artist // designer // entrepreneur

TheGlint. The End?

TheBeginnings Eight and a half months ago I wrote an article about ‘redesigning heroism’ that launched TheGlint with Alexandros and Charles. We started something new, something brave, something that in retrospect requires you to be downright crazy to do. Many loved the idea, some intrigued and others just wanted to see what we’d do but we had a lot of people’s attention.

TheGlint is a live-work community that accelerates the creation and creators of value. It aspires to shift the conception of heroism from historical warrior ideals to a new paradigm of creativity, collaboration and innovation.

Despite many being amazed by the house we found for TheGlint, it was never about the house. It wasn’t even about the people but rather making a statement through an exceptional community. And what were we trying to say?

What we do is heroic.

It was a bold statement. We wanted to redesign heroism. This didn’t mean changing the word but rather letting the world know that what creatives and entrepreneurs do is heroic too. We wanted to change the perception.

The heroes we focused on are those of us venture into the unknown creating value, either economically or culturally with no certainty of success or financial reward. Many defy traditional thinking, setting out to follow their dreams, dreams that make the world a better place, dreams that sometimes redefine humanity. It boggles my mind how it is we live in a society that doesn’t celebrate these individuals as heroes. Of course history remembers the likes of the Jobs and Edisons but  not necessarily as heroes and often forgets the Wozniaks and Teslas.

We wanted to create a space that celebrates, fosters and accelerates acts that can redefine humanity. Such acts are heroic. Not everyone at TheGlint would commit such an act but when seeking gold, not every rock you turn will you find it.

I remember being asked in an interview about policemen, firefighters being heroes and whether what we do takes away that perception of a hero. This is often an unfortunate misunderstanding but a valid question. We never sought to replace traditional heroes but saying that entrepreneurs and creatives should join that rank and become a new class of heroes.

Its Accomplishments

Success is measured by individual perception and by mine, TheGlint was a tremendous success. We hosted hundreds of entrepreneurs over the course of 8mths from all parts of the world including Europe, South America, Central America and Asia. We had amazing speakers such as Bing Gordon, Reichart Von Wolfshield, David Aspery, Josh Whiton, Gayle Karen Young, Andrew Jones, DJ Teeko, Ryan Ford, Danny Trinh, Nicholas Merrill, Kristy Hilands and many more.

We organized and co-hosted amazing events that included ArtFlux, Arts of Heroism, Zero1 HackFlux, Designers & Startups. We hosted and organized meetups with some of the brightest minds from groups like Sandbox Network and Peter Thiel’s 20 Under 20. We collaborated with musicians, dancers and digital artists.

One of our biggest accomplishments was our ability to connect the art and tech scene. Through TheGlint, we created an atmosphere where an engineer conversated with a digital artist or where a painter lived in a house of entrepreneurs. We loved that. As Alexandros said, TheGlint made culture.

In my mind, the proudest accomplishment is creating a space that became a place of ideation through great conversation. My last great conversation at TheGlint was with Justin Feng where we discussed the idea of a research accelerator of sorts. And I remember my first great conversation at TheGlint with John Roberts, Todd Porter and Alexandros where we touched on the topic of creating our own country. A country where creativity and entrepreneurship is the currency, is celebrated and encouraged. Crazy part is that after an hour or two of fleshing it out, it became quite plausible. Those are just my conversations.

If any organization like IDEO, Apple, Google or Microsoft wanted ideas, they should look at TheGlint’s model. TheGlint did it. I’ve heard silly ideas like bumjobs to mind blowing ones like energy becoming a form of currency. Not only was TheGlint good at ideas but with a philosopher in house, often times we reflect on ourselves, who we are and where we’re going. The beautiful thing about TheGlint is that whenever a problem was proposed, instantly ideation process for a solution began. And more often than not, a great idea would come up but we had no means of executing. I guess this is why companies like Factory0 and LateLabs exist.

Idea Note: A partnership between LateLabs and TheGlint. For every idea submitted to LateLabs, they give 5% if they take it on. This means, TheGlint could have submitted ideas that came up in conversations among residents. 4% would then be divided among the individuals that were part of that conversation that generated the idea.

A company, a fund, can then sponsor TheGlint and receive 1% of every idea LateLabs accepts. Their sponsorship would go towards managing and maintaining the culture. Such sponsor would also have other benefits like brand awareness through events and first dibs on promising startups that pass through TheGlint.

I can never put into words what we achieved but some people recognized and published TheGlint for its efforts in Financial Times, Bold Italics, Huffington Post and Sharable.

The Importance of Focus

TheGlint in no way failed. We failed TheGlint.

I can’t speak for the other founders but for me, I learnt that no matter how much you want to change the world, you have to play by the rules. TheGlint in all its good needed to be sustainable and since we failed dramatically at doing that its existence was challenged.

I think TheGlint was half-assed on many fronts by its founders due to lack of focus. If you focus and give one thing your 100% then if you fail, there’s no regrets because you know you gave it your all. I’m regretful because it never had our undivided attention.

We all had to make this decision on what to focus on in our lives and for each of us it differs. Considering TheGlint had co-founders whose interest weren’t aligned, therein lies one of the problem in focusing on it.

The truth is, none of the founders are in the right place to focus on TheGlint. We never wanted a house of entrepreneurs. We wanted to ignite a movement, we wanted to change the world, we wanted to have impact and create culture. Despite wanting all these things we never focused 100% on it. There are reasons for that, good ones, but the point is not to make excuses.

In all our failures with TheGlint we achieved much and learnt a lot in the process.

The End?

I often feel incredibly sad thinking of the end of TheGlint. I feel guilty because it did so much good yet we failed it. My good friend Todd Porter said to me last he was here that I shouldn’t think of it as the end but rather, an intermediary break. He went on to share the story about TED not being successful in its early days and ended. Two or three years later, it restarted after things aligning and TED is as we know it today.

Inspiring. Hopeful even.

This is why I’ve decided that this is not the end, merely a pause, a break. It will allow us to think and process the data collected over the past eight months. It’ll allow me to explore and perhaps return with new thinking and whilst doing that, continue the conversation. TheGlint is not an idea because that presupposes that we didn’t execute. Well, we executed. So no, TheGlint is a conversation and I’d like to keep that going.

TheGlint for all intents and purposes is now dormant but we’ve inspired others, as we once were, to build upon its legacy. Existing residents of TheGlint will remain in the house to carry out their own experiment but under their own name. Their initiative is in no way associated with TheGlint. The idea being, they should have their own experience. This way, they can come to the table in the future and share their own findings.

We’re working with Roseann Cima who’s doing a 360 article on TheGlint. We’ve given her full access to the community where she’ll be doing her own research through one on one interviews with residents, speakers and guests. At the end, she will write an article on her findings that shares the story of TheGlint in an objective way.

Thank You

I wanted to say thank you, first and foremost, to Alexandros Pagidas and Charles Lee for joining me on quite an epic and memorable experience. I want to thank my girlfriend Aurora who supported me on this from day one as the best resident of TheGlint family - no one would debate this.

To Bjoern Herrmann, Max Marmer, Ertand Dogrultan, Aleksandra Markova, Alexander Kiselev and Tom Currier, I thank you for being the misfits you are, otherwise you would have never been crazy enough to join us in the beginning.

Thanks to our sponsors: RedBull, PopChips and Zico. You guys were amazing.

Thank you to every single person who helped create what is TheGlint today either by residing with us, attending our events or your undying support.

And finally, thanks to TheGlint I met some of the most amazing and inspiring people I could have hoped for. I made friends like John Roberts, Alexandros Pagidas and Todd Porter. I shared experiences that will last a lifetime. I grew as an individual and have become more confident in who I am.

And thank you for reading what has been an emotional entry. If you have any questions, you can find me easily online.