Introducing #Elkin2050 – The Urban Core District

Introducing Elkin and #Elkin2050

What is #Elkin2050?  It’s the name (and hashtag) I’ve chosen to identify a dynamic “urban core district” development plan (and planning process) for my hometown Elkin as we move closer to the year 2050.  Why 2050?  That’s when population scientists have projected we’ll hit nearly 10 billion people in the global population.1

Where is Elkin? Elkin is in North Carolina in the United States of America, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains – just below the escarpment. Continue reading Introducing #Elkin2050 – The Urban Core District

The Future of Elkin North Carolina – Empty Stores Downtown

Like many small towns in the United States of America, my hometown, Elkin, North Carolina, is facing many problems in the post-industrial experience of the twenty-first century.  There don’t seem to be many good options for what this and so many other towns can or should become, now that singular industries employing thousands of people, as did Chatham Manufacturing12 during its heyday, are no longer a viable option for small towns in the United States.

Empty Stores

In recent months, there has been a substantial increase in empty stores on Main Street in Historic Downtown Elkin.  There are enough empty stores now that people have begun to take notice and discuss this issue in continued passing conversation on a regular basis.  Recently, a meeting was convened to discuss the economic future of Downtown Elkin, specifically as a result of this recent increase in empty stores. Continue reading The Future of Elkin North Carolina – Empty Stores Downtown

Life Work Balance – Foggy Hike On Stone Mountain

This afternoon, I had a chance to take a break and enjoy a fast-paced solo hike on one of my favorite loops through Stone Mountain State Park.  I’m making an effort to increase and maintain a focus on life work balance, especially since I continue to find that launching a tech startup has the potential to be all-consuming of my ever increasing waking hours.

This loop is a hike I’ve been doing since I was a kid, and many aspects of the trail have changed a bit over the three – almost four – decades, including the installation of several long sets of staircases.  These staircases help people stay on the trail on some of the steeper sections of Stone Mountain, which can be pretty difficult to ascend due to the slick granite of the monadnock. Continue reading Life Work Balance – Foggy Hike On Stone Mountain

Shooting the Storm – Winter Photography

I love shooting winter mountain landscapes after a relatively heavy snowfall here in North Carolina.  As the winter storm started on Friday night, I was happy to go to sleep knowing there’d be ample snow for a day of hiking and photography.

Sleeping in Saturday morning, my first excursion was a quick walk down to the small lake at the bottom of the hill.  As anticipated, the lake was mostly frozen, and there was a brief reprieve in the continued snowfall and somewhat stiff breeze.  I spent some time with my 7D on the tripod in the stillness, and then managed to snap a few decent phone shots as well. Continue reading Shooting the Storm – Winter Photography

Starting Up 2017 – Digital Technology Startup

As 2016 came to a close, I stepped away from my previous role as CTO of McKinsey Social Initiative, and now it’s time to move forward as one of the founders of Knedia, a digital media technology startup based in my home state of North Carolina.

Knedia is an idea that has been percolating for a couple years, based on some conversations between myself and my co-founder, John Wiles.  It’s one of those ideas that goes back and forth between the front and back of your mind, and you never really stop thinking about it.  I firmly believe that the best ideas are the ones you can’t forget. Continue reading Starting Up 2017 – Digital Technology Startup

Preparing for Launch: Winter South 02014

My book Winter South 02014 was published in March, and apparently an email from the marketing team slipped through the cracks, so we are just now getting around to forming a press release to launch my book into the stratosphere.

I took some time to fill out a formulaic series of “interview” questions for the Lulu marketing team (their “Press Release Questionnaire”), and as I continued down the list, I couldn’t help but notice that some of the questions felt quite absurd.  As such, I’ve decided to publish the questions — and my actual answers — here on my blog.  Just for fun. Continue reading Preparing for Launch: Winter South 02014

Hybrid Learning: Get Soaked

On Sunday, July 5, we went for a hike in one of my favorite places on this planet (Stone Mountain State Park) on a section of what is becoming one of my favorite trails, the MST.  One of the many reasons I love Stone Mountain is that it is such a photogenic rock:

But on this day, we skirted around the rock and headed for the base of the escarpment, just past Widows Creek.

I’ve used Strava for quite some time to track my bicycling efforts, and recently I’ve discovered that it is also pretty good for tracking hikes.  So, I thought I’d track my Sunday “stroll” up the escarpment.  Results below, and here.

Strava Log of Stone Mtn MST hike
Strava Log of Stone Mtn MST hike

With my father, I had done the hike before in reverse, one way — from the Blue Ridge Parkway down to the Stone Mountain backpackers’ parking lot.  On the 5th I wanted to go up and back, hoping to turn around at the ruins of an old mountain shack. Continue reading Hybrid Learning: Get Soaked

Learning Systems Design

As a way to get back into the swing of things with my blog, I thought I’d write a quick post on what I’ve been thinking about most lately as I’ve taken my new position as CTO of McKinsey Social Initiative: learning systems design.

Of course, I’ve been thinking about learning systems design for many years, but our goals for where we’d like to be with the Generation Initiative by 2020 have given me a new pragmatic perspective on the topic.  I want to keep this post (and most future posts) brief, so let me quickly explain my own framework for learning systems design. Continue reading Learning Systems Design

#WinterSouth: Coyotes and Diagnostics

When I drive solo along looooong stretches of remote roads, I see many things in my periphery and often forget them, especially when the musical selection that my in-car DJ (aka Yours Truly) has made is rather choice for the current terrain.  I’ve been making a concerted effort to record my observations as they happen.  This means that I also often tack on additional thoughts about whatever I’ve been rolling over in my head as the original observation-inducing roadside stimulus has occurred.

This can make for some interesting juxtapositions….just listen (and beware of a few possibly-not-work-friendly “cuss words”):

Coyotes And Diagnostics

Please take the time to check out my book/photography Kickstarter project Winter South 2014 if you haven’t already, and please consider backing my project.  Thanks!