Ethical Startup School 🌱⚖
Questions, Resources, & Programming for Culture Change
You are receiving this email because you were previously subscribed to my work/life updates. Please feel free to unsubscribe if you do not want to receive future communications!
Hello fellow travelers,
Whew! These last few weeks have been full. on. May the upcoming holidays bring all of us lots of rest, joy, and connection 🙏🏼
In this newsletter, I’m excited to share two big and interconnected milestones on my mission to integrate ethics and eros into life and business: publishing an Ethical Startup Playbook, and speaking at The Wharton School on the topic.
🌎 Ethical Entrepreneurship
This is the last major piece of writing I’m planning on publishing for the year, and maybe for awhile (time to take a breather, reflect, and integrate what I’ve learned after a year of stepping into a writer identity). In a way I feel complete with my writing responsibilities as it relates to sharing what I’ve learned from the 2016-2020 life roller coaster (Siempo, One Nation, Savior Complex, Humane Technology, and more). I’ve done that of the undone that was mine to do. A dozen essays; 75,000 published words 😌
As much as I sometimes resist, it seems like I have a role to play at the intersection of education and business, theory and practice, cultural wilderness and institutions. The intention of this Ethical Startup Playbook is to provide aspiring founders in my network with a primer on an ethics that inspires me, and a compilation of questions and resources that may empower more effective choices (per Forrest Landry’s definition of ethics) as it relates to selecting a Medium, creating a Lifestyle, developing a Product/Service, building an Organization, and putting it all into Practice.
READ: Ethical Startup Playbook 🌱⚖
40% of Gen Z thinks they will start a business that will change the world. Woah. What’s the distribution of motivations for these 10 million future business leaders? What playbook are they following? Which role models are they looking to? What questions are they asking? What does life on Earth want them to learn and consider? How can we empower the next generation to make more effective choices for all stakeholders, including themselves?
The business world is up for re-imagination. How can ethics become more sexy and central to startup culture? What alternative models and mindsets might be more aligned with the context of a founder’s life, team/org health, and the state of the world?
The path of ethical entrepreneurship is rich in meaning, learning, & personal growth. A spiritual journey in which lifestyle, product, and org health act as mirrors to reveal that which is invisible and out of alignment inside oneself. + a daily dojo to practice.
I put a lot of love into this (even made my first IG carousel!), and will continue to massage and make it more accessible (e.g. audio version, split into Notion pages). Please consider sharing the playbook with teams, online tech communities, and founders in your life. Startup accelerators, b-school groups, industry Discords. I’d love to hear reflections and pushback, learn which questions and resources you find helpful, and refine/expand the playbook based on your feedback.
Especially folks at the idea stage. I’m realizing that supporting founders in the very beginning of their journey is closest to my Ikigai (intersection of what I’m passionate about, skilled at, the world needs, and people value). I care about helping entrepreneurs build beautiful products, just and joyful organizations, and meaningful lives. I’ll be coordinating a small Community of Practice starting in January for those interested in dancing with some of these big questions and take the best next steps.
📚 Re-Imagining Business Education
One of my side projects over the last few years has been slowly building the Wharton Wisdom community: bringing together students and alumni interested in personal growth and integrating that with their work in the world. I’ve hosted events in three cities, published A New Vision for Wharton, and networked with a variety of stakeholders to explore how to bring more ethics and wisdom into the influential institution.
The community building is in service of a vision I had four years ago (on the dance floor at the Wisdom 2.0 conference after party) for the evolution of business education. I have no illusions that I’m the only person trying to help Wharton adapt to a rapidly changing world, but let’s just say it has been a lonely journey these last four years, struggling to find allies and ways in.
Last week was a major milestone. Zebras Unite co-founder Mara Zepeda and I were invited to speak on ethics and entrepreneurship as part of Wharton’s Expert in Residence program, to meet a growing desire amongst students to learn about alternative startup capital, ownership, governance and culture. It was an energizing conversation between undergrads, MBAs and alumni that has opened a pathway to catalyzing a new ethic within Wharton and the wider business education world! Really something to celebrate.
When I think about my position in the web of life, it’s hard to ignore that I’m connected to this extremely influential actor. I will continue doing what I can to leverage my affiliation to support the next generation of business leaders in building the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. If you are interested (or know Wharton/b-school alumni who are) in this conversation, please connect them with me!
🗺 Winter Planning
Alright, we’re in the home stretch of my seven month stay in the New York region! Family moves out of Armonk in mid-December after 30 years in the area (Meanwhile, I’ve been looking at co-buying land in the Hudson Valley, as a longer term exploration. Stay tuned for an essay on that vision). The falling leaves match the boxes moving into storage 🍃
It’s looking like LA is my most likely next step, as a transition location to whatever comes next. California is my second home, and I can’t wait to reconnect with loved ones across the state, from San Diego all the way up to Shasta (I’ll likely be offering some mentorship for the Hestia Winter Incubator - calling new visionaries!). While continuing to build my coaching + consulting practice around ethical entrepreneurship.
As for where’s next, I’m feeling a bit of a call to Israel for the first time in my adult life. Welcoming recommendations for relevant books, podcasts, movies on ALL religions / traditions; kindred spirits to connect with; teachers, retreats, study programs relevant to my interests; characters from all walks of life; mouth watering food; best ways to brush up on some Hebrew…
Hope to cross paths with you one way or another in the coming times :)