on mediocrity, style, and exquisiteness


Architectural Renderings of Life Drawn with Pencil and Pen by Rafael Araujo

Architectural Renderings of Life Drawn with Pencil and Pen by Rafael Araujo

you might say our society suffers from a conspiracy of mediocrity.

it conditions us for sameness, instead of supporting the blossoming of individuality.

in principle, it celebrates heroism, creativity, and genius – but in practice, it actively discourages these things, either through subtle disincentivization, or downright punishment.

while it claims to offer structured systems designed as tools to serve us, the unspoken tradeoff is that it captures our sense of inner authority, masterfully externalizing it into itself.

society’s eyes watch us, tell us what to want, what to deem meaningful, how we ‘should’ live, and what we need to do in order to achieve a particular state, or become a particular thing.

how little room this leaves for free thinkers, or for the spontaneity of creativity!

society likes mediocrity.

in fact, it thrives on it. to keep itself running, it requires us to propagate the norm, to follow the well-trodden paths.

but maintenance is different than evolution.

and we did not arrive here to live as machines.

we came to express our true nature, to cultivate our style, to be exquisite.

be yourself. the greatest quest. follow your unique rebellious spirit out into the world.

in mediocrity, we fear believing we are capable of being distinct, or the repercussions that might follow as a result. we capitulate, taking all our cues for how to be from outside ourselves.

but there is no need to be victim to this unfortunate circumstance. the gift of style is self-bestowed.

Like nature, style is given shape by a wild, organic and unpredictable energy.

what does true style look like?

you, at your most natural, your individual uniqueness shining brightly and freely. no hiding or faking.

it’s the creative process itself, expressing itself through you.

the mind will try to control it, tame it, direct it, label it. it will look for repeatability. it will try to create models to neatly structure and package it. it will try to tell you how to do it, how to be. if you listen, you are lost.

be vigilant!

ruthlessly cut away every creeping trap that wants to trick you into imitation. don’t look anywhere outside yourself. even not (or especially not!) to the comfort of your own mind. if it’s simulation, or even emulation, it’s mediocrity.

stop trying to be something and just be! how frustratingly simple.

tuning to the creative source is not a doing so much as an allowing. a letting go, a surrendering to a process that is beyond the control of your mind, yet is somehow the essence of yourself. more you than the you you typically associate with. more you than the roles and identities and stories and shoulds and expectations.

pure, wild, unadulterated. love this expression you are. how could you not? when it comes out of you, you cannot help but be awed and surprised by yourself. the truth of you is vast.

you are incomparable.

there is nothing you ‘should’ do. there is nothing you ‘should’ be. there is no one outside yourself who holds the answer. don’t be fooled into simulating your life instead of living it.


you are exquisite, and the world needs your light.


meditations on the 8th gene key, by richard rudd

quote on style also by richard rudd.

i was first introduced to the phrase “conspiracy of mediocrity” by Yasuhiko Kimura

first words after a year in transition

it’s exactly a year ago today since i started a new life.

on this morning, i said goodbye to my soon-to-be ex-husband, climbed into my yaris amongst the possessions i considered most cherished, and began my journey across the country to an unknown future in california.

i went mostly silent on social media. it seemed a time to honor reflection and contemplation over broadcast and interaction.

the themes of self-authorship, integrity, and responsibility have been fundamental for the redesign of my life.

as have creativity, playfulness, openness to discovery, and love.

i feel a yearning to re-engage here now, though the content will likely be different, as will the voice.

this note is mostly to give myself permission to celebrate that.

onward and upward.

Ello, Meet Swarm



Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 1.44.11 PM

this post originally appeared on Medium by @jgreenhall - https://medium.com/@jordangreenhall/ello-meet-swarm-3bf74b6a8c25

Indie darling Ello is starting to make splashes in the direction of Facebook. To be sure, the rush of techno-hipsters into the minimal design (and Ad-free) social network is as of yet merely a hint of a gesture. But to my ears, the sound is clear: Facebook is vulnerable. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that Facebook is doomed. Perhaps not from Ello, perhaps not anytime soon. But sooner than most may think.

Zuckerberg and co have already moved profoundly onto the wrong side of the innovation curve with a focus away from what people actually want and need and ruthlessly on how to maximize shareholder value. The momentum of Ello is the result of an itch of many of Facebook’s users: anything else. These things end badly. I’m on the record: Facebook isn’t long for this world. So, what comes next?

Here is a sketch of some ideas that might power a next-generation Facebook killer. Continue reading

Moving to Sandbox House SF




I’m in the process of moving to the left coast from New York, and just wrapping up a whirlwind week of exploring the San Francisco bay area. Thanks to friends willing to host me and schlep me around the city, I’ve gotten tastes of many of the neighborhoods here…. which was great at first, and then quickly left me feeling overwhelmed by the range of choices. Every place has its pros and cons, and I realized I hadn’t gotten clarity for myself of what I want from the environment I live in so I can thrive.

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10 Principles of Evolutionary Culture




This morning I was flipping through the book Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace, and came across this great list of principles for how to transcend ego and bring a group to greatness via collaborative thinking. The following passage is from an excerpt titled Thinking together without ego: Collective intelligence as an evolutionary catalyst, by Craig Hamilton and Claire Zammit.

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An Outsider’s Theory of Everything




reposted with permission via Ronin Institute


[Update (5/29): Eric Weinstein will be giving a follow-up lecture this Friday (5/31) at 2pm at Oxford’s Mathematical Institute in lecture room L2 (which, I believe, is at location 22 on this map).

Physicists and mathematicians in the area! I hope some of you will be able to attend, and will post your thoughts / reactions online. Note: if you are friends with an Oxford Physicist, please invite them to attend this lecture — this is apparently a necessary step. Update update (5/30): see also the update at the end of section 2, below.]

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3 Steps For Plotting Your Personal Future In An Uncertain World




this article originally appeared in FastCoExist

In today’s accelerating world of work, it’s easy to get distracted by the million shiny objects vying for our attention. All too often, we spend our time responding to the latest urgent priority, and forget who we are and what really matters to us. A sense of personal or professional mission fades, and our passion and potential goes dormant.

However, forward-focused people and organizations realize that a happy, productive workplace exists only when everyone is aware of their gifts and how to best align their contribution with a larger shared purpose.

 A happy, productive workplace exists only when everyone is aware of their gifts and how to best align their contribution with a larger shared purpose.

Below is a three-phase process to help get reconnected to your motivations, the unique value you offer the world, and a vision for your own long-term trajectory. Cultivating this foresight practice at both the personal and organizational levels can be a powerful way to develop our greatest assets: ourselves.

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62 Top Startup Accelerators in the US, Canada & Beyond




I’ve been working on a fascinating research project exploring the models and emerging industry verticals of startup accelerators around the world. The standard formula for accelerators is as follows: you bring your entrepreneurial spirit and an idea, and in exchange for an equity stake in your nascent company, you receive some seed capital and a 3 month program providing mentorship, training, advice and resources to help you build your business. The program ends in an Investor Demo Day, where you get a chance to gain the interest of VC and angel investors.

I’ll post something with a synthesis of my thinking around these alternate avenues to value creation soon. In the meantime, I wanted to share the roundup of some of the top tech-focused accelerators, as well as a list of some emerging industry verticals.

Thanks to those in the Next Edge community & on Quora who helped compile this info!


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Carbon Zero: Imagining Cities that Can Save the Planet


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I just got done reading Carbon Zero: Imagining Cities that Can Save the Planet, the new book by futurist Alex Steffen. He says that climate change is here, and we have a choice to radically rethink the way we live in the built environment, or face catastrophic impacts. He proposes that we need to bring our global climate emissions to zero, asap, and the key to doing so is to reinvent our cities.

He discusses our challenges and opportunities through the lenses of clean energy, urbanism, shelter, consumption, and sustenance. While he did cover many ideas about green infrastructure, district systems, networked technologies, and restoration, I enjoyed looking at the models for future cities through the lens of cultural innovation and lifestyle design.  Below are some of the principles and concepts I found particularly inspiring, supplemented by some additional links for further exploring.

The Kindle edition of Steffen’s book can be purchased here.

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