Saturday, July 28, 2012

Positive Culture

  • The social, cultural and work environments where we spend most of our times, especially as adults, can be very limiting for the expression of the full potential of our humanity in our communities. We can almost say that not only there are factors stopping us from being the best we can be but also encouraging us to show the poorest qualities we can hold as human beings: greed, selfishness, apathy, judgement, hypocrisy, violence, addictions and all sorts of other characteristics.
  • I believe that I can use sport/ultimate disc as a petri dish to create culture mediums to grow the best human qualities of participants. 
  • The program will encourage, rebuild and create strong local interaction and personal relationships through the development of positive club culture.
  • Through the creation of business model canvases, participants will be able to create culture mediums or add ingredients to medium recipes to obtain positive club culture (a culture is positive when it brings the best human qualities of its participants). 
  • Participants will be able to identify what culture medium (a.k.a business model canvas) has been the most successful at growing the best human qualities of its participants. 
  • It will provide a business-like approach that allows the identification of potential participants outside the immediate local community.
  • After success with individual participants at the local level, it will expand to other volunteer based organizations. 
  • It will change the current cultural meaning of work (Boring, purposeless and just for money)

The inspiration:

Most people do or try to spend 40+ hours a week at their jobs (or jobs' related activities) to "survive in this world". Jobs are usually boring, lack meaning and/or purpose by definition (job is what you do for a pay) and they should be done by machines, hence industrialization and human labor replacement by technology when cheaper. The business model canvas of today's employment environment has being a key ingredient for creating a negative culture, which is to say, a culture that brings the poorest human qualities of its participants. It encourages inhuman treatment to humans (think of any military body, prison, many academic institutions, corporations and multinationals, banking system and institutions, fast food industry, chemical industry) and of course to the human surroundings. Governments try to fight unemployment by creating more jobs rather than fight lack of purpose and loss of human qualities by creating more work opportunities.

If people had a magic wand, they would create an environment that enhances the best of the human qualities. People wouldn't go to prison, they would be treated in adequate environments provided with programs aimed at social inclusion, not seclusion. Wars would be unnecessary, human rights would be systematically covered, it would be impossible not to. The creation of this environment implies the provision of meaning and purpose to what people do to make it happen. The actions involved in the process become work, it cannot be mechanized because it is unique to the exceptional qualities that emerge in each individual. 

The general goal of the program is to allow individuals to experiment with the conditions that could create such environments using Ultimate Disc as the social sample. The program addresses the need for humans to be able to be, express and manifest the best of their qualities in every aspect of their lives. It facilitates the transition from a job market to a work environment.

How does the program solve the need??

Making clear the difference between job and work is essential. Most of the world population has a job and plays a specific role within a company or organization. Very few individuals can say that what they do every day of their lives is their heartfelt motivation and inspiration to leave their homes and that it brings absolute meaning to their lives. The program shifts the language and focus from job for a pay for survival, to meaning and purpose in every action, which is the essence of work. 

My passion for Ultimate Disc is priceless. To bring the best of the human qualities from people is my purpose and what gives meaning to my work as a coach. I would like to offer my work as a gift to my local community. A gift is a gift. I am not selling my gift. Participants will have the opportunity to give back 1) to me through others by choosing from my wish list of items I'd like to get. These items don't have to be purchased, they can be borrowed from a library and brought to me, photocopied, copied, second limits to imagination. 2) to me by giving to others through my list of favorite organizations to support. 3) To me by using the qualities you have strengthened through the program to improve the local community. 4) To me by enhancing the experience of the Ultimate Disc program participants with your work as a gift. Or 5) To me by helping me get things done.

Program Feature List and Benefits (In progress)

Training Sessions: 3 times a week that complement each other and reinforce the concepts learned from different angles. It gives continuity to the topics covered, allows progression and room for feedback for coming sessions. 

Day 1 of the week: Focus on throwing and Catching (fitness, strategy and game experience secondary but covered)
Day 2 of the week: Focus on fitness and strategy (throwing, catching and game experience secondary but covered)
Day 3 of the week: Focus on game experience (throwing, catching, fitness and strategy secondary but covered)

Training session contents (to be sent prior the session via email to those with internet access)

Equipment Needed:
Life Insights: Short exercises and energizing chats or games to introduce a concept of life that would be experienced during the session or drill (Example 1: Practice. "I hear - I forget, I see - I remember, I do - I understand" - Chinese Proverb. Sessions are designed to required as little instruction as possible. 83% of what we learn occurs through seeing and doing. Do you have examples of learning experiences where you've been told the lesson and you don't remember it now??. Example 2: Self-trust. "We teach what we need to learn". Thankfully, no body knows it all. I do not know all the answers to every aspect of the game. I am still learning my own game style and you are developing yours. Example 3: Patience and respect: It takes a baby about a year to start walking, give your best in everything you do but know that you are in a process. I can't teach you how to walk by crawling around you. You are capable of doing what I do and then master your own walking style when you get there. I won't teach you low standards of the game as if you are not good enough to walk when you're ready) 
Introduction (Aims/goals for session, reminders, etc.)
Warm Up activities.
Drills and Games.
Coaching tips/questions/challenges.
Class management/energizers.
Cool-Down activities.
Review/evaluation (Key points from session, what worked and what did not, modifications for next session, etc.)

Ecosystem of Gratitude (Explore how you can give and how you can set up a giving system using business model canvas and other tools)

Wish list: I have a list of things I'd love to have access to. I offer this list to the best of me and you and know that things will come if and when required. My most desired immediate wish is to be able to provide organic food to my family table. 

Favorite Organizations: I use this Netvibes dashboard to follow all my sources of inspiration. Help me help some of these organizations by donating to them.

Help me getting things done: Every day I have a list of things to do in Nozbe. You can have a look and see if there is anything you can help me tick off.

Improve the program: If you have an idea that could make the program better and/or could enhance the experience and life of its participants, I'll help you set up your system so that you can also offer your gifts and give participants an additional ecosystem to express their gratitude. Here is where we start experimenting with different recipes applying business model canvas. The north of your compass is to bring the best human qualities out of the people you will offer your gift to.

Improve your local community: If you have an idea that could improve our local community, I'll help you set up your system so that you can also offer your gifts and give participants an additional ecosystem to express their gratitude. This is an opportunity outside of the social sample of program to start experimenting with different recipes applying business model canvas in the general community. The north of your compass is to bring the best human qualities out of the people you will offer your gift to.

Links to be provided and canvas to be updated soon. Did you that if I win US$1000 I can register the foundation to operate the program?? If you like this draft and want me to go be able to operate legally, you can vote for my story of sharing, share it and help me win!! 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"Share or Die" contest

Non-English speakers please select language on the left hand side of this blog. Translation will not perfect and you'll be given the opportunity to improve the translation as you move your mouse around the post.

Today I want to ask for 10 minutes of your time. I entered the Share or Die Contest with a story of sharing that I named "And Sacred Productivity was born!!". The link will take you to the actual site for the story. However, I am sharing the story here so that it can be shared to other non English speakers. Public votes are a big factor for stories to win. The prize is $1000 dollars to the participating sharing business of my choice or I can also propose where to invest the money. I would like to be able to use it to register a sports foundation through which I will strive to bring up the best version of each human participant through Ultimate Disc for free, or rather, as a gift. If you like my story, you need to register to vote either via facebook or create a free quick account. Voting closes in one week. Please feel free to share this message around if you think it is worth it.

If you have an extra 5 minutes, you can have a read at the first draft of what I plan to offer through Ultimate Disc here, although there is a new version to the draft coming soon. 

Thank you so much for your time and many blessings to all!!

And Sacred Productivity was born!!

There is a version of me that forgives everybody and everything, that loves unconditionally, that doesn't judge people or criticize. This version of me doesn't get stressed with the futile worries of daily life, it cries with the violence, absorbs it and transforms it in light, love and peace. This version of me embraces change and thrives in it, breaths calmness and peace, lives in the art of 100% unconditional giving and accepts and receives love in its many shapes. That version of me is most of the time covered by my usual me. I found it only deep within my heart, it speaks to me everyday and often I choose to ignore it and pretend is just my imagination. What my sharing experience brought to me was one of the most valuable insights I've ever had and led me to commit to the most challenging promise I've ever made: From now on, everything I do will be offered to that which allows the best version of me to exist.

Through Couchsurfing, we had a couple of travelers making use of bits and pieces of our house for three weeks while they were working at a mandarin farm. They lived in their self-contained van in our parking spot. In the end it felt like we were saying good bye to close friends. The relationship that developed was invaluable and there were tangible gifts and exchanges while they stayed here which made all part of the beautiful experience. However, the biggest impact they had in my life was through their job.

At this mandarin farm the boy was a picker. Paid AUD$50 per trolley one day he pushed himself to exhaustion to get 4 trolleys full and he never did it again. Another day, he and some others were asked to pick from a row of trees where the fruit was so high and cold they would only have made one trolley for the day...they refused to do it and were moved to a different row. Packing girls sort mandarins 8 hours a day without being allowed social interaction other than in their legal breaks. Cranky supervisors making sure people were appropriately behaving like machines would walk around all day. The guy would come home with sore and kind of injured hands, everyday he would say to himself that would be the last day he would do it, only to come back the day after and make himself the same promise. Nobody was allowed to take mandarins day, my girl guest found out that 2 trucks full of mandarins where thrown away every single day, kilos and kilos of mandarins that didn't meet the social criteria for perfect shiny fruit. One little box of those made it to my house thanks to her frustration for so much waste, the world hunger, the environmental consequence, the thought of it happening in every farm, the fact that the farm had previously lied saying that they were juicing mandarins and the fact that they didn't want everybody to know otherwise their business could collapse. This box was of nice and juicy mandarins, not perfect, but nice and juicy. The ones that make it to supermarkets have their skin waxed to add shine and value to the fruit although it only takes 2 minutes to peel them and throw their skin away.

I truly believe that human beings are not on this planet to become machines, nor to force others to become one. For long I have been developing ideas on how to dismantle this false belief, how to create the kind of work where we can fully express the best version of each of us. Often I fall prey of the frustration and lose hope. Sharing my house with this couple brought to me something I was losing, they made my heart yell at me and say "look!! you need to keep going!!! chose me and I'll do it, put it in my hands, I can do it through you...just let me. I can be the best you, I know how, I am the best version of you, much more than what you can imagine".

The result of this call was a new approach to dealing with actions in this world, something I now call Sacred Productivity (SP), which is a kind of productivity that heals doing and being. I am never sure that the 1001 ideas that occur to me are the right ideas or what needs to be done about them. They quite often overwhelm me. I like Charles Einstein's view where both the earthly and the spiritual unite in sacredness, and in my view, they are both part of God's sacredness. I live in this world, I can't help it. Many Christians say that God put each of us here for a reason, that each of us has a purpose to be on the earth. I share that view and SP is my way to discover the purpose God has for me. Every day, I have a list of things I want to do. I print it out and I offer it to God deep in my heart where He knows that I'm only striving to be the best version of me, the best version of me is who God wants me to be... I just don't know what the best version of me does and how it acts in the world, so I offer every action of my day to God. During the day many ideas come, I find interesting info I think I might use, so I capture it all and put it all together in a long list. By the end of the day I review what I did and what I gathered. I offer my entire SP system of ideas and actions to God again looking for guidance as to what tasks to chose for the next day. In the morning I offer my SP system again and review it in case I feel called to add or take things off the "To do" list. It has been an amazing journey however short so far. I hope I can share the fruits of this kind of doing with the world.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My First ever (draft) Product Brief!!!

  • Today, most societies have an antagonistic relationship with money and work, money is taking place where relationships used to be.
  • I believe that through sports, I can offer the opportunity to build an nonthreatening environment to learn how to create value and improve our communities without depending on money. 
  • Aboriginal Australians can teach us a lot about the art of giving and living without money.
  • It will encourage, rebuild and create strong local interaction and personal relationships through the development of positive club culture.
  • Participants can use it to put ideas, skills and passions to test regardless of their experience by developing ideas for the team using business model canvas and process, thus contributing to build a positive club structure. 
  • Millions of people will give shape to a new economic paradigm by doing something they couldn't do before.
  • It will provide a business-like approach that allows the identification of potential users outside the immediate community.
  • After success with individual participants at the local level, it will expand to other volunteer based organizations. 
  • It will change the current cultural meaning of work (Boring, purposeless and just for money)
  • Millions of organizations will be able to create value and offer their services without the limitations and restrictions of scarce money.

The inspiration:

The biggest pain I recognize is that people would like to do something completely different with their lives but they can't take the risk to discover what that is because their basic needs won't be covered. People can't look at creating the work that brings meaning to their lives because money is always limiting what they can or cannot do. 

If people had a magic wand, they would create a system where every single person has basic needs covered regardless of what they do for their communities. It becomes a right that as a human, you don't have to struggle to get what you need to live with dignity (pay rent, pay bills, nurturing and quality food, access to clean water, air, quality education and health).

The general goal of the product is to allow individuals to be able to explore what they could do in their communities to create and exchange value without the limitation of money (or lack of it). Although there are many problems in our over dependency on money, this product addresses the need for humans to be able to be, express and manifest the best they have to offer. Something that currently is not possible due to the anxiety produced by the fear of not being able to pay for survival. It has those who are unemployed, changing careers, looking for meaningful work, change agents, change makers and volunteer based organizations in mind.

How does the product solve those problems or needs??

Aboriginal Australians had lived without money until the British colonization. It seems to me that money still does not play a key role in their societies and to the extent that it gains territory in their lives, their social links are lost. If we could co-create an environment where on one side they could share their wisdom about non-money-dependent living and on the other we could compile that wisdom in structures of value (business models) and then we take those models to mainstream society, we could offer the opportunity of a non-threatening environment where people can experiment through real life situations at a scale where basic needs are not involved, how value can be created and exchanged without being dependent on money. The social links and relationships required to make this happen may start to emerge in a way that can lead to actually supplying basic needs based on a different kind of economy that we are yet to discover. 

My proposal is to offer the local Aboriginal community with a sport option where I'd offer all the coaching at absolutely no cost. As trainings sessions go on, each individual participant will have the chance to examine what they want the team to become and what is needed, that I'm not offering, to get there. As they identify these gaps, each participant will be able to develop a proposition to present why their concern is important (Gap, why they would embark in the process, Vision of their solution), what they think should be done about it and how (personal business model or resume to the team) and what their level of participation would be (leader, team member, occasional contributor). With the emerging personal canvas, the team would be able to know what's on offer and participants would be able to choose to join proposals at will. No max nor min of participants per proposal. Proposals who do not receive support from other participants can still move forward with one person. Self-organization through open space facilitation will allow the team to develop the proposals that are more needed at the time.

As groups appear and disappear while the team attempts to reach its objective, the team as such may (or may not) start to discover a pattern of what it does for the communities it is involved in. Then, the team will face the opportunity to create an organizational business model based on creation and exchange of true value that does not depend on pricing, but on evident need in order to be exchanged. 

Product Feature List and Benefits

Something new? Better?faster? Cheaper?
New!! Explore how to create a meaningful work for you and those around you without risking your current financial situation.

Introductory presentation: 
  • You'll know everything about the project and will be able to ask as many questions as you like (Why I am doing it (Culture, bringing the best of human beings), coaching philosophy (Bring the best out of your opposition, if that means that we lose the game, you'll know that you played the best you possibly could and you'd rest assured that so did your team. Practice to bring the best out of your opposition by bringing the best out of your team mates and you in every single training session), project draft plan. 
  • Tournament Schedule and brainstorming session will give the team the opportunity to set objectives to pursue in terms of competition and would provide the base for gap detection. (Choose a tournament you'd like to go to, what do you want to get out of that tournament both as an individual and as a team and why, what do we (you as an individual and us as a team) need to do to get there).
Bi-Monthly Business Model Process Presentations: A series of bi-monthly presentations that will take participants into the activities related to each step of the Personal Business Model Generation and Customer Development Process.
  • We will explore how our ideas to improve the team can create value, how to validate them, do research, implement them and manage them based on a very flexible and adaptable business model concept.

Training Sessions: 3 days a week (Mon, Wed, Sat or Sun / Tue, Thu, Sat or Sun /  Mon, Thu, Sat or Sun).

  • Gain knowledge of the game that will let the group identify gaps, problems or deficiencies where things could be done better or should not be done at all. Participants can decide if they want to solve them through the Personal Business Model Generation and Customer Development Process and value creation can be identified and structured. 
  • Develop awareness, game skills, knowledge and exposure. Bring the best of your humanity in every aspect of your life through sport. 
Fort-nightly report accessible to the team:
  • A written physical report handed in every two weeks at training session that would detail the personal experience in working on your ideas. Are you stuck somewhere? What obstacles, both internal and external are you finding on your journey?? What solutions to your obstacles have you tried?? Did they work? Yes/No and why. It will help you explore your personal commitment to be your best. It will feed the team with useful information where we may find common traits and issues. It will help us to know more of you. I'll be able to relate to you more personally rather than just as a coach. I will write a general report back to the team every fort-night with the highlights of the feedbacks. 
Bi-Monthly gatherings.
  • Participants would present to the team the progress they've made in generating their business models and would get feedback to apply in their projects.

What do I want to learn from this experience?

What are the necessary relationships that need to be created to offer value in a non-money-dependent society?? 
What are the or some of the missing elements required to create sustainable communities??
How can we capture traditional and aboriginal wisdom about living (non-money-dependent living) in structures that allow western societies to understand the value created and given in non-monetary-based societies??
How can western society share its value creation concepts with aboriginal or indigenous communities in a non-invasive way that allows conversation and leads to mutual understanding and cohesion?? 

From who?

Aboriginal communities, business model fans and experts, western sharing and gift communities and initiatives, volunteering organizations, volunteers.

I am also quite excited to share my 1st ever personal business canvas!!! It still needs work of course but it is coming together!! I can't tell you how exciting this is!!. Check here to see the canvas.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Greatest Gift to Humanity.

Although I have immensely enjoyed the journey of coming up with a business model, I have also had a consistent feeling of anxiety. After I read Sacred Economics, I started to think about what it means to be able to give. If I want to be part of a gift economy and build a business model that works under these conditions I need to understand deeply what giving means to me and how I've been giving to others in my daily life. In exploring that, I saw how I was denying myself of a peaceful way of living when pursuing this dream. I would try to get work done while my 2 years old son was around wanting to play with me, I would deny time to my husband after we put our son to bed, because I had things to move forwards. And I am not saying that is wrong. If your conditions allow it to be that way that is great, but in my case it wasn't a matter of mutual consent. I was straining my own relationships with my family and myself. I think that in the context of a gift economy, that doesn't make sense at all. How can I expect myself to give to others in the community and, as Charles Einstein suggests, know the needs of my community when I don't even fulfill the needs of my own family, which indicates I don't fulfill my own emotional needs?!? 

To me, the experience of building a business model implied to be able to know the needs of people. In a way I think I nailed it: If people were to have their basic needs covered, they (we) would be doing something very different with their (our) lives. How we would be able to establish a system that would allow us to keep our basic needs covered became part of the value proposition and the gift economy was the environment in which it would evolve. But I was following books' strategies and methodologies that, while I still deeply believe in them, where taking me deeper and deeper into my status of anxiety, many times without knowing what I needed to do next. At some stage one night in front of the computer I stopped and thought: "Why am I doing this to myself?? What am I putting so much stress and pressure for?? And why am I taking my family with me down this hole?!?" And then the most powerful thought I had that let my idling until today: "Regardless of what I do, the world is going to where it needs to go!!" That sentence has taken me to an entire new dimension in my life. One that has much more to do with my spiritual/religious believes than anything else. I haven't been able to keep working on the business model. From that day on, I feel like I am in "The Matrix" and a huge program of spirituality is being downloaded and I needed to stop the doing-stage. 

Also, Charles argues that the foundation of the problems in our societies today, lies in the sense of separation from one another and everything we see around us. I immediately felt connected with these words, I have been feeling that for too long and had never found anybody who would relate it to the topic of economics. The sense of separation is one that connects with my own experience of spirituality, which has been framed in Christianity. And this insight, or seeing my thought expressed in Charles' book has propelled me to explore more of my own understanding of Christianity and the role it plays in my life. It is unfortunate that I might be turning off some people by acknowledging this, but I can assure you that I'll be turning off more Christians once I start sharing my thoughts on Christianity. Surprisingly enough, having left Catholicism many many years ago, I found someone who being a Trappist monk would agree with Charles almost completely and adds that "unless this radical problem is addressed, societies, which are made up of a bunch of false (apparently separate) selves, is not gonna do to well. And that is why to take a determination not to contribute to the messiness of the world by adding our own false self projects to it is one of the greatest gifts you can give to humanity, and if enough people do this then society will be transformed and without it I don't think it can be" (emphasis and comments added). 

Although I truly believe that I nailed the problem, I am also unsure as to whether the solution I am offering is not one of many of my false-self's projects. In a way, it feels like it is and that is why I have to go deeper and start from that place. Every time I have said that this project has moved forwards, I realized now that what I meant is that I have been moving inwards, which is probably more important or more essential than moving forwards. I nailed a problem, but this problem is not real in the sense that it has been created by our false selves, our false sense of separation from anything and everything, by our selfish and lost selves and accumulated through many generations of selfishness, which is not who we really are. I also think that the problem I have found is at the bottom of the spectrum of the false self. We can't go any further down or any lower than this. Think about it, we have reached a point where we think that people have to "earn" and "deserve" the right to live!! If we want food, clean water, clean air and live in harmony with the rest of humanity and the rest of life itself, we have to "earn" it and "deserve" it, which is, we have to enslave ourselves to do something we find absolutely purposeless to create false value in our societies and be able to survive, as if we could!!. Once life is conceived and a baby is born, they have to learn how to 'earn and deserve' their spot in the world. Being alive is not enough of a fact to deserve the entitlements that life brings with it (nurturing food, harmony in and with nature, the safest and  greatest of the inventions of the human heart). What can be more dysfunctional than that?? 

Any solution or set of solutions to this ultimate reality created by the false self, has to come from the true self and to do that, we have to discover who we really are so that we can act from there. Any solution that would ensure your basic needs are covered regardless of who you are and what you do, the same way a baby's needs are covered by its parents regardless of how many poos they do, or how many nights they leave their parents sleep deprived, requires the one and only real form of love which is unconditional, and that love only comes from who we really are because that is what's in us ever since we are born. From my perspective, a solution from a true self involves being able  to love anybody regardless of their acts, involves being able to see the madness, absorb it, forgive it and transform it, it implies to be able to give ourselves completely to whatever the situation is that appears in our lives, even if we decide not to be involved in that situation, the decision is made from our whole selves. In a gift economy we don't give ourselves selectively and conditionally, we can decide not to give, but the decision is made from the same place of unconditional love to the situation and when when we do give, it is wholly...or I should say holy. We want to help the world and be to others what we struggle to be to our own families and in turn, to ourselves. "Being the change we want to see in the world" is a huge task and it starts internally by helping and forgiving oneself first. We are activist for the health of the environment and we struggle to look after our own health. we want to be gentle to others and we are harsh to our own minds with a draining self talk. And I'm not saying this is wrong, I am only stating my observation of my own life and concluding that I want to love myself so that I can love others. I can't fill up others' love tank if mine is empty. I don't believe that there is only one way to get to know who we are, but I find in my own understanding of God and Jesus Christ, a message that rings true.

I think it is time for Love: The Verb to come to live and share many of the conclusions and insights I've had lately. I don't know what will happen from now on but it is very likely that future writings will come through that blog. I want to offer this space, New Economics for Humanity, to anyone who wants to share their journey in learning and building the new cultural/economic story. I've been using it as the space where I unload my brain and heart and it has been an absolutely beautiful has taken me where I am and I think I am at a very good stage right now. I want to offer that opportunity to anybody who feels like it. You can write your own experience of your own project here as a contributor to the blog. I am not sure how blogger contributions work but just in case, every entry you make would have a tag with your name plus any additional tags you choose so that people know your work. Contact me if you're interested.

Last but not least, here is the 15 min video of Father Thomas Keating, the trappist monk I mentioned before. I wrote part of his explanation below in the hope that it will invite you to actually watch the video.  It is a conversation with an former alcoholic who gives a scientific perspective to the topic from the field of psychology. Comments are welcome.

"The separate self the basic source of every human problem...because is the separate self sense that deposes reality...and which creates our own self and ultimately our own on one hand you have this basic oneness of everything that is in its source, and the basic issue of separating ourselves from that oneness which then means we are separating ourselves from our true selves and from everybody else and from the cosmos in the various degrees in which we sin, meaning we miss the mark. To miss the mark is to fail to recognize the truth of a situation. So the separate self sense is what all the religions are trying to cure, as far as I can see.
...Happiness is confused with the gratification of the instinctual instincts of a child (security, power and control, affection, esteem and approval) and these grow into the false self and the ego and so you come to adulthood with this baggage of possessive attitudes towards yourself and the world and other people. That can't possibly work in an adult life, but unfortunately you have to live with 6 billion other people who have the same problem, so it's no wonder there is social problems!! Because unless this radical problem is addressed, societies, which are made up of a bunch of false selves, is not gonna do too well. And that is why to take a determination not to contribute to the messiness of the world by adding our own false self projects to it is one of the greatest gifts you can give to humanity, and if enough people do this then society will be transformed and without it I don't think it can be. That's why religion, whatever its forms the only foreseeable path that leads most people to the experience of God...other things can...but the holistic and concentrated ways that religion addresses the human problem are unmatched but they also have to be gradually transcended not by rejection but by taking the steps in which we relate to God more and more maturely as we grow as human beings into adulthood and love is certainly very crucial in motivating us to do so. 
The dramas that we couldn't face as children (including religious dramas)...are still lingering there...cheerfully reinforcing the separate self sense and the ego and its projects which are oppose to contemplation. But the problem is that contemplation by itself is not opens the unconscious in a way that is a contribution to this process but we also have to embrace daily life and to bring to it this sense of responsibility to the transformative process in which we are prepared to see our mixed motivation...and this is what retards the process and instead of being able to complete it in 4 years, it may take 20, 30 or 40 or never!! The central issue and the complementary movement towards divine love is growth in humility, which is the acceptance of the reality of ourselves, our own weaknesses, limitations or as AA put it, our unmanageable lives, and contemplative prayer will bring you to the same stage of feeling that your life as you are living it is unmanageable. So that is a triumph not a disaster and it happens through Contemplative Prayer without the inconveniences of being an alcoholic (laughter). It's a more humane procedure (laughter)."

 (emphasis and comment added)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Personal Efforts to Create a Sacred Economy

The last big thing I was in, was putting a team together. At some point the decision was "yes, I need a team". Two friends expressed interest in being on board, one of them has been involved for a couple of months now, and another one came in very recently. The process however has been slow if not stagnant: We still are trying to get us 3 to email our personal visions and goals with this project, not even the shared vision yet. So I figured it was going to take way longer that what I had thought it would...if anything happened at all. 

Another factor that came to mind was the comment by one of them who told me in relation to this post "we can't really wait...the world can't wait until you finish a Ph.D...that's between 3 to 7 years!!". It made complete sense. I started to hear a lot about the word "solopreneur" and I thought maybe that's what I am, or maybe that's the role I need to play right now. That doesn't mean I'm saying no to others, or that I decided to forget about the team. It means that I'll start (again) while the team gets moving. If it doesn't move, then I'll have something to keep working with rather than just sitting and waiting.

So...that's probably the front page of the newspaper. I'll give it a go as a solopreneur. After reading Business Model You and in combination with inspiration from the book Sacred Economics by Charles Einstein, I started to think that my blogs are my products and the general "hub", The New Economics for Humanity, is my organization. If I am a solopreneur, then I need to understand and make the appropriate changes to my personal business model. I need to understand what sort of value I provide within my own organization, that is, who do I help? How? How do I interact?? How do others know me and how do I deliver? how do I interact with them? What do I do?? Who Am I and what do I have?? Who helps me?? What do I give and what do I get?? These are the building blocks of a personal business model. 

That's my new standing point. Now the question is, how can I make of this blog a business that is aligned with what I believe, that allows me to behave like a cell of the earth??. I also have to start drawing a business model canvas for the NEH as an organization. Here is where I'm going to start applying the concepts of Steve Blank (customer development), Alexander Ostenwalder (Business Model Generation), Tim Clark (Business Model You) and Charles Einstein (Sacred Economics). These books are what I call my business combo. 

In the midst of all this, I found myself inspired by a friend whose recent story pushed me to explore a new idea. And this new idea can actually make use of some skills I've been acquiring since 2005. It involves sports (ultimate disc) and Aboriginals, from whom I'm hoping to learn about cash less economics and understand who they are. If it all starts moving, it will be interesting to see if and how the club incorporates indigenous traditions and western culture specially to be able to overcome some potential financial issues that may arise (think about getting uniforms, flying to and paying for tournaments). Find the proposal here

The journey looks promising and daunting at the same time. I have restrained myself from writing enormous amounts of blog posts until I start something officially. My new addition to the library is now home with me (The Startup Owner's Manual by Steve Blank) and looks like I have a hell of work ahead of me. I never thought it was gonna be easy though.

Improving Productivity: Emails

My Gmail is clutter free and now...I don't check it every day!! Thank you activeinbox!!! I went from 2000 emails to 0 in one afternoon. Boring at the beginning, then I got the hang of it and started trashing things like it was the last day of my life....great feeling that of getting rid of so much stuff. I guess it feels the same when you finally face the house big clean up project that you've been avoiding for so long. Now I have another task...get my 3 old yahoo accounts in order and forwarding and filtering emails to gmail. I already started with one and still feel comfortable with getting so many emails and not really processing them straight away. Once I get to a number that looks kind of big (somewhere between 40 and 100 emails), then I go and process them all at once. By "processing" I mean, I open them, if they have links for me to read, I click the links and let them sit there until I finish with Gmail. Once I'm done with gmail, then I go to the open pages, if they are something I only need to skim, then I do so. If I'd like to read it properly then I use extension for Chrome wich pushes the article from the web to my kindle (it's been amazingly useful!! you can push things to your mobile if not a kindle user, check Usually, there is one day in the week where I find enough time to read the articles I've been pushing and I don't have to be in front of the computer.

With Activeinbox I can set up pretty useful labels in Gmail. So what I did was: In Nozbe I had a look at my projects and categorize them in my mind by "active", "inactive" and "closed". Then I went to Evernote and created the tag "Projects" with 3 subtags (active, inactive and closed), and in each subtag I created the relevant sub-subtags with the names that correspond to my Nozbe projects. Then I went to Gmail and configured my label types (C/ for Contexts, R/ for references P/ Projects and S/ for Status). The P/ type is consistent with what I have in both Nozbe and Evernote. 

When I create labels, then active inbox adds them at the top, integrated with Gmail's horizontal menu. The  good thing about it is that I can spend less time thinking about what I want to do with those emails or where I want them to go. If I've decided what it is that I need to do about it, then I click on "next action", which is a S/ type. I can also click on the Contexts drop down menu to assign it whether that task is an errand, call, at computer, etc. If the email belongs to a specific project, then I click on the "label" drop down menu and assign it accordingly. This "label" menu is the one that lets me assign emails to active, inactive and closed projects. I don't really understand why it assigned "label" as opposed to "projects" but, so far, it works for me like this so I'm not worried about it.

I'm not going to go much further because writing about it is probably not the best way to share the experience. I would be happy, however, to have a skype call, or call conference and share my screen to play a bit with the three tools so that you have more of an idea. Again, I'm still learning tips about all of them but I'm definitely making progress. It has reduced my "email checking time" considerably (to between 2 to 4 times a week as opposed to everyday and many times during the day) and I'm getting used to seeing emails piling up in my inbox until I make the decision to clean up. When I decide that "that's big enough a number" I go and get rid of them all in one go. 

At the moment I have a free account with ActiveInbox. When you're ready, you can start a 2 weeks trial of their premium service. I plan to do that once I have migrated all my emails into my gmail account to test the premium at its maximum. Give it a go if you are a Gmail user. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012


I've been reading The 4 Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank. I couldn't have decided to open the book and start reading at a better time! Just right for this new stage of the NEH and the Cells of the Earth project. So I thought I would start applying its advice, which in fact, is very related to Business Model Generation and I am very excited about the new book, The Startup Owner's Manual, with the integration of the two concepts, to be launched in March (pre-order: Ticked!). This book [The 4 steps to the epiphany] is all about the Customer Development concept and process. The first advice I took was what I read as "make sure anybody who might be in your team, knows and agrees to use the Customer Development process"...That is why I'm writing this.

So I thought that in order to agree on using the Customer development process, we need to know what the process is, what kind of effort it implies and what we're meant to do in each of the stages. To fulfill that need without having to buy the book I decided to go through a kind of painful process: Creating a Prezi about it. The editing is painful, but there are big rewards, the concepts are definitely staying in my mind. Here it is. I suggest you use the full screen mode to watch the presentation, otherwise some parts will be hard to read. It is not too visual, but it is definitely not as long as the gotta be kidding me!!...looking at how many pages the book has (282), I just found that there is a summary of all what I've been doing for the last 2 days...any's not too visual, but it is very helpful and very much worth it to make the decision to agree or not on it. I'm wondering if The Startup Owner's manual is going to change much what I know about Customer Development and Business Model Generation...just wondering.

After you play with the presentation, you'll notice I'm on Phase 0: Getting a team to buy-in the process, core values and to present my problem hypothesis and product vision so we can start Phase 1. I think this corresponds to the Mobilize stage of the Business Model Generation process, which I found hard to get going because I didn't really have the instructions I found in Blank's book. I also wanted to mention that I won't worry much about using the mainstream business vocabulary. Although I don't agree with much of it, I hope that the description of the hypothesis will put it clear what I am about. My intention is to use mainstream business vocabulary to start with and "upgrade" to what I'd think is a more appropriate vocabulary later, when the startup starts using its own invention to recreate itself. 

I'm using this evernote notebook to keep all my notes related to the first step of the Customer Develpment process, which is Customer Discovery. So everything you need to know about it, will be there. Check for updates.