 because he "had a hunch the rest of the year for US equities wasn't going to be that great." Doing what most folks say they'll do when they're young, he moved to Chile and has developed a pretty impressive network there as the "young successful American entrepreneur."

Skinner and my conversation about education earlier this year was particularly timely given the unrest within the Chilean education system last fall. It wasn't an Arab Spring but it was definitely in the vein of the 99% vs. the 1%. And while the Chilean government has taken some action to reduce the triggers that caused the uproar in the first place, the sentiment inspiring the students to action is ongoing. And it is not isolated to Chile, but bubbling up around the world. There is a problem that needs to be solved in the way that we prepare ourselves for what comes next after high school and I am proud to say that this rant has lead to an effort to provide a solution.

Exosphere is an entrepreneurial education community that Skinner has started in Chile (Why Chile?) as an alternative for some to attending a traditional university. The core of  Exosphere is founded on are answers that we consistently given the questions of how would you do your higher education experience differently:

Focused Learning: When we know how we will apply what we've learned, we not only learn more quickly, but we retain that knowledge much longer.

Intentional Mentorship: Having someone who is not only invested in your education for a semester or two but in your long term success makes a huge difference.

Physical Community: Even with all of the new opportunities to learn for free online from some of the top institutions in the world, nothing can replace the power of learning with other like minded individuals and the relationships that develop.

The Exosphere community will be made up of our Fellows and Candidates. The Fellows that have already signed on and that are being recruited are entrepreneurs, academics, and individuals passionate about creating solutions to problems, not just churning out products. The Exosphere Fellows will be coming from around the world to the campus in Chile to invest in the lives of the Candidates and take a vested role in co-curating their individualized education. The Candidates of Exosphere will be some of the brightest minds that already have an inclination to change the world. The expectation of any Candidate arriving at Exosphere will be to understand the problem that they are most passionate about solving and a resolve to learn anything and everything required to create that solution.

I have been asked to serve as the Founding Trustee for Exosphere and will be working with our donors and partners to tell this story. I will also be building relationships with others who believe, like we do, that the education problems that exist in the world can be solved if we're willing to ask some tougher questions and think out side the box. Exosphere has already developed some amazing relationships with high schools and trade schools around the world that may serve as feeder schools for Exosphere Candidates. I am truly excited for what Skinner and the team are building and consider it a privilege to be involved.

For more information please check out the Exosphere website: http://exosphe.re

And, because it is a question I am still obsessing over and would love your thoughts: What would you do differently if you went back to college today?