All posts tagged: updates

Change is the only constant

It’s late Sunday morning and I’m sitting with a (decaf) cup of coffee on the sofa, re-reading my last update to all of you. It’s almost comical how many of the things that I shared have changed. While I don’t know if my mom still wears her Ethereum T-shirt with pride, I do know that I’m no longer working at Anthemis, rowing across the Atlantic, or able to work remotely from anywhere full time.What else changed? We finally made it to South Africa, just in time to see Grant’s niece Hannah walk for the first time. My brother moved in with his girlfriend Hilary, who is fabulous and an incredibly curious anthropologist. We kayaked in Washington DC and hiked in Atlanta with them this spring. I received “settled status” in the UK and lost my HK permanent residence. Thankfully, I retained my “right to land”, which means I can still live and work in HK without restriction. I have a hard time imagining a day when I’d take advantage of that right.After much reflection, Anthemis …

Where the time has gone

Where has the time gone? It’s been a while since I last shared an update. Here’s my best attempt to account for where the time has gone…My family finally had the chance to meet in Portugal for Thanksgiving, which was wonderful! It was the first time I got to see my brother in 2 long years. After being nomadic for most of the pandemic, he has settled in Atlanta. My mom is healthy and as busy as ever. If you follow the crypto craziness (and know my mom), you’ll appreciate this quick story. While exploring the back streets of Ericeira, we stumbled across a small shop selling crypto t-shirts with different currency logos on them. The designer was beside himself when my mom looked at the shirts and said “No, that’s Polkadot, I want Ethereum“! Unfortunately, the new variant may impact our plans to visit Grant’s family in South Africa. He has a 1+ year old niece that we’ve never met and we haven’t seen the rest of his family since well before the pandemic began :/.As many of …

Introducing The Reliants Project

Recently, I’ve been building up my understanding of social network analysis (SNA) so I can help myself and others build and maintain more resilient personal networks. I’ve learned how to graph my social network and the impact that quality relationships have on your life. Now I’m hoping to incorporate these skills and interests into my work more directly.I wanted to say thank you for your willingness to respond to my repeated requests over the last several months; filling out surveys, testing newsletters and sharing content with your network. Every little bit helps and I wanted to share some of the valuable outcomes you have helped make possible so far.People who made direct introductions have helped me: Connect with 20+ potential collaborators Find 7 podcast guests Identify 3+ advisory opportunities with companies that are trying to solve important problems using networks People who shared The Reliants Project content on social media have helped me: Secure a guest blog post on The Relationships Project, which will help build awareness around the importance of networks with people that are working on social problems Get …

On forty

Happy belated new year! Hope you had a wonderful holiday season, wherever you were. Grant and I celebrated my milestone birthday on the Salar de Uyuni in southwest Bolivia. At over 10,000 sq km, it’s the largest salt flat on the planet. It’s unique color, flatness and size make it ideal for taking photos that play with perspective. A couple of days in advance, we managed to find a hardware store in San Pedro de Atacama and explained to the owner in broken Spanish what props we were looking for. He rummaged through piles of dust-covered cardboard boxes and uncovered a set of metal house numbers. He even helped us find and bend hardware that screwed into the back of the numbers to stand them up. The results aren’t half bad!  How does it feel to be forty? Pretty fantastic. It’s been fascinating to look back on all the important personal events that have happened in the last ten years.  2019: I left the world of venture design for network science 2018: My team at Anthemis co-founded altbank and zevie, both of which have since …

Continuous participatory change

This morning I’m sitting on the tiny, south-facing balcony of our flat with a coffee-filled mug with red letters that say “niet normaal”. Even though the balcony is overwhelmed by vines, I somehow haven’t managed to keep our mint alive. This is the third attempt to complete this update, trying to find a narrative thread through the last 12 months. While the phrase “continuous participatory change” is used as an approach to organisational transformation, I think it a powerful way to approach all of life. For most, change is difficult, uncomfortable and disorienting. More than ever, it’s also the only constant. Over the last year, I have been learning new ways to thrive in these conditions and navigate change.A habit I adopted last year is to ask myself questions from Changing on the Job, such as: “What assumptions about the world underpin my or others actions and opinions?”It has helped me reframe many challenging situations and identify some of my own blind spots. For example, I strongly believe that creating more connections within a network makes it more …

Intensive UK course

It’s been almost 24 hours since I returned home from the 3 Peaks Challenge. While I’m still processing the experience, there is one concept that became a recurring theme throughout the journey. In the Art of Possibility, Zander says “You can always grace yourself with responsibility for anything that happens in your life. You can always find within yourself the source of any problem you have.” It’s not about taking more than your fair share of responsibility for any given situation, but understanding in what ways you contributed to it. Of the many lessons the experience taught me, it certainly helped me to internalise that concept.To quickly provide some background, the national “3 Peaks Challenge” involves summiting 3 specific UK peaks within the span of 24 hours. The 3 peaks involved are Ben Nevis in Scotland (1345m), Scafell Pike in England (978m), and Snowdon in Wales (1085m). The total vertical climb is about 3000m and the hiking distance is 42km, or roughly the length of a marathon. You can do it independently during any 24 hour period, but it’s popular to attempt the challenge on …

Hong Kong vs. London

As I begin to type, I’m chowing down on a slice of chocolate, pear and cardamom cake at an adorable cafe next to my flat in Bethnal Green. Turns out cardamom is trending in London this year and I’m taking full advantage. As I’ve said many times over, my time in London is an opportunity to both indulge in things unique to this city and look at Hong Kong in a more objective light. On that note, some initial comparisons:Hongkongers are spoiled with fantastic, cheap public transport. It’s not that London doesn’t have an extensive system or that a car is necessary to survive (like almost all US cities), but the options are not nearly as efficient and consistent here. On top of that, they are significantly more expensive. My daily commute by train in both cities clocks in at about 15 minutes on one line with no transfers. In Hong Kong it cost me HK$12.6 (£1.04) and I can’t remember a single delay in the last year. In London I spend £5.8 (HK$69.58) per day …

Intellectual gluttony

Recently I returned from an amazing experience that can best be described as summer camp for adults. 140 of us were nestled in the Alps for 4 days of crisp mountain air, delicious French fare, engaging discussions and a seemingly endless supply of alcohol. Our gracious hosts were the Anthemis team, the leading financial services advisory and venture investment firm. The annual event, called Hacking Finance, is an opportunity for them to exchange ideas and build relationships. They organized thoughtful discussions around the future of work, internet of things, venture design, among other trending topics. If you ever get the opportunity to participate in something similar, please don’t hesitate!It was inspiring to meet thought leaders from the industry in a place that provided so many opportunities for meaningful interactions. The stimulation was almost overwhelming because the casual chats were often as intense as the structured ones. I immediately felt at home, which confirmed a suspicion that the Anthemis CEO and I both had. It’s about time that I move out of traditional product development into a more …

Silent treatment

You’re not going to hear from me this holiday season. No phone calls, no emails, not even a tweet! I’ve decided that for my birthday I’m going to treat myself to a 10-day Vipassana meditation course. If any of you are familiar with these courses, you’ll catch the sarcasm in the word “treat”. It’s 10 days of silence: no speaking, no writing, no reading, no technology, no exercise, no stimulants. It’s redeeming quality? I’ve chosen to do the course in Sri Lanka, so the food should be wonderful, though we eat our last meal each day at noon :p.How did I come to this decision? While I have dabbled in mindfulness meditation before, I had never seriously considered a course like this until a few weeks ago. Luck favors the prepared, and I was luckily prepared when a new mentor walked into my life. He challenged me to focus more of my efforts on introspection, reflection, and self awareness. As I explored ways in which I could do this, it became obvious that while I …

Regression to the mean

It’s about time for me to regress to the mean. For those of you who have read Daniel Kahneman‘s best seller, you’ll understand where I’m coming from. He talks a great deal about luck, optimism and probability – all of which have been in my favor for far too long. Some of you have heard my casual explanation for the world’s way of “re-balancing” in the past, but he does a great job of explaining it in a much more scientific way.The reason is simple. When I signed up for the ultramarathon 3 months ago, I never expected to actually place. I wrote it down as a stretch goal in my training diary and promptly forgot about it. It wasn’t until check point 3, 15 km into the first race day, that the goal truly felt within reach. The staff told me that the female front runner was only 100 meters ahead and openly laughed at my shock. While I never managed to catch her, I am very proud of my sub-12 hour time. The …