No one should be constrained by their bio - it's just a fleeting glimpse of a multidimensional being. But here goes: I feel equally at home drinking tea in the garden backyard in San Jose (also known as Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County, California, USA), speaking geek, pitching a venture capitalist, meditating in Marin County, traipsing in Guatemala studying the language and living with a local family, or chatting with Nicholas the Vietnam vet vagabonding in the parking lot behind the local coffee shop.
I happened to be vacationing in the island of Phi Phi, Thailand when a wall of water rose up from the Andaman Sea and engulfed me. It was much later before I learned it was a tsunami. Thus I was thrust into being an accidental "citizen journalist'" here on this blog in the days that followed December 26, 2004.
Since then I've contemplated more deeply the fleetingness of life and the impact of personal, heart-felt writing in a world that is hungry for connection, intimacy, meaning, purpose and a groundedness in the eternal rather than the ephemeral.
Before that wake up call, I'd been advising clients on their word-of-mouth, participatory (and customer-centric) marketing strategies encompassing the conception, design and market delivery phases via social media (think Web 2.0, social media, blogs, wikis, RSS).
I once focused on companies and industries that are affected by the digitization of everything -- and thus fall somewhere in the blurring computing, media and communications landscape.
However my interests have broadened into what I call post-industrial boutique artisan with a refined Italian Zen twist. That means soulful products and services from art, design, food, clothing, housewares, "new luxuries" and pretty much anything that is showered with care and attention by its employees.
I'm currently writing a book akin to Thoreau's Walden Pond set within my own Silicon Valley neighborhood (yep, this area is often called an officepark wasteland but if you are present to everything I can smell and taste the orchards too) that delves into a slice of life from forty days of my life this spring. It is woven together with a fictional journal from Vittoria Colonna, a Renaissance poet, noblewoman, salon hostess (intended for church reform) and confidant of Michelangelo.
Among my other pursuits, I envision a Silicon Valley renaissance that brings a love of art, culture, place, and the divine spark alive and innate within our humanness out into the open.
To that end, I'm working on some ideas that revive Parisien style salons. Imagine curated one-of-a-kind intimate living art experiences. Seasonal dishes. Cross-fertilization of folks from the agriculture/foodie arena, the arts, and the techie financiers of the region.
Inspiration and pushing our edges is not a solitary act.
The Italian Renaissance wasn't about one artist, one patron. It was a movement. A concerto with many players in the orchestra. I concur with this statement from the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, CA: "While the voice of an idea may appear to be individual, in fact the emergence of new ideas is a collective effort."
The new feel of this blog mixes up part farmer's market, part public gallery, and (once I'm through with my current neo-Luddite phase) part Demo combining the triumverate of my passions: how food connects us to land and people; how art enlivens us; how applied technology can enrich us. Think globally, act locally is my new mantra, so I'm using more local ingredients which imbues a personal intimate knowledge to readers rather than my two cents on a Wall Street Journal piece that is second-hand.
So these days I juggle roles such as: a tea master, a creative writer and poet, a trend-watcher, a curator, an event producer of intimate experiential art and convival spas, a reviver and hostess of Parisien salon culture, and a wellbeing concierge.
My professional website is so utterly out of date it's not worth leaving a link. This right here is my website and it unfolds every day. The consulting practice is called Koru Group. Since everyone always asks, koru is a Maori word signifying emergence, new life, growth and creativity. Certainly not to be confused with kuru, a disease transmitted by cannabalistic practices.
NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THIS BLOG IS ABOUT
Originally I started this blog to pre-launch a yearlong journey to the emerging technology centers of the world such as Estonia, Israel, India and China (to name but a few) and juxtapose their technological progress against their spiritual traditions, culture and worldviews. But somewhere along the way life happened. The blog itself took me on a journey...and here I am still in Silicon Valley.
I still travel a lot. (After all, I am spent nine weeks in tsunami-struck areas of Thailand and Sri Lanka this past winter.) Meeting people from all over the world is one enduring passion of mine. I believe there is a lot of underutilized creative capacity in the world's peoples.
I've tried hard to make this blog uncategorizable. I don't write for a topic. I write for a particular person. More often than not I aim to bypass the analytical mind when I write for creatives. My readers include poets, actors, writers, entrepreneurs, creative directors, technology evangelists, enlightened lawyers and anyone passionately and purposefully pursing life creatively and from the inside out.
I especially enjoy talking about the bleeding edge in trends, innovation and marketing. The fuzzy front end.
As Peter Drucker says: business has two basic functions: marketing and innovation.
Marketing and innovation produce results, all the rest are costs.
This blog is very different - you won't find silver bullets here. Metaphorically speaking, it's not a diet pill blog but a rather (sometimes infuriatingly) a nutrition and exercise blog. It takes months and months before it all starts to truly sink in and impact you.
In the past I have worked the gamut from behemoths like GE to entrepreneurial VC-funded start-ups either in engineering or strategic marketing roles.
BTW, I read a lot and I read for breadth. I'll sink into a chair at a bookstore to skim six newly released books within a three or four hour timeframe. Yes, authors can send me their galley proofs/books at: PO Box 490, Mountain View, CA 94042.
A REALLY LONG TIME AGO
In college I was equally divided between majoring in journalism, philosophy, English literature and architecture. In my heart of hearts I always wanted to be a writer and devoured classic literature.
I started in journalism but I fell in love with the art of computer programming. What was originally a ploy (taking a introductory comp sci class) to fulfill my mathematics requirements without actually taking any mathematics per se ironically led to differential equations and more calculus courses than I could have ever imagined.
Not that I wasn't scientifically minded...I am sure Jimmy Knickerbocker is still stewing that he didn't win the 9th Grade Biology award for best student. So although it's an abandoned path, my background by degree (BSEE) and quite a bit of career experience is in computer engineering and technical marketing.
Ah, even once a CTO at a venture-back startup. But that was another life.
Some of my philosophy can be summed up here:
If one could honestly assess the root cause of many business problems - it'd be these intimately related concepts: being open is dangerous and being guided by the echoing fear in our heads is safe. - me
Design is the first signal of human intention. - William McDonough
I can tell you, honest friend, what to believe: believe life; it teaches better than book or orator. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
If you must tell me your opinions, tell me what you believe in. I have plenty of doubts of my own.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Love is the religion and the universe is the book. - Coleman Barks
This is what the Lord says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient path, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls." (Jeremiah 6:16)
I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center. - Kurt Vonnegut
Sometimes we have to travel to the edge of ourselves to find our center. - Buck Ghosthorse, Lakota Medicine Man
There are three words that convey the secret of the art of living, the secret of all success and happiness:
One With Life. Being one with life is being one with Now [or, the present moment, or Presence]. You then realize that you don't live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer, and you are the dance. - Eckhart Tolle
My passions include drinking tea, eating seasonal foods from local farms, great literature, art, meeting people, travel, writing from an awakened heart -- or what Buddhists call the soft spot of bodhichitta, strolling in the woods, admiring neighbor's gardens, writing poems in romantic artful cities, philosophy, and Man's quest to answer the 'Big Questions' (why are we here, what is our purpose, who am I, for starters).