Millennial Catalyst Experience: What I've Learned About San Francisco


San Francisco can be defined in many ways, but my favorite one says: "This place is like a brain calibrator. You come here and you soon change your definition of what is possible. You soon realize that it's usually much more than you've ever imagined."  

I couldn't agree more. From technology, to spirituality, to arts, to health - you find everything in San Francisco. And when you are there, you just never know what you're going to get. But I can guarantee that if you step out you will get something.


And if you believe that experience is the real way to learn or understand entrepreneurship, than SF is the ultimate classroom. It is an intellectually and emotionally transformative experience in a way that no college or university could mimic. You can find the perfect blend of learning, hard work, partying, and perspective-shaping.



Over the past 2 weeks I've experienced this city in at least 2 ways: on my own and through other people's stories. In a city where so many people are actually making things happen, you just start to learn things through osmosis. It feels like you are just chatting over coffee or drinking beers with your new friends, but you later realize that by doing that you ended up learning some pretty badass lessons.

If there's something magical about San Francisco, it's the people. They want to live out their dreams there. Whether it's music, romance, business, adventure or food, people have that place as a vehicle for their dreams to come true. And it has been that ambition in those people that have inspired me so much over my time there.

Dinner at The Embassy Network

The beauty of San Francisco is, in part, the absurdity itself. The amount of things happening in the "tiny" 600 km2 city is indeed a reality-chock. In a simple 20 minutes bike ride across the golden gate park you can find anything from quiet people reading, to the hippies music circles, families playing sports and an electronic rave during the day.


In a co-living/co-working space, people are making arts and space rockets over the same floor. They want to build a better world. And mean it. And do it. Sure, they might fail, and they probably will. But they will see others succeeding around them. They will support each other. They will dream together, drink together and make stuff happen together like I haven't seen anywhere else. Collaborating across differences - the ecosystem absorbs itself.


And that is how things work in San Francisco. It's for sure not a perfect place - it's expensive, it has an old structure, and many parts of the system here doesn't work. But it's moving. And seeing this highly-sophisticated movement happen is a privilege, and it’s something I'll never forget after experiencing it. I feel extremely privileged for being among the people I met in San Francisco and I can't wait to be back and see why we will all be creating by then.


Nathalia Scherer is a proud Brazilian who loves spontaneous acts of kindness, laughs and jam sessions. She is both a Dalai Lama Fellow & Byron Fellow and currently works bringing voice to youth globally at International Connector.
Nathalia is also a Your Big Year Champion and is involved in the design and implementation of this year's program. 

International Connector at the Future of Working Conference



Last week International Connector had the honor of facilitating a workshop at the Future of Working Conference in San Francisco.


Chief Connector Marti Grimminck was joined by Millennial Catalysts Toby Jordan from New Zealand and Mahdi Hamdi from Tunisia in facilitating a session on Future Centred Design: Co-creating with Global Millennials. After spending a year virtually working together as Millennial Catalysts this was the first time the Toby and Mahdi had worked together face to face making this an extra exciting day for us.



Working with a room full of creative minds we first explored the attributes, opportunities and challenges of collaborating with millennials before we drafted our concepts for a new working model. We wanted to explore how businesses could better work with millennials and develop a model that would suit both the workers and the business. At the end of our session we all agreed to trial these concepts and see what would work and what doesn’t work for our businesses.


A full working document of concepts and next steps from the day is currently being produced and will be released soon to highlight the learnings from the day. We will be posting the link to this document as soon as it is live.


A huge thank you goes out to David and Tirza from Hummingbird Labs for organizing and involving International Connector in this interesting day and to Shannon from Vodafone Global Enterprise for hosting the day.


SOCAP Presentation on Millennials


Yesterday Your Big Year Winner Martina Buchal and IC Chief Connector Marti Grimminck had the pleasure of speaking at SOCAP14 on Millennials and Meaning: Investing in the Next Generation of Global Leaders. They were joined on stage by Author Smiley Poswolsky, Echoing Green's Andrea Davila and StartingBloc's Cesar Gonzalez.   Overall, it was a fantastic panel with really touch questions from the crowd: How can you really move the needle on impact? How is education being impacted or where does it play a roll? How do Millennials fit into the workplace and how do they work with older colleagues? Where are the programs for intrapreneurs and not just entrepreneurs.

Our favorite answer of the day came from Marti Grimminck when someone asked what is the most important way to make impact with Millennials? "Get young Americans out of the US and show them the world."

Tony Grimminck speaks at GLIMPSE Conference on social discovery


In June, I was featured on the panel on Using Data to Fuel Tomorrow’s Discovery Platforms at the recent Glimpse conference at The Battery in San Francisco. I was joined on the panel by Sarah Koo, Chief Scientist, BitTorrent; Ramona Pierson, Co-founder & CEO of Declara and Stew Langille, co-founder & CEO of Prior to the panel I was concerned that each of the panelists had very different business models and approaches and how we would find common ground, or at least a challenging discussion. What became quickly apparent was how through data collection and analysis we were all tailoring our approaches. Declara was a great example - founded in 2012,  Declara builds a technology platform that uses machine learning, search, algorithms and recommendations to develop specific learning paths for individuals, making learning a constant discovery. I was struck that these new ways of learning and approaching people as individuals was one of the great benefits of data and thus personalization. The ability to customize an experience for you personally based on the data that can be collected on you and on other people like you. Of course it’s a bit creepy…unless it provides some tangible benefit. Glimpse is a social discovery conference focused on the future of social discovery. Throughout the afternoon companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Rdio, Tumblr discussed how social discovery is powering their respective businesses and how they see the future unfolding.

- IC Connector Tony Grimminck