Personal and Exponential

Abundance Growth mindset Transformation


Key Point: The Singularity University Canada Summit‘s (currently underway in Toronto, Ontario) mission is to inspire and enable more Canadians to think BIG, take risks to drive global impact for the advancement of humankind. (Singularity U is doing this worldwide, and online).

To kick things off at the summit, one of the world’s most influential leaders and co-founder of Singularity, Peter Diamandis, took the stage to engage the conference community in understanding the difference between linear and exponential thinking. Until recently, most of the growth and change in the world has been comparatively linear. And Diamandis emphasized that the powerful advances in technology are combining to make change exponential. He went on to explain that if one took 30 linear steps forward , the outcome would be travelling a distance of approximately 30 meters across the room. 30 exponential steps however would result in us travelling 1,073,741,824 meters; 26x around the earth. That exponential world is mostly in front of us. If we think the world is changing fast now, hang onto your hats because exponential growth is going to redefine what disruptive even means. Faster, cheaper computing power including but not limited to dramatic change in networks & sensors , synthetic biology, robotics, 3D printing, virtual reality/augmented reality, Artificial Intelligence, and Blockchain/cryptocurrency are blowing up (or about to) whole industries. Business models in all industries are under assault. The best of us see this emerging world filled with abundant opportunity. Thoughtful courageous leaders know they have to think in terms of platforms rather than “pipes.” And much more.

So how do you and I navigate through this? I feel strongly that we have to make this very personal and immediate. Don’t wait for someone and/or your organization to “teach you.” I strongly believe that you and I must not sit on the the sidelines until technology and exponential disruptions combine to swarm over us. If we want to participate rather than spectate, it becomes very necessary to get involved NOW.

One of the thought leaders in exponential leadership is Lisa Kay Solomon, the Chair and Managing Directors of Transformational Practices at Singularity University. The following are some very practical, personal things Lisa suggests in this context of active participation in the world of  transformation:

  1. Clip headlines.
  2. Watch trends.
  3. Map uncertainties.
  4. Find patterns.
  5. Go extreme (imagine extreme outcomes).
  6. Extinction (imagine things no longer necessary).
  7. Time Travel (touch the future through experiences).
  8. Visualize (imagine what the future looks like).

We do not have to be technology experts, go out and get computer science degrees, etc. However, I cannot emphasize enough the significance of self-learning and imagining how this technology works independently, and more importantly how they combine as systems to dramatically change our lives.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Commit to experiencing (not just reading about) ALL of the following in action over the next (x) weeks. (You decide pace and order): networks & sensors, synthetic biology, robotics, 3D printing, virtual reality/augmented reality, Artificial Intelligence, and Blockchain/cryptocurrency. Play with this technology.
  2. Identify one or more leading commercial entities in each one of these areas. Follow them and learn how they are or will be transforming an industry/market.
  3. Think BIG about this. Picture and put yourself in the middle. Be a player, have courage, make a difference. 

Personal disruption in leadership,


One Millennial View: When I took the Singularity U online course, thinking exponentially makes total sense but I’m thankful for Lisa Kay Solomon’s bullet points on “how to.” Thanks to my curiosity in podcasts, I’ve learned about things like cryptocurrency and synthetic biology (check out CRISPR if you want your mind a little blown), and yeah, the future is quickly going to look a lot different. Thanks to Singularity U’s abundant take, it definitely seems like a world I’d rather be involved in than just observe.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

How Do You View the World?

Abundance Growth mindset Transformation


A globe, sitting on a radiator near a window

Key Point: Do you believe we are living in the most exciting and wonderful time with abundant opportunities in front of us? Or do you think the world is “going to hell” and falling apart? Or perhaps a little of both?

Certainly when we experience horrifying events like the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas, it’s difficult not to feel miserable and wonder if things are totally “falling apart.” Thank goodness we do feel pain and become awash in empathy and compassion for all those suffering. We can never allow ourselves to become numb to violence of any kind. Simultaneously, without attempting to minimize these all too frequent atrocities we humans inflict on each other, some thoughtful observers do believe the world is actually getting better. They also think we are in the midst of a drug epidemic: The drug? Negative news. The drug pushers? The media.

That’s the view of futurist, best selling author and co-founder of Singularity University, Peter Diamandis. In his important book “Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think,” Diamandis argues that we pay 10x more attention to negative news than positive news. To highlight his argument, the following is a summary of the real trends as outlined in his recent blog (read the entire blog for a complete picture including sources supporting his perspective). He points to the evidence, sourcing data from many credible sources, that the world is advancing and overall things are going in the right direction:

  1. “Global Economy”
    Over the last 200 years, the world’s GDP has *skyrocketed* 100-fold. Humankind has never been more prosperous and productive.
  2. Health
    No matter where in the world you are, mortality rates have dropped precipitously over the last 300 years.
  3. Environment
    The world is getting warmer but without the Montreal Protocol, the planet would have been about 4 degrees warmer by 2050 (…resulting in more extreme weather events like droughts, floods and hurricanes).
  4. Energy
    A key measure of economic growth, living standards and poverty alleviation is access to electricity… More people around the world have access to electricity than ever, and the absolute number of those without access to electricity is dropping (despite population growth).
  5. Food
    Despite the headlines, we’re making steady progress in the realm of food scarcity and hunger… Globally, 18.6 percent of the population was undernourished in 1991; by 2015, it dropped to 10.8 percent.”

So, if we objectively look at the data, we truly live in the most progressive time to be alive. And if your mindset enables you to see problems as opportunities, the future is even brighter than the present.

Leadership Moves:

  1. Embrace an abundant mindset and allow yourself to fully contribute in accelerating the positive trends in the world. Of course, be outraged and take appropriate action in response to human atrocities. At the same time,  consume a perspective of opportunity rather than one of defeat.
  2. Only work on and do things that advance us as human beings. Why invest our precious short time on earth wallowing in what causes hurt or live in fear, hopelessness, and self-proclaimed defeat? Understand the emerging positive power of the technological exponentiality, and how it provides a path to profoundly advancing humankind. Each of us has a role to play. Determine what your’s is.
  3. Take the following online course… It’s free. If you find it valuable, please pass it on. We can accelerate the forward movement of humankind together.

The world trend is our friend in Personal Leadership.


One Millennial View: I took this Singularity University course and found it extremely eye-opening. As a journalism major, we were taught in school to be unbiased. But anyone who has worked in media knows that advertisers (where all the money comes from) are often agenda motivated. Plus, filling a 24-hour news cycle is more compelling if you’re scaring the heck out of your audience. Unfortunately, that is truly how cable media survives. Think about seeing a murdered body on the street… That sounds horrifying, right? But, Joe Rogan’s podcast made a point recently that before around 1950, personally seeing people killed in your lifetime was probably a guaranteed thing. Today, it literally makes news if you do. Let’s keep it as simple as that. Yes, we’re living in the best time ever for human beings, despite what your TV/Social Media is telling you.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

We’re Back!!

Abundance Transformation



Hi Readers,

Key Point: Garrett and I have really missed sharing our collective voice with you. We took a little break and at the same time recognized it was necessary to refresh the “old” website. We had to take the site down, which made our time away a little longer than we planned. So, what’s new with

The legacy site was six years old and outdated in content and functionality. It needed to be modernized in many ways. While we’re still working some minor bugs out, we encourage you to visit the new site and hope you find this route valuable. The site’s searchability has improved significantly, and there is a lot more informative content in addition to the blogs. At the same time, all the blogs we’ve written every week for the past six years are archived for your reference. Our Culture Cast podcasts are there too, (stay tuned for Season 2 starting in late October). Speaking of our podcasts, thank you for responding to our survey and the unanimous support for more. We asked and listened to your suggestions so we will be doing additional topics on leadership, innovation and culture with more real world insights that translate into action. We will be continuously adding new resource content to as the site and your interests evolve. And those of you who have subscribed will automatically get the blog emailed Tuesday and Friday mornings (Pacific Time) per usual.

The new theme of the refreshed website is Personal Leadership. It is based on the premise that the gateway to effectively leading others always starts with each of us first. While the Character Triangle consisting of the values of Self-Accountability, Respect and Abundance will always be foundational, the scope of the website content will focus on the full range of material driving transformative leadership and cultural advancement. We hope to challenge, inspire, provoke, enrich, and meaningfully contribute to your personal leadership journey. Like we often state, “You’re worth it!”

Thanks for being part of our community and helping us to continue improving our voice.


P.S. Special thanks to the great web team at ATB who took this web re-design on as an extra project. This was WAY beyond and added to an already very heavy work load for all of them. You can see their professional work in the design. I cannot express my appreciation adequately.

One Millennial View: I’m absolutely thrilled to be back in the saddle for the new installment of The update looks amazing, and I too would like to thank the efforts of the ATB team that designed the awesome new site. I know we’re both pumped that it’s making a big comeback, especially at a point where Personal Leadership is a topic that’s very important for me to focus on. I look forward to continuing to share a Millennial View with all of our great readers! Thanks for sticking around!

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

What Competition Really Looks Like 

Organizational culture Respect Transformation


Key Point: People that lose their way “turtle,” and like to pretend and/or protect. They become fear-driven folks with a scarcity mentality. They pretend that things will eventually go back to the way things were in the “good old days,” and are dupes for every snake oil huckster that promises the “turn back the clock” lie. They also look for ways to try and protect their turf by most often crying out to the government to do something; create a regulatory fence to preserve their dwindling resources. In the meantime, what is happening around them is disruptive and rapidly advancing competition. At the macro-level, let’s take a look at what China’s market is like now, particularly in the entrepreneur sector. The following is borrowed from co-founder of Singularity University, Peter Diamandis’ blog

“9-9-6: Work Ethic

While I love the Silicon Valley work ethic, what I found in China was unparalleled.

The mantra is 9-9-6… Or 9-12-6…

Meaning, entrepreneurs are working 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (or midnight), six days per week.

Seriously, no joke.

Another important difference I found was the more militaristic, “all-powerful CEO” in China’s startups. 

While in the U.S., a CEO may “guide” or “influence” his team, in China, what the CEO says is gospel. No discussion.

And when a CEO makes a decision, the company takes it and runs.

Chinese Innovation on the Rise:

While a decade ago, it might have been true that China was a copycat ecosystem, today that assumption is 100 percent wrong.

Chinese companies are innovating at a faster pace than I could have imagined, and it’s this innovation that has maintained a 9.71percent GDP annual growth rate.

One factor that is driving a vibrant entrepreneurial engine is the massive availability of capital. 

Because the Chinese government has imposed very strict restrictions on the outflow of capital, the wealthy in China are investing more and more cash into Chinese entrepreneurs, driving a frenzied ecosystem and driving up valuations.

‘The typical Series A there ranges from $15 million to $100 million. 

China has also committed to becoming a world leader in Artificial Intelligence. Just this past week, it laid out its development plan to achieve this by 2030, aiming to surpass its rivals technologically and build a domestic industry worth almost $150 billion.

Amazing Startups:

My host (and friend) for my recent visit to Beijing, Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, the head of SInnovation (a $1.2B venture fund). Kai-Fu, a former Apple and Microsoft exec, was also the founding president of Google China.

Kai-Fu has an amazing record in investing in, and creating, a new generation of Chinese Unicorns (and pre-corns). He was kind enough to introduce me to three of these amazing companies: UISEE, VIPKid, and Face++.

UISEE takes a different approach on the self-driving car. Instead of aiming for public roads, UISEE has built autonomous driving vehicles for campuses, communities, parking structures, and more. This isn’t just a concept — their vehicles are operating and generating revenue.

VIPKid is massive and experiencing exponential growth… This startup has achieved $500 million in annual revenues in just two years! What do they do? They pair up, talented, underpaid American schoolteachers with foreign (mostly Chinese) students who want to learn English. But they do it with an amazing, easy interface. Last month they received over 80,000 applications to become teachers.

Face++ has built a revolutionary machine learning facial recognition system. Their software can recognize your face from live video better than any other software in the world. They have ranked No. 1 in almost every metric and competition. Already working with companies and the government, their ultimate goal is not just facial recognition, but to model the entire human brain.

These are just a few of the companies I came across that represent the radical innovation coming out of China.

My message to American entrepreneurs is don’t underestimate China as competition, or as an important future marketplace.

While most American entrepreneurs focus on the United States and ignore China, the opposite is not true… Chinese entrepreneurs are focused on China in the near term and America in the mid term.”

Character Moves:

  1. Be aware of what’s happening at the edges of your personal and business boundaries. If you become too introspective or local, erosion may cause you to become weakened and defensive. Be a curious pioneer, relentlessly seeking abundant opportunity. As Diamandis points out regarding China; “an opportunity to ‘co-Innovate’ is important. Either develop a joint-product for China with a Chinese partner, or to partner with a local giant to bring your product/service to this massive and growing market.”
  2. “China is going from ‘deceptive’ to ‘disruptive.’” Who at a micro or macro level is doing this to you personally and in business? If you do not actively use your mental and literal passport, you’re going to be replaced. It’s just a matter of when. Why? You are blind; so “pretend and protect” rapidly becomes like buying a lottery ticket to get rich; a hopeless strategy of hope. 

China-like in the Triangle,


One Millennial View: Oh great, we thought so-and-so over in accounting had a target on us, and turns out it’s a whole country of more than one billion people. Really though, I guess as Millennials, it’s just a great reminder to stay sharp, refrain from being complacent, and try to remain on the frontline of trendsetting.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Do Not Use the ‘C-Word’

Accountability Personal leadership Transformation


Key Point: Ok, maybe we should end the abusive use of the “C-word,” and that word is “change.” Honestly, I’m worn out with phrases like “change management,” “change resistance,” “change failure,” etc. Let’s all agree that change can be hard. When we have to do things differently, it makes sense that it’s challenging. Most things worth doing involve overcoming hurdles. Ever run a marathon? Few people before running their first one believe it’s going to be a cakewalk. Yet, if you are dedicated and train, I believe anyone can run the 26.2 miles. It’s only a matter of time. I’ve ran two marathons and always wanted to beat my three hour target. I came close. Were my marathons “successful,” even if I didn’t complete one in less than three hours? Heck ya, as far as I’m concerned. This way of thinking may also apply to organization and personal transformation. 

I really liked Nick Tasler’s HBR blog entitled “Stop Using the Excuse ‘Organizational Change is Hard.’” Here is how he concludes, and I whole-heartedly agree: “We have been learning new skills and adapting to new environments literally since the day we squirmed out of the womb. Every time we feel the impulse to say ‘change is hard,’ we could make a different claim that is every bit as accurateAdaptation is the rule of human existence, not the exception.” 

I have been leading big system adaptation and transformation throughout my career. With the risk of sounding over confident, I genuinely believe I can lead (developing a great team around me at the same time), a giant positive transformation in any environment. Depending on the size of the system it will start immediately and three to five years later it will be measurably better. There are common ingredients and my readers may be familiar with the eight-ingredient system for cultural transformation I’ve written about previously. Here are some minimum conditions that are necessary if you want to join me for the rocket ride:

  1. Be prepared to think and be big.
  2. The purpose or “why” has to really matter and be clear.
  3. Love and breathe adaptation like oxygen. 
  4. Have the ability to change perspective. 
  5. Challenge assumptions and be curious as hell. 
  6. Get s#!& done. I detest procrastination.
  7. Love a relentless pace and get energized by it. Be smart enough to know when to rest.
  8. No excuses. You’re fiercely accountable.
  9. Set targets people think are too high.
  10. When people tell you you’re working on too many things at one time, ask them to get the hell out of the way.
  11. Be compassionate, and accept not everyone wants to go for the ride.
  12. Accept critics, skeptics and quickly remove cynics.
  13. Celebrate milestones and understand that your full work and contribution may not be fully appreciated (that’s part of successful adaption).
  14. Do not accept binary success criteria. Transformation is always on a continuum. 
  15. Embrace the uniqueness and personality of the adaptation process; each is deliciously unique.
  16. Enjoy the highs and embrace the lows; grit your teeth, stay calm, relentlessly move forward.
  17. Breathe, pause, and never stop! 
  18. Avoid leaders like me if this list is exhausting.

Character Moves:

  1. Kill the “C-word.”
  2. Adapt, transform, move; make it who you are and recognize it’s a practice, NOT an event!

Adapting as humans in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: I really like this. Sure, “change” is tough, but us Millennials deal with it on such a regular basis that it should be second nature to us in a lot of ways. For example, every social media outlet has changed dramatically since we’ve started using them, and if you pulled up Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or Twitter’s interface from a few years ago, they would seem outdated. If you’re not adapting as often as an Apple OS update, then you could probably use a reboot.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Determine your MTP: Massive Transformative Purpose

Accountability Purpose Transformation


Key Point: A well-defined MTP (Massive Transformative Purpose) is instrumental in building a different and more valuable kind of company. And most successful new startups these days have this defined before they even kick-start. And an MTP is not primarily about making tons of money for shareholders (although when the MTP is achieved, that’s what happens too). It’s a much bigger inspirational WHY the company exists in the first place.

This past week I met with a 24-year-old Canadian entrepreneur who just sold his first start-up to a global company for $xx millions of dollars. He knows this “take over” company will scale his MTP, and make it a world wide reality. I remember talking to him about his idea a few years ago. There were a number of more prestigious and certainly hipper things this guy could have done in the short run, including but not limited to grad school, high end consulting, big company management, etc. But, he had a massive thought about changing the lives of the elderly incontinent by taking advantage of digital sensors and the ubiquitous wifi/Internet now available to nursing homes. So, what did he do to prove out his thesis that the elderly incontinent deserved the dignity and well-being to live in clean adult diapers? (Not “sexy” at all and for many people his age, well beyond interest, focus or comprehension). Well, he and his team decided to take a minimal viable prototype to nursing homes and learn from there. The entire start-up team stayed at three different nursing homes over a 12-month period. Yup, these 20-plus year olds moved right in to those homes, often staying in sleeping bags on the floor of an unused space, literally living with residents and staff. They knew their technology would work, but to really understand the impact of their product, they immersed themselves in full observation. The result was a dramatic improvement to the prototype, and ultimately a big win for the nursing home residents and their beleaguered care givers… No more middle of the night wake up calls – less sores, infections and indignity. Purpose matters. A massive transformative purpose matters even more. It is really thinking BIG! This mindset applies to our current giant or more modest challenges; from adult diaper wetting to feeding all the hungry. 

So WHY does your company exist? What difference does it make in the world? Simon Sinek talks about the “why.” See the following from an article in Dare2: “Exponential organizations talk about the Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP). It is no longer enough just to be in the market to create profits for your stakeholders. Customers and employees are attracted to companies that aren’t purely commercial, but have a greater purpose and communicate this purpose. Zappo’s MTP is ‘Delivering Happiness.’Yeah, maybe on paper they are selling shoes, but there’s a big difference for employees who wake up every morning to sell a lace up shoe in size 8 versus an employee that wakes up to deliver happiness in size 8. MTPs also give companies a much bigger board to strategically play with. Google’s MTP is ‘Organizing the world’s information.’ The breadth of this makes projects like autonomous cars and Google Glass — products that otherwise seem really out of touch with Google’s strategy — fit perfectly because it supports their greater purpose. Even Coca-Cola has an MTP. It’s ‘Open Happiness,’not ‘We are in the market to maximize the benefits for our shareholders and be the leading distribution chain for sugary soft drinks.’ Most startups are born with an MTP. It is their guiding light. The upward bound that holds all their activities together. ” 

When in NYC last week, I heard about an MTP regarding nutritiously feeding the entire world for pennies a day based on open source thinking. A very talented software developer got tired from having to break development activities to eat. So, he quit software development and hacked a basic nutrition formula that would cost effectively provide all of us our daily needed source of nutrition and then open sourced it. It’s called Soylent! Their MTP: “We at Soylent seek to use science, technology, and business as tools to improve the quality and accessibility of nourishing food. We aim to provide complete nutrition to all while reducing the costs of its production. To accomplish this mission, we have focused on creating a line of products to provide affordable, convenient, complete nutrition that is accessible to all. When we say “all” – we really mean all. In the last three months, we have already donated more than half a million meals to food banks around the country, with the goal of donating 1 million meals this year.” Read more on their site.

Character Moves:

  1. Do you work for an organization with a clear sense of WHY and greater good, purpose? And what about an even bigger thought? A Massive Transformative Purpose? Don’t be afraid to be part of thinking BIG. Like Google’s Ray Kurzweil notes, “If you want to be a billionaire, help a billion people.” Why would one want to work for a company or organization that just wanted to make a lot of money for a bunch of rich people? Especially if it diminishes humankind rather than advancing it? Think big, be big for humankind. Now is the time.

MTPs in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: Wow, good for those guys! When you hear stories of how entrepreneurs actually get up and DO, it’s always inspiring. That’s why I recently wrote this piece on a guy I admire, Gary Vaynerchuk… It’s people like this that can really fire you up, make you ask how you can better tackle your day, and think BIG, no matter what industry you’re in.

– Garrett Rubis

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis