In the pursuit of a better tomorrow

Harvard Business Review just posted an incredible interview with the great David McCullough. His energy and excitement for life just jumps off the page (well, screen), and I found it to be absolutely inspiring. I just wanted to call out one of my favorite quotes while I have you folks here:

When the founders wrote about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, they didn’t mean longer vacations and more comfortable hammocks. They meant the pursuit of learning. The love of learning. The pursuit of improvement and excellence.

As we bring 2013 to a close, I’m eagerly looking forward to the new year. I can’t wait to learn new things, build beautiful and impactful products/services/businesses/relationships, explore new places, and see the world with a hungry heart.

It’s going to be a blast.

Why I Decided to Attend the World Domination Summit

Just a few weeks ago, you would have seen me excitedly pacing back and forth in a small team room at work. The second wave of tickets had just been released for the 2013 World Domination Summit, and I was quickly seeing the number of available tickets drop by the second. You see, I had heard about the WDS a few months ago on Chris’ (the founder) blog, and I had been instantly hooked by the mission and aspirational vision. Now that I had the opportunity to actually purchase the ticket and attend, however, I found myself going back and forth, wavering between diving in and just sitting this one out. After a quick pep talk from my colleague, Dan, and resorting to flipping a coin – amazing how that works – I ended up going for it. To all of you attending WDS in July, I’ll see you guys there!

Don’t get me wrong; my decision to attend the WDS wasn’t a complete impulse purchase. I have been thinking carefully about some principles, not resolutions, that I’d like to deeply explore this year, and my decision to attend the WDS fits these principles – freshness and deliberate travel – nicely.


If you’ve ever worked with ?WhatIf! or have read any of our books, you’ll know that freshness is not a new concept. Steve Jobs once said that creativity is all about connecting the dots, and freshness is one way to add more dots to your arsenal. It’s easy for us to get stuck in our routines, our rivers of thinking, our classic world views, so it’s incredibly important – especially within the context of innovation – to find deliberate ways to constantly discover new things and to gain new perspectives. Searching for freshness is an active act and requires a conscious choice to allow yourself to wander and to explore. I’m sure that I’ll be doing a lot of that during the World Domination Summit, and I can’t wait.

Deliberate Travel

Deliberate Travel is actually quite tied to freshness; it is all about making a point to explore new places. When I was a management and strategy consultant, I had the luxury to travel all over the world for work and easily tack on additional trips. Now that I’m no longer hopping on a plane every week and living out of a suitcase, I’ve realized that I now need to make an effort to go see the world. Ha, talk about a lightbulb moment. We live in one of the most exciting and privileged times in history; it’s about time that I fully take advantage of this. In 2011, I visited South America, Asia, and Europe. In 2012, my passport gathered dust as a paperweight on my desk. We’re going to change that in 2013.

So what am I looking to get out of WDS 2013?

When I attend the WDS in July, I plan on going in with a balanced set of expectations and approaches that are both deliberate and emergent in nature. On one hand, I would love to meet experts in anthropology and community creators/curators, but I’d also love to meet the weirds – those on the fringes. You never know where you’ll find the one insight that will unlock the entire challenge for you, and I want to make sure that I’m both targeted and open. In particular, I’d love to build on my side project Anthropologists Among us.

Anthropologists Among Us

I’d love to meet anyone who has either studied anthropology or is currently working today as an anthropologist – officially or unofficially – in any capacity. I’d love to hear their stories and explore how anthropology has impacted the way they view the world. By meeting these types of people, I hope to add more content to my project, Anthropologists Among Us, and to further build and push the thinking behind it. I want to make sure that the content will be valuable and impactful, and I know that I’ll be able to explore and validate some of the key themes behind this concept with some of these folks at WDS.

Needless to say, I am incredibly excited and stoked to attend this year’s WDS, and I can’t wait to immerse myself in Portland and in the upcoming pilgrimage of the creative / curious / life hackerish / weird for a few days in July. If you’re going to be there and would like to meet up, let me know!

Down the Rabbit Hole (

Getting Sidetracked

The beginning of any project can be incredibly exciting. At this point, you’re not yet bogged down by all of the details that go into actually implementing and executing the idea; rather, you’re still in the fun, expansive phase where the whole world just seems full of promise. And you know what? It’s amazing how a simple blog can easily morph into a pandora’s box of a project that can spawn an infinite number of sub-projects.

And let’s be honest. We’ve all schemed some grand plans in our days. But if you look back, it’s almost the exception if we have actually followed through with any of them to a good degree. We all have different reasons for why this is – some move on to the next shiny fad while for others, life gets in the way. Personally, I’ve realized that I’ve been side tracked by trying to do too much at once.

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Jane Goodall at the Rose Parade

Jane Goodall Rose Parade

I was watching this year’s Rose Bowl, and I was blown away to see Jane Goodall as the grand marshal of the Rose Parade! It’s great to see anthropologists being honored in such a public way.

An Introduction

Hey, there. I’m Dave. Let me start by introducing myself.

Who am I?
Let’s see. Where to begin? Well, my name is Dave, I’m an ENFJ, and I currently live in New York – the East Village to be exact. I studied anthropology as an undergrad, which has forever shaped the way I view the world. I’m fascinated by people’s stories, and I’m always on the hunt to learn more about what makes people tick and do what they do.

Over the years, I’ve been lucky to have worked with some incredible people while traveling all over the world. Previously, I worked as a management and strategy consultant and had the opportunity to live and work abroad while learning the ins and outs of a whole slew of industries. From aluminum factories in Germany to investment banks on Wall Street, I quickly learned to always focus on the human element of the engagements – regardless if the actual scopes of the projects were about creating new business units or reengineering their processes.

Today, I work as an Inventor at ?What If! Innovation, an innovation consulting firm. We work with organizations to help them create new innovations, and we also help them become more innovative.

What’s the purpose of this site, and what’s in it for you?
With this site, I hope to:

  • Share my love of anthropology and innovation (I hope that #anthrolove on Twitter will actually be used to talk about anthropology, the field of study, and not only about Anthropologie, the store)
  • Build and refine my points of view on these topics
  • Highlight and document stories, products, services, experiences, features, snippets, etc. that inspire and / or intrigue me

With this, I hope that you’ll get exposed to anthropology and innovation, and that it’ll provoke and inspire you to dig in and learn more about these fields.

How am I going to do it?
I’ve found that working off of a set of guiding principles can be helpful in signaling how I’m treating this blog and how I’d love for you all to join me on this adventure! So let’s start from the top:

Exploration, Not a Declaration
I’ll be using this blog to explore different topics, mostly around innovation and anthropology, in order to push and refine my points of view on these topics. I hope that these posts will spark a conversation with you guys, and we’ll be able to build and push our thinking together in the comments section.

This blog, however, is not intended to be a declaration of the truth. Rather, these posts will be created and curated based off of my point of view. This isn’t Harvard Business Review, and no one should make the rookie mistake of trying to blindly applying what they’ve read to their own particular situation. Context, people!

Learning By Doing
Along the way, I’ll be releasing and discussing various side projects here on this blog. The point of these side projects is to learn by doing, and I hope that I’ll be able to build, test, and learn with you guys along the way.

I think that’s enough of an introduction for now, so let’s just jump right on in. Let’s see how this goes!