Honne and tatemae

Japanese words that describe the contrast between truth and appearance of truth. When the gap between hone and tatemae becomes too wide in a society, cooperation decays and skepticism and tranquilized distrust grow.

The breakdown that we see in the world today is due to the gap of who we say we are and who we really are.

80% of the workforce is working in a job that they don’t like or for a company whose values they don’t respect, and working desperately to disguise the fact that they are treading water.

By working in that job they are literally compromising their identity.

It’s easy to look at Washington, Wallstreet, and Madison Ave and blame them, but a powerful path to personal wholeness is to close the gap at home.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

We were at out daughter's year end school event last week.

As the teachers announced each child's name they recognized their unique character traits and shared what each child believes they want to be when they grow up.

The answers were discouragingly, but not surprisingly, very predictable; fireman, doctor, veterinarian etc.

When we ask our children what they want to "be" when they grow up we make two extremely damaging mistakes.

First, we tell them, implicitly of course, that they aren't YET sufficient.  They must first go to many more years of school, to get a degree and skills so that they can then be "grown up".

Whatever the heck that means.

Second, we limit the scope of their vision to preexisting roles and teach them to think outside in, instead of inside out.

We teach them to look outside of themselves for commodity jobs to compete for in order to 'matter' as a grown up.

Especially in this new age, it is imperative to figure out WHY we are here, and to embrace and leverage our personal eccentricities.

Yes, we need skills, that's a given.

But armed with who I am, what I care deeply about, and a mastery of how I operate; I am equipped to serve and prosper in an infinite variety of ways that do not require that I get chosen for some preexisting role. 

The next time you are tempted to ask a young child 'what are you going to be when you grow up?'

Instead ask; "What do you think your purpose is for being here?"

Unpolluted by adult baggage, children answer this profound question as easily as telling you their name.

Our job as parents and teachers is to support them in manifesting their unique answer in the service of others.

This is the greatest way to guarantee that they, and our society, will prosper in the future.

R U Insubordinate?


  1. disobedient or rebellious: refusing to obey orders or submit to authority

It sounds bad when you put it like that.  

And that's just how 'authority' wants you to feel.  

They want you to feel badly for being different and for not being willing to subordinate your intention for their agenda.  

I'm not talking 'rebel without a cause' insubordinate, that's just another form of subordination.


All remarkable people are insubordinate.  

They feel an internal pressure to manifest their intention, and a profound unwillingness to compromise it.  This sharpens their focus, and accelerates their decision making.

Does this manifest my intention?  Yes or No?  Fit / No Fit?

Which makes it possible for them to accomplish more...

and draws more and more attention to them...

brining more and more opportunities to choose.

They get waaaaaay more "No's" than the average bear, which gets them waaaaaay more "Yes's".

In the tribal economy, if you want to stand out, and if you want to prosper, you'll increase your odds and your velocity by finding your powerful cause and 'rebelling' against anything that does not support it.

Subordinating to your survival concern

We humans managed to prevail for thousands of years before supermarkets, Gore -Tex and climate control despite our small teeth, our furless bodies and our relatively slow feet.

How the f%$k did we pull THAT off?

The answer is simple but not trivial.

We coordinated interdependently as a tribe.  We didn't just 'help' each other.  We had roles, there was a cycle and a sequence that we worked with not against.


And we did all this out of a collective intention to survive.

But once the threat of not surviving abated we lost touch with our natural biologically embedded tribal contribution and this powerful natural process.

Fast forward to today and you find that our ability to coordinate together and to see the cycle and sequence of tribal prosperity is poor at best.

We may have lost our way, but we didn't lose our biologically embedded survival concerns which when properly coordinated create tribal prosperity.

And there's the rub.  

Our biological survival concerns (there are four by the way), the ones that enabled us to pull off a species survival stunt of Houdini proportions, control the reigns of our actions and our words.

But instead of serving us, they lead us into self serving and self sabotaging behavior.

Without even knowing it, we spend enormous amounts of our time serving the anxious needs of our ancient biological survival concerns.

And without a collective tribal intention, and without personal control, they have us, instead of vice versa.  

We are subordinating to a biological program that we didn't even know, that we didn't know we even had!

The key to prosperity is to take back control of this process and to harness it.

An Ultimate Tribal Tool

I just completed my second Square Space website.

The day that Toby LaVigne can build websites is truly a dark day for web developers and a great day for anyone wanting to build their Tribal Signature™.

Granted, this is a simple site, but I built it in a fraction of the time and money that it took to create my last 5 versions.

I highly, highly recommend this powerful tool!

Check out my day job site @ Tribal Equity

The Remarkable Economy

Def. a conversation for the implementation of technology to increase effectiveness. The industrial economy was about the effective coordination of resources.

The remarkable economy is about the effective coordination of human action.

Business success in this economy is about designing, building and scaling powerful human experiences.

The recession is about our failure to sustain growth using the technologies of the last economy and our delay in adopting the new technology.


I’ve been doing some of my writing in the library of a nearby college. It’s fascinating to watch the students studying, reading, and researching.

It’s also horrifying because I know intimately the environment they face after graduation, and I understand the ‘real world’ limitations of their attempts to prepare for it.

The true definition of learning is to change behavior.

My observation is that there are two big problems with their approach to learning and preparing for the real world.

  1. The information they are trying to download
  2. The mechanism they are using to download it

Students are essentially trying to download information when they really need to be downloading an operating system.  Workers that get jobs for just ‘knowing’ information or a skill are at the highest risk for replacement.

Secondly, the students spend an inordinate amount of time interacting with a book or a computer screen when the real world mechanism is human interaction.  Workers that excel at coordinating the actions of others are at the lowest risk for replacement.

For real world success we need to upgrade our humanware to increase our ability to effectively coordinate the actions of others.

Mutual Negotiation

The traditional path was to get a job. You got a job by fitting the requirements of some employer, typically through a one-sided negotiation with no real shared intention.

Success came from jumping through hoops defined by the employer.

In this relationship the employee has little to no powerful alternatives because their market identity is that of ‘employee’ of someone else's brand.

The remarkable path is to be a powerful solution to some market’s specific problem.

In this world you form an alliance based upon a shared intention, and success comes from working together to manifest the shared intention.

The ‘partners’ increase their power to the extent that they manifest the intention.


What’s your app?

The remarkable economy employment relationship will continually morph toward virtual and temporary engagements to accomplish specific projects. There will be fewer and fewer ‘permanent jobs’ and more and more ‘temporary project alliances’.

One of the keys to individual and organizational prosperity will be the ability to quickly connect and disband.

Today the hiring and firing process is long, painful and risky.

We will all be far more effective when we become known for a powerful offer; our App.

An App is short for application - the quality of being usable for a particular purpose or in a special way.

The more clear and powerful your app;

...the greater your demand will be

…the more quickly you will be found

…the higher the odds of negotiating successful alliances

You can think of remarkable people as having the most powerful apps.

The internet is making it increasingly easy to find the best performers in any niche.

Time to turn yourself into an app.

Prosperity and choice

The most prosperous get to 'choice' the most quickly. Google users, Apple buyers, and Facebook fans don’t spend a lot of time deciding whether to use the product or service.

Their reputations preceded them and they got the buyers to choose quickly.

When you stop and think about it, we spend a lot of time trying to get people to choose.

And the reason is ALWAYS that;

…the value to risk ratio is not clear

…the path to purchasing and or implementation is too difficult

…sufficient trust has not been established

This is easy to see when we are the consumer, but much more difficult when we are the seller.

Technopeasants, the new coal miners

There are so many offers to earn a ‘high tech degree’ today. I fear that the takers are not aware of the choice they are making.

I’m not knocking the professions they're pursuing; they’re all necessary services as far as I can see.

My fear is that they think they are getting long-term employment because of the knowledge and skills they are developing.

Once they get settled into their new jobs they are going to be faced with the REAL challenge in any organization, coordinating the actions of others.

The path to becoming valuable isn’t a degree, it’s an ability to get people to stop what they are doing, listen to what you have to say and create a new future together.

Not being able to do this is a free ride to techno-peasanthood and the high tech coal mine.


…are everywhere. Their pie is shrinking, so out of desperation they beg borrow and steal to preserve their own share.

People are acting like they're on a deserted island with a one-month’s supply of food remaining.

They’re looking in instead of looking out.

They have unprecendented access to information and each other.

They have the ability to create an entirely new world…literally at their fingertips!

Everywhere I look I see organizations and individuals that could dramatically increase their value and their traffic by serving others.

And I see the same individuals serving themselves first.

Filling the not quite full water glass

Can someone please explain to me why restaurants insist on refilling water glasses that aren’t even close to empty…AND all the way to the top?! Were customers complaining that they weren’t getting enough water?

Of all the things that restaurants could universally do to improve service why has this practice become THE in thing to do?

It does nothing to differentiate the restaurant, most of the water goes to waste, and it takes time away from much higher value activities.

The object of great service is to be invisible in the experience.  Repeated trips to the table interrupt the experience.

Look to see where you are trying to improve situations that don’t need your attention and stop it!

Then ask yourself, ‘given my intention to be remarkable, what is the next most powerful thing I can do?’

Then do that instead and let me enjoy my dinner without having to dodge a water pitcher every time I take a sip.

Affluent poverty

There is a lot of political talk about the ‘haves and the have nots’, the 1%ers, 99%ers, and other nonsense. Yes, there are problems that correlate with income, but for the most part (and we should always focus on ‘the most part’) nearly EVERYONE is suffering from a poverty of purpose.

Income and wealth immunize no one from the awful feelings of anxiety, despair and cynicism that are so widespread today.

The only antidote for anxiety is contribution from a place of inspired purpose.

Poverty isn’t just for the poor.

Intention….It’s not just for yoga anymore

Intention is where a person, an organization, or even a society comes FROM. It is the context from which it makes ALL choices.

“We intend to free ourselves from fossil fuels” is a an intention.

A goal is something we aspire towards.

Goals cause us to fixate on a specific outcome that may or may not be the ‘right’ outcome.

"We want to become energy independent by 2025", is a goal.

It sounds good, but it’s deceptively limiting and fraught with brute force opportunity.

Independent from whom?  Other countries (fellow earthlings)?  Certain fuel sources?

No consider the possible solutions, do any of them look familiar?

We could outlaw cars or heavily tax fuel.

We could change from food production to corn fuel production.

We could dial back environmental controls and go after oil sands, coal, or more offshore drilling.

I’m not judging any of these options.  Some may make sense for a period of time, but what I want to draw attention to is the mindset of a goal versus an intention.

If instead we intended to become independent from fossil fuels, and not just in the US, but for the world…then we shift from something that is about and for ‘ME’ to something that is about and for the good of all.

What new possibilities might emerge from an intention to improve the situation for others instead of an inward focus on just ourselves?

Look around and listen for who is ‘coming from a place of improving their world and who is driving toward a goal that is self-serving.

Only one will become remarkable.

Its an App, App World

I bring a journal with me wherever I go. Recently I noticed that in the back of my journal is a handy list of tools; conversion tables, multiplication tables, and even a small ruler.

The table would make a really handy app.

I was struck by the realization that the back of my journal is one of the last places I would ever have thought to look for the answer to such questions.

So for kicks I looked up conversion tables in apps and found that the company that has produced this journal for decades was not the ‘author’ of such an app.

In fact the only app I could find from them was…you guessed it…a retail sales site disguised as an app…without…you guessed it…those handy tools.

How might their approach change if they saw themselves as a support system for business people that just happened to monetize the relationship through the sales of office supplies?

The New Elite

Traditionally it has been the role of the elite to ‘show the way’. The elite; professors, the media, doctors, lawyers, business leaders, politicians, celebrities etc. have the advantages of perspective, time, resources and knowledge that can and should be devoted to creating a better future.

But at a time when the cycle of prosperity is broken, the elite instead have turned inward attempting to preserve the past and their elite stations.

The crisis of this time in history is not the economy, or technology, or political parties.

The crisis of this time is that our elite are not showing the way.

Sadly, many of them are so consumed with preserving their fiefdoms that they have no clue which way to go.

It’s time to create a new elite, to show the new way, and create a new future.

It’s going to take courage, discipline and a commitment to creating a great future with lots of unknowns.

Are you in?

What is a 'good education'?

There is a lot of talk about reforming education, getting a good education, and the return on investment of a good education. The cost of education, graduation rates, and tuition cost are symptoms, not the problem.

The problem is education.

Specifically, what the hell IS a good education?

We have totally lost focus of WHY we need to become educated which in turn has lead us far astray from HOW to get educated and WHAT we should be learning.

First the WHY.

It used to be good enough to get a ‘good education’, so that you could get a ‘good job’, that would reliably pay you a ‘good salary’, so that you could live a ‘good life’.

There are no more ‘good jobs’ because industries, jobs, and corporations are birthing and dying in the span of decades, and this cycle will shorten, not lengthen.

Getting trained to perform some function today, no matter how ‘hi-tech’ it may sound, is a trip to technopeasanthood which is a modern form of poverty.

The reason to get educated is not to get a ‘good job’, the reason to get educated is to create prosperity for yourself and others.

Which leads us to HOW do you create prosperity?

To create prosperity we must excel at two things; coordinating our own actions and coordinating the actions of others.

If you want to be successful at any time in history; past, present or future, the timeless secret is to;

  1. Excel at knowing exactly how you operate and knowing how and when to apply yourself.
  2. Excel at observing the cycle of all transactions, the operational perspective of others and how to manage the cycle.

No matter what the context is, creating prosperity requires being adept at these two things.

These are not optional.

Given an intention to create prosperity for ourselves and others, and knowing how prosperity is really created we can now have a design conversation about WHAT education should look like.

Sadly, the majority of education design conversations are about how to more efficiently deliver education focused on preparing students to get ‘good jobs’.

And, as you may have noticed, there are no more ‘good jobs’.