Reflecting on the world around us...

There is something about getting away, putting yourself in a different context, and giving yourself some time to regain perspective — as well as reflect and reenergize. This is not something new and you’ve probably heard it before, but if you are like me, you may think about it much more than actually doing it.


It also offers the opportunity to read on the plane if you are so inclined, and in my case, I read a book called Secrets of the Amazon by Barbara Gray; the book looks at the current disruptors in the marketplace such as Amazon, Tesla, and Uber. The book was lent to me by a friend who thought I would like it because I’m fascinated with disruptors, somewhat of a contrarian, and I’m always trying to stay on top of how we are doing things “differently”.

I was a bit flattered by the recognition, and I suppose after leaving a corporate setting, I have gravitated to a more entrepreneurial spirit, become involved with start-ups, invested in new technologies, blogged a fair bit, and have shifted my definitions of work, business, success, and professional growth. And I have only just started.

The book focused specifically on the change and disruption in the retail and transportation industries, as well as how we are utilizing physical space differently — it didn’t even touch on how we are augmenting our reality with VR/AR, literally changing the human condition with genetic tools such as CRISPR/Cas, how we manage our commerce, how we connect (let alone deal with the massive volume of information and its accuracy), et cetera, et cetera, It has become a very dynamic environment to survive and thrive in, and I mean this both literally and figuratively.

As I read, and reflected on what I read, I found myself writing five points for consideration on an Air Canada napkin. It was a framework of thinking and for understanding what is happening — why it is happening, and how to deal with the problems, challenges and OPPORTUNITIES that present themselves. How I will actually work these into my thinking going forward I am not sure but I know they are relevant with regards to our participation in what’s going on. And participate we must.

  1. People are lazy — we want the most for the least amount of effort. Genetically, and from a survival perspective, it makes sense. It is not a reflection of anything, it just is.

  2. We want what we want — some of what we want we need, and some of what we want we just want. Tools have made us the apex predator on the planet, and we continue to acquire them whether we need them or not.

  3. We need connection — we need to connect with people for our very survival. We are a social species.

  4. As people, we are valuable — philosophically and commercially our lifetime value is worth quite a bit; probably incalculable when you consider social contribution, commercial contribution, and emotional contribution.

  5. Life is hard — yes it’s harder for some, but in general, life is a difficult endeavour all around.

These may ultimately be just the scribbles that came from a long flight, but then again, I may use them as a mental list when I listen to someone pitch their latest idea.


PS — The Yukon is a magical place and the air is very, very fresh.

I propose we do this...

I will go out on a limb and say that it is very rare that the first idea, first prototype, first draft, or the first of "anything" is also the last — in fact, I will be so bold to say it never happens.


The first of anything will be challenged, torn down and rebuilt, built upon to the point of being unrecognizable, or spur on something else that makes it irrelevant. It can be an uncomfortable process to be sure; both practically and emotionally. My favourite saying to illustrate this is, "Everyone who is first through the wall gets bloody; everyone", and metaphorically speaking the more different your "proposal" is from the norm, the bloodier you will get. And crazier still, it is the only way to progress in anything. 

At the very least it is a reminder that if you aren't uncomfortable you are not moving in the right direction, as well as highlighting the truism that you need to "be comfortable with being uncomfortable". Both very important reminders, but even more importantly, it is a reminder that someone needs to step up and say, "I propose we do this" — be it a new idea, a new way of thinking, or simply a first draft of the thinking around the table. Progress needs a starting point; it needs a champion. A case in point is a presentation for a strategic plan I worked on which had 27 versions in the end — not because the first version was fundamentally wrong, but because we needed a started point to challenge what we had, try to break our thinking, and initiate an iterative process of improvement.  

Anything new needs a Champion to move it forward, protect it, and foster it, as well as work through the natural challenges and pushback that come your way — not always something for the faint of heart, which I suppose, is why they call them Champions.


Moments — Two cards down and five cards up

The small blind


The big blind

Two cards down

The flop

The turn

The river

Best hand wins

These were the terms and concepts that we wrestled with on a Saturday night — the brand of poker that we had decided to play was Texas Hold'em and everyone around the table had either never played poker before or hadn't played in quite a while.

It was friendship that brought us to the table, and I'd wager, it was also the idea of learning something new, having some fun, and enjoying each other's company. The stakes weren't high (the pot was rarely higher than fifteen dollars) but an air of seriousness fell over the table because it was our hard earned money on the line. The objective of this game is simple — have the best five-card combination after all seven cards are dealt onto the table (two face down and five face up).

A Royal Flush beats a straight flush, which beats four of a kind, which beats a full house, which beats a flush, which beats a straight, which beats three of a kind, which beats two pair, which beats a pair, which ultimately beats the highest card of five. Ace is high, then King, Queen, Jack, ten, nine, and so on (by the way, the ace can be both high or low).

Some people had more fun than others, and not surprisingly, it was related to how much money they lost and how well they understood the game — but everyone said they would play again (adding a comment or two that they would study up on the game for the next time). For me, with an extra sixty dollars in my pocket, the experience became a homespun reminder that everyone, no matter how good they are at what they do, will have to work through a learning curve when they attempt something new, and it may be steep, and it will take time.

I look forward to the next time we play to see how everyone is progressing towards "mastery". There is a very good chance I will give back some of that sixty dollars.