Before we unpack this valuation, I need to first take a few steps back to tell you more about how we arrived here.
“Sometimes you need to blow everything up and start over.”—DB
That is precisely what it has felt like over the last few months. Ground zero. I could see pieces on the ground, but not enough to put the puzzle back together. Not the way it was. I have been here before. Starting over. It is familiar. Too familiar.
“Have you heard the story of the woman who gets ready for the prom and then never ends up going?” -CF
“This is an investment. You can’t stop now. Keep going.” -SA
I look back on the articles I published over the last few weeks, especially this one, and one of the important lessons is
Nothing great is made alone.
A course correction is in process as a result of recent findings about myself. Aristotle was right, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Lao Tzu said, “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”
This course correction leads to a path into the unknown. This discovery is thanks to the people for which this article is written.
I am beginning to notice a unique collective of visionaries in my life. They seem to have embarked on a courageous journey to help me to help myself.
Wow. Talk about risk.
“There is power everywhere supporting him in his superhuman passage.” Elizabeth Gilbert
I am learning my most precious asset is myself. I am the only person who needs to be proud of me, and, until I more fully integrate this, I will continue to wait on the sidelines. There have been times I put myself in the nose bleed seats because of my refusal to explore the darkness.
I can’t help but see the way I moved through the last twelve years from a place of feeling like I was not a person who was capable of profound accomplishments. Why? I wasn’t receiving external validation from the people I shared my work with, and, the conditioning of my childhood taught me that means (irrationally) that my work is not important. That quickly translates in my mind into me not being important. This has led to a range of maladaptive behaviors: giving away my work to anyone who will listen without having boundaries on what’s for sale and what’s for free, terminating relationships, substance abuse, isolating myself, being a pet owner when I wasn’t equipped to even care for myself, living in fear of not being enough, participating in romantic partnerships that I wasn’t ready for, and more.
When my inner world says that I am not important, it makes sense that I would continue to perpetuate a life for myself built upon a false truth I was turning into my reality. I seem to have lived more of my life without realizing the true value of myself.
If I were to create an asset class for myself, I would call it my SELF.
For this new asset class, I define four pillars that can allow me to perhaps secure the asset and build upon its foundation in a way that fills it up like a well and increases its value incrementally overtime. Those pillars are: Humanity, Community, Innovation, and Impact.
Making space for your SELF
I want you to imagine there is a blue Tupperware bucket on the floor. There is a white label on the lid. The label reads SELF. Everything you and I know about me, Daniel, is placed in that bucket with the label SELF. My SELF is all about me. Like the website you are reading these words on. It’s one of the assets in my SELF. I will continue to work on my SELF as I move forward from here.
This next step is about another very precious asset class. This next step is about the PEOPLE.
This next step is about you.
“There is an invisible red thread that connects those who are destined to meet. Regardless of space, time, or circumstance the thread may stretch and tangle, but it will never break.” — Thin Red Thread, Chine Proverb
I healed a little more today because of you. I am grateful that I am starting to see that. You are spread out around the world creating a life for yourself around who you are and what you believe.
You are a person I look up to. You are a person who has or still does inspire me. You have taken care of me, provided me with food, shelter, and an opportunity to become myself. You are a good person doing good work to make the world I live in a good place.
You see in me what I was too scared to acknowledge.
I am beginning to see how much value you have added, are adding, and will continue to add to my life and work. From what I can see in this moment, there are over 100, perhaps over 1,000 people, who have contributed to this work in one way or another.
As I have been writing my way out of the dark night, I am seeing clear flashes of light in mind. The light shines on the pieces of the puzzle – the breadcrumbs – that you have left for me to find. As you shine a light on that which I have not yet seen, it is as if I am pulling the value down from the sky when the sentence I am writing calls for it. It’s like we’re breaking a code together while living in different places around the world.
Whether you and I have been aware of this or not, it seems that each of us represents pieces of this puzzle. It seems that this was all happening long before I could fathom such a thing. “You can only connect the dots looking backwards.” -Steve Jobs
VP planted a seed a few weeks ago when she said, “You know, you don’t need to build it on an existing blockchain. You can create your own entirely.” I was moving too fast at the time to understand the significance. I also didn’t have the capacity to see myself as someone who could create something that would be so valuable. Thanks to SA and JA, I have been able to have space to come back home to myself and (re)start this process from within.
I recently shared a simple use case about the Podcast Venture. Now, I’d like to widen the lens a bit with another use case.
In 2015, I was living in Princeton, New Jersey. This was the first city to experience the intentional rollout of the Four Movements.
As you can see in the video, it was a successful three months of establishing the foundation. Here’s another write-up from 2015 (the links in the article may be outdated, but it should be enough information for you to get the idea). As we typically do upon arriving to a new city, we started at the Princeton Public Library – here I am with PW.
Last minute prep. Tomorrow is the big day! See you all there :o) pic.twitter.com/tyGKvr8sc7
— Princeton Impact (@princetonimpact) May 14, 2015
We sent out weekly updates to people in our network. One of them, was a previous mentor of mine who was now the dean of the Honors Program at Rutgers. At this time, the Honors Program had approximately 80 students. I know this because I was invited to speak to them, run workshops, etc over the years prior.
The dean replied to one our stakeholder update emails and said that we should consider bringing this work back to Rutgers. I setup the meeting, sat with the dean, and walked him through each step of the pedagogical innovation. There we were, in his office, and I watched him at his desk sketching out the concepts on paper as the words came out of my mouth. I had no idea of the value that was being exchanged in the room. At the time, I wasn’t ready to comprehend the magnitude of what was happening.
Shortly after, I was invited by the dean to a pitch meeting where he presented the new approach to the administration to show what higher education could be like. He raised nearly $100 Million out of the gate to establish this as a new college – a living and learning community – an individual entity within the larger university ecosystem. Higher education in the state of New Jersey, and beyond, seemed to evolve from here.
The Honors Program started with 80 students who previously met in a random auditorium periodically throughout the semester. It soon evolved into a 2,000 student Honors College that existed as a microcosm illustrating what was possible for the larger university ecosystem (DB planted the microcosm seed). At one point, there were 500 students going through the first-year experience every year which was, essentially, a clone of what we piloted in Princeton. We provided the scaffolding for this transformation, and the content was filled in by the university.
When I decided to take a risk and share the methodology with the dean it was because I wanted to install the innovation into the university that was responsible for positively impacting the trajectory of my life. This was a contribution we made to Rutgers as a way of saying “Thank you.” The dean took a risk to pitch this to the administration. Rutgers experienced rapid short-term returns. The bet paid.
While the program was initially designed for a different demographic, the dean decided to first build this new college as a mechanism for attracting the “best and brightest elite students”. Eventually, Rutgers scaled the program design to three other campuses across the state – the difference of the new franchises were that they were specifically for non-traditional students who didn’t come from the “elite”. This is the demographic that the innovation initially existed to serve. These are the resilient ones who have been building a life for themselves by solving their own problems on a daily basis: “Where will I sleep tonight? How will I eat? Am I safe?” Who better to innovate solutions to our greatest challenges then such an amazing collective of humans?
The total value of this use case is unknown. We do, however, have enough data to create a modest calculation. Keep in mind, these numbers are specifically for the higher education vertical.
The risk we took did not provide a short-term return. However, now that several years have past, we can measure the efficacy and success of the pilot program. This data provides us (those of you who wish to be included) with a path to move forward knowing the risk is low, and the return is high. This is because our pilot generates impact across environmental, social, and governance metrics. In doing so, it inherently becomes higher in market value.
What if you and I bring this work to more institutions?
- $100 Million X 10 customers = $1 Billion
- $100 Million X 100 customers = $10 Billion
There are over 25,000 universities in the world. If we worked with 0.1% of all universities it would be 2,500 universities:
- $100 Million X 2,500 customers = $250 Billion
What if you and I brought this work to another vertical like government or business? How can we serve this to companies like Deloitte, Accenture, and McKinsey? How can we serve the financial community by walking them through a new investment strategy that starts from within? How can we evaluate the due diligence process? How can we create space for the new economy to emerge?
How can we package this work into a pill that can be swallowed by these institutions? How can we manufacture the vitamins that these customers, or partners, will take everyday as they integrate the new approach until it is a lifestyle?
My intention is to write a white paper and raise $20 Million in the next 6-18 months.
This number seems accurate given who you are, what I’d like to accomplish, what we’ve already accomplished together, and how it measures up with companies on similar trajectories.
Dr. G planted a seed a few months ago when he told me to look at both intrinsic and extrinsic value.
With such a big family involved, I’d like to communicate with each of you about the nature of our relationship up until now. I would like to learn more about your side of this equation. A cascade of questions come up for me in this moment, but before I can start I need to know more about what I don’t currently know.
What has your experience been like? Why have you been involved? What have you learned from this journey (what’s in your SELF)? How can you and I move forward from here, if at all?
If we move beyond the above, I would like to discuss the white paper with things like (1) having your name included with the passages that speak into the ways you added value, and/or (2) being involved as much or little as you’d like in the sections that are a representation of your existence, and/or (3) immersing yourself in the work with me to have a direct hand in shaping this ecosystem together, and/or the ideas you have for working this out.
How can we calculate fair market value of the value you already invested? How can we formulate an engagement that illustrates how and when you will receive your principal, and, if applicable, your gains? What do gains mean to you? How can we generate different types of gains based on what each of us needs? How can we receive value in the form of something like a dividend (thanks to SA and JA for this one)? What else?
In 2019, RT asked me, “If you were to give me a position, or a role, where I was sharing my gifts in a way that helped me make a living, what would it be?” One of Remy’s superpowers is imagination. I replied, “You would help people build their capacity for using their imagination. From here, you could facilitate future-facing conversations that come from a place of possibility. This is important because it is a pre-cursor for creating a shared vision across a group of purpose-driven people.”
I invite you to ask me the same question, and any other question, when we talk next.
EW planted a seed when she told me that mycelium is like an organism that allows all the trees to communicate, learn what the other trees need, and it can even bring that which is needed from one tree through itself as a network and deliver it to the tree in need.
So, here’s to the next step. Here’s to the PEOPLE. Here’s to you.
Such a beautiful person you are.
If you have an interest in any of this, please drop your name in the form below to let me know you’d like to chat. I will receive notification after you schedule a time. I will prepare for our call by being ready to share my perspective of the value you have added, are adding, and, perhaps, will add in the future. I encourage you to do the same.
I am looking forward to it.
Thank you for everything you’ve done to help me. I am grateful.