I’m currently in DC, living near Chinatown. I plan to relocate to the Bay Area, for at least a year. Why? I’ll get into that a little later.
A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this article by The Economist on the future of marketing . I was very impressed by John Hagel’s interview and his thoughts on movements. I found his speech at SXSW where he expounds on the idea. That lead me to his blog where I searched “movement” and “passion”, then proceeded to read 10-15 articles. It all deeply resonated with everything I’ve learned/discovered/believe up to this point.
John has a knack for redefining terms in a way that makes them more practical, and connecting concepts with a new level of clarity and coherence. Maybe John’s favorite term is passion. He defines it as a long-term commitment to making an increasing impact in a specific domain. The commitment comes with a disposition that seeks out new challenges and seeks to find and build relationships with anyone who can help to come up with better solutions to those challenges. A couple days ago, I finished his book The Power of Pull, which offers a blueprint for how individuals/institutions/society can thrive in our rapidly changing world. It’s a masterpiece in my opinion.
Recently, a friend and I discussed the economic condition of the black community, and what we could possibly do about it. Right after, I thought about some concrete outcomes we could work toward. After a little statistical research, I set my sights on two goals: (1) work to make the percentage of black people in the US billionaire/millionaire population reflect the percentage of blacks in the US population, and (2) raise the median net-worth of blacks to that of whites. To get a sense of the gap, today there are 2 billionaires, 35,000 millionaires, and median net-worth of $11,000. Blacks represent 14% of the US, today there should be 65 billionaires, 2 million millionaires, and median net-worth of $140,000. I see an opportunity to close that gap by 2035.
In high school I took an AP Economics course, but to refresh my memory I watched this 35 episode crash course . It’s really well produced, check it out when you’re bored. I noticed there are 4 main activities in an economy: production, consumption, lending, and borrowing. If members of the black community can produce things people love at a healthy profit, and lend their earnings to other people in the community, as loans and investments, who are also capable and committed to producing things people love at a healthy profit and lending their earnings, we can set a cycle of wealth creation that expands exponentially. At the moment, for various reasons, our community is more disposed to consumption and borrowing. Recent developments, like Atlanta and Houston rappers moving their money to black-owned banks, or the passing of the JOBS Act and rise of equity crowdfunding platforms like Wefunder, suggest our motivation and capability is increasing. I see an opportunity to accelerate our progress.
This is a complex, systemic issue(opportunity) that requires a lot of smart people, from various backgrounds and domains, weaving their perspectives together. I have a hypothesis on how to close the wealth gap by 2035, and it involves the integration of models from disparate fields. I’d like to create a functioning civic organization, that acts as an economic elevator, leveraging the power of pull. In short, I envision an institution that can support a national black community of people with a shared culture, attitudes and behaviors, of wealth creation. A culture that promotes: Self-knowledge, Passion (Hagel’s version), Productivity, Ownership (homes + means of production), and Lending(loans + investments).
This initiative isn’t just about black people. It’s about world peace through prosperity via wealth creation and collaboration, as opposed to cutthroat competition. I’m not interested in redistributing wealth, (i.e. taking from the wealthy). I see an opportunity to create an economic engine that can exponentially expand the global economy from the bottom. An elevator that will lift masses of people from underserved communities into the top 20%. It’s really about helping the bottom 40% elevate economically. I plan to focus on the black population in the bottom 40%, because that’s the community I have the most expertise and credibility in. As I discover a blueprint that works, the plan is to share it with everyone. What’s in the best interest of the individual can be in the best interest of the community, and what’s in the best interest of the black community can be in the best interest of all communities. Within this century, we can invert the wealth pyramid, so that those who have the least among us, represent the least among us (percentage wise). It’s about getting better faster together.
By Hagel’s definition, It seems I’ve discovered my passion. This is an exciting opportunity that I’m willing to devote the next few decades on. It involves all of my strengths, most of my interests, and I’m in a unique position to possibly pull it off.
There are a handful of people who are doing work that is very meaningful to my new direction. I want to meet and build relationships with them. Thankfully they all live in the Bay Area, so I’ve decided to relocate there for at least a year. I reached out to John Hagel about being his apprentice and he seems receptive to the idea. So my plan is to find an inexpensive living arrangement in Oakland, get a flexible part time job, and volunteer with John as I continue to shape my concept, and connect with people who share my passion. Here are a few people I want to connect with: Andre Iguodala , Jessica Seeman , Dan Roam ,Nick Tommarello , and Sam Altman.
How you can help:
- I need money to move. I’d like to raise $4,500 to cover travel costs, security deposit, rent, and a couple month’s living expenses that will float me until I secure consistent income. Instead of a gofundme, I’d like to conduct 15 one-on-one workshops, at $300. The purpose of the workshop is to help participants discover a passion and devise a strategy to make it their profession or a value proposition. Each would take place over the course of six hours. I’d like to leave for the Bay in the last week of September, so I’ll be hosting workshops until then. If you’re interested, or know someone who is interested in participating, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you know any of the people I mentioned above, please introduce me. Also if you know anyone who shares my passion, in the Bay or elsewhere, please connect us.
If my activities or priorities change, I’ll update this page. Last update was October 8, 2016.