The race to bend time: An exploration in creation, sprinting, and constraints.

A note for readers: After the business models, I added some final thoughts on the tail end of this post. Just noting so you don’t dip out after the micro-models, depending on what you’re reading for (:

The altMBA is a sprint.

(I was a long distance runner in high school.)

The night of making 99 business micro-models was a grind. Of hashing out thoughts, and processes, proposals, suggestions, iterations.

and ideas. making ideas to fill gaps — and then doing it again, and again, and again.

It was further confirmation that I love people, and processes. I love laughing. I love communicating about steps and expectations, leaving space and room for our thoughts and opinions. I value the how, and those moments where you straighten your back and start hitting the keys to get through just this one. then that one. then the next…

We thought about cities, and countries, and settled on people. We asked what was needed, what we could maybe do to help. We brainstormed, wrote, shared, made the doc, made buckets, iterated, divided, standardized, broke off, came back together, churned out.

There is power in process and how. In making. Rigor and structure are what we lean on when we get tired.

I’m tired. What a race. Doc attached:

Putting the Plus in the Lives of Those 70 Plus


“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”- Gandalf the Grey
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I do believe among other things, Prompt #2 is about time. The ways it speeds up and slows down, how we slice it, the way we impose ourselves on it. and just like everything else the altMBA is beginning to poke at — it’s more malleable than I had believed.

Time can feel really nebulous if we don’t ground ourselves; constraints were the name of the game in defining how we would approach our 99 business models, and once they were in place — the deadline, the standardization with which we would approach our ideas — we were off to the races. I think it is a large element of the fuel that propelled us to our heights of creation and iterative thinking. It was my first group think in this way — like really diving in and making — and our boundaries were integral. I will take that forward in the world for setting personal deadlines to get things done — I think that starts right now, truthfully.

I thought after a lot about preparation and what that means in work and creation — I didn’t have much time to think about what we would be doing beforehand and therefore wasn’t as informed with how I would’ve liked us to proceed. It’s not that I was unhappy with our final product at all — it’s that I didn’t say as much or have particularly strong opinions because I didn’t know what I wanted. Taking the time to know what you want — embellishing and researching your assertion — is absolutely crucial to success.

I really appreciated our dynamic in setting our standards for what we felt like would be the best fit of model for our personal group values/final product. The communication in this setting was fun — I laughed a lot, as I wrote about in primary reflection. I work way better in the mornings (also good to confirm) and I’m not a night person. Towards the end, the final pushing out of ideas felt really taxing (for others too I’m sure). Support, in our group, felt important too. As I reflected to a cohort member in a comment and my previous RS, I’m dancing a lot with the fear of saying something that is uninformed, cheap/bad, not on the mark. I worry about the ways I will be perceived and trusted to be put in a position of leadership if I create things I am not proud of. I must say though, the more I keep writing about this story the sillier it seems.

I liked a lot of our language, saying: I propose that____, I would invite that____, I think it’s worth examining______. Open, spacious language that is ripe to be filled with opinions for clear, productive collaboration towards and end goal. Props to puma C.

I want this exercise to challenge the “every idea I come up with has to be a good one” mindset. It is 100% not the point of such a generative/iterative exercise. I wonder why my team never creates these spaces at work and then picks/chooses accordingly? The mindset of sticking to the first idea that comes up is pervasive in my org. It feels way safer in the moment with my co-workers. Sometimes I forget the brave thing to do is to create.

On that note — what if I made time to structure this environment at work? It would have to be planned, structured so that people know what they’re getting into, with some problems worth solving. But if we found the right problems to brainstorm on, it could be really beneficial. And what if I did personal brainstorming on my own and then brought my ideas to meetings to discuss my thoughts and iterations? It seems like a much broader way to inform how I can best participate and contribute to others in breadth of suggestions, thoughts… possibilities.

I have to remember that through this experience, some elements of creation include:

Preparation + support + constraints + focus + motivation + momentum + a clearly articulated goal.

I like that rough equation.

A final note: I know that I was curious about the language in BMG so I wanted become more fluent in talking about business models, their ins and outs. We picked value prop-revenue streams to bolster our business models, and I see the logic behind our choices. I wouldn’t change what we did, but this morning, I went and fleshed out three of our ideas just to become a bit more familiar with the language and ideals out of pure interest and curiosity (see below).Business Model Generation is an excellent text book.

It’s not perfect, and that’s okay.

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EZ Stair
Description of Idea: Personalized electric stair installation. They can be a real headache to find, install, and be effective. Not to mention expensive. This product will be a scalable (home, or living facility) service that offers durable, effective, and easy to use stairs for 70+ citizens; specifically, we connect e-stair suppliers and seeking customers on our platform.
Customer Segments: 70+ US citizens, caregivers looking for help, community homes looking for alternative/durable options for vertical movement.
Value prop: Convenience, risk reduction
Channels: Sales Force, Web sales.
Customer relationships: Dedicated personal assistance. Customer service to facilitate the connection between suppliers and customers.
Revenue Streams: Asset sale. We sell our service/use of platform as a product.
Key Resources: Human: customer service representatives to guide process.
Platform: connecting suppliers and customers.
Key Activities: Platform/Network
Key Partnerships: with e-stair builders for creation of product, and transportation abilities.
Cost Structure: Value-driven because they are hard to install/expensive, variable costs depending on implementation.
Simon Sinek why/how/what: I think that electronic stairs might be a pricey and difficult endeavor and not enough people who need them can use them. I would make create this to fill a niche (admittedly with no market research to confirm) that individuals and groups need help with their mobility. Connection, installation.

By Gone Streaming

Description of Idea: A streaming service that focuses specifically on shows that were on in past decades, that otherwise would not be found or reproducible.
Customer Segments: 70+ US citizens
Value prop: Convenience, Newness, Usability,
Channels: Web Sales
Customer relationships: Self-Service
Revenue Streams: Subscription fees
Key Resources: Intellectual (platform, like Netflix).
Key Activities: Platform
Key Partnerships: with copyright agencies for rights to stream movies (optimization/economy of scale)
Cost Structure: Fixed costs
Simon Sinek why/how/what: Our culture is super youth-focused. What if there was a streaming service that could be accessed by community living homes and individuals that want to relive their favorite movies and shows from the past? We bring into them; Netflix for a different generation.

Elevated Garden

Description of Idea: 70+ Citizens have a hard time bending over and putting their hands in their garden. What if there was an elevated garden that catered to those that love gardening but can’t get down on their hands and knees?
Customer Segments: 70+ US citizens
Value prop: Convenience, Design
Channels: Sales Force
Customer relationships: Personal Assistance
Revenue Streams: Asset sale. selling the gardens! Or, could be leasing a garden. hmm.
Key Resources:

Key Activities: Production
Key Partnerships: Optimization and economy of scale with the people creating our garden structure.
Cost Structure: Cost-Driven. let’s make it accessible (:
Simon Sinek why/how/what: Gardening is an incredible past time. Let’s make it accessible to everyone by the ability to lease a product that caters to people who love it, but might not have access to the resources that they need to realistically grow what they love. Garden structure curated to people who couldn’t get to otherwise.

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The last 55m notes of The Race to Bend Time:

I’ve never vocalized to myself how strongly I feel about change. As personal law (impermanence), as force (solving problems), as interest (novelty), as passion (growth). I’ve been this way since I can remember.

the altMBA is about change. In some ways not making it, but just helping to uncover what is blocking it in the first place. To identify, work through, and let go of the things that inhibit change… that interests me immensely. in organizations, and in myself. I wonder if humans fundamentally fear change. Evolutionarily it could make sense in some ways — we were nomads for a long time, looking for some stability while we hunted and gathered.

Surfing the wave of change, running the race of it… I wonder about what it means to enjoy that ride, to understand it as an inevitability; how that shapes posture of organizations and people.