Engaging the Future Faster:
If You Have a Passion for What You Don’t Know, Start Here

Blockchain and new cloud platform nodes are revolutionizing interactions and transactions. Entrepreneurs and developers of today’s technologies are rapidly and drastically disrupting industries, society, and daily life.

Today’s corporate entrepreneurs and entrepreneur/developers’ greatest challenges include defining competitive strategies, driving innovations, and pivoting rapidly to market.

Today, my clients’ businesses are either disrupting markets or initiating a stealth state of preparedness for disruptive competition.

How do we challenge ourselves to discover what we don’t know? How do we identify the right tools to expand our knowledge, innovate, and create new value today? How do we prepare clients for the steep learning curve to survive the future faster? Some answers include taking a power-packed Fintech course at MIT for enlightenment about future commerce and innovation, reading voraciously, and valuing collaborations above all. My personal pursuit of an elastic mind includes all of the above.

I will write further about my MIT Fintech–Future Commerce Capstone Project, and how our team’s business plan for a world class Fintech Cloud Platform and marketing innovation soared. Moreover, later look for my creative exploration of the elastic mind.

For starters, I strongly recommended 7-books from my most favorite authors today:


ValueWeb: How Fintech Firms are Using Bitcoin Blockchain and Mobile Technologies to Create the Internet of Value

My friend and brilliant colleague, Mini Suri initially suggested Chris Skinner’s book to me. ValueWeb is one of the most important business books I have ever read. Skinner states, “The next generation Internet, the Internet of Things, cannot work without an Internet of Value. The Internet of Value ― or ValueWeb, for short ― allows machines to trade with machines and people with people, anywhere on this planet in real-time and for free. The problem is that our old system cannot work that way, as it takes days to process and costs a fortune. By using a combination of technologies from mobile devices, wearables, and the bitcoin blockchain, fintech firms are building the ValueWeb regardless. What does that mean for financial institutions, governments, and citizens?” This book provides the answers.

The Industries of the Future

In The Industries of the Future, Alec Ross shows us what changes are coming in the next ten years, highlighting the best opportunities for progress and explaining why countries thrive or sputter. He examines the specific fields that will most shape our economic future, including robotics, cybersecurity, the commercialization of genomics, the next step for big data, and the immediate impact of digital technology on money and markets.

The Social Organism: A Radical Understanding of Social Media to Transform Your Business and Life

Full disclosure – Michael J. Casey is one of my all-time favorite writers.

In The Social Organism, Oliver Luckett and Michael J. Casey offer a revolutionary theory: that social networks — to an astonishing degree — mimic the rules and functions of biological life. Memes are the basic building blocks of our culture, our social DNA. To master social media — and to make online content that impacts the world — you must start with the Social Organism.

Whiplash: How to Survive Our Future Faster

The future will run on an entirely new operating system. It is a major upgrade, but it comes with a steep learning curve. The logic of a faster future overturns the received wisdom of the past, and the people who succeed will be the ones who learn to think differently.

In WHIPLASH, Joi Ito and Jeff Howe distil that logic into nine organizing principles for navigating and surviving this tumultuous period. From strategically embracing risks rather than mitigating them (or preferring “risk over safety”) to drawing inspiration and innovative ideas from your existing networks (or supporting “pull over push”), this dynamic blueprint can help you rethink your approach to all facets of your organization.

Filled with incredible case studies and leading-edge research and philosophies from the MIT Media Lab and beyond, WHIPLASH will help you adapt and succeed in this unpredictable world.

Frontiers of Financial Technology: Expeditions in Future commerce, from Blockchain and Digital Banking

David Shrier, Managing Director of MIT Connection Science and others answer questions like, How can you capitalize on the disruption that blockchain is introducing into the global financial system? What are the risks and opportunities that this new technology represents? What roles can government, academia, and private industry play in shaping the future that blockchain can enable?

Shrier’s book is the precursor to the MIT certification course, FINTECH: Future Commerce.

Good Is the New Cool: Market Like You Give a Damn

Afdhel Aziz’s book is the social conscience blueprint for every new marketing endeavor. No new business plan is complete without a focus on best serving and sustaining the world through our work.

Aziz advises, “We are at a crossroads: Either we can try to prop up the old, broken marketing model, or we can create a new paradigm, one that evolves from a business mission statement that shows you can market like you give a damn.”

Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Jonah Berger’s Contagious provides a set of specific, actionable techniques for helping information spread—for designing messages, advertisements, and content that people will share. Whether you are a manager at a big company, a small business owner trying to boost awareness, a politician running for office, or a health official trying to get the word out, Contagious will show you how to make your product or idea catch on.


I recently completed the MIT certificate course, FINTECH: Future Commerce to pivot my design and strategic communications company to support collaborative Fintech breakthroughs, build new brands, introduce new narratives, and help establish new markets. We are the first agency of its kind to be Fintech certified.

Our advisory of strategists, designers, and developers understands the language of Fintech, complete with today’s toolsets to evolve your new strategic mission and speed you to market.



C-Suite executive roles are diminishing at a rapid pace while technology and social culture are generating new levels of complexities for leadership and governance.

The bias is toward short-term solutions. Materialization of rapid results is de rigueur these days.

Today, many C-Suite execs operate without an explicit contract(1) and face obvious decreased job security. The probability of turnover is the highest in today’s market mainly because of the shortened executive contractual time horizons.

Many C-Suite executives see the end of the runway as these forces cause them to transform into outside advisors.

Here are the primary attributes of today’s outside C-Suite advisors:

  • Appetite for the forces of change
  • Entrepreneurial mindsets
  • Focused on brand value, customer experience and technology

What’s next for you? How do you leverage your expertise? Most importantly, how do you frame your identity, create new opportunities and communicate your value?

It is useful to consider personal branding. A well-designed personal brand is a major driver for leveraging your value, identity and attracting new opportunities.


Those of us who perceive the value of personal branding already appreciate logo design, brand identity systems and the financial valuation of the brands we manage.

Your name is the anchor of your identity. Your core message and its relevance demonstrate the value you offer. Developing a meaningful relationship with your brand’s viewers is a vital part of the path to engagement.

Personal branding requires a commitment of time, budget and resources. Invest in yourself.

Consider the value of making yourself invaluable.

(1) Ref: http://www.lse.ac.uk/finance/people/profiles/pdfs/xu/costsandbenefits.pdf

Mary Olson’s Best Business Picks, 2013 – LEVERAGEDWISDOM

LEVERAGEDWISDOM, founded by Richard Lavin is a remarkable business model. Lavin created a member community for entrepreneurs, owners and CEO's of privately held businesses. Recently, Richard discussed the tackling tough questions that keep owners of privately held businesses up at night. Two scenarios:

What’s the expiration date on your business, service, product, sales process? When will your top sales person stop producing at a peak rate? Is your customer base no longer loyal?  As CEO, if you are incapacitated what happens?

The stark reality is that there is life cycle to everything. The Panama Canal had to be widened. What happened to Kodak? Steve Jobs died. TB became resistant to the preferred drug protocol.

Is your equipment delimiting your growth or ability to deliver new products? Will your customers abandon you for the "new, new"? Is it a fad or trend? Do you have the banking resources to go the distance?

Are you making, selling, servicing or supplying "Twinkies"?

Tough questions are often difficult to ask within your own leadership team because everyone has an agenda and a vested interest in the status quo. Further, calling into question each other’s competencies, judgment and vision is threatening.

In these situations, LEVERAGEDWISDOM CEOs have found the confidential setting of our meetings to be a place they can openly discuss their concerns about all of the above, without risking undermining the confidence of their team or telegraphing their next move.  Further they’re able to candidly discuss their personal financial risks or the financial commitment needed to support change.

On the other hand, an enlightened management team can take on these tough questions through the strategic planning process. (Though, the team will rarely assess the personal financial, reputational and psychological risks of the owning CEO.)

The classic strategic planning scenario is to put on the wall sticky flip chart pages titled Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT Analysis). Management dutifully fills out the pages, votes on priorities and builds a consensus view as to what the team should be focusing on during the next 12 to 36 months.

CEOs at LEVERAGEDWISDOM find the most important and therefore most challenging conversations around the headings Weaknesses, defined as internal weaknesses and Threats, defined as external threats.

Internal weaknesses and External threats are where in the strategy session the leadership team becomes most vulnerable and has to work outside their comfort zone. That’s why we like to start with these two categories and drill down to expose frailties. This takes courage; but, eventually, these are the discussions that lead to the biggest breakthroughs and real opportunities.

Whatever the setting, wise leaders work hard to get out of their own comfort zone and push their leadership team get out of theirs.

To continue the conversation, you can reach Richard Lavin at 917 405 6987.

Richard Lavin, Founder



LEVERAGED WISDOM is an exceptional resource for entrepreneurs and CEO's of privately held businesses who want to increase the equity value of their business.

Consider Richard Lavin's model of monthly peer group meetings and one to one coaching, gain powerful insight into the distinctions between owning, leading or managing a business and how these important differences impact their decision making process, strategic plans and operating disciplines, all of which ultimately define the equity value of their business and the opportunity for a liquidity event.

Richard Lavin is the founder of LEVERAGED WISDOM and a remarkable resource. Feel free to send Richard a message on Linkedin.