Chief Happiness Officer

Written on February 5, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

Who does want to be unhappy? Most people work hard to be happy, or at least, they believe that they would be happier if they work hard earning more money. It is not right or wrong. It is just a result of education and common sense. What are truly important to remember to have a quality life? Why do you have to be so miserable in your office? We are to be happy. It is just whether you know about it or not. Alexander Kjerulf is the founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Woohoo inc, and the author of Happy Hour is 9 to 5. He tells us what we need to remember to have a quality life.  





For those who are not familiar with you, please let us know more about you. What is the role of “Chief Happiness Officer” and what is “Woohoo inc.”?


I am the founder and CHO of Woohoo inc and we make people happy at work. We do workshops and keynotes for clients all over the world, to help them become happy workplaces.


What was the beginning of thinking of happiness? Did you have a specific moment that you started concerning about happiness in your life?


I’ve always felt that whatever work I do, I want it to be something I enjoy. I flatly refuse to do work that I hate.So when I left IT consulting in 2002 I decided to focus on happiness at work. Our company vision is to create a world where happiness at work is the rule and not the exception.


What was your first step to sharing your ideas, working with corporations, educating people to be happier? And, what kind of results you had in the beginning?


My first step was to study the field and find a lot of relevant research. I also talked to a lot of people to collect practical experiences and attitudes.

I then designed my first happiness workshop and tested it on a group of volunteers, who seemed to really like it. And then it was time to start the company and begin selling this to clients.


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I assume you sometimes had difficulties at the beginning that is the hardest part for those who start something new. How did you overcome it?


The hardest part was obviously selling our services in the beginning. Many people and companies thought it was a strange idea, but slowly it started to gain acceptance and now we’re very well known in Denmark and around the world.

Our main tool for overcoming this challenge was to be ourselves and to be bold. To do things our way, and not become too corporate or too traditional. It’s an easy trap to fall into, but I feel very proud that we stayed true to our initial vision.


“Arbejdsglæde”, happiness at work, is a unique word, which exists only in Scandinavian countries. What makes this word part of Scandinavian culture? Is it because of the education, nature, relationship with people?


It’s probably because Scandinavian societies are very egalitarian and focused on a good quality of life. Success in Scandinavia is not necessarily about becoming a millionaire, but more about having a good quality of life.


It seems that “work” is considered “exploitation” in the western cultures and “sacrifice” in the eastern cultures (totally opinion). Work does not make people make happy with these conceptions. How people can think to make their work happier and how they can behave differently to build an environment in which people can work and have happiness at the same time?


It’s true that many people consider work punishment and expect work to be hard and unpleasant and that for many, work is something you do only because you have to.

But we’re trying to make people realize that it doesn’t have to be that way. Of course, we still need to work to make a living, but we can find work that we actually enjoy.


You make a clear difference between “satisfaction” and “happiness”. What people should know about the difference between these 2 words?


Satisfaction is what you think about your job. When you make a rational, logical evaluation of your work situation, are you satisfied overall? It’s an important concept, but it turns out that satisfaction doesn’t have much of an impact on us.

Happiness is what you feel about your job. When you are at work, do you experience mostly positive or negative emotions. And our emotions are so important because they have a huge effect on our health, our well-being and our job performance.


It is interesting that many people look for happiness externally such as materials, bonus, status, and hardly try to look into themselves. Perhaps it is because they have got educated to think in that way. How this kind of people can experience a paradigm shift in their way of thinking to be happier?


Yes. All of the factors you mention still matter, because they can make us unhappy, if perceive them as unfair. For instance, if you feel you’re being underpaid, that can absolutely make you unhappy. But none of those things can make us happy at work.

The salary makes it possible to go to work – it’s not what determines if we’re happy when we’re there.


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What would be requirements for creating a world where the majority of people can feel “they are happy” ?
So if raises, bonuses, perks and promotions aren’t the key to a happy work life, then what is? This has been the subject of extensive research over the last few decades, and it seems it comes down to two things: Results and Relationships.

Results are about making a difference at work, knowing that your job is important, getting appreciation and doing work that you can be proud of. Relationships are about liking the people you work with, having a good manager and feeling like you belong. In short, we are happy at work when we do great work together with great people. That’s is where you need to focus. Instead of choosing the job with the fanciest office or the loftiest title, you need to choose a job where you can have great results and relationships. That will ultimately lead to a much better work life and home life.
And please note that this does not mean choosing between happiness and career success. Research shows that people who like their jobs, do a much better job. They’re more productive, more creative, more motivated and more likely to reach their goals.


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©Masaaki Hasegawa


Design x Entrepreneurship

Written on February 3, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

Primo Orpilla is the Co-founder and Principal of Studio O+A, the design firm in San Francisco responsible for groundbreaking offices at AOL, Facebook, Yelp, Levi Strauss and so on. Is it possible to follow your passion and to be successful at the same time? Yes, he proves it.




For those who are not familiar with you, please let us know more about you. How did you come to be a designer and entrepreneur?

PO: When I was undergraduate at San Jose State University I was initially studying engineering technology, I wanted to be a power plant designer. I had always liked cars and my father was a machinist so I knew a lot about cars engines. My wife Verda was at the same school, only she was in the art department. I really liked the energy and creativity in the art department. I noticed the other disciplines such as product design, graphic design and multimedia design. I also had an interest in architecture, but that was not taught at there. I looked closely into the Interior Design program. I looked closely at what you could do as an interior designer and quickly realized that interior designers could be designing and directing many elements of the interior space and that appealed to me about how much the interior designer could touch and have influence on. The entrepreneur side of me probably came from my parents they had had business outside of their jobs. So I think it was always clear to me that there is a business component to any endeavor and that you needed to have some aspirations with owning a company. You also need to understand that you are creating a brand and that brand identity needed to convey who and what we are. So it became important to be col clear on whom and what we are. I do think that also being in the silicon valley and seeing the spirit of these startups that anything is possible has also fueled O+A.


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What is the core concept of your design agency?

PO: We have several guiding principles, but I suppose the key one is that every project should tell a story and that it should be the client’s story. Our design development process is all about immersing ourselves in the client’s culture and then figuring out how to make the work environment an expression of that culture. When you walk into Yelp’s office or Uber’s office, we want you to feel the spirit of those companies. And if you’re working there, we want your work to be enhanced by the spaces you’re working in. An effective workplace will inspire their people to do their best work.


What was the most difficult thing when you founded a company and how did you overcome it?

PO: Starting a new business is always a challenging.  Just getting clients in those early days was a challenge. And of course if your business is commercial design you are, to some extent, at the mercy of real estate cycles, economic cycles, boom and bust—that sort of thing. We have managed to survive and in fact to thrive in all economic climates by listening to our clients, staying nimble and hiring people who are creative and dynamic. I think we have the best design team in the business.


I assume you have experienced mistakes and refusals as well. How do you maintain your mental state?

PO: I’m an optimistic by nature and I also enjoy the journey. I feel that you need the ups and downs to make you respect the good times and remember what you have. It also helps put things into context; we are in the heart of the SOMA a part San Francisco where several worlds collide. You have the brightest minds in the tech industry and then stark contrast of those who are not so fortunate people rehabbing. I feel we make a lot of decision and terms of . I’ve been in business long enough—24 years!—to understand that setbacks are just a part of the process. Nothing proceeds simply from A to B to C—there are always diversions. Sometimes the diversions take you to unexpected places. Sometimes they lead to discoveries.


If you had had the same amount of knowledge and experience at the beginning, what would you have done differently and why?

PO: I don’t think of it that way. It’s the journey from that little 2-person company—Verda and me—in Fremont, California in the 1990s to the 40-something team we have now in San Francisco that has been so rewarding. And we’re still making that journey. I’m learning something new every day. So it’s not a question of fixed knowledge. It’s a matter of being open to new influences and being excited about what’s ahead. Long way of saying I wouldn’t change a thing.


How does your experience as a designer help you manage the company and how does your experience as an entrepreneur help you design?

PO: Being familiar with both disciplines allows you to appreciate all points of view. As a designer I know what it is to be invested creatively in a project. I hope that makes me a more perceptive judge of our employees’ work. As a manager, I’m aware of what it takes to get a project in on time and on budget. I hope that makes me a more focused and effective designer.


What is the biggest difference between designer/artists and business people in terms of their way of thinking?

PO: You know what? The differences aren’t that great. The clients we work with—tech clients, entrepreneurs, communications people—are all extremely creative. These folks are changing the way the world works. That requires an “artistic” sensibility. And the artists I know—and I know quite a few—are usually very practical people. You have to be practical to make a career of art. Or even to make a single work of art. Every creation comes down to a series of practical choices and steps.


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What is the enemy of creativity do you think?

PO: I think the real enemy of creativity and producing good design is complacency and settling. Good design hearts and that rigor and passion to create new and thoughtful approaches can seem overwhelming. But what you will find is that a process when followed will always yield a good result you just need to be willing to not have and preconceived notions of what something might look like you rather need to be willing to excepting of design ideas that came from a good rigorous process.


When you hear the word “successful”, who would be the first person come to your mind and why?

PO: Steve Jobs developed such an unbelievable company and brand. The products produced were iconic and revolutionary and really made us desire them.


If you can make a call to 20-year-old Primo Orpilla, what kind of advices you would give to her? 

PO: Good Design Hurts !!


©Masaaki Hasegawa


Make impossible things possible

Written on February 2, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

If you can convert CO2 into energy? Many people have been dreaming about it but it has been regarded as a fantasy for a long time. Do you have a courage to take a leap of faith to challenge it? NEWCO2Fuels has developed the technology, which allows us to turn CO2 into fuels. David Banitt, CEO of NEWCO2Fuels, tells us how you can think to make impossible things possible.


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1. For those who are not familiar with you, before founding the current company, you had experienced many different fields. What did make you motivated to found NewCO2Fuels and work in the renewable energy field?


Today’s world is all about quick inventions and quick money without real meaning for improving life quality, without paying attention to our environmental issues. I was looking for ways to contribute to a better world and create positive impact for the next generations. This is why a few years ago I helped founding a solar energy company and today I am working on the next step which is recycling CO2 into useful products.
2. How did you come up with the idea of transforming industrial wastes into energy?


Transforming industrial wastes into energy is not a new concept. For years, people have developed ways to recycle waste into products or energy, mainly under the form of electricity. Prof. Karni from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, came up with the idea to take CO2 that is currently considered as waste, use it as feedstock and convert it into energy after hearing global plans of CCS. CCS (Carbon Capture and Sequestration) plan to capture CO2 from energy intensive industries, compress it and buried it under the ground. Prof. Karni realized this is probably not the best idea to preserve mankind and started to work on an alternative solution for CO2 emissions in his laboratory. His idea was to convert it into useful products i.e. fuel. Once he proved that the concept work, Prof Karni, an old friend of mine, ask me to join in and assume the challenge to found a company and translate the concept into an actual product and commercialize it.


3. What was the first step you took when you decided to make your idea happen?


The first step was verifying that the economics is sound. A great idea that cannot be sold is not a product. After analyzing the economics behind our solution, and realizing there is a great economic potential we decided to go forward. The second step was arranging funding for the company and hire the right people to make it happen.


4. What kind of difficulties had you in the beginning and how did you overcome it?


As mentioned before, the two great challenges for any start-up are the funding and the people. You cannot go forward without either of them. You need the money to hire great people and you need great people to develop an amazing product. We were lucky to find Australian investors that have long vision and green spirit  took the challenge and associated risk to fund the initiation of the company. Soon after having these two ingredients, the challenges were mostly technical and we overcame then nicely. As said earlier, when you have people and the funds required if the commercial justification is there the technical problems will be solved.


5. What is your future vision and what kind of steps you plan to take to reach the goals?
My future vision is to have clean industries that are able to produce the products we all need today, but without leaving a carbon footprint behind. By working at NewCO2Fuels, I am showing the world this is something that can be done and I hope our work here will motivate others to find different solutions with the same aim.


6. What are the key factors to generate innovation?


Ideas, Brilliant People, Out of the box solutions and great financial and strategic partners that share your view.


7. How do you persuade people to believe in your idea, especially when it sounds crazy to the majority of people?


You explain to them, step by step why it is not crazy. Many people thought we didn’t need laptops. IBM CEO said many years ago that the market for personal computers will be very small. Same was with the telephone. Look at today’s world. It is important to stay motivated and to believe in your ideas in order to have others believe in it as well.


8. What is the essence of selling ideas?


Having an idea you believe in, an idea you are ready to fight for and take risks to make it happen. This way, you will be able to share your ideas and convince people this is an idea worth their time… and money.


9. If you can leave one message to make the world better, what would you say?


Clean up after yourself and find some time, every day or week to contribute to making this world a better place. We only have one home, one planet.


©Masaaki Hasegawa






Predictably Irrational

Written on January 30, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

Do you think you are rational and honest? Dan Ariely is the author of international best-seller book, Predictably Irrational, and a Professor of behavioral economics at Duke University, We have learned a lot about human’s irrationality from him. Today, we learn not only about how we are irrational but also lessons about life from him.


M. Lengemann


1. To begin with, please let us know more about you. Why or how did you get interested in the field of psychology, behavior science, and particularly “irrationality of human”? Did you have any specific moment?

DA: I was badly injured many years ago and I found lots of things that I did not like when I was being in a hospital. I was wondering whether doctors and nurses were doing their best. Particularly, the thing troubled me early on was “bandage removal”. Imagine you are in a hospital and someone needs to remove bandages from you. The question is what is the best way to reduce the pain to the highest degree. What nurses took was the quick removal approach that is holding your arm and ripping bandage from your arm. Honestly, I did not like this approach and thought it should be improved. When I left the hospital and started studying at university, I started experiments on pain and I found that the approach used in the hospital was not the best way for patients. This experience made me think about what are all the ways in which we might think with doing the best for our patient but actually we are not doing. This made me think of all the cases in which we think with we are doing the best for our patients, customers, citizens, but our intuition leads us to a different direction. Thus, I thought it would be better to study and understand better about decision-making.


2. You also have a rich experience in business. What did motivate you to jump into the field of business?

DA: I’m basically interested in applications: figuring out what do we do wrong and how we can fix it. The field of business provides lots of opportunities to figure things out and do things in a better way. Of course, I am also interested in the field of government, which is another place where you can make changes that we have far-reaching implications. It is just extremely difficult to work with them even though we have tried. It is sometimes easier to work in the field of business, which is more maneuverable.


3. What is the hardest experience you have experienced, and how did you overcome it? How people can deal with mental failure do you think?

DA: I was burned extensively and I was in the hospital almost 3 years. It was such a long time and I could not understand what is going on in the beginning. In order to overcome it, I was thinking about experiencing one day at a time. After that I tried to give myself targets of a particular time and particular changes; not to think too long term. I did other things as well, like the reward substitution, which is described in my second book. For example, when I did some difficult therapy, I give myself some rewards that I really love for doing. No single answer for this. There are many ways.


4. Do you have any habits that help you work productively, think creatively or achieve your goals? How have you developed your habits?

DA: First of all, I have a habit of working a lot. I try not to succumb temptation. When I am in my office, I try to focus on things that I want to work on and put them on my schedule, which determines what I work on at a specific time. Otherwise, it is very easy to succumb to temptation like doing Facebook for many hours. The question is “how we can get long-intentions” to play out in the way that let us do what we truly want to do. I think that using a calendar is an important way to do that. Actually, I now have a new startup company that tries to take over people’s calendars with understanding: if we get people create an actions plan, there is a much higher chance that they actually continue doing it. If we do not create an action plan, there is a higher chance of never doing it. So my habit is creating action plans, making them concrete, putting them in my schedule, and following it.


5. What is the rational way of pursuing happiness you can suggest to people?

DA: The idea is there are lots of irrational things that we do but if I had to pick one way, it could be pursuing something that have meanings. I think there are two types of happiness. One is happiness that comes from sitting on a beach and drinking mojito: instant gratification. The other one is coming from the feeling of satisfaction that is a sense of meaning and purpose: fulfillment. I think people often purse the first one, not the second one. The second one gives you long-term happiness.


6. Most people believe that they are honest and rational without any doubts. What would be the first step for them to be aware of their irrationality and dishonesty to make their life better?

DA: There is a lot of ways to realize the irrationality and it is always easier to realize that other people are irrational. In terms of irrationality of us, one of the easiest ways is that your view is biased when you watch a sports game. This kind of thing makes you realize that you have a biased view that you see the reality in the convenient way and in the way you want to see it rather than the way actually it is. Another way is looking at visual illusions. Visual illusions are a wonderful demonstration that our system is not perfect and we make a lot of mistakes. I think if you think about life, with visual illusions, you can realize lots of things might be wrong and you do not see that.


7. What person comes to mind when you think of the word successful? And why?

DA: Successful for me is a mixture of contribution and balance. I can say that I have reached that. First, successful means contributing to the world in a useful way. Second one is balancing friends, family, and career. It is incredibly tough to achieve and I have no secrets to succeeding it.


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8. If you can make a call to 20-year-old Dan Ariely, what kind of advices you would give to him?

DA: Life is a long-term game. Especially 20’s and 30’s are a good time to invest for your rest of your life and a good time to accumulate knowledge and understand what serves you better. I think in my 20’s and 30’s, I was too much goal oriented that I wanted to achieve all kinds of things and I always wanted to get things done. I did not invest my time in long-term skillset. I think mostly about education. When you are enrolled in a certain degree you can say “I just want to finalize it”. From a different viewpoint, what you are doing is setting up the toolset that you have your rest of your life, and it is useful to think longer term. Broaden your toolset for longer term.


9. If you can leave one message to the next generation in order to make the world better, what would you say?

DA: I think the amazing thing that we do as a mankind is that we design our environment. If you look around, humans design almost everything in your view. Humans have designed great things in a physical world, but we have not yet done a great job in our mental world such as education system, taxation system, and healthcare system. To the extent that we could do on those aspects, the world would be a better place. We need to figure out how to do that.


10. What kind of website/app, service/product, and place/location you like to use for your creative process?

DA: The most important thing in terms of creativity is to start. Thus, time management is incredibly important. We have an application called Timeful. What we are trying to do is helping people schedule things in the way that would get people live in the way that they would like to live. Usually, a calendar does not represent long-term aspirations, but without representing those things in a calendar, the chance, of being executed, is quite low. For me, real issue is that.


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©Masaaki Hasegawa




Creative Community

Written on January 29, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

To a greater or lesser extent, we have experienced some creations. As you grow up, you stop creating something for fear of being judged by others. What would have happened if you had had kept creating things? Jake Nickell is the Founder and CEO of Threadless, which is a creative community that makes, supports, and buys great art. He shares us the essence of creation.




For those who are not familiar with you, please let us know more about you. You have learnt art and computer science. For you, creation may have been part of your life. What was the spark to found Threadless?

JN: Threadless started as a hobby while I was working a full time job as a web developer and going to art school part time. I first started the company as a thread on an online forum called Dreamless. At the time it was a small community of about 300 artists from all around the world. I simply asked people to post up designs into the thread and then made t-shirts and posters out of the best ones. Eventually it turned into Threadless.com. That was 15 years ago.


What did you do on Day 1 to embody your idea of Threadless and to make it happen?

JN: On day one, I promised the artists in the forum that I would make things out of the best designs. I didn’t know how to print t-shirts, charge credit cards, ship orders, etc, and figured that out as I went. I think that’s still a big part of Threadless today. We have a very DIY culture here and believe we can do anything we put our minds to!


What was the most challenging thing in the beginning and how did you overcome it?

JN: The most challenging thing for me was managing money. I like to focus on building great products, both physically and on the computer with our website. When it comes to accounting and legal and running a business, I had a lot to learn. The best way I’ve found to overcome it is to find great people to work with who are good at those things :) In the beginning my wife helped out a lot and now I have a lot of coworkers who are really talented at the things I’m not so talented at.





If you had had the same amount of knowledge and experience at the beginning, what would you have done differently?

JN: I would have probably leveraged more third parties to do things that aren’t things we specialize in. For example, I’d use existing e-commerce and order fulfillment platforms rather than building our own from scratch.


How does your experience in art help you manage a company today? How does your experience in business help your creation?

JN: I consider myself more of a designer than an artist and I think the concepts in design and layout help out with managing a company. Design is about solving problems and setting up a system for something to happen within. On the business side, I really enjoy being able to prototype and build my ideas myself. I think it’s important to be able to understand how it all comes together.


Artists are not always the best salespeople. What are important things for artists to remember to get opportunities and exposures?

JN: Let the world react to the things you make. You never know what’s going to happen. Don’t just let your work sit in the garage, get it out there and show people!


Creative geniuses come up with more and more ideas every day. However, most of the ideas never get realised. What are differences between ideas with a huge success and those with, not do you think?

JN: Well, the first thing is that ideas that aren’t executed on are never going to be successful. So start taking your idea to paper as soon as you can. From there, I find that starting on something is also an easy way to know if maybe it’s a bad idea. So you can stop thinking about it sooner.


All the resources on the earth are available to you, what would you like to create?

I would like to create a camp for kids where the first week they spend doing something fun and exciting like rock climbing, mountain biking, or whitewater rafting. The whole time they do that they would be documenting the trip, taking photos & videos, keeping a journal. Then the second week of the camp they learn how to make a website, edit a video, etc about the trip they just went on. I think it’d be the perfect way to teach a kid how to code or edit photos, to do so because they are making it for the amazing trip they just went on.

If you can make a call to 20-year-old Jake Nickell, what kind of advices you would give to him?

JN: I think I’d have more questions than answers. I think I could probably learn a lot from 20-year-old me… It seems as people get older their experiences lead them to taking less risks and putting up walls.

If you can leave one message to make the world better, what would be your message?

JN: Make friends and then make things with your friends.


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©Masaaki Hasegawa


What is success?

Written on January 29, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

One of the greatest thinkers in the 21st century is here. Randy Komisar is a venture capitalist(KPCB), author(The Monk and the Riddle), and entrepreneur(Co-founded Claris Corp). There are many people who would teach you how to calculate ROI and make a business model, skills and techniques for pitching and storytelling, and branding strategy and marketing methods. However, there is almost no one who would tell you what is a successful life. Randy Komisar shares his wisdom and philosophy with us.

Randy Komisar


Let us know more about you, what is your current passion and mission?


My mission is to serve Human Potential. Business is just the means, not the ends. In my experience entrepreneurship is a very effective marriage of business and social progress. Not every venture contributes to a better future, but the potential is there to do good while doing well.


My passion is to partner with high potential leaders to accomplish meaningful change. I relish the opportunity to teach and learn from the next generation of business and thought leaders. It’s a privilege for which I am very grateful.


What is the greatest experience you’ve ever had in your career?


I can’t think of a single “greatest” experience. I am fortunate enough to continually renew my “greatest” with the “latest”. Joining Bill Campbell, my life-long mentor, to found our first start up, Claris Corporation, was exhilarating. Inventing the role of the Virtual CEO at WebTV and TiVo was a joy. Writing my first book, The Monk and the Riddle, was a dream. Teaching at Stanford, with my partner Tom Byers, was life changing. Working with Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers to make Nest one of the most successful Unicorn Ventures was extremely satisfying. And the good news is that today, I am having a completely new set of wonderful experiences.


Explain the emotion and feeling you had on the day 1 of your entrepreneurial life.


I was working at Apple 1.0 in 1985 when Bill Campbell, Sr. VP Sales and Marketing, grabbed me in the hall, pulled me into a dark office, closed the door and asked me if I would join him in creating Claris Corporation, an Apple Software spinoff. He didn’t mention my title, role or compensation, and he wanted an answer before we left the room. I thought hard, for less than a minute, and leapt into my career in entrepreneurship. It was a whirlwind. I did everything that needed doing. Deals, real estate, hiring, etc. The hours were never ending, but I could not have been happier. I was finally the master of my own fate and part of a team I loved and admired. I didn’t know what could not be accomplished, so I accomplished it. Win or lose, there was no turning back from a career in entrepreneurship.


When you take a new action in terms of business, what is the first question that comes to your mind?


Does it matter? More specifically, does it matter to me? Do I care enough about the mission and opportunity to fail at it? Yes, fail at it. Why? Because most ambitious ventures fail and if you are not committed to the mission, the ensuing emotional rollercoaster will lead you to howl at the moon. So I ask myself if I am truly passionate enough, and sufficiently committed to the mission, to risk failure. If not, I look for another one.


On the one hand, each city, country, and region has a different value. On the other hand, knowledge and management process tend to get generalised. What are you able to learn from generalised knowledge and what do you need to find answers by yourself?


A decade ago, when I traveled the world meeting with entrepreneurs, I was struck by how far they were behind their competitors in Silicon Valley. Innovation and creativity arise anywhere on the planet where smart people reside, and that is everywhere. But entrepreneurship is a profession with a best practice, and that best practice seemed to be centered in Silicon Valley. Today I am impressed by how advanced the global entrepreneurs have become in a mere decade. The Internet and media have disseminated the details of best practices to every corner of the planet. Those practices are recited in endless books, blogs, videos, conferences, competitions, hack-a-thons and news services. So today, the regional challenge is not one of an unfair information advantage, but rather an experience gap and a lack of suitable mentors who can bridge the experience gap. I have a great deal of knowledge and experience in the generalized area of entrepreneurship, but I look for specific answers by reaching out to the smart people who surround me. They have the perspective and knowledge I lack.


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Sometimes, people are afraid of failures too much. Sometimes, people romanticise failures too much. What are people actually able to learn from failures?


No one should set out to fail. And no one should take the risk of failure lightly. But innovation is about trying things that have not been done before. It is about experimenting and struggling to challenge the status quo. It is about creative destruction. Most change fails just as most mutations are evolutionary dead ends. If we are ambitious we will fail often before we succeed. Silicon Valley has distinguished itself in part because of a culture that does not punish failure. If you fail for some reason other than being stupid, lazy or corrupt, then SV wants to put your experience to work again as soon as possible. You learn a lot succeeding, but failure seems to sharpen the senses even more. And I have come to understand that disappointment is not always failure. Was Edison’s 900Th filament a failure or merely a disappointment; more knowledge on the way to success? It all depends on whether you stop trying. Failure in the context of innovation needs to be defined differently as we all fail toward success.




All the resources on the earth are available to you, what would you like to create?


An energy ecosystem that supports a prosperous but sustainable planet. A food ecosystem that feeds a growing population without taxing the earth and future generations. An educational ecosystem where everyone on the planet can reach their full potential. Hopefully, these three accomplishments will further our collective peace, fairness and happiness.


If you start everything from scratch again without any money, status, and network, but with your wisdom that you have now, what would be the first thing you work on?


I would first work on myself. To find the peace of mind and inner strength so that I can undertake the challenges ahead. I would combine my inner journey with opportunities to teach and mentor the next generation of leaders. I would look for those opportunities that can make a difference and to which I can contribute meaningfully. I would resist the urge to race ahead with the herd chasing the Next Big Thing in the hope that I can find my own way.


Make a call to 20-year-old Randy Komisar, what kind of advices you would give to him?


Trust yourself. You don’t have to become someone else to succeed in life. Define your own success and don’t surrender to the expectations of others. Don’t worry about what you can’t change and don’t concern yourself with the ultimate questions of life’s challenges, focus instead on the here and now. Know yourself in order to know others. And don’t be fooled by money. It can empower greatness if you are truly great, but it comes at a steep cost and can be a burden that keeps you from living a meaningful life. In the end, it’s the relationships with others and your help for those who need it that will define your happiness. Trust in goodness.


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If you can leave one message to make the world better, what would be your message?


Be kinder. Move beyond yourself and deeply empathize with others. We are all in this life together and no one will get out alive. While our generation is obsessed with how we can make and consume more, twenty-five hundred years ago the world’s best thinkers on every continent wrestled with a much more powerful question, “how should we live our lives?” I think it starts with losing your ego and being kinder to each other in the process.


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©Masaaki Hasegawa




The beauty of entrepreneurship

Written on January 27, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

If you have a secured job like “attorney”, do you have a courage to jump into an entrepreneurial world? Sarika Doshi, the Co-founder and CEO of Rank & Style, one of the biggest and greatest websites for fashion and beauty, shares with us the essence to be a successful entrepreneur. No romanticized story, but the truth.


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Why did you decide to change your career so drastically from an attorney to an entrepreneur?

SD: I always had had a dream of starting my own thing. For me, it was just a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’. When I graduated a law school, I knew I was going to practice for a couple of years. The legal education and an experience of being an attorney is really helpful for what I do now because my job now is negotiating and convincing people to believe in me and to work with us. After a law school, I committed to work in a corporate world for a couple of years, I thought you can learn a lot about how the world works in those settings. I felt very strongly that before I did my own thing it was important to learn how others built and run a company. I’ve spent five years at a venture-backed company in London and New York, shadowed the founders, the CEO, the COO and other senior managers there, and learned everything I could from them. It’s a very different company, very different industry but the skills were the same around recruiting, operations, business development, strategy. My goal was to have that experience, Then, I focused very much on coming up with my own idea and worked on it nights and weekends. Working there gave me great experience and fueled my fire to be an entrepreneur.


What was the right timing?


SD: The right timing was the right idea and the right personal timing. It’s a big risk and a big sacrifice personally, professionally, and mentally. I was in a stable place financially, socially, and mentally. It gave me the foundation to shift my lifestyle dramatically. Starting a company from scratch turns your world upside down very quickly, and it requires all of your attention and energy. You’ve got to make it sure that all other things in your life are in stable condition and taken care of. Ultimately, there is no perfect moment. I tell people about that all the time. The perfect moment never really arrives. You’ve got to decide what your personal ‘readiness’ equation is. For me, it was a certain amount of money in my account and a certain amount of personal things that I wanted to work out. So I just worked on those goals and then once I got to that place, I resigned from my full-time job and took the leap.


Normally people, who have sort of a secure job, are hesitant to take a leap of face to start a new company.


SD: I tell people ‘Do your own thing and start your own company if you can’t ‘not’ do it.’ I came up with the idea and felt I really had to do this and make it happen. The thought of it made me jump out of bed everyday. It never felt like “I was working. .


When you quit that company, when you actually started your business, what exactly you did?


SD: It was really overwhelming. Suddenly, I didn’t have an office to go to, a paycheck, and a health insurance. I swear that having no backup plan is the best motivation to get things done and make things happen. Then you will find the way to make things work. Hustle and necessity do lead to an invention.. You become resourceful. You can make things happen.


Many people love to talk about entrepreneurship, but at the same time, most of them are looking for plan B. Only few people actually take actions.


SD: That’s what I tell people: a good idea is 1/3 of the way to there. The rest is all about persistence and follow through. It takes years to see the results of a good idea come to life. We live in the society that focuses on the immediate gratification. However, I tell people, ‘This is not the world to pursue immediate gratification. It’s just not.’ You don’t get it for a long time. You will get a lot more No’s and setbacks, than Yes’s early on.


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What was the difficulty you had in the beginning and how did you overcome it?


SD: Fundraising was really hard. Also growing brand awareness, user acquisition, taking customers as well. It sounds very basic, but I would say that the fundraising takes real persistence. It’s truly about being relentless and not giving up. You have to keep at it and, try a bunch of different things, and be thoughtful about it. The key is persistence. To me, there is no replacement for using your network. Leveraging your network has been the most helpful thing. I came from a very different background that I had no experience in media, fashion, beauty, or e-commerce. The power of Linkedin and in-person networking is huge. My entire social life for the 1st year was going to local meet-ups, making a name for myself, and quickly developing my network. There is no replacement for human help and contacts. Using social media is so easy, at the same time exhausting but it really does work.


In many cases, mental failure causes companies to fail. How do you manage your mental state?


SD: Building your first company is one of the most stressful and challenging things in your life. You want to be your best self for your company life. It can take your mental, emotional capacity. My recommendation is making sure that you spend meaningful time every day that is sacred and special. It should be truly an outlet. For me it’s working out. I love going to the gym. No matter how busy I get, it has been constant for me and I feel like I owe it to my business and to my investors to keep that time sacred, because it does impact your success. I’m a better thinker and entrepreneur when I’ve done it. For everybody, it looks different. It may be cooking, taking a walk or whatever. You’ve got to find your own thing and don’t compromise on it. When you start a company, you are forced to sacrifice most of the things for the first 1 or 2 years, but you’ve got to keep one thing that’s untouched. It doesn’t have to be million of things, it’s just has to be something that special and sacred.


How can you change your negative habits to positive habits?


SD: It’s about reflection. Sometimes I stop and say to me, “Wait, something isn’t working here”. For example, I was struggling to sleep because I never stopped thinking about work. So I asked myself “OK, how do I fix this?” and tried different things. I tried yoga even though I had never done yoga. Stop and then you can ask yourself, “OK. How do I make this work?” Just don’t ignore those signs and look within and always be focused on how I can make things better and more calm and stable for myself.


You are good at self-observation. If you had had the same amount of knowledge and experience that you have now when you started your business, what would you do differently?


SD: I would take more time to celebrate along the way. Sometimes good things would happen and you get excited. Then something bad happens and you feel so easily setback. I want to make sure we acknowledge and celebrate more along the journey.


That’s an interesting point. If you have a chance to make a call to 20-year-old Sarika Doshi, what kind of advice you would give to her?


SD: No worrying. I like to live a life without regrets. The only regret, I might have, is that I had a lot of time worrying. Second, be really grateful people for everyone you meet. They become your network along the way professionally and socially. They are your networks and your world. No matter what you do, whether start your business or maintain a traditional job, people will inform how meaningful and significant your experience and journey is.


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If you can leave a message to the next generation, next entrepreneurs to make the work better, what would you say to them?


SD: I think the key is that good ideas are just part of the way. It all comes down to a hard work and grit, and being gutsy and brave. If you are up for that, you’d be successful and you can make anything happen. It’s not about luck. It’s not about magic. It just comes down to hard work, persistence, and belief. It is wonderful because it means it is on your own control.


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©Masaaki Hasegawa



Written on January 24, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

Have you ever got immersed deep into something? Jason Silva is one of the most progressive futurists in the world who has thrown profound questions about our reality. It is easy to say “He is gifted” and “He is special” but do we truly understand what makes him so unique and outstanding? He shares with us “HOW HE THINKS” that we can learn what structures such a great perspective.

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1. For those who are not familiar with you, let us know more about you. You are a media artist/philosopher/futurist. What does drive you and what has contributed to being you?

My background is philosophy and film. I’m passionate about using media technologies and storytelling to invigorate the imagination, to dissolve boundaries of thought and mind.  I have an interest in exponentially advancing technologies and their capacity to help us utterly transcend the human condition… But how to make people understand? How to create that cognitive shift in the minds of others? This has been the inspiration behind my Shots of Awe Youtube series.   12 million views later, I can feel a ripple happening.  My hope is that people begin to understand that our creativity and innovation is embodied in our technology. Technology is congealed imagination. Technology is a mirror, an extended mind.

2. You sometimes talk about the Flow State. Please explain a little bit what the Flow State is. What is it and what is your Flow State?

The flow state is a state of mind associated with heightened performance, intense well being, focus and human virtuosity. Musicians, artists and athletes will talk about “getting in the zone”, and these moments allow us to pierce through, beyond our limitations. It’s wonderful.  An organization called The Flow Genome Project is now working to deconstruct the neuron chemistry of flow and help people create more of it in their own lives.  It’s great.  Here is my video on hacking the flow state.

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3. When and how did you find your Flow State? How have you applied it to your own career? 

 Absolutely!!! My web series Shots of Awe is a collection of recorded flow experiences. Every single episode is an epiphany, an ecstatic flow state captured on camera. Also, my speeches around the world have become an extension of this flow state as well. I’ve spoken at Google, IBM, Intel and many other companies around the world. I love it. Here is my talk at Google:

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4. How people would be able to find their own Flow State do you think? 

You need to practice paying attention to when you’re at your most inspired. Everyone has an activity that brings us “their best self”-  follow that, build on that!   If we pay attention to our intuition we can build our lives around these flow states. That’s what all the greatest artists and athletes have done. Find your flow and build your life around it. 


5. What kind of things and moments do give you an adrenaline rush that you can feel in the present? 

I’m a big fan of cognitive ecstasy. Moments of intellectual revelation. I love learning, discovering something new.  Wonderment is my favorite feeling. Cosmic Awe: looking at the big picture.  Every Shot of Awe episode idea reflection of that.


6. You are extremely good at thinking profoundly. How people can develop their profound thinking ability? 

Interpersonal transformation and deep thinking works only within a state of immersion. You need to be immersed in an experience, or in an idea. Only through the capture and management of attention can transformation occur. We live too many distracted lives. We need to find our focus.  


7. What is the most important thing you have discovered through your life what kind of influence it has on your life?

The realization that we have the capacity to change reality. Reality is coupled to perception. Change perception and you change reality. Many wise men have written this. But it needs to be felt experientially.   Go out there, dissolve those boundaries, step beyond the comfort zone. Take a leap of faith. 

8. What is the essence of living creatively and connecting dots differently? 

We willing to scramble your mental maps, put yourself in situations that radically alter your perspectives.  New perspectives turn into new ideas, new patterns, new visions. This is the path to transformation. 

9. If you can leave one message to the next generation to make the world better, what would be your message? 


©Masaaki Hasegawa


Extreme Entrepreneur

Written on January 21, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

Peter Sage is an international serial entrepreneur, who recently founded Space Energy focused on generation and transmission of space based solar power, and one of the greatest inspirational speakers in the 21st century. He is the author of “I AM – The Power Of Reinventing Yourself” (will be published early 2015).  He shares with us his experience and gives us very profound advices that you cannot find any other places.


Bond Small Q: First of all, thank you for providing us with this great opportunity. You have done so many things and keep working on challenging projects. What drives you to keep challenging?


PS: I am a great believer that we are not here just as passive participants. There are so many people that get to the end of their life not regretting what they did, but regretting what they didn’t do. When you start looking at the entire concept of time, you can find out it is just the perception of how we play with it. If we are here for a finite amount of time to the current physical status, I don’t want to waste that. Why would you want to settle, the only reason, you would ever want to settle, is if you are afraid of being able to move forward. Unfortunately, people are more afraid to move forward than willing to risk: the levels of uncertainty that participating in life at a full level. When they realize it, it’s too late as they are actually ghosts. If you have ever been scared of asking a woman out for a date, you’ll know it is only scary the first couple of times. People have the same thing in life that they are too worried about what they think you’re thinking of them. Then you can ignore all that game and start playing.  For me it’s the case of I follow my passion, and I am outdoor crazy, jump out of planes type of guy. You know I’m very mindful. There is a difference between fear and risk. Fear is healthy; fear stops you from being able to stand too close to a slippery cliff. But if you confuse fear with risk, you start overlaying it into any other aspect that stops us from enjoying life to the fullest level, and we are settling. We weren’t born to settle. Out of over 400million sperm, we win. Now if you look at the biology of it.  We didn’t’ necessarily get to the egg first, we were actually chosen by the egg to come in. so there is definitely a reason there is definitely a purpose to being here and it isn’t hiding out.


Q: Why you can find so many things that you passionate with?


PS: The challenge, most people have when they are not passionate about something, is that they don’t know where to look. They installed the wrong map. Unfortunately, what people are looking for is fulfillment not happiness. Most people think they are looking for happiness, but happiness is a temporary level of an emotional state governed by being able to think happy thoughts in that particular moment. That’s happiness, end of story. So chasing happiness is a fallacy. If you want to be happy, start thinking happy thoughts. It’s too simple, but it is the truth. What most people are confusing happiness is fulfillment. Most people are unfulfilled. They can be happy with what they got, like iPhone, but they are unfulfilled with their call because it does not make you fulfilled. Most people are chasing the goal of fulfillment on the racetrack for achievements. And the two don’t exist together. You can get a temporary high when you achieve something, that you thought you wanted. An MBA is a new upgraded version of the iPhone. What you experience is a temporary relief from chasing something that you thought it was going to make you happy. When it comes to passion and purpose, start asking better question. Not “What do I need to reach in order to be happy?”. Not “What do I have to get in order to find purpose?”. Those questions all leave you chasing your tail for a lifetime.  Instead, ask questions like “What lights me up?”.  Forget about money because it doesn’t exist; we’ve invented it as a concept. What is money? It is pieces of paper with dead presidents on it. There’s no inherent value, we associate or ascribe value to it as a medium of exchange. Start asking yourself if I can only spend my life doing one thing, what would it be. If I had to choose a career, what I’m actually paid to do it and what would it be? Then you start asking questions guiding you to your passion that you actually want to do, and that you are excited about that light you up.  If you knew it was impossible to fail, what would you choose to do? Don’t ask those questions like “What gives me the least chance of not failing?”


The other thing is we don’t ascribe meaning to life when our self-worth is tied to our net worth. How can we have a high sense of self-esteem or a high sense of self-worth if we link it to net worth and net worth in our mind is low? And it’s always low because we are always chasing “the more”. Your self-worth and your net worth are tied together. You can never find your passion if your filter in life is “how can I make more money so that I can make my self-esteem higher”. You are always following the way that you think will get money, not the way that truly follows your passion. The paradox is that all money is a representation of how much value you have given. If you are person with low self-esteem because your self-worth and net worth are tied together, what is going to happen is you’re going to go out looking for new business opportunity, new pay rise opportunities, new opportunities to make money, but you bring to the table the same person at the same level of value. Thus, your worth exactly 5-10% less than what you were the year before. And you wonder why and blame it on the lack of opportunity, when opportunity has nothing to do with it. Money is a byproduct of the consequence of the value you add. Most people in today’s society have been conditioned by the media, the wrong kind of pay group, and institutional thinking that states in order for you to be labeled as successful. I see this in japan almost more than anywhere, I get the self-worth first and then you are free to chase your passion because you are not validating yourself by somebody else’s opinion of who you think you need to be. From that place you go create magic and guess what you happen to be more successful and more passionate. You may not earn as much money sometimes, but I know people that earn a lot of money that are miserable as hell and I wouldn’t swap their net worth for my net worth in a heartbeat if it meant swapping the same level of self-esteem. I’d rather earn less and enjoy my life.


Q: Even though people in advanced countries have everything, they are struggling with their life. 


PS: The experience that you have is your internal perception of what you think the outside world is. Outside world doesn’t exist. You create your own world based upon you interaction with the thoughts you have about your perceived level of reality. Change your thinking, and then everything changes. If you take a glass of water and if you don’t like the water in the glass you change the water. You do the same thing to life: relationship, money, job, career, boss, school whatever it is. You try to change it by stirring the stuff. You’ve been trying to change the stuff your whole life, but it never works. But if I change the color of the glass, what happens to everything inside is that everything changes.



Q: To be a different person, in other words, to be a successful person, people are always looking for something to learn. What they need to learn do you think?


PS: There is only one thing you need to learn. It is the fact that you don’t need to learn anything in order to be successful. Most people need to unlearn most of the crap that’s in their head. Most people are trying to learn skills to get certainty. That’s why you go to school, get college education, and think “I’m still not all that certain so I need to go get my degree”. Then you get your degree but you still don’t feel certain so you gotta take a master and all this stuff because you’re running on a hamster wheel going nowhere by chasing skills to get certainty. The problem is that it never works because skills don’t give you certainty. Learning more skills just gives you more skills. You’ll always chase your tail. Give up the game of thinking you have to be smarter than what you are. Many people keep limiting their potential because they don’t feel that they are qualified to do what they are searching to do. Your heart doesn’t need an institutional education or certificate.


Q: Instead of looking for more external validation, they need to find their own goals. What are important things to set goals?


PS: The first thing is to know why are you setting a new goal. Most people make a fundamental failure even to start with. They pick up the wrong baton at the wrong racetrack. Why have you picked the goal that you’ve picked?  If it’s for trying to prove that you are good enough, to get fulfillment and happiness, or to show that you’ve got some level of self-worth, you’re running the wrong race. The entire purpose of having a goal is not to achieve the goal. It’s to see who you need to become in order to achieve your goal. The goal just happens to be a facilitator of a duty of personal growth and transformation for the best of me to be able to show up. That’s the kind of goal you want to set. Never set a goal you know how to achieve. When people set goals, they normally want more money, a better job, or the person of my dreams. If I set a goal, it is something that’s going to get me up 5am, and with that level of excitement that I’m going to want to go forward. I’m excited and passionate about something that nothing can stop me. I’ll figure out a way. Those doors will open; I’m giving my energy and whatever it is at that particular moment in my time.  If you are on purpose with something, there is different energy, demeanor, and spark about that person.


Q: How they can start changing themselves?


PS: Fastest way is hanging around with different people. If you’ve been conditioned for 20 years to think and act in a certain way or been institutionalized by an educational system that doesn’t recognize passion over process, you are going to be having a hard time when it comes to understanding this level of conceptual reality. However, if you start hanging around other people who are passionate about something, you are going to start wanting what they have and seeing things different. If you hang out with 10 people that they make 1+1=11, and create a spark and energy, you join those 10 people. And boom you can’t help but get enthused about the same level of energy. If you want a spark of life, hang around with the people who have a spark of life. If you want more love in your life, hang around with loving people. Change your peer group.


Q: How can you install that mindset or personality on yourself if you are a totally different person now?


PS: You summed it up very when you talk about shifting identity. I take people through a process called the IM process, which is a process of reinventing yourself. You actually get to choose and consciously create the identity that you want and explore. Most people’s sense of identity is fundamentally limited. For start, most people think they’re nothing more than their name. If I say who are you without your name what show’s up. Because you’re starting to talk through your sense of self that is real. Your name is a label that your parents gave you that was a linguistic application of identity that you then took on board. And we finally write because the mind loves to label. If I said to you what is that thing outside in the garden that is tall and full of branches and leaves, what would you say? What am I describing?


Q: Tree.


PS: It’s what we call a tree. But a tree is a four letter word that the mind labels on something that is a majestic description of nature, which is so much more than the label we call a tree. And if you’ve actually studied a tree you’d be in awe of what it does and how it’s incredible. This majestic expression of nature, which we just come up with a label: a tree. Slap it up. It’s not a tree any more than you are your name. In the respect of “I love myself”, you will notice the ambiguity in that. If I love myself, there has to be two of me. As the I is me loving the myself that’s being loved. And there’s the trap. You see the I in who you are is love. When we get to that awareness or spiritual teaching, the context or the glass changes dramatically. You see you are not your name any more than you are your mind or you are your body. You are not your body, your body is different from when you were five years old and will be different when you are fifty-five. So you are not your body but you are still the same sense of you. You aren’t your mind because your mind isn’t engaged. So the I is behind all that. The person you are without your name is the person that needs to look in the mirror and fall in love with himself and then give that expression to everyone else it meets. And they will find you are perfect, you know they will find what it is that you, whether you’re working or brushing your teeth when you’re engaged in a job, you can be passionate from that level from that place. But for most people that’s completely over their head.  In terms of trying to figure out how to pay their finance of a car they bought.


Q: In order to change yourself, you first need to experience that level of changing, like identity shift, then you can work on what you want to do.


PS: If you’ve come to the fact that you know anything you put after the words I am you’ll find your conscious behavior. I am an entrepreneur, I am a vegetarian, I am a parent, I am a football coach, whatever it is. The labels that we put on ourselves go in out unconscious levels of behaviors because they are tied to our identity. However, most of those labels we are still wearing from childhood, or teenage experiences are emotionally painful or gave us the most emotional high. Therefore, we stick to them most of our lives. What you’re really looking for is to come to the awareness of I am full stop.  Once you’re ok with I am anything that comes after that I am happy, I am sad, I am fat, I love me I’m gorgeous, whatever it is. Whatever label you give after that is almost irrelevant. Once you’re ok with I am full stop, then you have the freedom to go and live the life that you want to live. I got a new book coming out soon called “I am – the power or reinventing yourself.” It’s about shifting your mindset. Taking the belief of that “life happens to you” to “life happens through you”. You see life differently and change the glass, not the content. Most people are, unfortunately, on that path whereby they’ve been conditioned to think that if they get something that they currently don’t have, and they will ride to a place that they aren’t at. The truth is you can never be a place that you aren’t at.  Fulfillment is you being comfortable with who you are irrespective to the outside world.



Q: Many people are already economically successful that they can buy whatever they want to buy, but they seem to be unhappy. People tend to think  “I will get this and then I will be happy”, I did this so I am happy and never they become fulfilled.


PS: The mindset always precedes everything. You will act based upon your repetitive thoughts. You behavior is a reflection of your lifestyle. And your circumstances are a reflection of your behavior and your thoughts and therefore change the input change the output. In programming, they call it GIGO, garbage in garbage out. Most people that’s their life, it’s GIGO. Garbage thinking in, garbage results outside. Mindset is everything. Some people change their mind, they change their life. The problem is that it sounds so clique that most people miss the profoundness of the statement. You can shift one belief system and make a dramatic impact.


Q: So they need to change themselves in the present.


PS: How can you get something that isn’t now. The question is this: What’s actually wrong with this preset moment that you’re in right now? There’s nothing wrong with the moment. The biggest problem is that most people don’t understand it. An event is just an event. There is not good and bad, no right or wrong. Now that’s going to challenge a lot of your core belief systems. Especially those entrenched with identifying themselves with the mind because the mind loves to separate. I’m right because I know that is wrong. It lives in the juristic world. Terrorism is not right or wrong it is an event. It’s a plane flew into a building. What we do is we instantly label that event based upon our relationship to it. If I’m in the building I’m going to label that an act of terrorism. If I’m the person flying the plane then I’m going to label it an act of heroism. Resist the instant labeling and understand that it’s only our relationship to the event that governs that label. Recognize that everyone has their own set of values so there is no bad, right or wrong. There is only perception of what fits our values or not. Persons are very quick to judge but very slow to realize that we are worthy of judgment as well. Get out of that perspective and live a life of freedom. If you want to go out and make a million dollars, do it. Do it out of passion. Otherwise don’t do it. If you try to earn a million dollars because you think it’s going to get you out of the current financial problem or it is going to give you a car and status that you think other people will respect you’re for, you are in Disney land thinking. Again it’s a hamster wheel to nowhere. Get good with who you are. Appreciate who you are. Get comfortable with “I am” full stop. And from that perspective you then have a freedom to go and design a life that you are passionate with.


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©Masaaki Hasegawa


The craziest idea is often the best idea

Written on January 16, 2015 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News

Aubrey de Grey is one of the great minds in the 21st century. He is a scientist who challenges one of the most difficult topics in human history: aging. He is the Chief Science Officer of the SENS Research FoundationHe is not a usual scientist who works only in a lab, but he promotes his project, does fundraising, and seriously tries to make a paradigm shift.



1. For those who are not familiar with you, let us know more about your project. What is the core concept of “Ending Aging”? What would you like to achieve through your project?

At SENS Research Foundation, we are focused on developing rejuvenation biotechnologies, which means medicines that can not just slow down aging, but actually reverse it. We want to take people who are already in middle age or older and restore their physical and mental function to that of a young adult. We aim to do that by repairing the molecular and cellular damage that the body does to itself throughout life as side-effects of its normal operation.

2. What drives you to pursue your mission, spending lots of time and capital?

I’ve always been driven by humanitarian motives, so I want to work on problems that cause human suffering. Aging undoubtedly causes far more human suffering than anything else. The strange thing is that there are so few people who think that way: lots of people claim to be humanitarian, but hardly anyone thinks aging is really important.


3. How did you get interested in science, gerontology, and aging?

I got interested when I discovered how few other people are interested – even biologists. Until I was about 30, I had totally assumed that everyone understood how serious a problem aging is and that lots of experts were working hard to defeat it. After I married a senior biologist and discovered that that wasn’t true, it was an easy decision to switch from my previous career as a computer scientist.




4. How does your experience in computer science help you understand aging and come up with solutions for that?

It was extremely helpful. The first reason is just that computer science is a very different field; quite often in science people have made important breakthroughs after switching fields, because they are not blinkered by the new field’s “conventional wisdom”. Second, computer science is a very goal-directed, technological field, whereas pretty much everyone else in gerontology back then was much more of a basic scientist – great at testing hypotheses so as to understand nature better, but not so good at seeing how to use existing knowledge to manipulate nature.

5. When the value of your idea transcends current human experience, how do you persuade people to believe in you and make people understand the value of your project?

This is a challenge for any pioneering technologist, but it’s especially difficult in aging because people have built up such strong psychological defences against the horror of aging and they don’t want to think rationally about it. I don’t have just one strategy: I have developed a large number of answers to the most frequent concerns about the feasibility and desirability of defeating aging, and I use them on demand.

6. As you know, people live in full of misconceptions. How do you clear up the misconceptions that people have towards your project?

It’s always difficult. I try to understand the basis for their misconception: whether it is just ignorance of what has already been achieved in developing these technologies, or false assumptions about the consequences of success, or philosophical objections, etc. Then I try to work with them and take them one step at a time to a more accurate understanding of the issues.



7. In order to raise capital for visionary projects and ideas, what are important things for entrepreneurs, scientists, and futurists to remember?

I sometimes give a talk on that topic, called “How to be a successful heretic”. The main messages are that one can rise above the crowd only by having a compelling technical basis for one’s idea, a clear vision for its benefit to humanity (and, in the case of investments, to the investor) and a comprehensive set of succinct answers to all the concerns that people may have about whether the idea is as valuable as one is claiming.


8. What person comes to mind when you think of the word “successful”? and why?

That’s a rather unfair question, because different people are successful in such different ways – it depends on what they are setting out to achieve. I’m extremely successful in some ways, in terms of the contribution I’ve made to the defeat of aging, but not very successful in other ways, such as in terms of the amount of money that’s being spent on the necessary research.

9. You make a call to 20-year-old Aubrey de Grey. What kind of advices would you give to him?

I honestly don’t know. When I look back at my life, I can see that I had some essential characteristics that have got me where I am, such as intelligence and determination and charisma, but also that I have benefited from a huge amount of luck. I don’t think I’ve made many mistakes, all in all. In particular, I don’t know whether I could have achieved as much in aging if I had focused on aging all my life.

10. If you can leave one message to the next generation to make the world better, what would you say?

Aim high! The greatest enemy of our efforts to improve people’s lives is our belief that we can’t.

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©Masaaki Hasegawa


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