To Heros: Anthony Bourdain

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When I learned that Bourdain trained Jiu Jitsu in NYC, I felt another level of potential and pride on my way to the mats.

His show, Parts Unknown, opened worlds to me and became a reference point to me in my own travels.

Bourdain’s warmth and directness informed my poise and influenced my confidence in showing up whole.

Tony eating the hog head cheese at the boucherie.

Suicide is real. It’s not a virus that catches some folks. That little darkness that dims your light is real. Reach out to your people. Let them know you’re there–that you got their back.

S/o to Anthony Bourdain and the parts I know of the world and of myself because of this hero.

At 8am today I learned that Anthony Bourdain, at 61, took his own life. 

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2018: Forward.

2018: Forward.

what a fun year.

Master of None Season 2 Episode: “New York, I love you” was the best thing I watched.

Learned Optimism & Behold the Dreamers split the most useful things I’ve read.

In 2017 I zoned in. It’s led me to experiences in China/Mongolia/Taiwan/Hong Kong/Japan and a smattering of language alongside. It’s allowed stronger communication and more clarity with myself and others. It’s a process-a dance. I’m swaying and learning.

It’s been a year since we spoke on this topic; goals, aims, life.

2018 is another year. It’s not make or break. There’s no new year/new us. It’s about building on 2017: embracing joy, wrapping the self with happiness, and eluding bad habits. Raising the importance of mantras learned in 2017. Less is better. Fewer, but better. Ego is the enemy. And then the newest, if your mind is only as flexible as your body then your heart can only as happy as your body. The mind is the priority and inso the body to take it there. 181 lbs.

2017 is in the context of 2021. As is 2018. This is my decade of learning. I can improve with daily diligence. It is some matter of luck and the universe plotting in my favor which has me able to share that I am directionally positive. Progressing on my aims of growth, financial soundness, instilling purpose [a healthy loving relationship, running a team/org effectively.] These are my aims for the end of the decade. The remainder of this decade is towards work, experiences, journeying.

Borrowing from The US Military’s TheMilitaryLeader, “67,108 is the speed that the Earth is traveling around the Sun. 67,108 miles per hour. Since you’ve been reading this post, we have traveled about 500 miles of a 1.6 million mile daily journey at 67,108 miles per hour.”

We’re a blimp in a big universe of possibility and history. I’m hoping to make it count while making it fun.

Con abrazos, besos, y mucho suerte,

Marv


On the last day of every year I visit the year behind me and set intentions for the year ahead of me. These aren’t resolutions. These are about me setting my vision and direction. These help me tread towards the human I want to be. 2013201420152016, and 2017.

 

My buddy Brooke wrote a 10 year forward piece. This reflection was about her experiences upon finishing High School 10 years ago. She wrote it steeped in that day with plenty of adjectives to help draw the realness of being in her shoes then and to have us sniffing the wind today.

It was a great read. That’s good writing.

Check it out.

From Shanghai

I feel so welcomed. I got to catch a buddy of mine who’s working on Dyad, a company that helps Chinese students navigate the application ecosystem into top international universities. It’s a broad problem to solve, but those problems are where the best of entrepreneurship should be focused. We spent two hours doing breakfast and dove into a lot of different things that I want to make mention of:

  • spaces to experiement & have low-impact failure is gold. college environments are great in supporting that for entrepreneurship. The ‘real’ world doesn’t look that way.
  • on a singular and social level we can create safer spaces by not taking ourselves too seriously. Learning from Worldfaith’s mantra: We don’t have to take ourselves seriously to take our work seriously. Turn down the pressure. Let people be people and find whats best about them, plan around that. It’s probably good to know what you’re good/not so good at too if your plans involve others. Sometimes you’ll learn by fire, but wouldn’t it be great if the fire was a little lower–we’d all walk away with new lessons and fewer scars.
  • on an institutional level lack of justice/income inequality and a large variance in ‘the American experience’ can be to blame for some of this unfriendliness in our real world. what do those solutions look like? Job training programs? Maybe.
  • if we just train for the vocation are we putting folks into a peg & leaving them there? What about the larger potential of people. Can we solve both of those problems viably in this economic model?
  • mental models. find yours. the most effective people seem to hold a couple.
  • you’re on your journey. They’re on theirs. Don’t compare your story to someones highlight reel.
  • something I took away (hypothesis): highly functioning groups of people seem to be centered around people who are focused on individual self-development.

Be honest. Be yourself. Speak your truth. There’s tons of life to be lived–Live it. Living your curiosity might be non-traditional, but being different is not a requirement. Find something you want to do and then find a way of making it happen. For us–right now–that is finding ways to make living abroad work. It wasn’t until our conversation today that I realized I’d earned a place in that crew.

Journeys are long. Life can afford us the priviledge of walking with others. Don’t feel compelled to walk with anyone and don’t feel the need to abruptly end a journey. One foot in front of the other, eyes straight and remain open to the possiblity of your paths crossing–or not. It’s all in good fun.

Onwards & Upwards, from Shanghai.

The Affairs of Life wrote today on the lens we see each other through: friends, acquaintances, frenemies. It’s true: everyone’s just figuring life out. Yeah, for some folks it looks different–and if it is indeed better– hoorah to them. Let’s celebrate them for doing them and us for doing us.

Don’t compare your journey to their highlight reel. We’ve all got a path to walk.

++if folks belittle you or make you feel as less, remember that you’re dope simply because you exist. No job makes you adequate. Your breathing and your presence does.++

Onwards and Upwards. Along this journey we go.

 

My friend Nikhita Kamath shared her #MeToo experience, capping them off with these powerful words:

Just a reminder that every male can choose to be the guy who adds to the problem, or they can choose to be the guy who stands up against it… and not just in words, but in actions.

Then my friend Sahil Rahman posted to say:
I’m not a bad man, I’m not a good guy, I’m waking up within a rape culture learning everyday what it means to feed life instead of stealing it. #itwasme
– Copy/paste if you have ever contributed to harassment and rape culture or failed to confront or prevent it. Don’t leave it up to the women, gender non-conforming folks, and smaller number of men who have suffered sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape, to address a problem they didn’t cause.”
#Iwill keep educating myself on the issue and would love to engage in dialogue with those who want to delve deeper into what we can do and where we can go from here.

 

It’s wild what we run from

When I was packing up my apartment in Brooklyn and thinking about all my travels a friend of mine told me to consider what are you running from and what are you running towards. I’ve considered that question a lot, particularly as this year has wholly and solely been about travel.

I’m running towards a wider lens.

More cultural understanding, more languages, more relationships, more on-the-ground experiences. Some of that culminated this morning when a VC that I follow, Fred Wilson, wrote about his experience in Shanghai Bikeshare and how we’d like to see NYC take some lessons from them.

To the passing eye Ofo & all the companies out there are great–I love the services and price point they provide, but an a quick in-market perspective shows that there are larger issues to having.

Here’s what he wrote

I’m a big Citibike user in NYC. I take it to and from work sometimes. I take it to and from the ferries a lot. And I use it to get twenty or thirty blocks in 5-10 mins when I don’t have the time to walk it.But one thing I don’t like about Citibike is the anxiety around having an empty docking spot at your preferred destination kiosk. If there are no empty docks, you have to go to the nearest one in search of an empty dock. I’ve sometimes had to try three or four kiosks which is very frustrating.

Here in Shanghai, they do things a bit differently, and I think a bit better.

The bike share bikes are everywhere that we’ve been in Shangahi but they don’t dock in kiosks. They just lock up when you end your ride and the next person unlocks them with an app on their phone.

And here’s what I was able to reply with:

Adding some context that may not be immediately visible: with the lack of docking infrastructure in that bikes get left all over/muddled up in heaps. Those firms (ofo, etc) pay trucks to go collect them from around the city/where they are & disperse them around the city. That wasn’t built infrastructure, originally the government was tasked with the cleanup—citizens weren’t happy.
This is doable in China with low labor/transport costs, but I dont want it to seem like that doesn’t impact burn rate—it does.
Financing these companies, and accounting for the competitive rates that the 4,5 bike share companies have played into (way under market pricing), means a lot of TBD floating capital investments (that have also led to bloated valuations [read: Ofo].
I wonder how decentralizing bikeshare in NYC can work for investors/stakeholders.
I wonder what we can learn from their bumps/bruises to have a softer landing here at home.
Cheers from sunny Harlem,
These are insights that couldn’t exist unless someone spent some time in Beijing/Shanghai. I’ve got ways to go on my Mandarin and I don’t expect to be fluent anytime soon—or maybe never, but I’m eager for the adventures I’m on seeing the world and beginning to see how they may materialize for clients, companies, and maybe someday investors that finance built infrastructure.
How amazing it would be if this could culminate to influence more opportunity for communities that I identify with [traditionally not thought about] through new business and better infrastructure.
Next stop: Delhi. (next week though 😉 )