This is One Pebble... It's About People!

I have been thinking about the ideas, strategy and purpose behind the startup that my team and I are building together. As the “CEO” I find one of my greatest tasks is to keep vision clear, my team aligned and the purpose as our focus. I am certain that it is these three things that will make us successful. While we will develop some of the most powerful, cutting edge and revolutionary software, services and experiences in our field, but it is these core practices that will make it successful. 

As a founder I constantly think about the iterations of what we are creating that help us find the funding, support and partnership necessary to develop, launch and grow. But, I find that my most fulfilling role as a founder is building our team. I love finding the right teammates. I love seeing the team become a unit. I love helping us align our language and purpose. I love seeing our team get excited together, problem solve together and create together. And, I love doing life with our team. We are a powerful group of leaders and that is a literal statement! 

Collectively our team brings some amazing credentials to the mix. Here is just a sampling: Over 10 years in Silicon Valley, most as a primary lead with LinkedIn through the growth years. Senior Partnership and Expansions with American Express generating $4B in revenues. CEO of one of the largest orphan projects in the world. Life long startup and product developer with hustle. Serial Entrepreneur with exits from renewable energy, fiber optics and suburban ISP. Consultant for private industry with a focus on philanthropy in revenues over $12B. Sustainability Consultant with the United Nations, UNICEF and UNESCO. Licensed financial advisors. PhD in Behavioral Sciences. PhD in Applied Economics. Former development leadership for Goldman Sachs. Tops Loyola Law Graduate. One of LA's top entrepreneurs and social good leaders. Featured Keynote speakers for international development projects. Pioneers in Cultural Enterprise Integrations. Dedicated volunteers in social impact and service. Fundraising experts for domestic and foreign aid with economic expansions. Top Marketing innovator. Top social media influencer. Certified life coaches and Patterson Process experts. This list could go on for days! 

What I love most about our team is this…. We are simply grateful to serve with one another. We share a common goal and purpose in this world. We are building an incredible company to empower our users, customer and supporters to become the HERO of their own story. We are working to empower our users to find financial security. We are enabling our users to give back and make a lasting impact on the world. We are building a movement centered around the one primary thing. HOPE. We Give Hope

One Pebble is offering some of the most ground breaking technology and tools that change the way people interact with money. We are creating the World’s first 100% socially responsible broker/dealer who makes Impact Investing easy, accessible and affordable to anyone. We have created a unique One Trade™ Diversification system for our users. We have created instant deposit systems. We are offering socially conscious retirement plans. We have built our proprietary Charity Bundles™ that allow you to give back automatically and make an impact in the world in a way that matters to you. Our incredible Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning system helps you filter through the noise of the Stock Market and invest in the things that support your values, morals and ethics. We don't decide what is best for you, you make that decision because we help you discover the facts you need to know. 

All of this is made possible because we have the smartest, most talented, most passionate and most humble team who is focused on one thing. Our vision is clear and our purpose is an anchor! 

We truly do believe that what we are creating at One Pebble is a life changing resource for you, for us and for the world. Why are we so certain? Because we know that everyone in this world needs HOPE. It is our Mission to give HOPE to everyone who encounters One Pebble

If you are a leader, founder, startup, CEO, manager, team member, parent, spouse, friend or student…. if you want to find satisfaction and success in what you are doing, who you are leading and where you are going… Then figure out what your mission, vision and values are and give all you have to aligning your life, your work, your team and your time to support those very things.

Building Blocks

There are 3 things within any business that matter most. They are the building blocks on which you build everything. They become your filter for decisions, development and direction. And, if you get these 3 things nailed down you will find far more satisfaction, success and fulfillment in the process. 

So what are they? 

Mission, Vision and Values Yep, that’s it. No, I didn't drop some sort of incredible nugget of truth or a new idea! I am reminding you of the most basic building blocks of leadership, creation and growth. When you focus your energy and center execution on the things that matter most, you will find a greater level of potential. 

So how does one define Mission, Vision, Values? Whats the difference between these 3 building blocks? Here’s how I see it. 

Mission: This is the very core value in you as the leader that drives you to action. This is the passion and urge that was placed deep inside of you that compels you to quit talking and start acting. And, when you decide to package your mission in a way that others can interact, transact and impact…. You will find a win! 

Vision: This is the goal, the result and the outcome you are going to create. This is the way that your team, your customers, your audience or the world will encounter your mission. This is the where an idea becomes a reality through execution. 

Values: This is the heart connection, the glue that holds the process together. Your values inform the culture of your team, company, product and more. The values express what matters to you and what you hope will be valuable to the people who encounter your mission. 

One thing to ALWAYS remember when creating you Mission, Vision and Values…. KEEP IT SIMPLE! 

Making these things lengthy, complicated and obscure will ensure you will never be able to articulate them to the world around you. If they aren’t simple, you can be sure your team, customers and audiences will never have buy in. They need to be easy to receive, easy to remember and easy to repeat. 

So, what does this look like in practicum? 

For our new venture One Pebble I can sum up the Mission, Vision and Values in a single sentence with three words! That’s it…. THREE WORDS! And, those three words express what matters most, they classify what we do and they invite you to interact with us. So, what are those three words? 

WE GIVE HOPE

That’s it! Nothing more. Anyone who encounters One Pebble can easily receive that, remember that and repeat that. And, I can teach it to a new team member, customer or audience member in 10 seconds and they will never forget. 

Our Mission is hope. We want a world who needs the gift of life, the promise of possibility and the power of miracles to find all of those things. And, my internal passion and wisdom has taught me that hope is the very place where those things are born. Our Vision is to give. We want to create generosity as a culture. We want to overcome the power of greed, foster gratitude and tangibly do what we believe is important. Nothing does that better than activating ourselves and those around us to give. Finally, our values are all found in one little word, WE. Why? Because the best things in this world happen when we do life together. To build a great team, company, idea, movement and product you have to have others on the journey. We believe that sharing the joy of hope, the richness of generosity and the celebrating of possibility is far better with others. 

Whether we are sharing these ideas with our founders, a new hire, a new customer or a new audience… We have created a simple, clear and tangible way to express our Mission, Vision and Values. 

Most importantly in all of this… The mission, vision and values always inform our decisions, direction and development. This makes growth, change and stability far easier for us as leaders. Miss this core step in creating your business, and your chances of success are dismal at best! 

The next step in creating a great company comes when you take these ideas and create a common language for your your team, organization and community. Stay tuned for some thoughts on creating a common language.

True Disruption

As founders we all want to be successful. I wanted to take a few days to download some observations I have made over my last 20 years as a leader, founder and student of business. My hope is that this will help you find wild succession your endeavor. 

When you are building a startup of any kind there are certain buzz words that seem to still capture the attention of others. For nearly a decade now the market space has been flooded with the concept of disruption. If you’re a founder, co-founder or startup team member my guess is that you are using this word far too often. In fact, I would venture to guess you aren't truly sure what it even means in practicum. 

When entrepreneurs use terms like disrupt I think most of them miss the true meaning and application of disruption. So, what do I mean? Let me explain. 

Most think that by tapping into a niche' spot in a large pipeline of commerce they have "disrupted" something. They have discovered a new buyer, a new method for attracting buyers or a more “sexy” way of presenting an established market place. This has lead to MANY incredible startups and companies who are truly growing and successful. But they have merely engaged more commerce if their only success is creating more transactions, without causing ripples in the market place that actually disrupt the business of other leaders. Because my focus lately has been in FinTech I can give you a an example. 

Robinhood is a company, an app, which has helped introduce many people to the world of buying and selling stocks by removing a friction point for most novice investors. They charge no trading fees for the buying and selling of those securities. For a young investor or a veteran cynic of the big banks they have attracted a big group of users. They have found a niche’ in a large and expansive market place. These guys have done well in growth and execution of tapping into a niche’ in the market place. 

Most look at Robinhood and call it a disruption. But, I challenge that is not the case. They have simply created a new storefront for the same products with a better price tag. The products in their market place exist in the same form as before. And, they are not challenging a cultural shift of the product and “manufacturers” in their market space. They have simply and successfully engaged a customer base for an unchanged market place. 

True disruption happens when you shift cultural, creative, manufacturing and operative norms for an industry or market place. In disruption you enter an existing market space, you identify a niche’ for entry, but build a “product” that causes multiple ripples across the entire market space. Those who disrupt cause entire industries to stop and pay attention because those ripples disrupt the norms. 

Disrupting in an existing market space is a complex recipe. The ingredients include creating a new way of transacting, new expectations for results and new demands on products which cause the industry leaders to innovate or exit. Disruption reaches its opus when an existing cultural base, customer base and industry leaders begin to accept, adopt and appreciate the disruptive idea or product. 

The best example in recent history is Facebook. Sure, when Facebook came along there were plenty of similar ideas in that market place. MySpace, Friendster and more had a good market share. I know, I had tried them all. Facebook was ingenious in it’s disruption. It began with a scarcity model, by only being accessible to select university students. Then as the scale expanded it began to reach the college graduate, GenX audience. They adjusted the product to become a communication super power for the world to connect by adopting some of the legacy ideas in the tech world. They took time to honor the last wave of leaders. This is a CRUCIAL ingredient in disruption, because without honor, there can be no integrity in disrupting! 

Facebook changed the way people transact relationally, they created a new wave of demand from the social media world and they caused the other industry leaders in social media to change their practices if possible. But, as we have seen, they reached the opus when the product became useful, desirable and common among traditional leaders and general masses. What started as a tool for 18-22 year olds has become the largest accessible, adaptable and usable form for social interaction in the world. 

Apple followed a similar path. Amazon followed a similar path. And the list can go on and on. 

Of course, everyone wants to know what the “secret sauce” for this kind of success happens to be. First, realize there is no replacement from hard work, hustle, learning, growing and pushing beyond their preferences to new territory. But at the center there is one reality in every disruptive company or movement in the world….

That reality is that disruption ALWAYS starts inside the company leaders themselves! It starts with the vision, passion, mission and values of the founder(s). Every company takes on the personality of it’s founder(s). At the core, companies like Apple, Facebook, Amazon and more, had founders who’s personal convictions, DNA and values were the driving force behind execution. But it goes deeper than than. Those traits must shape, inform and guide the culture of the entire company. This is the key to success. 

If you are going to tackle this idea of disruption, start by making sure you have been disrupted as the founder. Be sure your passion is born from a disruption in your soul. Then build a team who understand this, believes in this and will sacrifice personal preferences to uphold the disruption. After all, disruption will always be the hardest sell, the hardest to fund and the most criticized idea in your early days. 

This is just the beginning. Stay tuned for my coming posts to help you take the next steps for success… 

  • Creating Mission, Vision and Values with your team
  • Creating and Championing Your Common Language and Culture
  • Celebrating your culture