Cher, Orange is the New Black, and What They Have in Common With Women in Tech

I’m going to fling three seemingly disparate ideas at you by way of this conclusion: women remain the very best influencers, window-openers, mentors, and launch platforms for other women’s genius and potential. And we should focus on THAT in the tech and capital investment world until we don’t have to worry about it anymore.

Here’s what Cher, Orange is the New Black, and Women in Tech Have in Common


Cher at 71 is THE Proof That Women Who Rock Clear the Path for Other Women

Maybe you caught 71 year-old Cher perform two full stage performance songs from her 5- decade career repertoire live on the Billboard Music Awards last Sunday. She was given the coveted ICON award that night. You should watch even if you’re not a Cher fan and you can do that here.  

The takeaway? She credited her success and staying power to luck, saying “luck has so much to do with her success…” and that she wasn’t really very special. Really.

Cher’s been humble, self-deprecating, authentic and bold her entire life, and relied on the open arms of many women in her life while doing the same for so many women herself. Bold, humble, willing to fail, chooses to surround herself with men AND women who live according to the “village” value system of lifting others up and be lifted up yourself.

Orange is the New Black 

Four of Orange is the New Black series actresses talked with Chris Hardwick yesterday on AMC about their success, what’s worked and why their amazing Netflix series has been such a popular culture fixture, why they as women seem to have created a kind of magic.

The takeaway in that conversation?

All four of the actresses (Taylor Schilling, Taryn Manning, Danielle Brooks, and Uzo Aduba) described the lack of ego and fear among the co-stars, and they all commented on the presence of sisterhood and mentorship they found with their mostly all-female directorial, production, and acting crew. They all credited that with their performances, the success of the show, the reason why people resonate with it. What’s going on here?

WomenInTech and the Under-valued X Value of Being Girls

So then Saturday this past weekend, I found myself with 15 female founder/CEOS, investors, venture consultants and two men (also a team member of one of the founders and a conscious leadership consultant) as part of the immersion education day for a new tech accelerator forging a new model called FourthWave.  FourthWave is creating a new model for how to grow highly successful best-of-class, inclusive tech companies. Full disclosure: I helped co-found this, but it doesn’t change the truth.

Throughout the day men AND women in the program and some I met meandering around the co-working space The Trade shared an overriding theme: FourthWave is SO different than any other start-up program they’d seen or heard about BECAUSE FourthWave put women founders on equal ground with EVERYONE in the tech world and the start-up scene, including investors. They said it was unique and would continue to resonate with male and female entrepreneurs BECAUSE their program and community reflected that they cared as much about the inner development of founders and co-creating and sharing their assets, knowledge, networks, and opinions as they did about the ROI potential of the people they helped.

Men don’t easily or historically share their networks of influence or their pipeline of $ lest that put them in a less competitive position. To be fair, this isn’t all men, but it is many, and certainly true in the tech capital and the start-up world as men have defined it.

The recipe you see, cooked by Cher, the actresses in Orange is the New Black, the founders of FourthWave and SO MANY OTHER MEN AND WOMEN building different models of power and success is simple: sharing power and co-creating while mentoring others in your path is a wave of not only the future, but a tsunami of extraordinary success that women as value creators seem to have an edge over riding, a edge over traditional, patriarchal power and capital structures and values. This wave isn’t a maverick, it’s the average wave to them.

This is an edge that apparently (by the value success of these women in our program and others) not only breeds better human outcomes, but breeds better bottom lines for all the assets and capital employed to accelerate their potential.

This is so not brain surgery. Bold, willing to fail, leans on her sisters and is a leaning post, keeps the “kill or be killed” out of their value bag, and is not afraid to share power, equity, or capital, OR what or who she knows. This is the fourth wave of feminism and we’re seeing proof everywhere of why it is so damn valuable.

Break It If You Have To (Or Why Value Creation Is the New, Better Craze)

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I’m a huge believer in learning rules to break them to proper and good ends.

This year has been a humdinger full of rule-breaking, an expansion year brimming with risk-based decisions and actions, for myself, my family, my community, and my nation; for the rest of us as a human race while we watch or participate in a massive shift of values and discernment over what we think, feel, what we care about, and why. This year is all about massive shift and transformation. 

Lots of risks have been taken. Lots of rules are being broken, and unfortunately with that massive shift they’re being broken by lots of people who we never expected to get into the game with so much power and so little good sense. Much of this rule-breaking is not panning out so well, or is it?

Maybe it’s opening the eyes, minds, and hearts of those who once were shaded from the truth of awful human behavior, obscured by their bubble worlds either by experience or circumstance. It’s painful, this reconciling of the potential nature of our fellow men and women. We have to look at ourselves, too, and that can suck the hardest.

In my opinion, all this painful shifting it’s the single best thing that could have happened to humanity.

We see now how ugly it can be, and finally the western nations, especially the U.S., have caught up with the rest of the world in knowing precisely how bad it can get.

What’s different now?

I think we have an opportunity to accelerate the shift underfoot – a shift away from blowing stuff up and fighting against tsunami tides that we ourselves created. I believe we can move toward a re-focus of what we’re learning so we can go about our rule and system-breaking work fueled by new “these are for everyone” basic values, which also are a bag of traits and capacities historically reserved for the most educated. But I think this year has shown us hateful, awful human behavior is not relegated to so-called “undereducated” people. Quite the opposite.

Bad behavior, closed mindedness, “my ism above everything” mindsets, hateful actions, and the list goes on–these are traits every one of us can possess. A white, middle-aged man revered by many recently said to me (and meant it) that women were truly screwing up the world for them and he didn’t understand why we were suddenly fighting against “men will be men” behavior? Couldn’t we get over it, he asked? What’s the big deal, he lamented.

I chalked that one up to a new theory I have about a new human bias at play: a bias being developed against bad human behavior, behavior many are no longer willing to tolerate.

I think we have to start valuing a new set of 22nd Century traits, traits that we haven’t been very good at valuing en mass before. Used by everyone, we’d surely “normalize’ the breaking and blowing up behaviors for the right reasons. These traits would change our laser focus. They are: 1) advanced mindfulness, 2) conscious leadership, 3) high-degrees of emotional intelligence and compassion, and 4) a #1 priority focus on what it means to be a value creator instead of a profiteer that eats everything in it’s wake.

These are not political traits, though politics tries to own them. These are not attributes that only educated, wealthy, or “privileged” people are capable of developing or expressing. And these are not capabilities that have to wait to be inside a mature adult before being cultivated.

22nd Century human traits such as these should be the average we seek to imbue in every person from birth. We should start here, and see where it takes us. 

For those of us who like to take good risks and break the right rules that also benefits others in equal measure and that don’t foul the planet, alienate others, or generally create chaos in pursuit of control over (insert anything here)? Well, we can commiserate around the “I told you so” water cooler, OR we can double down on our disruptions and innovation thinking and doing and make sure that we don’t point our lasers or swords in ways that perpetuates bad modeling for others or becomes ingrained in the new systems we’re engineering to replace the one’s we broke.

To Break Or Not Break

We can get smarter about what we risk, what rules we break or fight to keep from breaking by others, and that starts with a different mindset about breaking stuff to begin with.

That there are “Trumpesque” boulders in the road should not concern us rule breakers or warriors. We’re fighters and we’re resilient: we can take the punch. But there’s something going on behind the scenes of all this volatility, uncertainty, lack of control, fear, and shifting afoot that I worry the mass of humanity may be missing. And that something has to do with how we’re valuing making sure human beings are value creators from the gate.

How are we imbuing values in every layer of human existence that favor building over breaking, place collaboration over control, and equity over competition without throwing out capitalistic pursuits or any other kind of economic system that is of value to you, me, us? And are we allowing these values to be defined by special interests when they are really shared by us all whether or not we express them yet ourselves?

I think we’re in the age of “WTF were we thinking” and “something’s gotta give” retrospective, and that means the whole of us on the planet are figuring out who we really are. Are we warriors, builders, rule breakers, imagineers, engineers, discoverers, make-stuff-work and go people, teachers, artisans: really who are we now that we know what we know?

Not everything has to be blown up and not everyone has to be fought against on the road to where we’re headed.

Break it if it won’t yield, but we all better be prepared to engineer the better replacement, and that my friends is all about who we are to each other and HOW we are with each other. Are we value creators or are we fighting for the sake of the fight, breaking stuff because we’re addicted to it, and trying to own everything because that’s they way our fathers did it?

So I say…

Break it if you have to, if it’s the last resort. Fight against it if you know it’s wrong. But take your humanity with you when you do, and try to become the most consciously awake human while you’re doing it so you can hurt fewer, help more, be of greater meaning to yourself and others. Leave a wake that you know will flow with other wakes in a way the planet will appreciate, in a manner kids today will look back on in the future and smile with pride and admiration.

This year for me has underscored why it’s necessary to develop and hone 22nd Century skills that include disruptive, strategic thinking and highly evolved behavioral and communication traits. You can’t fight well or break stuff to good to ends without them in this day and age. But what this year has really shown me is that we as human beings are capable of a kind of change that some still seem not to be ready to make.

Maybe we should spend more time on helping those folks make that fast corner turn and extend a soft landing when they do?

Be a value creator with a high value for equity at your back, and take excellence, innovation, and possibility with you as your new weapons. That way, when you re-build it or create it, and you will, somebody else won’t have to break it in the future. They’ll just keep making it better for all of us.

Against Our Self Interest

I call it the short disease: short term investment return thinking; short-sighted views about the relationship between EQ (emotional intelligence) and mindfulness; short-sighted assumptions about employee consciousness and their performance; short attention spans for the link between conscious leadership and overall stock performance–all short-shrifting somebody in the business transaction equation because of it. 

The short disease is lazy, but also curable.

It makes me crazy when I see leaders sacrificing quality of human outcomes along their value chain for pure short-term profits when they don’t have to, or building primarily white and male companies and cultures that reflect that when it’s against their own self interest. It makes me crazier still when leaders fundamentally short everyone in their value chain, investors and customers equally by ignoring the fundamental facts for what makes great companies last and what returns the highest profits. 

Why not build companies that have great profits and do amazing things for the human race AND be good to the planet and grow great people while maximizing profit? 

These are attributes of leadership that can be learned.

70% of the world’s future GDP and investor returns (and then some) require these values and skills to be passed on to the majority of people on the planet in very short order or we’ll be in serious straits: passed on to girls, women, people of color, people living in third world conditions, everyone who gets profit plus good is fundamentally a better goal than profit alone. 

So each time we build a tech fund or program that tries to grow a new innovation, or design a school, or create a capital or finance rule and we build it with short disease as the foundation, we screw ourselves out of the future and the present. 

This seems self defeating to me. Doesn’t it to you? 

In Your Shoes: The US’ Way Forward

I’m back, mojo in tact. How about you? Had a power revelation to share after 48 hours of feeling like a hostage in my own country and skin, with shades of fear connected to victimhood swimming at the edges of every emotion like a shark. But I woke up this morning, the shark was gone, my skin was my own, and I can see how today is a brand new day.

Here’s where it all took me, by way of offering you a new open window of possibility to consider:

I guess us lucky people here in the US we should probably apologize to the rest of the world. For our coming late to the game in what real fear looks like. So on behalf of my countrymen and women, world? I’m sorry. Our fear is real, but we are relatively young and on our way to learning an important lesson.

I am sorry to you who more often than not live every day in fear of having new walls built, your basic rights taken away, and being authentically questioned and rejected outright for your opinions, sexuality, nationality, political or religious views, or for simply being a migrant forced from your own homeland in order to survive, because of the terror we can’t seem to quit collectively.

I now realize that people in the United States, no matter their political feelings, are socially, economically, and politically naïve as a populace compared to the freedom struggles and nation state atrocities that you must endure daily. We have been taking too many things for granted for too long and we failed to truly evolve internally as people to match the bravado of our democracy and its every opportunity.

It’s time we took our wake up call medicine, US, like the kind the rest of the world swallows on a daily basis – in Mexico or the Middle East or China and Africa – let this be the catalyst to a new understanding, to fuel a new compassion that should be our tools to a completely new outcome for ourselves, an outcome of understanding and coming together that could have the force of accelerating how quickly the world might find peace.

For if we don’t do it ourselves here in the US, and we can’t walk our own talk, what hope do we possibly have of changing minds and hearts beyond our borders?

I’m a bit embarrassed by the fact that it’s only now that truth is truly settling in myself. And how uncertain was my resolve that I am not a victim, that no matter who the President is, I am still me and I have the Constitution and my state’s rules of law on my side. The protestors have given me pause to remember that voice is alive and well, and we have recall and recourse tools at our disposal. And I am a warrior, always have been.

Perhaps all of this Trump experience is exactly what we freedom-lovers are supposed to have, and it could very well have an effect of moving people forward in the long run, of accelerating a conversation about healing, compassion and understanding about the current state of Democracy here and around the world. If we choose that to be the truth.

How arrogant and somewhat selfish of us to think that we were mature and seasoned to what true democracy really means? I am imagining the balance of the world – you friends beyond our borders – are wondering what in the world is wrong with us right now. I know you have come to this same place long ago.

In the end, we’re just human beings sitting on a great big blue marble in the sky, asking our brothers and sisters to love us and themselves. Perhaps that starts by a calibration of our own self love, a love that begins with respecting the experiences and fears of others because when we do, we give equal meaning to both, and that is where real progress lives.

I have a deeper appreciation for not only other people’s pain, but the truth of my own.

It is very different to stand in a place that is exactly like your neighbors. And humbling to discover that in this country we still have significant rights and privileges that most in the world do not, and that includes choosing not to be a victim to one person, which means we have the privilege to change the course.

Nobody ever said growing up would be painless. But that’s the bargain of being human and living in a world where personal freedoms and the potential to be something greater than ourselves is not just a fancy thing we put on Memes and share on social networks:

These are our inalienable human rights. It’s time this country took that yoke of responsibility seriously.

I’m in. You?

Trumpism: On Fear and Letting Go

11 days until the election the red headline screamed from the television screen, like a threat. Trump’s hate-filled, fear-mongering voice hit my brain this morning like well-aimed buck shot. I’d awoken late — 11:30 — my attention instantly pulled to the MSNBC headline, “Trump in Colorado.” Damn. I’d slept through the morning, and stayed up late tinkering with start-upey things per normal.

Trump was proclaiming one of the bravest and most capable women in the world to be a criminal, and my country and democracy that I love and value to be nothing more than a failed experiment of treachery defined by fear. F$@! me, I said aloud, to the dogs, to the universe, to myself. Another day of verbal assaults. Happy Saturday.

I was instantly angered by the bitter sound of his vile vitriol in my ears.

That it was to be the first feeling, the first thought of the first few moments of my precious Saturday morning otherwise shaded by the dawning cheeks of Fall and a light rain falling outside my window was salt to the injury. Then resentment settled in at how this man and the people who follow him seem to be controlling the quality of my life.

I know rationally a void was left in their wake, a void that progress created when it left them behind without a transition plan or a hug. They are afraid, afraid of letting go, of what may come when they do. I know this is what history asks us to endure to get to the next, better phase of human experience. But, it doesn’t make living through their assaults any easier.

I shook the nettles of irritation from my mind and ambled to the kitchen, where my husband had made bacon. Bacon makes everything better. We hugged silently at the kitchen sink, peering beyond the window at the rain-soaked yard behind our cozy home. Hope began to creep back into my bones, as I leaned against his always-strong back, waiting for Pete’s French Roast to brew. I suddenly remembered how fortunate I was, how much positive there was in the world, and Trump’s words began to fade.

Abraham Lincoln (HBO)

Like in a dream of happy we found ourselves strewn across our red couch in front of the big screen to watch last weekend’s CBS This Morning as we always do over breakfast, when instead we found a documentary on HBO we had not seen, Living With Lincoln by filmmaker Peter Kunhardt.

Peter is both the grandson of Dorothy Kunhardt, the world famous children’s author and the great-grandson of Frederick Hill Meserve, who began a life-long obsession of curating Abraham Lincoln’s life after meeting him on a battlefield. Meserve first met Lincoln in the Revolutionary War, a moment captured in one of the very first photographs ever taken. I began to weep just ten minutes into the film, then steadily did until the end of the film 80 minutes later.

Here’s why. (Watch the HBO clip of Living With Lincoln.)

This film is everything that Trump is not, a reminder that triumph lives on the other side of fear.

Trump’s brand of Hitleresque psychology catalyzing the end of one kind of politics stands in stark compliment to images of bleeding children emerging from the rubble of terror on the other. These are the words and images that occupy my mind. Yet, Living With Lincoln reminds us of another possibility for democracy and human decency, a story that is of course about Abraham Lincoln, and how five generations of a family amassed and documented the single largest collection of artifacts of Lincoln’s life. But, really it is about how Lincoln’s life is the backdrop to all our stories of triumph over fear. It’s also a story about letting go of fear and that we have an obligation to each other to help the next generation learn how to let go.

If you listen closely, you’ll also hear the story of Dorothy Kunhardt, who I shall forever see as the character study of every woman. 2016 will be remembered as the Year of the Woman, the year when we moved from a patriarchal culture marred by fear, control and hatred, to a world carved out of courage, collaboration and hope. Dorothy’s life story was like a mirror of my own.

Living With Lincoln reminded me that women uniquely have the capacity to propagate hope even when we’re afraid, because as opposed to men who when abandoned respond by lashing out at those who create their fear, women take a different tack. We’ve been surviving what it means to be abandoned, disappointed, and abused by a world that has always wanted to control us all of our lives. We forgive, we endure, we aspire because we don’t want our lives to be defined by fear.

Women aspire to something else. Fear is our fuel to overcome not fight. When we move past it, as we must do, it is often seen as graceful, as if we have a special grace that gives us the ability to easily dispense with fear, when point of fact, it takes great strength and a steel spine to let go of fear and be open to what may come next.

You should experience this film not because it is a remark on how families pass on the worst of themselves generation to generation, but on how humanity can pass along the best of ourselves to each other by confronting the truth of who we are, and by letting go of the past that would define us, by courageously letting go of what we fear the most; losing control and being left alone.

Abraham Lincoln’s entire existence was about making sure no one was left behind, unequal, or alone. His was a life filled with loss, sickness, hardship and disappointment, and yet he was among the few people in our human history who pushed past the fear to find compassion and hope in its place, and he used both as tools to chart a different course not just for Americans, but for the whole of the human race.

It occurred to me this morning as I listened to Dorothy’s voice tell her own tale that I feel sick and afraid. I am afraid of what a Trump-like existence would mean because he represents my freedoms being threatened. This same fear is expressed in the pained eyes of Trump’s victims of verbal and sexual abuse, and in the eyes of children we see daily crossing borders without their families, and in the faces of the unabashed and unapologetic mostly white males, faces filled with fear and rage for women, for people of color, and for anyone of different religions who dare to suggest a different path, to whom they place the blame for threatening to take away their jobs, their sense of control over their own lives, a way of life they believe is their’s and their’s alone.

That they have lost something they perceive to be their’s and seek to blame the closest, obvious source for this loss is human nature. No one wants to let go gracefully.

Perhaps Trumpism will be the condition that history will define as what happens when men have to let go of their control over others, as the condition just before one looks past their fear, the moment before we find the better angels of our nature. Perhaps the fearful eyes of Trumpists will be remembered as what it looked like to rail against the changing times that asked them to let loose their grip on unworkable institutions, just as Lincoln did.

Trump may well become one of the great teachers of history: what it looks like when we allow fear to overtake us. We lose sight of our humanity, we forget who we are, and we start fighting against a mythical enemy, when really that enemy is us. It is our warning signal to act with compassion.

Trump is definitely not about ideals of goodness, and his very existence is an insult to reasonable people. But he is also a teachable moment for humanity to remember that we share a fear of letting go, and in that we ought to find compassion for one another.

Fear-filled words can create realities in the minds of people who cannot find the strength to form their own, or they can be the beacon of inspiration that lifts a nation and frees it from itself. This is the legacy of Lincoln. This is the legacy of Dorothy Kunhardt and her family. This is the legacy of anyone who chooses hope over fear.

I think this is why Trump is so offensive to me, why I feel the energetic lash of his existence so deeply. I am both afraid and guilty, afraid of what comes next and guilty and for not acting more lovingly toward my fellow man in such obvious pain. But words alone do not a reality make.

Peter Kunhardt’s film reminded me of this. I can change my course. I can choose not to pick up the pain of others, but instead to express compassion when they lay it at my feet. You can, too. This is what Lincoln’s life and the Meserve family legacy really remind us.

We are not our fear, we can choose a different course, and we are not alone in our journey to perfect learning all of the above.

Sources: (PHOTO) (FILM)

We Are The Internet of Women

Truly humbled and honored to be among the collection of female scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians worldwide who are making historic contributions to their fields and sharing their remarkable stories of impact in this new book. We are the Internet of Women, a new book just out on Amazon. 

From over 30 countries, stories in the collection range from an entrepreneur in Dubai partnering with private and public sector entities to accelerate blockchain technology to a young British woman moving to Silicon Valley to launch an artificial intelligence investment platform.

A few of my friends and colleagues have reviewed the book and say:

“The Internet of Women, are just that ensemble. Looking beyond the horizon” –Amy Redford, President, and Clare Munn, CoFounder, both of Boxspring Entertainment

“I am seeing increasing numbers of women in top management positions. Google is forcefully correcting compensation asymmetry as it establishes equal pay for equal work” –Vint Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist, Google

“The Internet of Women is well positioned to become a frontrunner of economic growth” –David Nordfors, CEO IIIJ and co-chair i4j Innovation for Jobs

My chapterEquality Engineering Investment and Moreexplores the concept of how and why hacking bias in investment and technology development and engineering is about ROI beyond the societal argument. 


Study after study (28,000 executives at 3,000 companies in 40 countries) shows women-led private technology companies and public companies are more capital-efficient, achieve 35 percent higher return on investment, generate an average return on equity of 10.1 percent per year, have higher valuations, stronger stock performance, higher payouts of dividends. (1)

Boston-based Quantopian looked at how well Fortune 1000 companies led by women performed compared to the S&P 500 over a 12-year period. That comparison showed that the 80 women CEOs during those 12 years produced equity returns 226% better than the S&P 500.(2)

We’re performing better then our male counterparts, but still we rank only deserving of 11% of the available majority of venture capital from one of the world’s largest capital pipelines for start-ups in the world (Y-Combinator was my example).

No more talk. It’s equity time.

I hope you buy this book and consume the stories that are the roadmap for how women of the internet are changing the world and disrupting the definition of value in the next wave of the intelligent, bias-free internet, the Internet of Humans.

PS…my fellow co-founder, Chief Operations Officer and learning system brilliant Jeannie Kim-Han shares pages in this book, too! 



(1) (Women 2.0) 2013 and Credit Suisse: Examined more than 4,200 companies between December 2009 and August 2015, is in sync with a September 2014 report from Credit Suisse that also found a link between companies with more female executives and higher returns on equity—as well as higher valuations, stronger stock performance and higher payouts of dividends.

(2) Quantopian, a Boston-based trading platform based on crowdsourced algorithms, pitted the performance of Fortune 1000 companies that had women CEOs between 2002 and 2014 against the S&P 500’s performance during that same period. (Global nonprofit women’s issues researcher Catalyst compiled the list of women CEOs used in the simulation.)” March, 2015

Know Thy Internet Makers

From @SofiiaAI
From @SofiiaAI

Friend and human mind I very much admire Jerry Michalski Twitter-shared two remarkably prescient videos from the PC Forum today (see epic photos from 77 to 95). If you watch, which I strongly suggest you do, you’ll see and hear pieces of the Internet being made.

If you were born after 1995 and not a technological insider, you probably have no idea about the origins of the Internet, or who Jerry is, or why you should care. Trust me that you should take the time to listen to these prescient conversations from a few of the true makers of the digital age.

You should definitely watch, if you know what’s good for you.

Here’s Why

Screenshot 2016-08-23 12.06.54If you enjoy music videos, websites, or podcasts then you care about the deeply intelligent MTV VJ Adam Curry, who many call the Podfather of podcasting. If you care about quality conversation and what technology has contributed to the advancement of the self then you care about *Sherry Turkle, who is today the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT, and the founder (2001) and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. If  you care about the world and the earth and great thinking minds of today who were shaped by other thinking minds before them, then you care about **Stewart BrandAnd if you have ever gotten any education online or are thinking about getting healthier, or enjoy any of the Internet in any way today, then you care about Esther Dyson

The PC Forum hosted just about every great intellect and idealist who has architected the digital world.

Screenshot 2016-08-23 11.40.16

Jerry Michalski is the founder of REX, the Relationship Economy eXpedition. He is who the Institute of the Future calls “a pattern finder, a lateral thinker, a Gladwellian connector, facilitator, and explorer of the interactions between technology, society, and business. From 1987 to 1998, Jerry was a technology analyst, focusing not on quarterly earnings but rather on which technologies would be useful and which would be distractions, what trends and forces create new potential, and where all these forces might take us over a 20-year timeframe. For the last five years of that period, Jerry was the Managing Editor of Esther Dyson’s monthly tech newsletter, Release 1.0, as well as co-host of her annual conference, PC Forum. He was fortunate to be on duty when the Internet showed up.” (IFTF)

Relationships are everything.

Jerry has since then been an independent consultant, doing business as Sociate, and believes that the social changes we are going through as a result of all the new connectivity will be more profound than any structural or economic shifts we have seen. He honed his systems thinking gears with Russ Ackoff at the Wharton School and creates conversation and collision spaces, such as he has through projects like REX – which is now exploring the exit of the consumer mass-market economy as the world enters the Relationship Economy. Jerry has shaped and facilitated, been witness to and contributed greatly toward some of the most important shifts in society and technology.

Screenshot 2016-08-23 11.40.05Esther Dyson, is also a large part of the conversational and technological shift in the contemporary world, a shift that has literally been the making foundation of the world we live in today. Esther is a world-renowned technology guru. Forbes Magazine called her “one of the most powerful women in American business, and is regarded as one of the most influential voices in technology.”

She founded the PC Forum in 1977, the longest running elite high-tech conference and closed it in 2006. In its hey dey, venture capitalist Roger McNamee said “the PC Forum was one of the seminal gatherings of movers and shakers in the PC industry. The conference traces its pedigree back to venture capitalist Ben Rosen, who in addition to investing in Lotus and Compaq, also started a research firm which Dyson bought in 1983 and expanded in reach and prominence…” SF Gate

Today Esther Dyson can be found everywhere still. She and her fund Edventure have been nurturing start-ups in the education and health spaces. She has also founded Wellville, a game-changing way of making communities well that could be scaled globally. On Twitter she describes herself this way: “Internet court jEsther — I occupy Esther Dyson. Executive founder @WaytoWellville .”

Adam_Curry_portrait2Adam Curry began his VJ MTV career in the early 80’s, but that doesn’t really define him. While he was viewed as a celebrity, many – which was less often discussed – knew him to be\ a brilliant thinker and imagineer of technology and media. Adam describes himself today this way: “..started in radio at 15 and worked in MSM radio and television for 25 years, started several companies, took one of them public in 1996, until I saw the light. I live in Austin Texas, I rarely set an alarm, and I am a firm believer that the Universe will provide.” He has very successful podcasts (is considered the original podcaster) and among many successful companies (and exits), he appears to be living an existential life without alarm clocks (which I greatly admire), and says he is also a legislative analyst because he loves that work and because he can.

*Sherry Turkle is the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT, and the founder (2001) and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self.

**Stewart Brand is an American writer, best known as editor of the Whole Earth Catalog. He founded a number of organizations, including The WELL, the Global Business Network, and the Long Now Foundation.

Adam Curry photos: Wikipedia and By Slamond – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

PC Forum Photos: Visit Esther Dyson, Flickr

Screenshot 2016-08-23 11.39.43Screenshot 2016-08-23 11.39.53

The Nature of Presence

You learn what you need to learn from the places the universe wants you to learn it from.

Or at least that’s what I’m working on accepting this week. Learning to let go of our attachments to things, people, experience, outcomes is how we leave space for what can happen to emerge. Easy to say, not so easy to do in the real world of chaos and uncertainty.

But my beautiful son reminded me yesterday of a great, simple truth: if we can mechanize this letting go and shift our attention most of the time away from the internal chaos our mind generates, we’ll find ourselves in the present moment, and that is where the truth lives for each of us, where the magic of what’s possible can happen.

What do you do toward mechanizing that ability? It’s the process, baby. Mine is a under construction.

Past Bias And Into Singularity?

In the workforce, it’s not just finding bias, it’s teaching people to get past bias and being able to see the performance metrics of new “unbiased” behavior in business ecosystems. This is at the core of both business and profit performance as well as competitiveness and survivability in an an ever-changing world.

In our personal lives, it’s not just discovering what or who we may be biased toward, but teaching us how to get past our biases and fears, and giving us the learning tools to make the change. This is at the core of the mechanics for moving past the tragically real events of the recent weeks of racism, xenophobia, and disenfranchisement of an order of magnitude we cannot sustain.

Have we reached a human tipping point of recognizing our bias? Maybe. But I suggest it’s beyond a mass recognition that we have a bias glitch in our human matrix. AI and emerging data capture and learning technology will have to be pointed at getting us past the bias age in order to take advantage of the Age of Singularity we’re living in. Easier said than done. And to do it, we’re going to have to accept a few facts: 1) people can change, 2) dogma is not who we are, 3) emotional intelligence, human and self and other awareness are absolute keys to changing the world: we have to wake up.

What am I doing about it?

I’m working on a new human identity and learning platform model, fueled by new humanAPI(TM) AI technology my partners and I at are developing. We’re asking how might AI work as better middle ware between people and state-of-the-art technology to help them open and change their minds and behavior for the better?

I don’t have to argue for why we need to. We all see and feel why all too clearly.

I believe it boils down to the anomaly. We have focused on technology being a tool for what we share, but now it also must be a tool that can see what is completely individual. Change is always buried in the outlier, the un-comfort zone, the territory of blind spots and our unconscious feelings, beliefs, and actions. We can’t change what we don’t see. Human behavior also suggests that once we see what we need to change, we also have to have the change tools to get us there, and a very clear picture of the new behavior we want to replace the old behavior with.

How do you create AI that can be smarter than people about their own limitations in ways which helps them accelerate beyond those limitation? Can we design AI that learns from the imperfect us while gaining insight into what might be a better us, that teaches itself to teach us how to accelerate our human learning and being beyond our most entrenched, negative traits and behaviors?

In some ways we know our journey is about developing AI capable of intrinsic thought, and so we can’t code it perfectly. In fact, we have to code it to find the imperfections of people, and to recognize the divergence of our behaviors against highly personalized, meta maps of people that allow them to see themselves from this deeper place.

I call Sofiia insight interdependent intelligence. Sort of like our very own check and balance system, the truest meta me API, outfitted with an insight and mindfulness radar and system that can detect and help cure everything from bullshit to blind spots, and from opportunity for growth to full on paths to greater potential. 

I want to see the meta human me in an app that I can traverse, where I can explore and manage “me”. My research suggests many, many humans do.

When it comes to the idea of human consciousness and to how human beings learn, we need to take a hard listen to Peter Diamandis and Ray Kurzweil.

Diamandis believes the “The Future of Education is Personalized, Perfect & Free (Thanks to AI and VR)P, that AI will lead to learning platforms that are personalized to each person, that the AI will have unlimited access to information and will deliver it at the optimal speed. This AI, he believes, “will be freely available to everyone (just like Google), and the quality of the education will be higher than that which only the wealthiest people on the planet can afford today.” Diamandis knows technology has caught up with how human beings need to learn best. If it can work for kids, imagine what it will mean for adults?

Kurzweil who is Google’s Director of Engineering (among being one of the truly consummate thinkers of our age) defines Singularity as being:

Within a quarter century, nonbiological intelligence will match the range and subtlety of human intelligence. It will then soar past it because of the continuing acceleration of information-based technologies, as well as the ability of machines to instantly share their knowledge. Intelligent nanorobots will be deeply integrated in our bodies, our brains, and our environment, overcoming pollution and poverty, providing vastly extended longevity, full-immersion virtual reality incorporating all of the senses (like The Matrix), “experience beaming” (like “Being John Malkovich”), and vastly enhanced human intelligence. The result will be an intimate merger between the technology-creating species and the technological evolutionary process it spawned.” (Singularity Q&A).

So we are in the age of singularity AND we have the technohow to finally get past bias and achieve what that means for humanity.

Not a bad way to spend this lifetime.

Here’s another perspective on the age of singularity. (BigThink). 

Curiosity Conversations By Design

Find Brian Grazer's new book on Amazon
Find Brian Grazer’s new book on Amazon

Humancentricity – focusing our design and building of everything to meet the needs of humans first – is catching on: human-centric design is fueling social engineering, moving past use only in the tech world, and coloring our every experience. No longer relegated to only the smartest or coolest among us: it’s the new standard of quality and excellence. And I’m curious about that.

Truthfully, I can only give language to any of this because of the great minds and mentors I’ve met along the path. But it took something in me to place myself in their trajectory, and that brings me to the idea of being a curious conversationalist.

Every great idea I have ever had has been ignited or inspired by another human being that knew something I did not, that had experienced something I never had, and who was willing to share themselves in ways few ever do.

Brian Grazer’s new book A Curious Mind helps explain why.

LA Times piece on Grazer's talk recently about his new book A Curious Mind.
LA Times piece on Grazer’s talk recently about his new book A Curious Mind.

Grazer’s book offers a uniquely candid look inside wisdom gleaned from what Grazer calls curious conversations.

His story portrays a kind of role model approach to boldly throwing yourself at human beings in ways that allows us to discover and learn in a constant state of movement and flow, expanding and cultivating our creativity around conversations with people who inspire us or make us curious. This, Grazer contends, leads to creativity and innovation that can’t be reached as readily by non-curious minds.

It strikes me that narcissists and dogmatic people suffer from a lack of curiosity (among other things). 

Grazer’s penchant for gifting that creativity and wisdom forward with others and synthesizing it into his successes is a case study for how to live a powerfully successful life.

Visit Andrew Lee's
Visit Andrew Lee’s

Perhaps the big takeaway is that when we raise our kids to be people who live their lives in curious conversation – we also raise human beings who have deep respect for the experiences of others. When people respect others this way, this tends to foster curiosity.

Perhaps there’s a connection to be made between curious conversationalists and designing a better world – because innovators who think from a place of humancentricity begin their quests with the “how might we” question, and they have respect for that process in execution of the beautiful solutions they find. We get to some fairly amazing outcomes through the “how might we” looking glass.

The world is very curious. It is becoming curiouser and curiouser.

Maybe you should, too.


For a look-see on a regular-sized curious mind, meet Andrew Lee. He is raising sons to have curious minds, and helps us to explore our own.