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Opening Thoughts

Today's the day. I am sharing my new company with the world.

It's called Shaping Wealth and its mission is clear: Funded contentment for everyone.

Financial wellbeing is a foundational human experience, alongside the physical, spiritual, and emotional. But unlike those other areas, where help is traditionally available through doctors, clergy, and counselors, money is the odd-man-out.

There's a reason that survey after survey ranks money as the most stressful area of people's lives, the topic most difficult to talk about. It is not only a means of exchange or store of value but a multi-faceted “thing"--so hard to define--that impacts everything from most basic needs to our biggest dreams. Financial wellbeing is not derivative.

Shaping Wealth is a learning technology platform dedicated to transforming the human experience of money.

Too big of a goal? My team and I don't think so.

We've been careful in choosing the words to describe ourselves. Let's unpack what we're all about:

  • Learning. We embrace Seth Godin's distinction between education and learning: "Education is something we do to people. Learning is something people take and do for themselves. It is a choice. It is optional. It is voluntary." We believe that learning is a critical element to human flourishing and it only happens through active engagement.

  • Technology. The spark for our current operational vision comes from the basic observation that time is not scalable, but content is. We're not building a consulting firm or a speakers' bureau, though we'll be doing plenty of consulting and speaking. The massive and growing field of educational technology switched on a light bulb for us. We are focused on scalable learning. The smart use of modern technology will allow us to create much greater access to important experiences.

  • Platform. We are not a widget. Nor an app. We don't know what Shaping Wealth will become over the years (not even close), but we already know that we want to build content, technology, and engagement for many: Funded contentment for everyone. We’ll also provide a megaphone to other important voices. Given our professional roots, the wealth management industry is our "home base." Yet we are already building communities of engagement with companies, universities, industry associations, community organizations, and schools.

  • Transforming. We are not born satisfied. Growth is genetically wired into us; we can't fight it. To some extent, growth is who we are. We want clients, partners, and employees who embrace a growth mentality, which means investing in themselves and in others. At the same time, the concept of "enough" underlies so much of what we're struggling to articulate. The tension between wanting more and having enough is one we will never resolve, but it is one we will help illuminate. It’s an awesome challenge.

  • Human Experience. What it means to be human is as important a topic as there is. From Aristotle to Calvin & Hobbes, the question of the good life captivates all of us, each in their own unique way. Whether the experience of humanity is timeless or morphs through the eras, we'll leave to the philosophers and neuroscientists. However, we know that people strive for better and we believe what we're putting together can help.

  • Money. Hope, greed, fear, envy, joy. There is no deep human emotion that money doesn't touch. Nor is "money" a stable concept: from Lydian coins to Bitcoin, from agrarian societies to whatever "capitalism" means now, money is both a form of self-expression and a conduit of social trust. It means more than most of us care to acknowledge.

In the year or so I’ve been quietly working on this venture, I’ve put together a rock-star team of Neil Bage and Joy Lere. Together we’ve begun to build and assemble the many pieces of the vision: original content packaged beautifully; a digital learning management system that amplifies impact and reach; and clients from all over the world who want to be on the ground floor of this experiment. In the coming months, I’ll be writing about all of these dimensions of our business, and more.

It’s been years since I’ve jumped out of bed to do my day’s work, but now I do so every day. As a team, we are excited. We are energized. We are afraid of failing. And we are working our asses off to make sure that doesn’t happen.

We are Shaping Wealth and we can’t wait to meet you along the way.


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