Holiday Weekend · Kanye West · Self-Revelation

NBA All-Star Weekend (In Pictures)

Chicago hosted the NBA All-Star events over the weekend. There were a lot of cool events. I didn’t really get to drag my dslr out but I got a couple of pictures on my One Plus 6 phone.

On Friday, I went to the brand Jordan party. Jordan team always pulls out the stops to ensure all guests have a unique experience at their events.

Miguel performed all his jams! All the ladies and the men went crazy!

Olivia, my sister/ partner in crime caught the light and the lack thereof.

Bam Adebayo winning the skills contest. Naija no dey carry last. On a more serious note, Bam wining the skills competition shows the evolution of the NBA to the skilled big man. Its a brave new world.

Sunday service at UIC. Kanye did his thing for real. The Sunday Service Choir gave me chills at times. It was a major vibe.

Olivia and I went to get dinner but ended up getting dessert. We went to Little Goat Diner and they had a red velvet milkshake. I had to order it out of obligation. We ended up eating dinner there as well. Really great food overall.


This was one of the best weekends Chicago’s seen in a while. Sans the bad weather on Thursday and Friday, this was a very successful weekend for the NBA, city of Chicago, and the fans.

Medicine · product · Technology

Future Pharma – Prescribing Digital Interventions to Drive Outcomes

If we know apps are deliberately built to get us hooked by stimulating chemical reactions in our brain, can that be used for good? Are there ways to create digital interventions that Doctors will eventually prescribe? I wonder what the regulatory hurdles will be? What type of companies will be capable of building this type of intervention. I foresee a massive market opportunity in the next 5- 10 years barring regulatory challenges.

We’re most likely in DI (digital interventions) 1.0 – If you look at applications like Talkspace, Noom, even Fitbit, they all leverage technology to deliver some sort of medical support/ intervention. But the future is even more interesting. Imagine an app that is optimized to stimulate the creation of certain chemicals in your brain. Maybe you’ve gone to the doctor, they’ve run tests, and they see you have a deficiency of said chemical. They’d prescribe an app that stimulates the creation of the chemical and let you know how often to use it.

I should wrap up by saying I’m not in the medical field so I have no idea how this would work. But I do know, product managers, especially product managers in the consumer space, are already thinking about how their products can form mental hooks to users to make products more “sticky” . It’s time we flipped this on its head and used it for good.

#MentalNote · Learning

Ideas That Changed My Life

A couple of months ago, I read Ideas That Changed My Life by Morgan Housel, a Partner at the Collaborative Fund. I thought I’d make my own list as a reflection exercise.

Life is suffering

Rough one to start off a list with. Buddha once said that “Life is suffering”. A more pessimistic and often times wrong way of looking at this that life is nothing but suffering. What Buddha means, or at least what I think he means is if you have to accept suffering as much as you accept the happiness in your life. The more you accept that you’ll suffer, the less likely you won’t feel as entrenched in the situations that cause suffering. A great practical example is working out. I work out and I feel sore after I’m done. Underneath it all, my muscle fibers are breaking themselves apart to become stronger in the long run. If I want to enjoy my gains in strength, I have to accept the soreness and discomfort that comes with it.

Understanding life is suffering opens life up to a bunch of new opportunities. It decreases fear of the unknown and allows people to take more risks. It also allows you to maintain a stoic outlook on things that happen to you in life.

You can’t change things outside of your control, but you can change your attitude.

This saying takes from the stoic practice of being a micromanager of your thoughts and feelings like the only thing you can really control. Honestly, by following this practice, I’m always surprised by what happens but always enter a situation with the knowledge I can manage my thought and emotions more than I can dictate the outcome.

Real happiness comes from trying to be the best version of yourself

The real happiness is in growth. Imagine all times you’ve struggled through something or learned a new skill and then seen growth in that activity. Challenging yourself to continuously grow to the best version of yourself is one of the few areas where you can achieve true happiness.

Innovation happens at the intersection of traditionally unassociated areas.

The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts, and Cultures is a book written by Swedish-American entrepreneur Frans Johansson in 2004. In this book, Johansson describes that disruptive innovation often comes from people who are not in that specific industry and the biggest innovations happen at the intersection of unrelated areas.

This idea provides a process/map where people can find brilliant ideas…Most of the time it’s in a totally random place where most wouldn’t think to look.

You’re a walking miracle

The probability of human birth alone is close enough to zero. The idea that your body didn’t give up on you as many ways as it could, or the fact you survived the day to read this is a testament to miracles. Your existence continues to compound in improbability until you grow old and pass on.

Remember how special you are is super important but it also helps you realize how special those around you are and how lucky they are to have you in their life and for you to be in theirs.

Belief is one of the most powerful tools we have as humans

The power of belief is a testament to the power of the brain and mindset. We can trick our brains into doing things just by believing a couple of fundamental truths, for better or worse.

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

Perfect is an unattainable, ever fleeting benchmark that really doesn’t exist. Good, most of the time, is enough and perfection gets in the way. This resonates as a product person. They’ll never be the perfect time to launch or the perfect time to refactor, or the perfect set of features. At the end of the day, just get out there. You’ll be better with an executed good rather than waiting on an ideal perfect.

80/20 Rule

I didn’t believe the 80/20 rule but it just proves to be a universal truth. For those who are unaware, 20 percent of your activities will account for 80 percent of your results. This has wide crossing implications but it comes into play when you focus on where to allocate time and resources. Think of businesses, for example. Let’s take Google. Search and Ad business accounts for about 20% of the company and accounts for around 80% of Alphabet/Google revenue. Even personally, when you work out, the last set when you’re tired account for a majority of your gains. I’ve found this to apply in nature, society, life, etc.

Visualize The Worst-Case Scenario

Sometimes we fear the unknown and it festers in our brain which leads to uncertainty, doubt and a lack of confidence. Something I learned from a professional speaking class that made a lot of sense is imagining the total failure of speech/situation. What are the steps you take or don’t take to get to that situation? How do you feel? What happens as a result of the worst-case scenario coming to bare? Visualizing the worst that can happen reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Littlefinger:

“Don’t fight in the North or the South. Fight every battle everywhere, always, in your mind. Everyone is your enemy, everyone is your friend. Every possible series of events is happening all at once. Live that way and nothing will surprise you. Everything that happens will be something that you’ve seen before.”

Littlefinger – Game of Thrones

I’ll write a follow up next year…….


Agile Democracy

Globally, we’ve seen an increase in strongman leaders who take a more authoritarian approach to run their countries. They have the mandate from the people, normally accelerated by populist speeches and changes in society that are in danger of disrupting the status quo.

The promise of these strongmen is pretty standard across the board, ” I’m here to cut through the politics and drive the change no matter what it takes.”. As a result, we’ve seen leaders literally find any opportunity to sidestep institutions in their way. Boris Johnson, for example, illegally suspended parliament in order to prevent a no-Brexit vote or Donald Trump sidestepping Congress to build a wall on the Mexican border.

While their tactics are questionable, democratically- elected strong men tapped into something that’s been an issue with democracies but further exacerbated by the present realities of the world. We live in a world of instant. We get information instantly. We communicate instantly. We get packages within hours where it used to take weeks. It seems like everything in our world got faster but our democratic process. Democracy, as an institution, seems super slow in today’s world. As a result, citizens are frustrated and feel like democracy, as it is, is not working for them. They’ve elected leaders who championed alternative methods and came from outside politics to change the way things are done in their respective countries.

I don’t believe more authoritarian leaders are a sustainable solution. We have to look at how to revamp our institutions so that they are more responsive to people’s needs and realities. We need to reshape policies and procedures so they are more inclusive to populations that don’t feel like they’re heard in the current democratic process. We need a form of democracy that is agile at its core but driven by the same steadfast democratic values that have gotten us this far.

Normally, I’d go into a summary of potential solutions but this is a multi-layered problem that could require a whole book to explain. To be brief, people need more active ownership of the democratic process. Democracy needs to be more accessible to citizens. We also need some procedural and structural changes to decentralize power but also centralize power when the system calls for it. Democracy needs a reboot.


London In Pictures

Got a chance to spend more time in London than I normally get to spend in a European city. I didn’t bring my DSLR, but my One Plus 6 did a great job of capturing some cool shots.

One of the key features of London is the mix of the old and new. Throughout the city, you’ll see really cool modern architecture and structures right next to historic building and landmarks. I was blown away by how London is able to balance the heritage of its past with the promise of the new. I found out they regulate just about everything when it comes do construction and renovation. My cousin was telling me you have to get a permit to paint rooms in your house.

This picture particularly captures the dichotomy I mentioned. The London Eye is a modern imprint on London’s history and its paired right next to the aquarium (I believe) in a building that been around for a while ( 200+ years?) This is all next to a more modern building. London does a great job of managing its architectural past and present.

London to me has always been a nexus for connection. It’s only right that I would run into Danielle Coleman. We met in Paris a couple of years ago on a lay over back to the US. I went to Afro-punk and she was there with a couple of friends. Danielle was spending time in Paris and was looking to move back to the states. We kept in contact and used Instagram to figure out we were in London at the same time. It happens we were about 5 minutes away from each other so I walked over to Waterstone Bookstore and we caught up!

While London had a lot of “British” experiences, London is a melting pot for the world. You can go to great restaurants and bars that bring different parts of the world right to you. This was a “Japanese” bar on the 38th floor of a building in Central London. Great views, drinks, and aesthetics.

We got the sun to come out! The weather is a constant in London. I see why so many novelist and soulful singers come out of London. The weather definitely gives you time to be in your feelings. Drake should head out to London for a while for his next album.

Oh and yes, Big Ben is under construction.

Thats all for now. I’ll try to add more as I continue to edit pictures.