Lesson Three: The Biggest Challenges Beget the Best Work. This seems to be in line with conventional wisdom. In the same vein as, “What Won’t Kill You Will Make You Stronger” this could be filed in the ‘Character Building’ box of Life. Mr. Kawasaki believes that if you provide the challenge, employees will rise up. They will rise up and bulid something quite revolutionary, perhaps. As an entrepreneur, how would you motivate your team members to perform with excellence?
I also believe that Freedom Begets Creativity which Begets the Best Work. If an individual feels totally free and uninhibited it becomes an opportunity to create magnificent work. Some people feel that Apple products are a result of creative genius. What products do you possess that are a result of creative genius?
I took this picture on New Year’s Eve in Union Square, San Francisco:
The Sparkly Rainbow Guy was out in full force in Union Square. He seemed to be hustling for attention for a while until this lady approached him. San Francisco is full of performance artists. Whether you want to dress up or dress down, whether you want to dress in full regalia or or simply play a role, whether you are crazy or non-crazy, all are welcome in this town. You are free to express yourself.
2011 was an explosion of self-expression all over the digital landscape. Social media is about self-expression and we witnessed major political change globally through this medium and because of this medium. And I believe you will see more acts of self-expression committed by citizens of nations trying to make institutional change in 2012 and beyond.
I remember meeting a New York transplant who told me that his friends back East call San Francisco full of “crunchy” types. I look at it this way. New York has New Yorkers. Paris has Parisians. And San Francisco has people who understand the value of self-expression to change the world.
There are no coincidences or accidents. Just serendipity. Serendipity is hard to define but I think you’ll know it when it happens. It’s when something pleasant or even magical happens to you when you least expect it. From the day I found a home in San Francisco to the very end of Twenty Eleven, I have been blessed by serendipitous events. I was led to my current residence by the kindness of a stranger in Huntington Park who has also become my neighbor, and I celebrated New Year’s Eve with absolutely no plans except a somewhat random decision to head to the Fillmore District near the Western Addition neighborhood. And after finding a parking spot in less than a couple of minutes (serendipitous parking karma on NYE!) and venturing not more than half of a block, we spotted a place that looked stylish and appropriate for the evening:
The restaurant/lounge presented a good vibe and friendly staff. The atmosphere felt more like rat pack supper club or swanky jazz club, rather than the sleek San Francisco affair that one would envision with the trendy SOMA set. After pleasant conversation with new friends and some dancing we rang in the new year with the proverbial champagne and sparkly disposable accessories. It was a good night. I would like to return to try out their dinner menu, or for drinks after a performance at Yoshi’s.
It was a beautiful celebration. Very serendipitous. How many times have you experienced that space in time when things just work for the best without trying? I look forward to many more moments of serendipity in 2012. Planning can be good but perhaps life can become more interesting when you stop figuring out the details. Try living differently in 2012. Stop being such a control freak.
Thanksgiving week was delightful and an eclectic bag of experiences from learning a new skill to spending time with important people in my life. I started learning how to code (so I can build something big someday), I went to the San Francisco Opera’s production of Turandot, I had German food in the Mission, I discovered this fantastic San Francisco stairway (think “street connector”) in my neighborhood for working out and I created my first set on this fabulous site called Polyvore which merges fashion, creativity and technology. Brilliant to discover a smart fashion site making an impact in Silicon Valley. Polyvore also happens to be based in Mountain View, San Francisco’s backyard. The highlight of the week however was Thanksgiving Day ~ great food and discussion with an intimate group of old and new friends.
And the weekend was topped off when I enjoyed a nice Italian meal with a friend who I’ve known for 16 years but get to see maybe four times a year despite living in the same city! (you know who you are!) San Francisco is the best place to spend time with people who you are thankful to be in your life.