About Morey Bean

I am a platform design architect from Boulder, Colorado.

Christmas Holiday wishes: Happy 4th of July Camp Wapiyapi!

Thatch4thofJuly

I suppose it’s Christmas heresy to declare at this time of year that another holiday is my perennial favorite, but God knows it’s true.

On the afternoon of July 4th, 1996, about 18 years ago now, I stood at the window of Thatcher’s hospital room on the Children’s Oncology floor at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs with tears of joy streaming down my face, thinking to myself “Happy Fucking Fourth of July!”

The night before, I’ll also never forget watching one of the oncology nurses coming into Thatch’s room dressed in hospital garb that now reminds me of the protective clothing worn by Ebola workers, covered head to foot with plastic face mask and not just any hospital gloves but heavy duty, industrial strength gloves that looked more like ones that you would find on a robot, not a human. The kind nurse, whose duty it was to administer a most caustic, toxic chemo drug felt terrible having to do it, but nonetheless gave us the hopeful promise that this medicine might do the trick in dissolving the tumor on Thatch’s esophagus that grew to make it impossible for him to eat. I felt so very, very helpless to do anything, knowing that this poison was being sent into my sweet innocent son’s blood system through his newly installed port. So very helpless as I watched the nurse slowly release the chemical (whose name I’ve blocked) into his beautiful, near-perfect nine-year old body. So…very…helpless…

That night Thatch and I spent most of the dark night going from bed to bathroom as the process of flushing the excess toxin from his body would keep him as healthy as could be expected, with the nurse having turned up his saline drip to the max.

The next morning they took x-rays of Thatch’s chest, and we waited patiently to see what was up. Not knowing what to expect I was incredibly surprised and overwhelmed with the news that the tumor had totally dissolved! My heart raced, and Thatch, Tam and I hugged in triumph! I’ll never forget going to the window in Thatcher’s room, looking outside thinking about 4th of July fireworks that would later light the coming night, and crying tears of joy: We Are Free! Happy Fucking 4th of July! Thatch was free! We were all free of the bondage of this evil growth inside his body that had threatened his very existence.

I am so amazed to this day of the bravery that Thatch brought to his illness and recovery. I am so proud of his indomitable spirit that he brought to his being so stalwart, so cooperative, so willing to make sure that everyone involved in his care was also being taken care of.

I am so very proud of my sweet son Thatcher who still holds those compassionate actions true to himself for everyone he meets. If you know Thatch, ya know I ain’t lyin’!

So even if this isn’t the 4th of July, I still celebrate his health and happiness as I watch him grow into a successful filmmaker and storyteller, so proud of his new architectural cinematography gig with Boston’s MASS Design Group, an award-winning architecture firm made up of some incredibly wonderful Harvard Graduate School of Design alum doing amazing, beautiful work around the world, including Haiti, Kenya, Uganda and the DR Congo helping developing communities with urgent health care and educational needs. I’m proud of their mini-op-doc series “Beyond The Building,” Thatcher’s beautiful, heartfelt filmmaking.

Advertisements

Talking About Failure is Good, Talking About Rigor is Better

Angel investor Elizabeth Kraus wrote an intriguing blog post about the angel and entrepreneurial community bringing discussions to bear about failure as something the community needs to do more of. I agree, but look forward to discussions turning to the rigor of passion and purpose. She posed some great questions and asked for some advice. So, here’s my response; happy reading. 

As an entrepreneur and long standing member of the business community who has met with both stunning success and staggering failure I’m glad that the venture capital community is paying attention to the attributes of failure as a topic, and I’m sure that the conversations will continue via the routine and essential topic of risk and reward which are balanced in the decisions about whether to support an entrepreneur or not, launching him/her toward success and failure.

It’s also very important to bring failure to bear as an OK topic of discussion to the entrepreneurial community, although culturally and socially we’ll always be fighting the fear of rejection in our public discussions of failure, that disclosure of our failures will potentially be perceived to be a sign of weakness and/or incompetence and used against us, which unfortunately (but naturally) became part of our psyche on the playground as 7 and 8 year olds. Hence the anonymity in the blog post that Brad mentions.

I’m hoping that the conversation moves on to include more community discussion about the rigor of passion and purpose as the source of partnership between entrepreneur and investor as the foundation of the investment ecosystem, where the here and now of decision making that happens every day in the lives of entrepreneurs can provide fruitful lessons for all of us. Not the “Oh I’m excited about this!” passion, but the basic and measurable assumptions that we’re making that determine success and failure, as we try every day to carefully gauge with our actions how long it will take for change to occur in our customers’ and clients’ buying behaviors that we hope will bring profit to what we’re working toward sooner than later. I think that discussions of rigor and learning and change will be much more powerful and enduring than those of failure. These positive discussions will help us feel connected and allow us to be more focused on positive purposeful ways of separating our customers from their money. I think better investment decisions will result as a consequence of talking about willful energy and the future, not of failure and the past.

I’m a firm believer that the entrepreneur’s ability to bring this measured passion to bear in the here-and-now of the marketplace as their ultimate measure of competence, a characteristic that should perhaps be the biggest determinant of a decision about whether to invest or not.

I think too that the well established cultural and social value of a second chance attitude should be brought to bear, where a shared comfort in learning from our mistakes can be found, helping realize a beneficial sense of belonging to our community, which is one of our most important needs.

One of the celebrations of this purpose and passion became part of my life as recently as last night on the patio of the St. Julien as my sweet and lovely wife Debra and I danced to Sambadende! We blew our weekend wad imbibing in a wonderful celebration of our life together, where we’re both sharing the rigors of purpose and passion, day in and day out. It was also reaffirming to see some of the Unreasonable Institute ‘investment community members’ dancing the night away too, as they took some time to have some fun after what I’m sure was another successful Summer Institute, full of passion and purpose. Is that celebration methodology in the Handbook of Successful Entrepreneurship? Hell no. Is it a measure of success? Hell yes.

Tuesday With Morey: The Rigor of Personal Change

I love my Omron SmartScale. Another sweet gift from my sweet son Isaac.

Thank goodness I’ve got three well-informed, healthy, socially connected Millennium Generation kids (counting my younger son’s wonderful and bright girlfriend as one of my own) who knew and appreciated that I’d “enjoy” Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit as a wonderful 61st Birthday Day present.  Duhigg’s missive that spent 62 weeks on the NY Times best seller list includes a flowchart (also online at: http://charlesduhigg.com/flowchart-for-changing-habits/) that I’ve since posted on our refrigerator to help guide me through my own change process, with one of my more pervasive bad habits, and one that’s shared culturally, which adds an interesting social/psychological twist to overcoming it, of course unless I’m already blaming society for my having the habit, and already setting myself up for failure… Ho boy…

Being an architect, experience designer and design thinker I love infographics and process. My Dad, who developed Adult Onset Diabetes, was a bright patent-holding pipeline systems engineer who inspired me to see how things work and to become an engaged ‘maker’ by improving processes and to design problem solutions. I’ve enjoyed a rich, legacy-creating career helping make some of Colorado’s leading environmentally sustainable buildings that also provide a great educational resource for us all to change our habits that we’ve formed around being environmentally responsible, including the visitor center expansion at the Great Sand Dunes National Park, along with some interactive educational exhibits.

But I’m finding that it’s one thing to be an educator and quite another, by necessity, to be the one who’s most committed to following my own advice, changing my own habits first as the only way to provide effective education as a servant-leader. It’s been fairly easy and fulfilling to provide environmental leadership (including an honor as Colorado’s Architect of the Year in 1999 for service to the profession) but as my doc points to high levels of Triglycerides in my blood, I’m faced with an entirely different challenge, one that’s far more difficult for me to meet than almost any that I’ve faced personally and physically.

To me the stakes are ponderous, they’re personal, very personal, calling for an inevitable change in not only my body but in my relationships and in my social setting, where I know help is going to have to come. All sorts of feelings well up, wondering with concern about how my son’s, who literally have some skin in the game will help me, and how I’ll react without being too paternal or overbearing or just plain grumpy… What the hell, we love each other dearly, so my knowledge reigns supreme that they’re here for me. The same goes with my sweet, resourceful and forthright wife Debra, who I’m ultimately lucky to have as a coach and supporter, both physically and emotionally. It certainly doesn’t hurt that she was two-time National Womens’ Tae Kwon Do Champion!

Nonetheless, ponderous, very ponderous.

So, as my beautiful son’s say, WTF, here goes! During August of 2013 I’m going to lose at least 5 pounds and more importantly level out my Triglycerides with a new, lasting “sustainable” Keystone Habit.

Yahoo! 2013 Here We Come: Will the Jawbone UP support Dymaxion Life??

Image

I just watched a great video discussion between Internet pioneer Marc Andreessen and GE’s CEO Jeff Immelt chat (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAQJ3GJIW5c&utm_source=buffer&buffer_share=c9a0f) at Minds + Machines 2012 highlighting where we’re at with mobile devices and ubiquitous communication, big data and the industrial internet.  I was thrilled to hear them chat about wellness as a topic, based on our personal use of tiny full-blown computers that we wear to help us personally track and improve our health like the Jawbone Up (https://jawbone.com/up). *On my Christmas list honey.*

These guys are so smart, and give me much optimism for this coming year and many, many years following. The recent re-election of our President also give me promise for the next four years, but with much less optimism given a recent image of Mr. Obama kowtowing to several health insurance executives in a great but somewhat depressing documentary Escape Fire (http://www.escapefiremovie.com/trailer) about how important it is to go from sickness and treatment to wellness and healthy lifestyles like movement, whole diets, yoga and meditation. 

I am particularly excited about 2013 given that I finally feel like I’m at home in Boulder, Colorado, this beautiful, fanciful, delicious, walkable, brilliant place that rewards collaboration, creativity, resilience, hard work, and a community that supports the development of healthy lifestyles as a means to a healthy end in work and enterprise.

I’m planning on highlighting several benchmarks that I use to focus my creative energy and my need to build my follow-through abilities, including Benjamin Franklin’s Thirteen Virtues, updated via Tom Cassidy’s Everyday Mind Mastery (http://www.udemy.com/everyday-mind-mastery/) and as an avid life-long learner on the 8 Conditions of the Quaglia Institute (http://www.qisa.org/8conditions/). At this point unless I find some better tools this coming year, these tools, perhaps including the Jawbone UP, will provide my 2013 compass.

As a final testament to the coming year, and thinking about time in general, my challenge to the world is a greater understanding of a concept forwarded by one of my all-time hero’s, and my hero of 2013, the great architect and inventor Buckminster Fuller, who I got to see in person in Mackey Auditorium in 1973 here in Boulder. Just like our industrial revolution won’t let us give up the “You need to work 8 hour days, 5 days per week with 1 hour for lunch with 2 weeks a year of vacation” cultural meme without a fight, I’m challenging part of that dictum that also mandates:  “You have to have 8 hours of sleep”.  Bucky Fuller defined what he termed “Dymaxion Sleep” which is a polyphasic sleep pattern (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyphasic_sleep) that we basically used as architecture students in the Environmental Design building on the CU Boulder campus, where we were basically taught how to cram for design project completion and the brutal design jury. I hope to master my own polyphasic sleep pattern, knowing that my sweet wife Deb (who is also a two time national women’s Tae Kwon Do champion) is absolutely right about life: “You have to sleep well to live well.”

And so it begins… Will the Jawbone UP support Dymaxion Sleep?? More importantly, will I do a better job in 2013 than I did in 2012 in building what I might term a Dymaxion Life for myself and my family, as well as my community and this word??

I’m on my way to find out,

minute by minute,

hour by hour,

day by day,

week by week;

decision by decision,

calorie by calorie,

watt by watt,

mile by mile,

blog by blog,

thought by thought,

peace by peace.

2013 here I come!

Evolutionary Technology Steroids

According to Elizabeth Galpin, an MFI services partner that I’m proud to work with, Prince Charles visited what we call the slums of Dharavi and was impressed by the financial systems in use there, amidst the primordial ooze of the economic overhaul that Liz hints at in her blog at www.paygsolutions.com, an overhaul that I’m sure is occurring as we speak, where young men and women of Dharavi and other places like it, with the support of their friends and family, are using their scarce time when they’re not working as bellmen at the hotels that we stay in, and using unreliable and expensive electricity on computers that they’ve scrimped and saved to buy and rent and consign and borrow and trade and hide, to learn and develop mobile financial system API’s that are just now coming available, that allow them to tailor their savings and spending to the needs of the throngs in their communities, the communities that we’ve chosen to call slums.

It just took me less than a minute to sign up and become part of PayPal’s Developer’s Network in their “Sand Box” that I’m sure is more of a carefully crafted, “Walled Garden”, but nonetheless, I am able here in Boulder, Colorado to provide tailored, financial platform plug-ins in partnership with one of the world’s biggest non-cash institutions, one where, as the old (American) saying goes, “We ain’t seen nothin’ yet”.

I had the good fortune of visiting Mumbai as a member of the Urban Land Institute where my son Isaac (having saved his pennies from a good summer construction job right out of high school) and I got to hear first-hand from a very professional tour-guide about raising a son and daughter in Dharavi and putting them through college!  Her tales of the overlords of water, safety and electricity were amazing, particularly because of the candor and matter-of-fact delivery of her stories, highlighting many of the things that we take for granted just as we do, taking them for how life is there, and how she coped with her life, keeping electricity to her refrigerator and television.

My visit was in 2007; I’m sure this resourceful ladies’ children are now at least using the system that the Prince of Wales witnessed, and my hope is that they’re also part of overhauling our financial system for the benefit of their greater friend and family community, certainly including their mother, and whose numbers I’m sure are in the millions.

The same is true in the financial education realm, highlighted recently with the announcement of MITx, where the incredible brain power of this great institution is becoming available in ways that will have an impact that we can only imagine; same with the likes of the Khan Academy.

While we were in Mumbai I also met a wonderful, bright young man about Isaac’s age, who was a bellman in the Taj Mahal who stopped in to the business center to ask if I needed help getting my email.  Although he didn’t mention where he lived, I can certainly imagine that he too lived in Dharavi, and that he was probably very good at getting away during his breaks to log-in and use the computers that I was simply checking my email on.

Just think of the computing prowess that these young men and women have now, five years later!

 

My question is “How can we participate in the revolutionary financial overhaul that is occurring as we speak?”, in this world that’s becoming technologically democratized, where feature phones, smartphones and tablets are the personal computers of the 70’s on quantum leap evolutionary steroids, delivered one customer at a time to billions, in a matter of the next three to five years!