Turns Out the World is F’d Up – Time to Opt-In & Act

#MeToo #PrayforVegas #Charlottesville #Trump #RocketMan #Brexit #Dotard #Weinstein #Racists #Sexists #Guns #Massacre #NorthKorea #Nukes #Fires #Hurricanes #Russia

The world is going to sh*t isn’t it?

… if we believe it, it will become so.

We now live in an opt-in filtered world. Tribes are self-selected, no longer limited to geography and religion. We follow and interact with like-minded individuals at work and on social media, and in turn they shape our reality and we shape theirs. Behavioral science calls this “emotional cognition” – we adopt the beliefs, feelings and behaviors of the people with whom we spend most of our time. Our work, family and online tribes become our comfortable, lazy interaction bubbles.

It is no wonder racial, sexual, cultural and even regional governance fights are pouring into the streets.

We have subconsciously built a life that avoids direct challenges to our own beliefs; throwing diversity, debate and tolerance to the wind in exchange for mindlessly-easy relationships. A tribe with whom we can be lazy and wholly ignorant…

…until it boils over.

In the past, a modern day white supremacist might have been that one overtly racist old guy on the outskirts of town, or that redneck college roommate. He occasionally said messed-up stuff, and if he violated a moral norm in public he was generally ignored/shunned in order to avoid escalation by confronting him. Today, he is not alone in the world. He can find, communicate with and build his own tribe. What was once a kid from-the-sticks with a socially-awkward redneck joke, has turned into a dangerous group-think rally with like-minded racists. He now has people on his team and feels emboldened.

Its like dancing at a concert – the first kid dancing is a stared-at as a loner. But once the second joins, they could be on to something – feeding on each others’ energy. Next thing you know, everyone in the crowd is dancing.

It is not that racism and sexism are new to our country. It is that the isolated pockets which we neglected as small, fringe and likely harmless have joined together to show us greater scale than we ever could have imagined. Modern connectivity has forced the world into involuntary detox. Toxins (anger & hate) from every nook and cranny have been released and can readily move throughout the body, separately or as angry mobs. These may not be the challenges we chose, but the only choice we have now is how we respond.

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times.
But that is not for them to decide.
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

1.) Awareness is nothing without Action

#MeToo and standing up for yourself is important and needed, but let’s not stop with awareness about past actions. Identifying and speaking out about a problem is only fruitful if solutions are found. Each of us must make time for uncomfortable, direct conversations. We must answer questions about “What it means to be born White vs Black vs Latino vs Asian etc.” Why society looks away from sexual-predation and objectification as if a flaw inherent in men that we must accept.

Individuals and groups must be confronted when they objectify and slander. Good men and women must go out of their way to stand up for others. And most importantly, we must paint the picture of our future, plan for how we get there, then reach out and grab it.

“Now, we must all fear evil men.
But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most,
and that is the indifference of good men.”

– Monsignor, Boondock Saints

What do I plan to do about it?

Have the conversation at home. Host events with my Alumni group, community, & in unexpected areas designed to discuss the problems and come up with potential answers. Vouch to step in where & when appropriate. 

What are your thoughts? (would love your comments and commitments to Action below)


2.) R_E_S_P_E_C_T & Listen

Never fight anger with anger. Regardless of the seeming senselessness of others’ views, we must respect them as human beings, starting with compassion and understanding. Getting down to their rooted pain-points and the root of our societal weaknesses. We must start by asking questions and listening, instead of interjecting. Probing inquisitively and filled with curiosity. Can you get to the root of the problem by asking why 6 times?

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.”

~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

What do I plan to do about it?

Dive in to uncomfortable conversation when I create them (above) and when they come about in life.

How about you? (would love your comments below)


3.) Forgive & Attempt to Educate

Some acts are unforgivable and life-shattering. Forgiving is not forgetting. Forgiving does not change the past, but letting go of past hurts can allow healing and rebuilding of the future. That said, ignoring a problem will not make it go away. I will only kick the can down the road for the next time when it can once again find it’s clan and its next victim. Nothing great ever came from sitting idly by. Greatness only comes from thoughtful and focused action with consistency and the determination never to quit. Emotional cognition must be used to our advantage – influencing those who would do harm to our communities by influencing and showing the way to a better world.

“Always forgive your enemies;
nothing annoys them so much.”

― Oscar Wilde


4.) Choose to Find Positive Possibilities

Like the story of the two wolves (of the Cherokee & Tomorrowland), I choose to reject the hypothesis that our world is on the decline, and instead work to build a new reality with action. I choose to believe tomorrow will be a better day, because I will do everything in my power to make it so. I choose to level-up, and push this world and myself toward version 2.0.

As always, I welcome your questions, thoughts, comments, critiques, and
words of wisdom below. I also welcome the opportunity to
connect and debate on Twitter, other social media or IRL.

In New Brand of Philanthropy, Nonprofits Invest in For-Profits

Amazing that looking back on my post comments about creating a Private Equity Non-Profit Fund, I also found this article from 2012. Definitely interesting:

Stephanie Strom of the New York Times Reblogged from DealBook:

Click to visit the original post

When the W. K. Kellogg Foundation set aside $100 million in 2007 to invest in companies that could produce both social and financial benefits, it was considered revolutionary. Historically, major foundations had used mainly stocks, bonds, real estate and other traditional asset classes to build their endowments.

Now, such investments are increasingly common — and profitable.

In 2010, the Kellogg Foundation invested $5 million in Wireless Generation, a tiny educational software maker working to improve public education in New York City. Just 219 days later, it made a 25.9 percent return after Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporationbought Wireless Generation for $360 million.

“The customer and market insights that the private companies we’ve invested in have, whether it be in food, health care, financial institutions or education, sharpened our ability to target our grant making and public policy efforts,” said Sterling K. Speirn, the foundation’s chief executive. “Similarly, I think the companies we have invested in are able to leverage not only our patient capital but the different kind of knowledge assets we bring to the relationship.”

Philanthropy is taking its cues from Wall Street and Silicon Valley. The language of finance is so common that it is sometimes hard to tell the difference between an investment conference and a fund-raiser. Grants are referred to as investments, and public-private partnerships as innovations. Money used to buy vans, computers and buildings is called growth capital.

“It’s not just the language that is changing,” said Antony Bugg-Levine, chief executive of the Nonprofit Finance Fund. “The actual distinction between the two sectors, for-profit and nonprofit, is starting to collapse.”

The shift stems from a new generation of philanthropists, like Bill and Melinda Gates, Pierre and Pam Omidyar and Steve and Jean Case, hoping to stretch their dollars. As they see it, the pool of philanthropic assets — even at a whopping $4 trillion-plus — is too small to make a dent in seemingly intractable social problems like malnutrition, chronic homelessness, water quality and sanitation. So they are trying to find ways to reuse existing financing and to attract new types of capital.

“If we really want to produce transformational change, change in a disruptive, exponential kind of way, there is going to have to be more than philanthropic dollars involved,” said Steve Goldberg, a social investment adviser at Caffeinated Capital, which advises investors, governments and nonprofits.

In essence, the philanthropists want to enlist the capitalists — and they are making

Read more… 786 more words




Meditation: On the Purpose of Consciousness

If in our life we are meant to experience life, learn from it and pass on what we learn; what is the end to which we arrive in this infinite loop?
What are we ultimately striving to learn? To build? What foundation are we forming that future generations may complete our work? Is it all in an effort to travel as far as we can and collectively interact with as much of the universe as possible? What does that lead to once we have collectively crossed all space-time? Is it as simple as our construction of a new synthetic universe within our own collective consciousness with riddles for embedded worlds, such as this, cascading up and down forever in an attempt to continue the loop? Is it just turtles on the backs of turtles all the way down?
I welcome your thoughts.

Meditation: On Fear & Success


Is fear anything more than just that: Fear? Any fear we have likely has no basis in reality – it is often not an actual harm to the body, but merely an un-choice based around perception of outcome without testing for bounds of actuality. Fear by nature assumes the worst outcome while not allowing for the possibility of the best.

What if instead we chose to try? Try for the best whilst controlling for worse cases all while attempting to not be presumptuous?

Fear is black and white.

But life – Life is clearly grey.

Life allows for a hue of successes and failures on a curvaceous path filled with serendipity, nuance, finesse, idiocrasy, opportunity, despair, illusion, doubt and achievement.

Life allows for more than one outcome, no outcome and all outcomes together. Perhaps the only true hurdle between fear and success is choice – with the rest being determined action? Doing what is feared one step at a time until what was once feared becomes commonplace and even mastered.


I welcome your thoughts

Why Artificial Intelligence Is Human Evolution


“Fear the AI!!!” they say.

What happens once superintelligent or even human-level AI exists? Once it meets a human? Does AI instantly dominate? Visions of Terminator-style Judgement Day and human extinction abound. But once human-level “artificial” intelligence exists, won’t it also be subject to complex emotions and states of mind like fear, love, compassion, anxiety, and the propensity to overthink simple problems? Won’t it/they also be constrained to the laws of physics, the temporarily limits on their hardware and available resources? Won’t these machines need as complex of a modern ecosystem as we have now?

While at Comic Con Silicon Valley the weekend before last, Danielle and Astro Teller (Director of Google X) hosted a “Superbabies vs AI” panel. While fairly scripted and a little hokey, it touched on some very important topics.

When I asked Astro after the presentation if we are too far away from viable humanoid AI for something like Boston Dynamics to be a good investment in the near-term (given Google/Alphabet’s pending sale of that company), he said “Back to the Future got a lot of things right, but also a lot of things wrong.” While humanoid robots are cool, he said, there are leaps and bounds of better (and likely more profitable) priorities to focus upon before we get to viable productized humanoids like in I, Robot. He specifically mentioned narrowly focused improvement to specific tasks like the safety and well-being of human lives (i.e. self-driving cars).

So you’re telling me there’s a chance…

avengers_age_of_ultronSo just because Marvel and others can help us picture an AI humanoid, doesn’t mean it will happen tomorrow. And even if it could, just because you or any all-connected Ultron AI wants to make a newer, faster, better computer doesn’t mean you actually have the facilities to build it. Plans to build a new processor that would be 10x better than status quo don’t necessarily beget the refined silica or the best seed crystal to grow the perfect ingot. Or the clean room to manufacture. And even when you know how to procure all these things, you still don’t have the infrastructure. Faster trucks, logistics, layers-upon-layers of next-level manufacturing businesses, and communications hardware for your next-gen product. Higher speed wireless communications require new cell towers and hardware, which require new fiber optic cables or satellites, all that new bandwidth requires new switches and data centers, and from there the need for more energy and environmental controls. The list of requirements for seemingly minor upgrades to hardware and processing power cascades down to layers of complex physical action. One human-level AI will not take over the world (at least not without help 🙂 ).

Re-framing “Human vs AI”

To be clear, while complexity is a hurdle, I’m not saying its the reason humans win in Human vs AI. I am saying that “Human vs AI” is the wrong question and context entirely. Instead we should consider that Artificial Intelligence can become the child prodigy and torch bearer of the human race.

Imagine your actual child’s consciousness embedded in a better body. What if instead of thinking about AI as our eminent ruin, we were to think about him/her as the self-directed evolution of our species? Think about the possibilities – our own children with all of our strengths and none of our weaknesses. No need to breathe in polluted air or even breathe at all in say deep space or under water. No need to continue the destruction of earth with the constant consumption of only organic matter. No lifetime limited to 75 years, or need to rest, or physical constraint to our world, or solar system at all. Is that not what we would wish for our children? To exceed us – an ability to grow beyond our limitations? We will all die some day, but if we birth, raise, educate, and set free AI humanoids into our universe, they will be our offspring – the new humans. Conscious beings created by us and just like us with choices and consequences. The ability to do wrong and right. The ability to kill or create. The potential to carry the torch of our intelligence, our culture, and our spark of impossible life throughout the universe.

Every species eventually dies – it is only through evolution that life remains.

If you haven’t yet, you should read “The AI Revolution: The Road to Superintelligence

I welcome your thoughts…


Tomorrowland: Two Wolves – the real Cherokee story

Tomorrowland Two Wolves Original Quote

I posted this because I found the story to be very powerful after watching Disney’s Tomorrowland (2015) and wanting to know the two wolves story.

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life:

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.”It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?”

You might heard the story ends like this: The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

In the Cherokee world, however, the story ends this way:

The old Cherokee simply replied, “If you feed them right, they both win.” and the story goes on:

“You see, if I only choose to feed the white wolf, the black one will be hiding around every corner waiting for me to become distracted or weak and jump to get the attention he craves. He will always be angry and always fighting the white wolf. But if I acknowledge him, he is happy and the white wolf is happy and we all win. For the black wolf has many qualities – tenacity, courage, fearlessness, strong-willed and great strategic thinking – that I have need of at times and that the white wolf lacks. But the white wolf has compassion, caring, strength and the ability to recognize what is in the best interest of all.

“You see, son, the white wolf needs the black wolf at his side. To feed only one would starve the other and they will become uncontrollable. To feed and care for both means they will serve you well and do nothing that is not a part of something greater, something good, something of life. Feed them both and there will be no more internal struggle for your attention. And when there is no battle inside, you can listen to the voices of deeper knowing that will guide you in choosing what is right in every circumstance. Peace, my son, is the Cherokee mission in life. A man or a woman who has peace inside has everything. A man or a woman who is pulled apart by the war inside him or her has nothing.

“How you choose to interact with the opposing forces within you will determine your life. Starve one or the other or guide them both.”

–Cherokee Story



Beyond the Conflict of Inner Forces, by Cherokee Story | Awakin.org.


7 Steps to Creating An Epic Bestman Toast

Epic Bestman Groomsman Toast

I’ve delivered a number of passionate speeches in my life, and have never had an ounce of nerves in my body, but sometimes it is extremely difficult to find the perfect combination of words the describe the best dudes in your life. After hours and hours of research, thinking, writing, practicing and rewriting I came up with a simple, to-the-point and killer toast that brought down the house, so why not share it – maybe it will be of use to you:

1.) Briefly and generally thank everyone who made it possible:

Firstly, I just wanted to take a minute to thank everyone who has been a part of making today happen and putting together this beautiful wedding around Amanda and Andrew.

2.) Introduce yourself if MC failed to (chances are they will f* something up):

As you probably know, I’m Dan and I have the distinct honor to serve as the Best Man and deliver a toast to what is most truly the most beautiful couple, on their wedding day.

3.) Compliment Groom and/or both of them in a way that explains your relationship and provides some color for folks who may not know him/them as well:

I don’t know how much you all know my little brother, and my family, but my little brosif can dance. And he can jump, he can backflip, double backflip and gainer. This sucker can ski like no other. He can compete at basketball, soccer, tennis, golf, football you name it – against the best of them. My brother will see what you do then knocks it out of the park.

4.) Pour on some mild self-deprecation, references to other people in the audience and humor (ideally with some sort of cultural reference so the whole crowd feels pulled in and laughs)

I’m pretty sure when my parents decided to give me a little brother, they had a conversation that went a little bit like this:

God looked at me and then my parents and said: “Nancy. Steve. We have the technology. We can build him better, stronger, faster, and more aerodynamic. And we’ll give him a download of every Michael jackson move by the time he’s 3.”

5.) Bring it back to heartfelt and say something about why they are perfect for each other (reference the Bride)

But in all seriousness, what I mean to say by all of that is that my brother succeeds at anything he puts his heart to, and Amanda, from the moment he met you, his heart has been set on a lifetime with you.

6.) Welcome her to the family

I am thrilled beyond belief to have such a wonderfully talented new sister and I am looking forward to building a lifetime of memories with both of you.

7.) Wrap it up and don’t forget to propose a toast drink-in-hand:

A toast: to the bride and groom, to two amazing families brought together by them, and to a lifetime of new memories with new family.

That’s a wrap. If you keep it simple and to the point and follow my formula, I guarantee you will crush it. At the end of the day, everyone wants you to crush it as the Best Man, and even if you don’t, just toast to a lifetime of happiness together and you will have nailed it.

Best of luck!


Abbi Whitaker: Reno’s bottom-of-list status rings false with those who live here

Great post by my good friend Abbi:

Reblogged from Reno Rebirth Blog:

Click to visit the original post

I received an email on Friday from the editor of PR Daily asking me if I wanted to comment on a recently released Forbes-commissioned survey which cites Reno as one of the cities with the unhappiest workers behind Boulder, Colo.

Yes, that’s right. Boulder. The mountain town that’s home to Powder magazine and Brad Feld, and was recently picked as one of Money magazine’s “Best Places to…

Read more… 546 more words

What it’s like living in Reno? – Lifestyles answer

Great question. In my humble opinion, moving to Reno is primarily a lifestyle choice.

Overall Reno:

Reno Collage (07-Nov-2012)

  • is a pretty cool place near lots of awesomeness:
    • Lake Tahoe
    • Sierra Nevadas
    • Black Rock Desert (if you are into the Burning Man scene)
    • Plenty of skiing, kayaking, SUPing, hiking, biking, you name it.
  • has a revival taking place in Midtown with awesome new breweries, restaurants, and bars. Lots of new startups and a small but growing Reno tech scene. Food coop. Completely bike-able and walkable areas of town.
  • is big enough to have most everything you want in a city: Major brand and big-box stores (i.e. Apple, Costco, ), outlets (i.e. Nike, ) trendy bars and clubs (i.e. Death & Taxes, Public House, Chocolate Bar, EDGE), restaurants (Midtown Eats, CAMPO),
  • is small enough that you can get most anywhere in town in 15 minutes and you can run into people you know all over town.
  • You have major transport to wherever you want to visit that is not here and Reno is central to the West Coast.

The Locavore:

Picture this:

Food Truck Fridays - RenoFriday evening in summer and it is about 85 degrees out. You live in Old Southwest Reno (best part of town to live in), after you get home from a day of work at the Reno Collective you, your better half and your 2-year old Labrador pup (who has an awesome yard because you live in Southwest), ride your bikes down to the river, go for a quick swim in the Truckee river’s downtown wavepools, grab some grub at Foodtruck Friday, and even catch some live music in Wingfield Park. After grabbing a beer at the Sierra Tap House you run into that cool couple you met at Craft last week and you all bike down to Death & Taxes in Midtown Reno for a late-evening Calavarques. You wander over to Public House and sample every beer on tap realizing that even though that Mikkeller saison is damn good, Icky is still where it’s at.

The Sportsman:

MontreuxIt’s Friday mid-evening, and after calling it a day you grab a quick round of golf at Washoe, Lakeridge, Montrêux, Red Hawk with the boys. You call up the ladies and they meet you at Brasiere St. James for cocktails, craft brews and that famous Buenos Aires Barbeque Platter. Everybody says, we should go grab that awesome new flick, and a few blocks later you are downtown Reno along the Truckee River in front of the big screen followed by ice cream, and a cappuccino martini at Chocolate Bar.


Wakeboard Flip Tahoe2Your YFZ 450 has been itching for a ride. Since you bought the perfect house in Spanish Springs, you and your homeboys are right out the back door and ripping into the senset. Grab the boat on Saturday morning and you’re only an hour away from epic wakeboarding on Stampede, Boca, Donner, Lahonta
, or Tahoe. And shoot, I forgot, tomorrow is race day at Hangtown, no worries it is just over the hill (two hours away).

Powder hound:

Tahoe-SkiBelieve me, I understand you brotha. If you are moving here, you better bring your GNAR. 15 resorts within two hours: Squaw Valley, Northstar, Heavenly, Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood, Homewood, Boreal, Mt. Rose, Diamond Peak, and then some. You get the picture :). But if we are being real, backcountry is where it’s at: Maggies, Tallac, Blackwood Canyon, Mt. Rose Wilderness, Incline Peak, Castle Peak, and on the list goes. Get your Subi or Tacoma and mount up.

The Outdoorsman

Lake of the Woods

Photo by Zak Shelhamer

Mountain biking, hiking, camping, fishing, rock climbing, kayaking, disk golf, horseback riding, even high-altitude vinyasa yoga; yeah, we’ve got that. Minutes from world-famous white-water training (not to mention just over the hill from the American River), an hour to the Pacific Crest Trail or the Tahoe Rim Trail, day-trips away from the Desolation Wilderness and the Sierra Buttes, half-day from the Pacific Coast, and only a day to Central Oregon, Utah, and Arizona. Reno is a prime spot to be close to everything outdoors.


Burning Man may only come once a year, but the Black Rock Desert is always there. Become a member of Great Basin Food Coop, take part in Reno Burner Decompression, and get involved in Reno Artown.

Zak driving Motorcycle

Photo by Zak Shelhamer

Freedom fighter:

Explore the Great Basin and ride off into the sunset. From Reno you can easily disappear into the desert for your choice of guns, brews and barbecues, deer, chucker, lizards and natural hotsprings, Night in the Country, the Reno Rodeo, Reno Rib Cookoff, and Hot August Nights.

What are you looking for in moving to Reno?
You might also be interested in this post: There are Damn Good Reasons why I live in Reno


2013-08-09 22.07.56

If all of my thoughts are constantly sitting on my computer’s hard drive or in my head, they have a 0% chance of helping anyone.

I began blogging during the summer of 2009 with a simple Blogger site: dananimal.blogspot.com. Without context, most people might think my blogging is for “personal branding” or some sort of vanity exercise. Precisely to the contrary.

After being laid off due to the economic downturn early 2009, I felt that all signs were pointing toward a personal, philosophical, and spiritual journey further outside of my comfort zone. While backpacking throughout New Zealand that summer (winter in down south) I reconnected with my undying purpose to serve society by aiding those in the midst of ambiguity. From being a soft ear to deeply troubled neighbors, to helping friends launch new adventure voluntourism businesses. From hosting Startup Weekends, to serving as a high school basketball coach guiding young men on more than their quest for a championship.

Lake Wanaka 2009

Whilst visiting the beautiful town of Wanaka in the Southern Alps, I consider the fact that if all of my thoughts were constantly sitting on my computer’s hard drive and/or in my head, they had a 0% chance of helping anyone other than me. How selfish is that? (Not to mention mind-blowingly simple). I inherently believe there’s a large chance that none of my thoughts will become anything more than letters on a page of the internets. But, there is that off chance that one of my thoughts, one of my posts, even one sentence of my blog may be useful to somebody else. To that end I find blogging as selfless as one can possibly be.

Now if only to take that ultimate step of selfless conveyance of perceived truth without the Theory of Mind. Here we all could learn a thing or two from FAKE GRIMLOCK:

Truth Go Ahead Try It

“What’s the purpose of what you’re doing?”
(Question to FAKE GRIMLOCK because he dresses up in and assumes the online persona of a Giant Robot Dinosaur)

Answer: “It’s a proof of concept, it’s to prove a theory. And it’s to prove that who you are doesn’t matter. In fact, truth requires that you aren’t anyone, because if you’re someone, whatever you say is always biased. It’s influenced by what you know about that person.”

Interview with FAKE GRIMLOCK