Back in 2011 I got to spend 10 days in Africa with one of my heroes, the one and only Tim Ferriss.
He was gobbling up positions in early stage companies like Uber, Shopify, TaskRabbit and Evernote at the time.
Obviously that has worked out pretty well for him.
Since I had lost my dad only a year earlier and knew I wanted to be an investor, I decided I would follow in Tim's footsteps.
I was trading equities (mostly 3D printing stocks) at the time and starting to get pretty good at it. But there were already huge swings in my portfolio and I knew I needed to hedge my bets and plan for the future.
But I was young and had money and wanted to put it to work.
I reasoned at the time that there was less risk vs the public markets if you could get in early on tech through trusted connections and build a portfolio, and Tim made a really compelling argument to do so, so I packed my bags and moved to SF to be in the heart of it all.
I kept refining my trading strategies from 6am-1pm, then spent the rest of my days working to network and build connections.
It was really slow going.
My girlfriend at the time was my middle school crush.
She came out to help me get settled and stayed.
But despite having a degree and being brilliant, the only work she could find was working in a BBQ restaurant.
She would come home after midnight reeking like smoke and made too little money to support herself.
Coupled with the fact that she knew nobody and her coworkers barely spoke English, she felt lonely and isolated most of the time.
After a while, she couldn't handle the isolation and being broke anymore and went home.
So there I was in a 2 bedroom condo overlooking the city, trading by day and trying to become a tech investor by night.
I worked on side projects in the hopes that I could create a more stable income.
I lost $45k on a my first info products business.
I lost another god knows how much on a trade that I was right on but missed the entry, because I woke up late and went for it anyway.
That will really shake your confidence in yourself if you let it.
I did make some solid bets during this time, like TSLA at $22, BTC under $100 and Visa (though I wouldn't know that for a long time after, and didn't always have the fortitude and discipline to stick with them) and I met some friends that I still treasure relationships with today.
The short term losses both personally and professionally were stacking up however, and my morale was quickly deteriorating.
I was ready to tuck tail and run back to NYC.
Luckily my friend Ryan from Philly took pity on me and flew across the country to drive back with me in my Subaru.
That was a great trip for a lot of reasons.
But the reason that I want to talk about today is in the midst of my retreat, I felt like a failure.
I hadn't really ‘made it' yet… this was post real estate, pre hedge fund, and while I had made some moves I knew I wasn't living up to my potential.
I had picked up a book called “Abundance” by someone I had never heard of, a Dr. Peter Diamandis who was a fervent believer that the future is better than you think it is.
I was hooked.
I dog eared every page, and took notes in every margin.
This is a message that has always resonated with me.
Because my past wasn't always so great.
In the enormity of time, we have it pretty good.
Even if you have a hard life now, it's still WAY better than it was even a few hundred years ago, and light years away from life in Roman times, etc.
What the average or even poor person enjoys today would have been unheard of for even the wealthiest people a few hundred years ago.
And for the first time, reading about what was coming down the pipe like vertical farming, solar, battery tech, healthcare breakthroughs, robotics, AI and automation, I could see that the future would in fact get better and better.
So I started following Dr Peter more closely. He always talks about how to create the future in a practical and accessible way, and what's more, he leads by example, using his particular skills to make the future happen.
From the X Prize, to countless startups (asteroid mining is my favorite) to his books and incredibly informative emails, I read everything he puts out.
I applied to Singularity University multiple times and got turned down.
When his mastermind, A360, debuted 5 or so years ago, I knew I had to be in the room.
I applied and was rejected.
I was not to be deterred.
If you keep knocking on the door, they have to let you in eventually, right?
I even went so far as to tailgate it one year.
I got a suite in the hotel where it was being held, bought the digital package and watched it live, sneaking in on the margins to meet people during breaks.
I even got to meet Dr Peter, which is a highlight of my life up until that point as well.
That's another funny side note, this woman I met at a bar across the street on the first day of the event was keeping me company, she basically hunted Dr D down and dragged him over to me and said “You are this guy's hero! Go talk to him” lol.
So much for playing it cool.
Thank you, wherever you are, random bar lady.
This year has been a hard one professionally, a lot of built hopes, and a lot of setbacks. I kinda lost track of Dr D for a bit.
Recently though, he announced that he's partnering with his friend and another mentor of mine, the one and only Tony Robbins, to encourage people to find innovative and sustainable ways to Feed The Next Billion.
This is a mission that's very close to my heart. With our 5 Day Get Your First Mastermind Client Challenge we recently donated 10k meals to Feeding America with Tony matching.
Hello, universe! Here's my sign.
So like I do every year, I applied to A360 again.
This year I got in!
We had our first workshop last night and I got to do a breakout room with Dr D and tell him about my mission while we worked on my MTP statement.
It's really a dream come true, and I can tell that big things are coming. The people in that room are simply on another level.
And if you know anything about the trajectory of my life, being in the right rooms has been a huge part of it.
I'm looking forward to helping light the FUSE– Food, Utilities, Shelter and Education for at least a billion people in my lifetime, shattering the shackles of scarcity so people can spend more of their time creating and less just working to survive.
Still a work in progress, but what else is new!
Thank you everyone who continues to believe in me.
I don't always get it right, but I'm committed to continuing to work as long as there is breath in my lungs to get it right eventually.
I love you, thank you for reading.