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This is not a Chat GPT post. The Source of Source.

My name is Lee, thank you for being here and reading this. Having chosen to embark on a startup journey with Source Studios I want to share my process as it unfolds with anyone who is interested, in case it adds value to what you are doing or challenges you are facing. I want to start by stating that this, my first post is not Chat GPT assisted. I have done this intentionally as I feel I want to at least start from the heart and share what my intentions are on this journey and why I have chosen to take on Source and I don’t feel that’s totally possible using Chat GPT.

Lets rewind to January 2022. I decided that I was tired of going it alone as a designer(having closed my agency Seed in 2019) and wanted to transition to something new, be part of a bigger team and most importantly make a bigger impact than I was. So I decided against everything I have always said, to look for a full time job.To put that in context since 2000, when I entered the workplace I have worked for someone else for a total of 2 and a half years. I have always been independent carving my own path, so it was a big decision.

3 months later I found Toucan, a blockchain startup that was tokenising carbon credits. Over the first few months of 2022 I applied for close to 100 jobs mostly in what’s called climate tech startups as I felt this was the best match for my intentions, skills and values. So I applied for an open UI designer role at Toucan but they didn’t feel my experience matched what they were looking for but I didn’t give up. I felt that I had found a team with an ambitious idea that I could really get behind and wanted to be involved. So I reached out on LinkedIn and started conversations with a few of the team, 2 months later I started with the intention to start a podcast with the team and bring my design skills to help where it was needed.

One of the first people I spoke to at Toucan and who onboarded me, was John Ellison and we connected instantly. I felt a kinship, a shared language and value system. Sadly he left 3 weeks later. My journey at Toucan was a tumultuous one where I struggled to find my place and add value and feel valued. The backdrop on a personal note, which is another post altogether, was that my wife was undergoing chemotherapy for the treatment of breast cancer. It was a very difficult time, new job, new startup, personal crisis.

In March this year Toucan reduced their team size by 30% in an effort to lengthen their runway while they found product market fit and I was one of those who parted ways, which after the fact, was a relief. Almost immediately I reached out to John and we started a conversation around me helping him get the next Season of ReFi Podcast out and some of the plans he had within ReFi Dao which included starting a culture studio called Source. After a 2 month break, and some funding John had got from Celo and Climate Collective we set about starting Source Studios in June 2023.

The intention was and still is to change the narrative in the climate / sustainability space and move it towards regeneration, solutions and hope for a world vision that we can all rally behind and believe is possible. There is so much doom and gloom, divisiveness, politicking, greenwashing, alternative agendas and subversive tactics going on in the media that the waters get muddied and it becomes increasingly difficult to find real clarity. I strongly believe long from podcast content, deep listening, conversation and exploration of ideas is what we need right now to forge our path forward as humanity.

So here we are 5 months later. John’s ReFi Podcast season 3 is out, we have just released Planta-R a Portuguese podcast focused on web3 and regeneration hosted by Rica Amaral and Vagabonds, a Spanish podcast focused on regeneration more broadly hosted by Karla and Renulfo Cordoba out of Costa Rica. We are in the recording phase of Chad’s Climate Quest Podcast with Chad Frischmann of Project Drawdown fame and have a number of other shows on the cards for 2024. I am toying with the idea of starting my own one again but I realise how big a commitment it is so am approaching it with caution.

Its been a bumpy 6 months with John going through a personal crisis of his own which meant me doing much of the work by myself. Ultimately John has had to step back to an advisor role due to his personal life situation culminating 2 months ago when I took the hard decision to take Source forward without funding by myself.

At the same time, mid September a new idea emerged for Source. A global distribution as a service platform that helps content creators get their voices out to the world. I see it as a much needed missing piece in the puzzle, creating the content is the easy part, building a following and an audience is way harder and can be a slog. Solving this problem aligns with my vision to change the narrative as the more eyes and ears on the content impacts more people and allows creators to meet their own objectives easier, whether that’s monetisation or greater reach.

The last 2 months have been deeply challenging having to look for freelance design work again to keep the lights on while pushing Source forward in the hours I have had available.

I think I am still fatigued from the trauma of my wife’s cancer journey over the last 2 years and so have had to learn to not push too hard and listen to my body and work within my capacity. I am taking a regenerative approach to myself and how I am working day to day. On a deeper level I believe I have a solid idea which can both have a huge impact and provide value for all the stakeholders involved. I find myself called once again to lean into trust and take the journey day by day, step by step. This is one of the big lessons from the last 2 years, its like the old saying, “How do you eat an elephant, one bite at a time”. Daily wins, small steps and it builds towards something great.

Luckily Im not totally alone, my friend Greg Schneider stepped in 2 months ago on a part time sweat equity basis to help with among other things partner outreach and business development. It really helps having someone to meet with regularly, hold me accountable and bounce ideas off. So I am hugely grateful for that.

That’s a brief overview of how we got to where we are and sets the stage for what I really want to communicate here. I keep asking myself the question, “What is a truly regenerative way of doing this”, when making decisions and looking at the path forward. And this is what I want this blog to be about, the journey of building a regenerative business as it unfolds because there are not a lot of examples to lean on out there. I am holding lots of questions as I chart the path forward, How do I rewire my thinking away from personal benefit towards systemic impact?, How do we create this in a way that has community built in?, How can we evolve the meaning and function of a business in the process?, How can this be more of a we and less of an I thing?, How can this be a co-creation process?…

So my intention is to do this out in the open, explore ideas, invite comment and input as I go and hopefully learn to be and do better in the process. I invite you along for the ride.

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