Uncharted Insider - October 2018

Uncharted Insider - October 2018

Hi everyone,

Welcome to the October edition of the Uncharted Insider.

Uncharted Update:

  • Raised level-up investment: We closed a major investment this month to help us further build out our business development function, invest in key systems, and create further capacity in our venture funding department. This funding will help us level-up as a social enterprise, and prepare for an ambitious 2019.
  • Revamping Impact Strategy + Measurement: We are working with a truly extraordinary consultant to revamp our impact strategy, measurement, and systems. We’re refining our theory of change, updating our key organizational metrics, stress-testing our impact data collection systems, and aligning the team around our overall impact strategy.

Ideas on my mind:

Sector Plumbing: As I fundraise and build partnerships for Uncharted, I’m realizing how much capital there is that wants to be mobilized for impact. The problem is the pipes that connect that capital to real impact outcomes 1) don’t exist, 2) are clogged, or 3) are directed towards band-aid solutions. We have less of a capital problem and more of a plumbing problem. Organizations that are “impact plumbers” (intermediaries like Kickstarter, and, I believe, Uncharted), who are fixing and expanding the pipes between financial capital and impact outcomes, are going to play a bigger role in the future than organizations that only have capital (like traditional investors/foundations). The nature of power is shifting: power used to move vertically along ladders of hierarchy. Increasingly, power will move horizontally in pipes like Kickstarter and through movements like #metoo and #blacklivesmatter. I’m exploring how Uncharted positions itself along these new axes of power.

How do you create ownership? In my experience, the ability of an employee to take ownership is the characteristic/quality that has the highest correlation to excellent performance. Ownership is the upstream source of so many downstream qualities we seek when hiring. If someone feels a deep sense of ownership, chances are they employ a far more resilient approach to problem-solving. And nothing plants the seeds of curiosity and persistent learning like the responsibility of ownership. I’ve seen members of our team take on extraordinary levels of ownership in their roles, effectively becoming the CEO of their domain. Once they hit this ownership tipping point, not only does performance shift into a higher gear, but the person becomes a more full and empowered version of themselves. But how do we get to this “ownership tipping point?” I’ve been reflecting on our processes—starting at hiring and continuing through the conditions we create daily for our team—and I’m exploring the steps that led to reaching this ownership tipping point. I’m curious about how others facilitate and enable ownership.

Can you help?

I am looking to add two new Uncharted board members in 2019. We are seeking people with leadership experience in (at least) one of the following realms:

  • Forward-thinking Foundations/Philanthropy—i.e.someone who has experimented with new approaches to philanthropy
  • Impact Investing + Social Entrepreneurship
  • Corporate Social Responsibility—i.e. someone who is pioneering new approaches to leveraging the power in corporations to create impact

Do you know anyone who fits this profile?

What I’m reading:

  • How to turn a person into a voter: the playbook for mobilizing African Americans to vote (a playbook that applies to all people). How the low-tech, face-to-face, empathetic approach prevails. Here.
  • By 2100 the global GDP is projected to fall by 8% due to a 1.5℃ increase in global temperature. A snazzy interactive graphic on the implications of climate change (based on the United Nation’s recent groundbreaking report).
  • In the past two years, there has been a 75% increase in the number of people living in urban areas who say they feel more at home in places other than the space they live in. IKEA’s global study on the sense of home, belonging, and private space.
  • There is a 7x difference in the incarceration rate between two neighborhoods in LA only two miles apart. How neighborhoods are the new unit of social change.
  • Shameless plug: I wrote this article for Quartz on the introvert’s playbook for sales and fundraising. Conventional wisdom says extroverts are better at sales, but I’ve found introverts have a competitive advantage.

Something personal:

I turned 31 yesterday, and I’m taking some time away from work and the regular rhythms of my life to inhale the fullness of this past year and hold it close in reflection. This past year has been a dense one for me personally: it’s been a year of exploring some deep-set fears, discovering courage I didn’t know I had, putting everything on the line for Uncharted and coming up short in moments and surpassing my ambitions in others. It’s been a year of surrendering long-held beliefs and narratives, giving my heart the permission to open as it never has before, and ultimately standing in awe of this world and its mysterious, conspiring unfolding. I’ve never felt more empowered and more humbled than I do today, and I suppose there’s something about that unusual paradox that pulls me out of bed each morning with the firm hope that if we let ourselves live an adventure, there is an adventure to be lived.


United in the common work,