The Human IPO + Alt-Capitalism

A perfect storm of social change, globalization, technological advancement, and changing values is brewing… and alt-capitalism is coming.

The Human IPO
Mike Merrill launched KMikeyM in 2008 which is him. He is the company and you can buy shares in his decisions. Now, around 1,500 people hold shares in Mike. They vote on things like whether or not he should be a vegetarian, whether he should change jobs, and more. This shows us that many people in the next generation of investors… don’t want to be investors. Not in the traditional sense anyway. They want to own things that give them meaning and Coke and McDonalds aren’t it. Check out Vice’s profile of Mike Merrill here.

Investment Crowdfunding
Meanwhile, the market for crowdfunded securities is developing. In the last year, around $40m worth of crowdfunded securities have been purchased in the US alone. See a report by Sherwood Neiss and Crowdfund Capital Advisors here.

The Shareholder Advantage
Having more than 1,000 shareholders in any business–a local café, a retailer, a web-business, a small service business–is a big deal. This is a huge group of people incentivized to economically support the growth of the business… and it’s already happening.

Take Eazl’s free Investment Crowdfunding 101 course to learn more about this technology/social movement. Stay tuned to this space…!

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Finding Mastery Podcast

This is a guest post from Eazl community member Amanda Rose. Connect with her on LinkedIn by clicking the image below.

Amanda Rose Eazl

On my daily excursions with my best friend, Tumbles, I play a game with myself. While she’s smelling bushes and gopher holes, I examine the houses on our route. As we pass each house, I question myself about the family inside, and I wonder about how they achieved suburban splendor. “What do they do for a living? How did they achieve their goals? What did they overcome? Was it a sink or swim situation? Were they a child prodigy?” Some of the questions I ask myself might seem silly, but it’s a direct reflection on my personal desire for progress. I project that these people have found their purpose, something I have yet to do for myself.

These seemingly successful people are all around me, and often times, all around us. It’s not easy to strike up a conversation with a total stranger, especially if you’re hoping to glean some insight about yourself from them and their story. That’s why the podcast movement is so important for young professionals like myself – phenomenal interviewers can delve into the minds and lives of highly successful people, and we get to eavesdrop. The Finding Mastery Podcast is currently one of my favorites.

Finding Mastery Podcast Eazl

Finding Mastery makes titans of athletics, business, and art accessible to the public. The host, Dr. Michael Gervais, is a high-performance psychologist who, over the course of each episode, examines and dissects the guest’s journey through life and the struggles they’ve faced, the guest’s psychological framework and how they interact with the world, and the mental skills and values necessary to become successful in intense, performance driven environments. Hearing wildly successful professionals discuss their own hurdles and shortcomings is both comforting and inspiring, and I can better see how my path is developing by learning from the experience of others.

dr. michael gervais eazl

Michael is a wonderful interviewer. His experience working in high stakes environments gives him the insights necessary to provide a space where his guests can open up and share personal anecdotes of failure and triumph. These honest conversations are the key to what make the podcast great. Michael believes, and I agree, that these honest conversations are important as “informal education” – lessons learned outside of a classroom and through experience. I have no interest in a glossy puff-piece on someone’s success. I’m a work-in-progress, and knowing that my situation isn’t unique, helps motivate me to keep improving and striving for greatness.

Guests on the Finding Mastery Podcast include world record holding athletes, gold medallists, CEOs, head coaches, and more. There really is an interview here for everyone. However, the most impactful guest for me has been Amy Hood, CFO for Microsoft.

Amy’s leading position in a global corporation is hard for me to imagine in my current stage of life, but the challenges, motivations, and self-descriptors that she and Michael identify during the interview resonate deeply with me.

Eazl Amy Hood Microsoft

Amy remarked that she’s viewed as intense, “bitchy” as she jokes in the interview, and that her self-worth has always been determined by performance output. She lived in fear of failure and was very hard on herself when she didn’t succeed as she intended. Most notably for me, she mentions that she can be unintentionally intimidating because she thinks quickly and speaks with confidence in front of others. As a woman, I know this behavior is often misinterpreted or dismissed. I also think and speak quickly and with confidence when I’m problem-solving with a group, and I have personally felt members of the group disengage out of intimidation. Michael and Amy discuss her moments of self-realization and the tools she uses to “round the edges”, so she can communicate more effectively, as well as how she shifted her perception from “perfection” to “progression”.

Amy speaks on how these lessons helped her create an inclusive corporate culture – one that didn’t promote the radical pressure that she unnecessarily placed on herself for so long. I was excited by her passion for providing her coworkers a sense of belonging. Shifting her own mentality, as well as her coworkers’, has encouraged much more success and growth in the company. Her episode is a must-listen, and I was literally vibrating with inspiration afterward.

An informal education strengthens a formal education, and I highly recommend the Finding Mastery Podcast as a means for rounding out your experience and finding inspiration. Dr. Michael Gervais provides a space for some of the most successful people in the world to share their tips, tricks, and techniques for mastery with me and you. The variety of industry, experience, race, gender, and creed is astounding, and I’m sure you’ll find multiple people whose stories resonate with you and encourage you to seek mastery for yourself. Now when I’m out with Tumbles, I’ll think to myself, “I create my own purpose. I’ve got this.” And so do you!

Finding Mastery also has a closed Facebook group with an engaging community looking to help anyone along their current journey and you can follow their Facebook Business page here.

Community & Team Building Tips from Stranger Things 2

Spoiler alert: If you haven’t watched it yet and plan on doing so, you might not want to continue reading just in case. I don’t want to be responsible for ruining your experience with that magical show.

stranger things logo

As I, like so many other Netflix users, marathoned Stranger Things 2 over the weekend, I began to take note of the numerous examples of collaboration and community throughout the series. This show is seriously Lord-of-the-Rings-level life goals for friendship and working to achieve a giant goal.

The characters on Stranger Things accomplish amazing, superhuman feats together and I love that the general storyline has followed a pattern of personal responsibility through teamwork vs. individualism.   

I mean, what better way is there to take on a supernatural force from a another dimension than with all hands on deck and collective use of force and problem solving; a perfect combination of brains and brawn where all members contribute what they do best?

There’s a lot to be learned from these fictional characters as they possess qualities that humans admire in real life but may not experience first-hand that often.

You don’t have to be up against a shadow monster from Upside Down to reap the benefits from collaboration and community building.

Try applying some of these lessons from the series to your own work and career goals:

  1. Bravery is required for anything meaningful
    Steve Harrington and Chief Jim Hopper were two of the series’ most physically brave characters in Season 1 and they maintain their fearlessness in Stranger Things 2, with the former utilizing his bat with nails a second time and the latter venturing underground to see first hand what the monster is up to.
steve harrington eazl
Steve and Dustin prepare to take on the Pollywog.
chief jim hopper eazl
Chief Jim Hopper explores the monster’s underground tunnels.

Nancy doesn’t hesitate to expose the government’s role in Barb’s death or snatch up a shotgun to take on the demidogs.

nancy wheeler eazl
Nancy and Jonathan wait for Barb’s mom at the park as part of their plan to expose the research facility.

Winona Ryder’s character Joyce Byers, the mother of Will (the boy once abducted by the monster in Upside Down and now returned home), displays great mental and emotional strength and bravery when she “exorcises” the monster from her son’s body.

joyce byers eazl
Joyce builds the fire to “burn” the monster out of her son, Will.

People tend to think that those who demonstrate bravery are somehow endowed with special characteristics or attributes but we are all actually capable of courageous acts. We just have to make the choice to be brave.

Check out The Heroic Imagination Project by Dr. Philip Zimbardo, famed director of the Stanford Prison Experiment.

What brave and courageous moves can you make in your career, your daily actions, and your personal life? What ideas and movements can you boldly support for the greater good?

  1. Have a clear mission
    In Stranger Things 2, there are multiple groups working parallel in order to achieve the goal of finding out how to get rid of the monster. Eventually, at the end of the season, they come together and fight alongside each other only to divide and conquer once again.

You never really see a group conflict and members naturally assume their roles based on their talents. In this series, any time a character is told they should stay behind and keep themselves safe, they pretty much never listen. Even the kids!

No one is willing to put themselves ahead of the group. Everyone contributes and understands the mission, which is what makes achieving the mission possible.

Note the Rule of Law established by Will’s friends: when someone needs help, they show up and help.

Will’s friends, Dustin and Mike help strategize.

It’s easier for a group of people to work together when there is a clear mission. That’s why it’s important to ensure that the mission gets buy-in from all team members, perhaps by setting some kind of Rule of Law at the start of the engagement or project.

Remember this when you work in team, whether you are the leader or not. You can always lead by example even if you don’t have formal power within a team by showing that you are committed to the mission.

  1. Pyramid structures don’t work
    Pyramid structures are rarely if ever truly effective. This kind of structure implies that there are just a few people giving orders and many acting on those order, regardless of what their own expertise and intuition tells them is the right course of action.

There is no centralized authority deciding how to take on the monster…and that’s what makes taking on the monster possible.

Steve, Dustin, and Lucas join Nancy and Jonathan at the research facility just before they provide a getaway car for Joyce, Mike, and Chief Hopper.

Different characters have different perspectives and there are multiple problems to solve, making those individual perspectives highly valuable.

From Dustin’s creative and playful imagination developed through role playing games and Bob’s coding skills to Steve’s experience with sports teams and Chief Hopper’s familiarity with approaching dangerous situations, everyone has something they can offer and adhering to centralized leadership would squash that.

When you create your teams for work and projects, remember that your co-workers can thrive without a single manager of leader. Organic organization is powerful.

  1. Focusing on community is the biggest middle finger to “the man”
    The government as the enemy isn’t just a cheesy throwback theme that was most often seen in 80s sci-fi movies. There is meaning behind this theme and the reason we are attracted to themes like these is because they hold a lot of truth in them.

Government and military are responsible for opening the gate between reality and Upside Down, along with all of the destructions caused by it. There’s that centralized authority again.

The community coming together was the only thing that could balance out the power and limit the destruction, including getting the gate between worlds closed.

You too can organize something that has impact and counterbalances the “powers that be”. You just have to build the community, no matter the scale.

  1. Be a doer
    Chief Hopper never hesitates to jump to action, whether it’s belaying into a super creepy and perilous underground tunnel or setting up formation to shoot up some demidogs.

Nancy follows her intuition to do the right thing and expose the research facility.

Steve doesn’t need to weigh his options when asked for help.

There are a lot of people in the world who spend a lot of time talking about problems but they never do anything to help solve those problems. Don’t be one of those. How can you contribute? What problem can you help solve? What community can you bring together in collective power?

The First AI Keynote Speaker

Artificial Intelligence is moving FAST.  Let’s get you up to date with what’s happening.

Here are some of the links mentioned in this week’s Brain Boost:

 

3 AI and Robotics Initiatives Moving Fast:

Getting Right With Your Finances (Actionable Calendar for November 2017)

getting right with your finances

Your ability to use modern financial tools and systems is a crucial ingredient for a successful and happy life. Credit scores, credit cards, student loans, mortgages, tax-deferred investment accounts, and financial instruments like index funds, mutual funds, ETFs, stocks, and bonds are fundamental to existence in our modern world.

Commit to getting right with your finances this May with this calendar that will keep you on track, taking you from assessing your current financial health to creating a plan for adding more income and determining investment opportunities.

eazl personal finance course

Use the calendar (download and/or print) as a supplement to the tools and process we laid out for you in our personal finance course, LifePower.

Ignorance is an expensive choice and there are plenty of organizations who would be happy to keep taking advantage of people who can’t navigate these systems. Get out of the weeds and upgrade your financial prowess!

Staying Focused Despite the Trump Media Chaos

 

Don’t Be a Victim to the Media Chaos
What you put in brain matters and all forms of media (social media, radio, television) are saturated with stories about Trump. Stories that are divisive, that are designed to create culture wars, that pit us against each other.

If you put that stuff in your brain all the time, your brain is going to be shaped by it.

Learn how to actively shape your brain in healthy ways with this guide to neural plasticity that was developed by Eazl’s well-being researcher Ludell Jones and based on emerging brain science from UC Berkeley.

Get it free here and share it with your friends.

While it’s good to be aware of what’s happening in the world don’t be a victim to the news.

More Innovation and Opportunity than Ever
This is a time of tremendous innovation and opportunity. You can learn in amazing new ways from great people on Udemy (and not just Eazl courses!) and learn from some of the smartest people in the world for free using EdX.

Industries everywhere are being disrupted and change is OPPORTUNITY. It’s not just about big-money startups, either.

Glenn Carroll’s research at Stanford shows that well-run small businesses that embrace their authenticity have a distinct and sustainable advantage over tired old big brands using the same old tricks.

See the research at http://stanford.io/2qXewMb.

Some of the people making progress in the Eazl community are:
Matt Banks, a leader in carbon emissions reduction through corporate sustainability. See his interview in What’s Next? Washington DC at http://bit.ly/2fWtcVd

Rodrigo Palma, advancing accessible artificial intelligence by working on the IBM Watson team. Connect with him at http://bit.ly/2gW5cEC

Jessika Jake, a physical product innovator in the workplace wellness space. Check out her business at http://bit.ly/2xTH0bn

Have the Courage to Build Bridges
It is in the interests of selfish oligarchs for us to stay home and stay divided. When we don’t do meaningful things, we consume to fill the void.

COURAGE will lead you to OPPORTUNITY.

In my personal experience, organizing on Chicago’s South Side has shown me that there is power in diversity, that smart, well-intentioned people are building inspiring things in SO MANY places.

I encourage you to find the good in people, to find the good people, and to build bridges.

Have the courage to say “no” to the Trump media chaos. You can take back the control by making small meaningful steps towards solving problems that matter.

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Life & Career Lessons from Euripides’ The Trojan Women

eazl euripedes the trojan women

The Trojan Women is a Greek tragedy by Euripides, one of the most popular playwrights of his time, about the destruction of Troy by the Greeks (the Trojan War). The play takes place in Troy, just after the Trojans’ defeat. Euripides follows the fate of the women of Troy after their city has been destroyed, after their husbands and sons have been killed, and as they await their division and enslavement by the Greeks.

eazl euripides
Bust of Euripedes

I’ve been interested in Greek tragedies lately for my research project (related to ethics and philosophy) and asked Davis to find tickets to see a live Greek tragedy in Chicago. He tracked down a production of The Trojan Women (adapted by Sartre) at Three Crows Theater in Evanston, IL.

You can look at the original play here, if you’d like.

What I like about Greek tragedies is that there are SO MANY lessons to be learned and applied and they are 100% applicable to life today. Really, they’re timeless little pieces of philosophy in story form.

Here’s a little information about some of the characters to give you a some context:

Poseidon and Athena
Opening the play, Poseidon strategizes with Athena ways to punish the Greek armies after misconduct during the war. We don’t see him much for the rest of the play, but Poseidon does return to deliver the conclusion to the audience at the end of the play.

hecuba
The women of Troy console Hecuba.

Hecuba, Queen of Troy
Distraught throughout most of the play, with some glimmers of hope, Hecuba comes to terms with her fate as a fallen queen-turned-slave. She blames Helen for the war (conveniently overlooking her son’s role in bringing Helen to Troy).

Paris, Prince of Troy and son of Hecuba
Paris died during the war, leaving behind his mother and Helen. Menelaus’ revenge on Paris for stealing his wife caused the destruction of Troy.

Menelaus, King of Sparta

Ancient style sculpture of Menelaus supporting the body of Patro
After the Greek army defeats Troy, Menelaus returns to retrieve Helen and administer punishment for her betrayal. Helen manipulates him and they return, as a couple, to Sparta.

Helen of Troy, formerly Helen of Sparta
Considered the most beautiful woman in the world in Greek mythology, Helen left her husband, Menelaus, to be with Paris in Troy. She spends the majority of her role in the play trying to defend her actions by blaming the gods and manipulating Menelaus into not punishing her. We never see her or anyone else accept personal responsibility for their role in causing the war.

Cassandra, Princess of Troy and daughter of Hecuba
Having supernatural powers to foresee the future, Cassandra isn’t worried about Sparta receiving their punishment for their conduct because she has had visions of them being punished.

Talthybius, Herald of the Greeks
Popping in and out of scenes throughout the play to deliver information about the fate of the Trojan women and their future as slaves to the Greeks, Talthybius takes a don’t-shoot-the-messenger stance, showing no bravery or integrity.

Chorus- Captive Trojan Women
The Trojan Women share bits of their grief with us, following Hecuba’s lead, throughout the play.

Here are the lessons I took away from The Trojan Women combined with some further research and real-life applications:

  1. Do not seek vengeancevengeance

From the play:
Vengeance is sought by Menelaus, the King of Sparta, after his wife Helen –attracted to the opulent living of the royalty in Troy– leaves the King for Paris, the handsome Prince of Troy. This is cited throughout the play as the cause of the war between Troy and Sparta.

Hecuba, Queen of Troy and mother of Paris, wishes harm on Helen, who she views as responsible for the King of Sparta’s actions of war against Troy. You know, typical mother-in-law issues. She can’t wait for Helen to be punished.

Research:
In Berkeley’s Science of Happiness course, vengeance is shown to be a negative and unhelpful reaction and a symptom of an inability to forgive an offender.

Unforgiveness is associated with a negative emotional state that increases blood pressure and heart rate. It also leads to release of cortisol, the stress hormone. Basically, it’s really bad for your health!

Studies have shown that forgiveness decreases nervousness, restlessness, and sadness while increasing well being. (1)

Real-life application:
Seeking vengeance isn’t good for anyone involved, including you. You don’t have to absolve a person from their wrongdoings, but you’ll have much better personal and work relationships if you learn to speak calmly about your issues with others and make a conscious effort to forgive instead of seeking vengeance or cutting ties.

  1. Stop thinking that evil always winsgood vs. evil

    From the play:
    One of the Trojan Women repeats “crime pays” in the last scene of Sartre’s adaptation of the play when it’s clear to her that the gods will not punish the Spartans for their unjust behavior. Hecuba reminds her that Troy will be remembered forever and it will be known that the Greeks acted wrongly. And this play serves as the vehicle for communicating that knowledge!

Research:
There are a TON of instances of crime paying in the short term and punishing in the long term. Just take a look at current events that involve Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, Martin Shkreli and EpiPen, Roger Ailes (once called one of the “worst Americans ever”), and Sophia Amoruso of Nasty gal –just to name a few. Some of these issues are still working themselves out, but these people fell hard and fast. And there’s a lot more where that came from.

Crime and wrongdoing ALWAYS have a price. We just tend to not see the punishment because it’s often hiding behind money, which we give people WAY too much credit for possessing.

Unethical people pay the price of their decisions through erosion of relationships, lack of happiness, and poor mental and physical health. Plus, the fall to the bottom is hard once people find out how awful you are.

Real-life application:
Accepting the false narrative that corruption and dishonesty is all a part of success isn’t fair to you or the society you live in. Be careful when you make decisions because every action has a reaction.

  1. Come to terms with the fact that materialism corrupts (and that includes you)materialism

From the play:
Helen is attracted to the opulent living in Troy and the physical attractiveness of Paris, Prince of Troy. She abandons her husband and her home for shallow desires.

In the end, she is hated by both the Greeks and Trojans, with both sides wishing her harm, but her grip is tight as she manipulates them with her beauty and deceptiveness. Helen lives despite Menelaus’ resolve to put her to death (he is weak) but her reputation lives on.

Research:
Studies have shown that we experience a short-term increase in happiness right after we buy something, but we then return to our baseline happiness level very soon after. Money only boosts happiness when it brings and individual out of an impoverished situation. Otherwise, it doesn’t impact happiness at all. (2)

What does lead to happiness is strong social ties and belonging to a strong community. Friendship activates oxytocin, which reduces stress hormones, and is one of the most powerful determinants of happiness. (1)

Real-life application:
By realizing the science behind consumption, we can curtail our focus of attainment of physical items and refocus our efforts on building relationships. Change your whole outlook on what your work means to you and, once your priority transitions from the paycheck to relationships and doing good, you’ll see how much more fulfilled your are in your work.

  1. Expediency is punishableexpediency

From the play:
Helen left Greece to live a better life in Troy (comfort-wise) and was quick to manipulate Menelaus and tell him her actions were the fault of the gods instead of her own fault because she feared being punished.

Research:
Humans naturally desire to punish people who act with expediency and self-interest. We are naturally compassionate creatures but we also choose who we exclude from that compassion –often those who display selfish behaviors. (1)

In addition, those who accept fault for their wrongdoings and make the effort to ask for forgiveness have stronger social ties and better relationships, which leads to greater well-being in lots of areas, including mental and physical health and stronger support networks. (1)

Real-life application:
Caring about others does pay off –don’t be fulled by what you see on the surface with self-oriented people. They do pay the price in some way…you just aren’t witnessing the punishment. You’ll be more successful at work when you begin to truly care about the people you work with. You might even find that others will begin to root for your success instead of being unnecessarily competitive with you.

If you haven’t already, work on your apology skills. An effective apology includes:

  • Remorse, shame, and/or humility
  • Acknowledgement of offense and accepting of responsibility
  • Offering of empathy/explanation
  • Undoing of the harm: offering of compensation/reparation
  • Reassuring that there is low likelihood of recurrence (3)

5. Align your values with your actions

align actions with values

From the play:
Talthybius, herald of the Greeks, continuously returns to deliver more bad news to the Trojan women, including the pending execution of the child heir to the throne due to the Greeks’ fear of future retaliation and announcements of future owners for the women’s enslavement.

We also continuously see Talthybius ask the women not to blame him because he is simply the messenger and is only communicating the King’s commands.

Research:
Talthybius’ don’t-shoot-the-messenger approach reminds me of research that has been done in the area of value and action alignment, as well as a concept called flow, which posits that we are happiest when we can throw ourselves into something that we truly value and believe in. 

Real-life application:
I see a lot of people in employment situations where they have to do and support things that they explicitly do not agree with and they are afraid to make a career change because it’s not fun looking for a new job or making a career move.

Ultimately, it’s far more detrimental to stay on the path that clearly doesn’t work for you. A person who is in the right work is excited to get up in the morning and make progress on a project that they are passionate about and that their skills and interests are aligned with.

What’s your favorite Greek tragedy? Tweet at me with your thoughts.

 

Sources:

  1. Berkeley’s Science of Happiness course on EdX
  2. David Myers’s The American Paradox
  3. Aaron Lazare’s On Apology
  4. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on Flow

The Coming Creative Revolution and the Teacherless School

New opportunities for content creators, the teacherless coding school and more in this week’s #BrainBoost. Links to each story below!

Creators Get Paid
The founder of Patreon, Jack Conte, talks about the new digital infrastructure helping creators get paid. See the new TED Talk at http://bit.ly/2gzuV5l

Authenticity Everywhere
When Netflix’s lawyer writes such an approachable, common-sense cease and desist letter you know the world’s getting better. See what I mean at: http://bit.ly/2zjiJNK

Awesome Explainer of the Google / Uber Driverless Car Lawsuit
See how one innovator–Anthony Levandowski–is at the center of this massive battle between Uber and Google. See awesome video created by VICE Media the video at http://bit.ly/2kKwIsM

The Teacherless Coding School
Change is the ONLY constant. See how Ecole 42, the French coding school created by Xavier Niel has… no teachers. It’s amazing. Read the piece at http://bit.ly/2wR3dXM

Marriage Revolution
MIT Technology Review has a fascinating new report about how online dating is revolutionizing society. Read about this huge shift at http://bit.ly/2ykk6gW .

 

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From Harvard Business Review: Playing Office Politics Without Selling Your Soul

playing office politics

“Unsurprisingly, research shows that when employees perceive their workplace as more political, they are less engaged, less productive, and more likely to quit. And yet, a more effective way of dealing with office politics is to engage in them — playing the game, instead of complaining about it. Fortunately, not all politics are bad, and there’s a way to play the game without selling your soul.”

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