Why Me? (part 3 – Bermuda bound…)

They say that when you are at the bottom, everywhere else is up. I had decided that the best thing for me was to start over and had just moved to Bermuda (the backstory to this and how I sold my TV set to pay for the one-way airplane ticket is in blog 1 and blog 2 ) On some level, I sensed that doing so would force me to focus and to think outside the box.

As opportunities crossed my path, I would make a concerted effort to pursue those which most invited me to live according to my new principles. Each of those opportunities eventually unlocked yet another, and a better life emerged with each transition. I saw these opportunities as solutions, and my principles as the components of a formula leading to them.

While practicing using my new principles, I first worked for others who could help me develop new skills and networks. Whenever I bumped into a wall, or a business partner I could not convincingly see a future with, I either pushed through or moved on. It took a total of five years, but by 2003 my life again had changed momentously. The woman of my dreams agreed to marry me. I was building the first company that I would own 100 percent and operate with a vision that I controlled.

By December 2009, a series of mergers and acquisitions resulted in my business becoming part of a larger conglomerate—seven group-owned companies working in twenty-three different markets. My wife and I had a four-year-old son, Ethan, and a six-month-old baby, Max, and were living in a home less than 100 feet from the pink sand beach on Grape Bay in Bermuda. I’d gained the respect of my peers and community to the point that I’d been invited to join the prestigious Young Presidents Organization (YPO). By this time in my life, I was regularly applying seven or eight of my still-growing list of principles on a daily basis.

And then, something amazing happened.

Thanks to an open and curious mind, extensive reading, and the network I had built of inspirational and well-connected people, I was struck one May evening in 2012 by a realization: The largest asset class in the world is our personal data. This produced in me the deep, profound conviction that the world’s largest companies (think Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Google) should not break trust with us by building empires off of our personal data without our knowledge or permission. Rather we should control its use and benefit from its value. Later on, this concept would become known globally as the self-sovereignty of data.

Taking the advice of Salim Ismail (which he wrote about so eloquently about in his book Exponential Organizations), I decided to define and pursue a clear purpose—what Salim calls a “Massive Transformational Purpose.” I believed I’d had an idea big enough, brave enough, and important enough that it might just change the lives of a billion people. I would return the rights, ownership, privacy, identity, and ultimately the value of personal data back to individuals. 

So, in 2013, after a year of “stealth mode” research, I once again, and to the surprise of many, sold everything I had (this time it was a helluva lot more than a TV) and pursued my plan for global impact. I founded a high-tech start-up called Trunomi to build the world’s first platform to solve for the self-sovereignty of personal data. Two years later I delivered a ground-breaking TEDx talk, “The Future of Your Personal Data,” that explored both the risks and the potential benefits technology holds for actually securing—and profiting from—our digital footprints, instead of helplessly relinquishing control of them. If you’d like to get to know me a bit better or if you love TED talks, I invite you to take a break one evening this week and spend 17 minutes with me learning something fascinating about “The Future of your Personal Data”.

Born in Bermuda, nurtured in Silicon Valley and then matured in London, Trunomi, at this writing, is four rounds of venture capital into its existence; has been recognized with forty-one major global awards; has been issued five patents (and has nine pending); and, in 2018, led me to be named by Barclays as its FinTech (financial technology) Entrepreneur of the Year and by CV Magazine as the Most Influential FinTech CEO of the Year. Trunomi is now a true force for good and delivers incredible value to large corporations and their customers on a global scale.

It all happened for one reason: I put together and worked on developing my capacity to live by what had now become ten simple yet powerful principles that I’d turned into a personal operating system to generate high-performance outcomes. Anything—I mean that quite literally—had become possible.

Even now there are days that I walk down the beach with my family, past smiling tourists who have paid thousands to visit Bermuda for only a few days, and we pinch ourselves and are equally overcome with gratitude. I remind our two boys how it is not by chance or “mere” good luck that we live in this beautiful place and that we must all be mindful, respectful, and      appreciative of how profoundly important the principles that I had lived by, which have now become the Formula for Luck, were to that success. My two boy’s futures lie in their hands, just as your own future lies in yours.

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