The Emergent Collective

Current Summary of Thoughts

October 20, 2016        


The collective is first and foremost a community of like-minded, generous, creative, and entrepreneurial doers who believe in leaving the world a better place than we started. Our friendships and relationships come first. 

We believe in the power of compounding effort — and that we can go farther together. We have personally experienced the transformative powers of community in our lives and desire to create environments and experiences for others to unlock their genius and potential in the world. 

Q: What actually happens in the Collective? What are the dynamics?

  • We have conversations on social media to share our life moments, learnings, and love with each other. (currently private FB and WhatsApp groups)
  • We gather together around the world for dinners, retreats, workshops and more tactical meetings to help one another open up resources, give consultations and open up our network to support each others dreams
  • We host each other in our homes around the world in the spirit of mobility, intimacy and generosity.
  • We share stories and photos of our journeys with one another in the spirit of inspiration, motivation and trust building. 
  • We have a very light brand that we wear proudly as a signal of membership in this tribe, but still taken lightly because we all know that a brand is just a symbol, and the activity is whatever we bring to it. There are no expectations or obligations or dues. . 

Q: How can we support each other in our individual dreams, as well as collaborate with one another on projects bigger than ourselves?

Each project needs a champion. We can learn from Long Now Foundation, where it started out as just the Clock project wanting to come to be, and then they created a foundation to fund it. Start with the single thing you want to do really well first, and then create the minimal structure to make that thing possible. 

For example, Carson and Ting really want to build out the Nomad Labs and Immersion concepts. We believe it is our unique destiny and there is a very profitable business behind it. We know that we can build something much better with the support and partnership with the other Emergent projects (Expeditions and Fellowships, and potentially the Fund to infuse some seed capital for the r&d phase of product development). 

Some Guiding Principles of the Collective:

1) CHAMPIONS: I see each entity working in support of the other, with a lead champion (1-2) who takes ownership of making that thing run. 

2) BRAND: In terms of whether there should be an umbrella “brand” (ie. EMERGENT), it should be as informal (just a brand identity, but not needing any paperwork around it other than trademark at the most) A brand only serves the function of speaking to a cohesive values and principles, which I believe is there and has the potential to inspire other people. 

3) FORMALIZATION: I don’t think that creating a formal umbrella entity is appropriate at this point (ie. EMERGENT VENTURES LLC) since it seems to be creating unnecessary friction and fragmentation at this point around ownership and governance that doesn’t seem to be in line with what we each want. We can refer to this as Emergent, without it actually having a full business organizational implication with titles such as CEO, co-founder, etc. It isn’t worth it and doesn’t make business sense to create such an entity at this time until further notice. 

4) SUPPORTING PROJECTS: That being said, I do see each project functioning very well as successful businesses with clear value propositions and our work now is defining those (through 1-pagers and business plans), deciding on what we each want to focus on and having clear, transparent conversations (in favor of a Sociocracy model) to share our current thinking, and uncovering ways we can mutually support and leverage each other to be the most successful. 

5) AGREEMENTS: Agreements to be transparent and show up to a cadence of meeting for the Collective (annually) and as leaders on the project (quarterly) with key advisors is very important. We need to agree on the “Constitution” and what we are committing to the investing in the Collective. I think that starts with time, emotional support and strategic advising. Then we more into more complexity as is appropriate. 

6) MY COMMITMENT: I can commit to helping steward and hold the integrity of the Collective, and thankfully we have the support of our advisory council to help with this. I can imagine helping organize the meetings and making sure everyone is prepared and knowing what to bring to the conversation. 

7) NO ROOM FOR POLITICS: I think its very important that we each feel a sense of autonomy and freedom in our roles and voice. There is no need to hide anything from everyone, and it is important that the conversations and invitations are inclusive of everyone — there is no room for drama or power plays. The Collective is flat and there is no hierarchy for that reason. Conversations shouldn’t be talking about people behind their back, and people can opt in or out of their involvement in any project at any point.

8) IT’S NOT ABOUT US: In the end, it isn't about US as a collective or individuals, it is about being in the fullest service in the world and making a bigger impact on the causes that truly matter. We should have a manifesto that keeps us aligned and remembering why we do this — to serve others and leave the world a better place for the future.