PopTech – It’s a Maine Thing

When you fill the small town of Camden, Maine, and their 100-year-old Opera House with designers, economists, teachers, coders, consultants, authors, activists, Navy Seals and three guys from Chick-fil-a (who all had to work pretty hard to make the journey to this isolated Norman Rockwell-esque jewel of a town) – some wonderful things happen.

PopTech 2015 celebrated and exposed the unique value of hybridity – exploring unique approaches to problems and the solutions themselves. Unlocking and encouraging your organizational and internal hybridity can lead to alternative solutions.

The very concept of hybridity is one we live with every day at Digitas Health. We are a stew of designers, philosophers, strategists, actors, musicians, doctors, marketers, filmmakers, producers, accountants, technologists and a host of other disciplines that often blend together to make great things happen. Sometimes multiple abilities and passions rest in a single person, but invariably it takes a diverse team. We are an amalgamation of experience, training and passion — look no further than the person sitting next to you.

My favorite talk, The Tension of Being a Hybrid, came from Rasanath Das, an investment banker who became a monk. His life’s ambition was to be the world’s greatest hedge fund wiz kid. After a near-death experience, he made the pivotal decision to live the life of a monk – too. He became a monk, and on evenings and weekends scrubbed pots, taught scripture and slept on the bare floor of a spartan Lower East Side monastery as he continued his100-hour-a-week career in banking on Wall Street.

“The price that you pay for being a hybrid is you don’t get validation from either side when you are living it.”

Rasanath was a hybrid in the truest sense – living in two wildly conflicting worlds: one that pinned success on the growth of material assets and one that shunned the material world all together. Caught between the material world and the spiritual world, he became enveloped in agonizing conflict.

When the tension became a living crucible he realized the only thing he wanted was to find his own true value. Today Rasanath lives his synthesized path, simultaneously embracing his mission and using his intimate knowledge of the financial world to help companies build cultures of trust.

In our hybrid selves and hybrid work together we can take away that “in order to synthesize on a deeper level, you have to live the pieces and the anti-pieces at the same time and then you can make a bigger impact on the world.”

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