Adriana Withers is one of the partners in Vicious Circle Ultimate, an apparel company dedicated to custom manufacturing high performance gear for ultimate frisbee athletes. Her partner Don Cooper came up with the idea for VC just before Canadian Nationals in the summer of 1998 and the company has been growing ever since.
In this episode, Adriana discusses throwing apartment parties to pay rent, the challenges of starting up, and the proliferation of companies in her industry in recent years.
Adriana’s Challenge; Practice gratitude regularly and show appreciation for the people in your life.
Connect with Adriana
Hahna is the Chief Technical Officer and cofounder of Sole Power Technologies. The company builds an shoe insole that charges a battery while the used walks. That battery can be used to charge a cell phone or other electronic device.
As a child, Hahna was inspired by the technology in science fiction books, shows, and comics. She became an engineer because she wanted to make such technology a reality. For her, developing an energy harvesting shoe insert meant creating a device that could be found in an Isaac Asimov book. She also has a lifelong dream of going to space, which grew bigger while designing robots at NASA. As company CTO, she leads product design and is the only one capable of drawing more than stick figures.
Hahna’s Challenge; Spend some time every day learning about a topic you want to get smarter on.
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Ilana Diamond is the Managing Director of AlphaLab Gear, Innovation Works’ hardware start-up accelerator which provides physical product startups with connections, investment, mentorship and more. Ilana helps entrepreneurs rapidly progress through the early stages of product and customer development by leveraging her experience and network, gained from over 20 years of leading and growing companies, from early stage to exit.
Prior to running AlphaLab Gear, Ilana served as the President and Chief Executive Officer at Sima Products. She built Sima’s management team, developed and managed a network of Asian manufacturers and led profitable sales growth at national brick and mortar retail chains such as Target and Walmart, internet retailers such as Amazon.com, and specialty catalog retailers.Based on innovative technology developed by Sima, she also founded and managed a commercial alerting startup, raised outside capital spun it off into a separate entity. In 2010, Ms. Diamond negotiated the sale of Sima and transitioned operations to the new owners.
Ilana currently serves as a Member of the advisory board at Sole Power, LLC. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Pittsburgh Technology Council and Tie Pittsburgh. Previously, she sat on the Executive Board of the Consumer Electronics Association.
Ilana’s Challenge; Pick one thing every day that you are going to do well. You can’t do everything well every single day.
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Theresa Brown, BSN, RN, works as a clinical nurse in Pittsburgh and recently wrote a NYT best-selling book, The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients' Lives.
Theresa received her BSN from the University of Pittsburgh, but before that earned, a Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago and taught at Tufts University. Her column "Bedside" has appeared on the New York Times op-ed page as well as on the Times blog “Opinionator” and she is a frequent contributor to the New York Times. Previously she wrote for the New York Times blog “Well." Her writing has also appeared on CNN.com, and in The American Journal of Nursing and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She is an Advisory Board Member of the Center for Health Media and Policy at the Bellevue School of Nursing at Hunter College, and a participant in two different Robert Wood Johnson initiatives: "Flip the Clinic" and "The Power of Narrative."
Her first book Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between has been adopted as a textbook in Schools of Nursing across the country. Theresa lectures nationally on issues related to nursing, health care, and end of life. Her clinical work has been in medical oncology, hospice, and palliative care. Becoming a mom led Theresa to leave academia and pursue nursing. It is a career change she has never regretted.
Theresa’s Challenge; Spend 30 minutes reading one poem per week.
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This episode of Going Deep with Aaron Watson is brought to you by the Ultimate Athlete Project. The Ultimate Athlete Project is founded on helping athletes get results through well-developed workout plans that relieve you of the need to research effective workouts or worry about your workouts becoming boring. Check out a free core workout and learn more about what regular users are saying about the program.
Leah Lizarondo is an innovator and food advocate. She is also the founder of The Brazen Kitchen, a food education practice and influential blog and the co-founder of 412 Food Rescue, an innovative technology-driven nonprofit that fights hunger and waste.
Leah received her Master's Degree in Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University graduating with Highest Distinction and is an advocate for healthy food accessibility, food safety policy and sustainability. She has trained at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City and received her Certification in Plant-based Nutrition from Cornell University.
She served as one of the Trustees at the global Awesome Foundation: Food, serving with leaders and creative innovators in food and is an Ambassador for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.
She began her career as a product manager in Southeast Asia, working in consumer packaged goods and as a consultant working with technology startups. She served in leadership positions at global nonprofits before moving on to her passion in food and health advocacy. She is interested in the intersection of food, health and innovation.
Leah’s work has been featured in print and online publications including MSN’s Re:Discover Series, NPR, Oprah.com, GOOD Magazine online, and lots of local media. The Brazen Kitchen was named one of the Top 100 Foodie Blogs in 2013 by IPE and won the 2013 National City & Regional Magazine Awards for Best Blog. In April 2014, she gave the TEDx Talk “Why the Farm Is Not Getting to the Table.”
Check out the CrowdRise Campaign
Leah’s Challenge; Write a letter to yourself one year from today explaining your vision for yourself.
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Avi Geller has taken a long and thoughtful route to entrepreneurship. During his time on Going Deep, he discusses how he moved to progressively smaller companies and developed a vision for the future of wearable tech.
He is now focused on “hearables”, a segment of tech focused on headsets and earpieces that deliver real time information to users. As a member of the AlphaLab accelerator, Avi is leading Maven Machines towards being a player in the Internet of Things.
Avi’s Challenge; Start something, like a social gathering or a project, that you take ownership of and do a great job.
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Ever wondered what the path to being an Amazon #1 bestseller looks like? Meet Taylor Pearson.
Taylor taught himself Portuguese while working as a freelance Spanish interpreter, then bought a one-way plane ticket to Brazil to teach English. Between teaching classes, he played semi-pro football and built a profitable publishing business selling advertising to kitchen furniture manufacturers.
He cold-called marketing agencies using my small kitchen furniture publishing business to get a job. Went from intern to lead project manager in less than six months at the leading digital marketing agency in Memphis. While there, he managed accounts for international manufacturing brands and higher education institutions.
He left that to join the Tropical MBA team, a top 25 iTunes podcast and 10k+ subscriber blog. There he assisted in event planning and community management for The Dynamite Circle, a private mastermind forum of over 1000 of the web’s top location independent entrepreneurs. He also managed the online marketing and sales for a portfolio of 7-figure eCommerce businesses in the hospitality industry, primarily the Portable Bar Company, which grew over 527%. Then, he ran sales and product development for a valet parking software startup, selling into enterprise parking operators while managing product development and strategy.
Now, he primarily writes on his blog and consults with authors, entrepreneurs, and CEOs about how to find clarity and confidence in their businesses, expand their marketing through thought leadership and scale their internal business systems.
Taylor’s Challenge; Publish something publicly this week and share it on social media.
Taylor’s Book = The End of Jobs
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont
Connect with Taylor
Dick Zhang is President and CEO of Pittsburgh, PA based Identified Technologies. Dick leads his rapidly growing team’s efforts to deliver real-time job site updates to industrial companies around the world using robotic aerial drones.
Prior to founding Identified Technologies, his previous work included corporate finance at Goldman Sachs and project management at Bristol-Myers Squibb. A technologist as well as an entrepreneur, he is an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania with training in Mechanical Engineering and holds several U.S. patents.
Dick has been featured as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist, Pittsburgh Business Times Fast Tracker, and Point Park University guest lecturer.
Dick’s Challenge; Push yourself outside of your comfort zone so that you’ll continue to grow.
Connect with Dick
Matt Zieger moved to Pittsburgh to join The Forbes Funds in August of 2014 as the Executive-in-Residence for Social Innovation. As a former foundation CEO, small business owner, and long-time economic policy leader Matt has fifteen years of experience bringing together Governors, CEOs, civic leaders, philanthropies, and global innovators to build and advance transformative investments in public education, international business development, government innovation, and knowledge-driven economic development.
In this role, Matt leads the Forbes Funds efforts to accelerate regional understanding and adoption of emerging tools to affect positive societal outcomes at substantial scale. His current focus areas include the development of new platforms to increase access to capital and advanced technologies for nonprofits and social entrepreneurs such as impact investing funds, social impact bonds, and prototyping technology solutions that positively impact the communities and organizations we serve.
Matt’s Challenge; Say yes more often.
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Sean McComb's rise to thought leadership in the realm of education started decades ago. Growing up outside of Philadelphia, what began as a comfortable childhood was later torn apart by strife. Facing chaos and despair at home, he turned to school as his sanctuary and found inspiration in extraordinary teachers. His experiences compelled him to go into education, and pay forward the gifts that he received.
During his 10 years at Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts in Baltimore County, Maryland, Sean became an integral member of an outstanding school and community. Sean's English courses are deep dives into the exploration of humanity through literature and building communication skills. He regularly led his students in community service projects and led the construction of the AVID college-preparatory program in his school.
AVID targets students in the academic middle who have college dreams and provides them a pathway and a partner to achieve them. It's through this program that AVID students have what every child needs, a champion: an adult in their life who values them, believes in them and expects great things from them until the child can come to expect those things of themselves.
Sean’s Challenge; Practice gratitude and take ten to fifteen minutes every day to write notes affirming others.
Connect with Sean
Bobby is the CEO and cofounder of Thrill Mill, Pittsburgh's premier early-stage incubator/accelerator for entrepreneurs looking to turn that great idea into the next big thing. Thrill Mill, a non-profit organization, accepts applications annually, awarding a minimum of $5,000 per startup in exchange for 1% equity. Startups, which come from all industries and all growth models (including non-profits), are selected through the competitive application process gain access to first-class programming, mentorship, advisors, and broad networks to refine business models, reach target customer audiences and fund startups through their growth stages.
He is also a "reformed lawyer" and unapologetically Pittsburgh-proud. He is focused on the present and future of his city. He also created Thrival Festival, a music and innovation festival, to shine a national and international spotlight on the beautiful, creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial city that Pittsburgh has become.
Bobby’s Challenge; For a week, smile as much as possible and always say “please” and “thank you”. Focus on your people skills and let Bobby and Aaron know your results!
Urban Innovation Exchange
Connect with Bobby
Tim DeByl started the Madison Radicals franchise in the AUDL in 2012 and has coached the team to the championship game of the AUDL playoffs twice. He has leveraged his experience running a marketing and design company for over a decade to make the Radicals one of the marquee teams in professional ultimate.
In episode thirty-nine, Tim and Aaron discuss the expansion of the league, wearing multiple hats for the Radicals, and Tim’s hope for the future of the sport.
Tim’s Challenge; The next time you are in a heated conversation with someone, take the time to really listen to what they are saying and not just waiting for your turn to speak.
Connect with Tim
Dan McCoy was born with Spina Bifida, a birth defect caused by the incomplete formation of vertebrae, and hydrocephalus, a medical condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the brain. He’s never let those conditions stop him from becoming an athlete, though, as he started playing sled hockey at age five and even served as goalie for his high school’s junior varsity lacrosse team for a season.
He helped Team USA earn a Gold Medal at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. As a member of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team, he has played in three International Paralympic Committee Ice Sled Hockey World Championships (gold – 2012, 2015; silver – 2013) and six World Sled Hockey Challenge tournaments.
Dan McCoy’s sled hockey career began with the Pittsburgh Penguins Sled Hockey Team in 1999 and continues to play with that same team today. He made his first U.S. National Developmental Sled Hockey Team in 2008. Following an outstanding 2010-11 debut with the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team in which he was tied for the lead among Team USA rookies with eight points (5-3) in 13 games, McCoy was named 2011 Rookie of the Year.
McCoy is currently a student at the University of Pittsburgh, where he is pursuing a degree in Communications and Sports Medicine.
Dan’s Challenge; Do something to jumpstart your heart rate every day.
Connect with Dan
Jennifer is the owner and founder of Blue Ridge Hiking Company. The speed-hiker set a new overall thru-hike record on the 2,181-mile Appalachian Trail by completing it in 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes. It was the quickest recorded completion of the iconic East Coast trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. Davis began her journey from Mount Katahdin in Maine, the trail’s northern terminus and ended at Springer Mountain, Georgia on July 31, 2011. To break the record, Davis hiked an average of almost 50 miles a day, camping along the trail
Founded in 2008, Blue Ridge Hiking Co. is committed to getting people outdoors on their own terms. By providing custom trips and individualized itineraries, they create trips for a backpacking novices or groups seeking a challenge.
Jen’s adventures have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post and on NPR’s Talk of the Nation. She has appeared on national television shows such as CNN Headline News, Fox and Friends, the CBS Early Show and the 700 Club. Jennifer has been named Blue Ridge Outdoors Person of the Year and a National Geographic Adventurer of the year. Her Appalachian Trail record was voted Ultrarunning Magazine’s Female Performance of 2011.
Jenn’s Challenge; Go outside and spend 20 minutes alone in nature.
Connect with Jen
Sophia is the CEO and co-founder of Trusst Lingerie, a company that has reengineered the bra for larger-busted women. She left her job as a product manager in August of 2014 to co-found her company and enter the AlphaLab Gear accelerator in Pittsburgh.
Sophia comes on the show and discusses launching her first product, running a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised $80k with just a $25k goal, and building her team.
Trusst’s first product launched in October 2015 and will be delivered in the spring. Check it out!
Sophia’s Challenge; Track your fitness for 100 days. 100 day challenges will help you build new effective habits.
Connect with Sophia
Barry L. Ritholtz is the founder and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management. Launched in 2013, RWM is a financial planning and asset management firm, with over $175 million in assets. The firm offers a variety of services to the investing public, including LiftOff — a low cost online-only investment site.
In addition to running a wealth management and financial planning firm, Ritholtz is a frequent commentator on many financial topics. He was named one of the “15 Most Important Economic Journalists” in the United States, and has been called one of The 25 Most Dangerous People in Financial Media. He writes a daily column for Bloomberg View and a twice monthly column on Personal Finance and Investing for The Washington Post.
His book Bailout Nation became the best reviewed book on the bailouts, with NYT calling it “an important book about a complicated subject, and yet you could still read it at the beach.” It was named “Investment Book of the Year” by Stock Trader’s Almanac.
Ritholtz hosts a series on Bloomberg Radio, called Masters in Business. He also authors The Big Picture — a leading financial weblog, generating several million page views per month. The Big Picture covers investing, trading, macroeconomics, and much more. The blog has amassed over 130 million visitors. TED named TBP one of top 100 Websites You Should Know and Use and numerous traffic sites rank The Big Picture as one of the most trafficked Markets/Economics blogs on the web.
Barry’s Challenge; Constantly work to be aware of your personal cognitive biases and challenge yourself to improve them.
His Book = Bailout Nation
His podcast = Masters in Business
Connect with Barry
Want to learn about the photography business? What about a creative foundation aimed at empowering women and sharing impactful stories? Meet John Craig.
John has been a photographer for over 25 years and has photographed everything from weddings and portraits to landscape photography and corporate gigs. John likes to keep tons of side projects going to keep the machine oiled and as such has an incredible "Pittsburgh at Night" collection that has been on display in several gallery shows throughout the 'Burgh. Also pretty savvy with the film side of a camera, John has a pretty impressive portfolio of films for local events, small business commercials, special interest projects and random awesome people (like his wife).
John started The Beauty Within Foundation with his wife Elizabeth. The foundation’s mission is to inspire and empower women to not only recognize their outer beauty through photography but also their beauty within through storytelling. The project aims to reach women that have survived, achieved or triumphed over difficult circumstances that challenged their self-confidence, their sense of self or their power and are utilizing those experiences to inspire and empower other individuals or communities.
Their site is a collection of these stories and photos that can be viewed, shared and used as a resource of strength and inspiration with the hope that women from all around the world will read these stories, see these photos and realize, no matter what they are going through, they are not alone.
John’s Challenge; Go on a walk and take 5 pictures of things that go unnoticed
Connect with John
Scott Wolovich started New Sun Rising to help incubate social enterprises and artists in the greater Pittsburgh area. The organization’s mission is to empower creative projects in the Pittsburgh region through fiscal sponsorship, mentoring, and community building.
New Sun Rising ignites, launches, and grows impact throughout the social innovation ecosystem. Their programs operate at the intersection of people + place + innovation. They also help non-profits and for profits build, test, and implement plans that funders love.
We discussed non-profits v. for-profit organizations, courting investors and much more.
Scott’s Challenge; Carry a notebook to get ideas out of your head and into the world.
The Do Something Principle - Mark Manson
“Ah, so you run a lifestyle business?” - Happy Startup School
Social Enterprise: An Idea Whose Time Has Come - British Council
Connect with Scott
Alan shared an hour of his time to explain how he was able to retire at 35 and lays out the principles by which he lived.
Alan’s three core principles
Alan discusses the merits of going back to school to get a graduate degree. He also explains why living in a low-cost city like Pittsburgh was a boon and how he lost more than 100 lbs after he retired.
THIS EPISODE WAS RECORDED ON SEPTEMBER 30TH, INTERNATIONAL PODCASTING DAY, at the EPICAST NETWORK STUDIOS.
Alan’s Challenge; Keep a journal of all your expenses for one week and reflect on necessary vs. discretionary purchases. By investing savings in securities generating an average of 10%/year (i.e. total stock market funds), in 20 years, each dollar saved could turn into $7. If you’d rather have the $7, automate your savings.
Reading Suggestion; BogleHeads
Connect with Alan
Mark is a partner at a public relations and advertising agency based in Pittsburgh. He helps clients achieve results in a multitude of difficult environments. In episode 30, he talks about running a boutique advertising and public affairs firm that specializes in political campaigns and issue advocacy.
His company was named to on of Inc.’s 1000 fastest growing companies in the country by helping candidates, causes, and corporations achieve their goals through television, radio, print, digital, grassroots, and earned media.
On Advertising by David Ogilvy
Confessions of an Ad Man by David Ogilvy
Mark’s Challenge; Take someone that you haven’t seen in awhile out to lunch.
Connect with Mark
Erik Kulick is the owner, founder and chief instructor of the True North Wilderness Survival School. He drew upon his passion for the outdoors and his almost thirty years of teaching experience to found True North in 2011. Growing up as a backpacker and paddler, Erik has taught for regional and national outdoor programs, including the L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery School. He has spent the last ten years focusing his training on wilderness survival in various programs and has studied under Byron Kerns, a former US Air Force SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) instructor.
Erik also works in emergency medicine as a National Registry Emergency Medical Technician, a Wilderness EMT, and a Pennsylvania certified EMS Instructor. He is also a Wilderness Emergency Care Instructor for American Safety & Health Institute, and a BLS Instructor for the American Heart Association. Erik teaches at the Center for Emergency Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He runs a series of programs which trains EMS providers, physicians, and law enforcement in wilderness medicine and survival skills. Erik is a member of the National Association of EMTs and the Wilderness Medical Society, where he is also a candidate for Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine (FAWM). Erik also actively serves in the Allegheny County EMS system helping the residents of various communities.
With a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a Masters in Business from Duquesne University, Erik draws upon his experience from the corporate world to help individuals and organizations maximize their potential. Erik is a registered Merit Badge Counselor with the Boy Scouts of America serving the Laurel Highlands and Westmoreland-Fayette Councils.
Erik’s Challenge; Push yourself beyond your boundaries and acquire a new skill, be it wilderness survival related or otherwise.
Connect with Erik
Kate and Emily founded Propelle in 2011, with the mission of bringing together the amazing female entrepreneurs in their community and to provide the tools and resources necessary to help women grow and evolve, both personally and professionally.
Their business has grown to include a robust newsletter, in-person networking events, a members-only Facebook community, and a monthly Mastermind group. They are passionate about building a strong and supportive community of women entrepreneurs that can support each other when the going gets rough.
In the show’s first trio podcast, we discuss successful partnerships, the composition of their Mastermind program and much more.
#GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso
The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
6 Months to 6 Figures by Peter Voogd
Kate and Emily’’s Challenge; Celebrate a win every day for 30 days. Take it a step further by using their challenge sheet.
Connect with Kate and Emily
Henry Thorne serves as a Mentor at AlphaLab Gear. He founded Aethon Inc. in 1997 and served as its President. He co-founded Thorley Industries LLC in 2005 and serves as its Chief Technology Officer. Henry is a mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, graphic user interface designer and computer scientist. He received BS degree in 1982 and MS degree in 1984 from Carnegie-Mellon University.
Upon graduation, Henry joined General Motors Corporation. During his five years there, among his many accomplishments were the invention of the first weld path adjustment system, the invention of the first fully automatic tool center point calibration system (eliminated the single largest cause of downtime in automated arc welding); the design and implementation of the world's largest automated arc welding system (still running today with the lowest downtime in the auto industry); and the development of a spot weld controller (software installed on thousands of robotic welding machines). Further, Henry invented and patented the world's leading system for calibrating robotic tools, still licensed to ABB.
In 1990, Henry left General Motors Corporation and founded Cycle Time Corporation to design and market "Tophat," a graphic user interface for robotic welding. Under contract to ALCOA, he also invented the first system for real time arc weld quality measurement, still the best available measurement of the quality of a weld as it is being produced. He served as Director of Aethon Inc. It was here that he invented and patented three technologies that solve the “navigation riddle,” without using elaborate and expensive laser and inertial guidance systems.
He is currently the CTO for 4moms, a company he co-founded with partner Rob Daley. He is also the longest sitting board member for USA Ultimate and has remained very active in the ultimate community. He also serves as a special advisor for Ultimate Peace, a non-profit committed to using ultimate to help teach conflict resolution in Israel.
Evan Lepler is the AUDL’s lead play-by-play announcer for ESPN3. He also calls games for USA Ultimate’s Triple Crown Tour and College Championships. His goal is to introduce more casual sports fans to ultimate, and getting league games broadcast on ESPN3 is a good first step.
Lepler stumbled into ultimate in his first year at Wake Forest University. In his first week on campus, he spotted a flyer for ultimate in his dorm and headed to the quad to check it. He played barefoot for hours and was hooked. The summer between freshman and sophomore year he threw for one or two hours a day, and eventually captained the men’s squad at Wake Forest for two years.
Evan wanted to be a sports broadcaster since he was 8 or 9 years old, so after graduation, he decided not to get involved in the ultimate club scene, which would require practices on nights and weekends, in favor of working his way up the broadcast ladder. For many years, he has covered men’s and women’s college basketball, minor league baseball, and college football.
Evan’s Challenge; Share ultimate media with folks who are not familiar with the sport to spread awareness and acceptance.
Evan’s Save the Planet Team
Connect with Evan
As Director of Research, Michael Batnick spends much of his time reading research publications and keeping abreast of the latest trends in the industry. He assists Barry Ritholtz and Joshua Brown with portfolio management and data analytics and works closely with Kris Venne on the implementation and maintenance of client investments.
Michael talks with prospective and current clients about the RWM portfolios, aiming to educate them about our how we are able to keep emotions out of our decision-making process. Michael passed the third and final CFA exam in June 2015.
In his spare time, he enjoys reading and spending time with his wife and dog. He also writes a blog discussing financial markets called “The Irrelevant Investor”.
Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Jesse Livermore
The Intelligent Investor by Ben Graham
Mike’s Challenge; Read outside of your comfort zone/area of expertise to get a more well-rounded understanding of the world.
Connect with Michael