Saturday, April 29, 2017

SΩ24 - Differences

For the last few years it seems like there are increasingly more people voicing their support for various causes and social groups. For example April is Autism awareness month and there was a protest for science. My question is when will we evolve beyond the need for that? Our differences are what help us grow as a society. If we truly learn to understand one another we’ll find that the interests we have and the challenges we face are truly universal. Here are a few stories of people you will hopefully relate to.

The AC Wizard
Like a bell the clink of his fork on the plate announced the end of his dinner. Leaving the cozy restaurant he walked with dread to what awaited him. Although the life of solitude gave him some peace the city refused to leave him alone. Each night was a struggle to find his way to dreamland. Everything from the train miles away to the creak of the stairs far below him or the flashing of lighting in the distance kept him awake. His body yearned for just a wink of sleep.

This was just an example of the challenges faced by my role model: Nikola Tesla. Many believe that he had some form of Autism, which would explain the hyper-sensitivity mentioned before and his limited social life. Yet thanks to him we have AC power, which is used worldwide to run all our lights, appliances, computers, and more.

Magic from Poverty
She looked out the window of the cafe and contemplated her predicament. Her thoughts were interrupted by a rustling sound and she looked over at her daughter sleeping blissfully in her pram. It was at that moment she realized that it was pointless to feel sorry for her penniless situation. With that in mind she attacked the pages with her pen with an intense ferocity. She owed it to her daughter to finish this book and find a way to get a decent meal on the table.

This female author went from being a single mother, unemployed and on wealth fare to a becoming the writer of the globally loved Harry Potter series. Yes indeed Joanne (JK) Rowling had struggles of her own. Furthermore, she had to hide the fact she was a woman, because publishers believed it would be less appealing to boys. Never the less it goes to show even someone with less than most can bring magic to the lives of others.

The Peace Jab
One could almost smell the frustration in the air from the two men talking. The sturdy man kept repeating ‘Shoot them for what?’ His companion nodded with approval. As their discussion continued one realized the meals they had ordered where more of an after thought. On that evening they were there to exchange their beliefs and how to show the rest of the world. In the end it was decided the sturdy man would publicly announce his Muslim beliefs on peace and refuse to be part of the mindless killing.

It might be tricky to believe that the king of boxing, Muhammad Ali, was a firm believer of peace. Especially in this day an age when many ignore the millions of Muslims who have kind and giving souls. When refusing to join the draft he showed the world how one truly stands up for humanity. 

Albeit fictional anecdotes the struggles these change makers faced were indeed real. It’s time we see our differences as strengths in building a better future. People as diverse as you overcame their struggles and offered something to the world. How will you turn your differences into gifts to the world?

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

SΩ23 - Who We Meet

How do strangers turn into friends? Most of us meet new people on a weekly basis. The two years developing Society Ω has made me come to appreciate the complexity and serendipity of social connections. Hopefully, these anecdotes will give you a taste of my upcoming project: Ω Teams. For a chance to join, sign up here.

Having lived in three countries one might consider me a modern nomad. What few know is that I’ve lived in over 17 shared flats! This means I’ve lived with around 50 different people and yet I’ve only kept in touch with a few. However, my experience in one shabby flat in Worcester was different. It’s here where I met a physicist, who I spent enjoying many late night discussion with. Although we differ in many ways, like religion, somehow our friendship has withstood the test of time. Even as he and his family have bounced between Asia and his birthplace of Nigeria he remains a close friend.

When you think of Belgium you might think of waffles, chocolate, and fries. However, for me it’s capital of Belgium brings back much different memories. It’s there where I met my first girlfriend. We are both adventurous people with a love for traveling and sports. Yet somehow we drifted apart and she eventually returned to China. It’s incredible how we can find love in the most random places imaginable. It’s just as surprising how time can sometimes evaporate those seemingly unbreakable connections.

A more recent tale comes from Barcelona. Here you'll find dozens of startup events and meetups on a daily basis. Last December I participated in a hackathon with a blend of amazing people. If you’ve ever participated in a hackathon you’ll know that the event is a bit of a blur. A few days later someone contacted me on Twitter. As politely as possible I responded to her ‘who are you?’. Yes that Venezuelan chica turned out to become my spunky co-organizer for Even as I’m still getting to know her interests our values and work flow synced in just a few days.

Why am I sharing all this with you? Well we meet new people on a weekly or for some on a daily basis. Any of those people could turn into a friend, romantic partner, or partner in crime for a project/startup. This connection forming is fairly mystifying, which can be fantastic for friendship and relationships. However, for turning an idea into reality finding the ‘perfect’ teammate(s) is rather frustrating.  So I’m launching a new initiative, Ω Teams, to explore how to build strong teams from the start. I'm looking for 12 highly motivated participants with ideas or who'd like to contribute to one. For anyone who wants a chance to participate, just sign up here.