In 2017, one day after I proposed to my girlfriend (now wife), I quit my job to pursue my passion for entrepreneurship.
From running little kids’ birthday parties to overseeing the marketing department at a sports complex — over four years, I finally saved up enough money to account for one year’s worth of salary.
More than money, my goal was to escape the daily 9–5 rat race and live a life on my terms — in pursuit of my own passions and curiosities.
The journey had started. There was no going back.
I still remember so vividly the first day I no longer had a steady job to go back to — it was a surreal mix of freedom and fear.
Freedom of what could come from this. Fear of what would happen if I failed.
At the time it felt this was my one shot at freedom. If unsuccessful, I would be back to square one, living a life for others instead of myself.
The startup idea was to create a live streaming sports network for kids — think ESPN for youth sports.
Looking back now, I’m not quite sure why I chose this startup over others. While this was my first startup to go “all-in” on, I had attempted to create what felt like dozens of ideas over the years.
From creating a social network for random acts of kindness with my mom to a t-shirt company that never made a single sale — I have always had a never-ending itch to build.
During my four years working the traditional job, my daily routine was to go home after work, take an hour power nap, then wake up and work on my side passion projects from 7 pm to 2 am. Wake up, and do it all over again.
These 7 hours never really felt like work. If anything, they refilled my energy levels just enough to justify going back into “real” work the next day.
The ultimate dream was to turn these 7-hours of curiosity-filled projects into a life of full-time passion.
For many months, I pursued this dream of a youth sports streaming startup with everything I had— traveling over 2000 miles in a little white Honda Civic around the world to meet with various youth sports complexes.
Each month, I had zero money coming in, but travel and software bills going out. The runway of my savings and countdown to getting a real job again was ticking.
Although my fiance was 100% supportive along the way, each passing month — I felt a deeper and deeper pressure to succeed.
Pressure from myself. Pressure for being labeled as a failure in my future in-law’s eyes. Pressure to financially support my soon-to-be wife.
After meeting with 13 sports complex locations and getting letters of intent with eight of them, all of my efforts led me to a meeting with Nike at their Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.
Within 30-minutes of the meeting, it became clear they were not interested in investing in or supporting this vision.
“Come back when you get a little more traction” — they said.
The drive back home was one of the longest. I had a decision to make.
Would I keep pushing forward at the risk of losing more of my savings? Would I pursue something else? Would I start looking for another 9–5 job?
If I just had a little funding coming in to support this vision, I could keep pushing — but I didn’t.
After 8-months since the inception of the startup idea, I acknowledged the defeat of a youth sports network.
I had failed.
After a long conversation with my fiance, we decided I was going to try and teach myself programming.
The thought process was pretty simple — I love creating things and have always dreamt of working remotely. Being a programmer could provide both of these.
Even if I failed, this would extend my runway by cutting costs and give me some wiggle room to continue this journey I was on.
I became obsessed. Spending hours upon hours learning what I could about this technology. What is a smart contract? How does it work? What gives this money value and why?
Immediately, I dove headfirst into as many crypto communities as I could.
Asking questions. Answering questions where I could. Adding value anywhere and everywhere possible.
Another four months went by and my savings kept decreasing— slower this time, but still enough to force me to explore job opportunities.
I began offering my efforts for free into any crypto project that would take me with hopes of just getting my foot in the door.
In early 2018, I got my first opportunity to run CMO of a 33-person crypto marketing agency — 100% remote!
While it was another “job”, it paid a surprising 3x more than my previous job and allowed me to utilize more of my creative curiosities.
My piggy bank to fund another passion project full-time was filling up again.
The pursuit of money has somehow been demonized by society. Sometimes I feel this is because it has been conflated with the pursuit of superficial things and objects. When in reality, the pursuit of money is so much more.
- It is the pursuit of choice.
- It is the pursuit of freedom.
- It is the pursuit of opportunity.
Before we can help others, we must first be in a position to sustain ourselves — and money can provide this.
Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does provide you time to pursue it.
There are two modes in life. Offense and defense.
When humans aren’t financially stable, they are forced to make short-term decisions to meet their short-term needs — most of the time at the expense of long-term opportunities.
This causes most humans to go on defense, just trying to sustain themselves — just as I have done the last decade of my life.
Fast forward to 2021, for the first time in my life I feel I am in a position to go on offense — secure enough to think about making an impact greater than myself.
With the creation of Blockzero Labs two years ago, we have been fortunate enough to leverage the power of humans and communities to accelerate technology.
The goal of creating a DAO for humankind, however, is to leverage technology to accelerate humans.
The way we move humankind forward is by giving every person the ability to go on offense. Progress is made through the freedom of choice to explore our curiosities and pursue our passions.
This is my passion and why I am building the HumankindDAO.