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Forty Nine. / The Speak It Into Existence Edition.
On Firing Forward, Caring About Caregivers, and Putting Your Story to the Public.
Man, it’s been a minute. After creating dozens of these editions in 2019 and 2020, I slowed down, churning out only 5 in 2021 and only 2 in 2022. Whether it was a combination of crazy schedules and unexpected professional and personal bumps in the road, I just lost interest in writing editions of Le Cinq.
In other words, my passion for sharing and telling stories became more of a chore, which broke my heart.
At the beginning of this year, especially ahead of the 50th post of Le Cinq, I wondered: how can I breathe life back into something I always enjoyed putting together? I came up with a few solutions:
Bi-and-Tri-Weekly Timing: Instead of trying to get these out every week, I’m going to send them out every 2-3 weeks to keep the ideas and things fresh.
Mini-Cinqs: I’ve been playing around with the Chat function of other friends’ newsletters in the Substack app, and I realize it’s a great spot for me to share this new concept of “Mini-Cinqs” aka real-time and short-form editions of Le Cinq. Expect more of those in between full-length editions, and Chats are sent via the app, not email, so make sure to turn on push notifications so you don’t miss conversation as it happens.
(Oh, and the first Mini-Cinq just dropped, so hop into the Chat!)
More Contributors: To date, 38 of these editions (79%) have been authored by some incredible friends and colleagues, and I’m incredibly lucky to have this platform to share their stories. I truly believe everyone has a story to tell, so if you’d like to add yours, click the link here!
Ok, let’s focus forward. It’s a new year, 2022 was an absolute dumpster fire, and I’m feeeeeeeeeling gooooood.
What are you currently working on?
Yes, the fund is still a work in progress!
Yes, I’m working on my next full-time move in the process!
But in the meantime, I’m taking on contracts (like a Partnerships Lead contract at Ruckus, a great firm that connects high-growth companies with dynamic executives and cross-functional leaders) and partaking in new leadership opportunities (like joining the board of the Opportunity Music Project, an organization whose mission - to provide the best quality music education possible for those who may not otherwise have access - is VERY close to my heart).
Official announcements on both will happen soon, but in the meantime, if you’re looking for some help within bizdev and/or brand/strategic partnerships, give me a shout.
What are you currently excited about?
Last week, I caught up with a great friend, Kofi Ampadu. Kofi and I came up in the startup and VC worlds together, and now he’s killing it as a Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, running their TxO Fund. Kofi also runs his own pre-seed CPG venture fund, SKU’d Ventures, and yes, I’m going to get him as a future contributor to Le Cinq.
When I chatted with Kofi and mentioned the plan around my own fund (for later this year), he asked what I was planning to name it. I told him, with the name in honor of my incredible mom.
For the rest of the conversation we had, he kept bringing the name up. When I asked why, he simply responded,
You need to speak it into existence, man!!
It’s so easy for us to come up with and draw out ideas, passions, things we really want to create and build. It’s even harder (especially during this time of New Year’s Resolutions) to keep them up, scale them, and really turn those dreams into realities. But one of the strongest ways to help push towards those realities is simply to speak them into existence.
It doesn’t just energize you even more to make those dreams happen. It helps hold yourself accountable to stay on that path and not to stray away.
So Kofi, thank you.
What’s a story or article that you're currently thinking about?
According to this heartbreaking article in Esquire, there are currently 53 million family caregivers in the U.S. “That means, as of 2020, more than 1 in 6 Americans was actively responsible for the daily needs and well-being of a loved one.” COVID-19 made it worse, as “families took loved ones out of long-term care, adult day centers closed, and the paid caregiving workforce—burned out by greater risk of infection, poor treatment and work conditions, and paltry pay—decreased by as much as 12% in certain sectors.”
Of those family caregivers, more than 3 million (5.7%) are members of Gen Z, and 1.4 million are kids under 18. If we were to look at the average amount of lifetime earnings and retirement benefits that Boomers sacrifice to become family caregivers ($300,000), I can imagine that these kids who have to postpone adulthood suffer even more.
We NEED to fix this, because the literal and mental costs add up too much:
The price tag for a year of in-home assistance is around $52,000 out of pocket; a year in a nursing facility averages $101,500. The vast majority of American families thus take the burden to provide care on themselves. This includes routine expenses—prescriptions, wheelchairs, retrofitting a home to make it accessible, personal-care items like incontinence supplies—that amount to $7,200 annually on average, as well as what the AARP estimates is $470 billion in unpaid care every year.
I hope you take the time to read this entire piece start to finish. Check up on your loved ones, regardless of their age, afterwards.
What’s a product you’re currently obsessed with?
As many of you know, I’m a bit of a sneakerhead. The ecosystem I’ve helped create and learn from (from our internal Twitter DM group, The KicksFam, to Mike Sykes’s masterpiece, The Kicks You Wear) is so rich with great energy, and I’ve been working on wearing my collection thanks to the Unboxed app. I love a good story behind sneakers, especially when it really gets me in a place that brings back memories.
Which is why the “product” here isn’t one I currently own, but is one I’m going after: The Nike Montreal Bagel Dunk.
Montreal is a special place for me: it’s a city that I’ve ventured all over with my family before we’d city-hop our way north to ski at Mont Tremblant. I’d spend almost every middle school and high school Spring Break with my parents and brother in the city practicing our French, stuffing our faces with incredible food, and yes, getting a Montreal bagel every now and then.
The Montreal Bagel is uniquely different to the other gold standard of bagels (NYC’s, to be specific). It’s smaller, thinner, sweeter, and (somehow) denser with a larger hole. It gets boiled in honey-sweetened water before baked in a wood-fired oven, and it just perfectly unique. In other words, like the NYC Bagel, the Montreal Bagel perfectly represents the soul of the city, its thriving culture, and its surgical attention to its great food, from the ingredients to the final dishes.
I’m writing this part of the edition on Monday, 1/16, and the shoe drops the next day, so I’ll make sure to add an update below on whether I actually got lucky enough to cop it. Regardless, this is a pair of kicks that pulls at my heartstrings.
Wild Card: What’s an item you can’t shake your mind off of?
Last week, I also grabbed coffee with Amanda Beaudoin. After catching up on our respective work and personal lives, our conversation turned more into the idea of “Personal Brand.” Amanda’s been building some great insight in the current state and future of the Care Economy, but she hasn’t really put her work out into the public.
When I asked why, she was both anxious and unsure about sharing it, partly due to heavy case of imposter syndrome. She wasn’t sure if people would read it and felt daunted to share any of her ideas out to the world.
I totally get this feeling, especially in this #everythingispublic generation. But like speaking things into existence, instead of worrying about the dangers and risks so often, the more you lean on your strengths and openly share how passionate AND knowledgeable you are about a subject, the more people will recognize, appreciate, respect, and want to learn more from you, regardless of who you are!
The concepts of “Thought Leadership” and “Personal Brand” always have to start with that freefall jump. Nobody is expecting you to be perfect on the first try, but that first push helps you get there, especially to the zen level of Eternal Curiosity that only helps you forward.
I’m excited to see more work from Amanda, but if you’re reading this, take this lesson as a charge to start writing/posting/tweeting/etc.-ing what you’re doing, what you’re working on, or just what you’re passionate about. You’d be surprised on who it brings to your table.
(Oh, and if you’re still nervous about posting, you can do it via contributing to Le Cinq!)
"Reputation is what people think of you. Character is what you are."
- Oxford, The King’s Man
~ C O L O P H O N ~
Interested in contributing an edition? Email me here!
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