The Human Centered Design Podcast with Gerry Scullion

"From Advertisements to Empowerment: Michael Rios's Journey Towards Social Entrepreneurship"

John Carter
April 10, 2024
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"From Advertisements to Empowerment: Michael Rios's Journey Towards Social Entrepreneurship"

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Today on the show we have Michael Rios from the UN and more specifically the UNDP. Now Mike is Head of DigitalX and based in Cambodia and in this episode we explore Mike's own journey that has led him from all over the world pretty much but we drill down into the projects that he's most proud of, which includes projects within the social impact space.

From working in creative advertising for companies like Nike and Coca-Cola to ultimately finding fulfilment in social entrepreneurship in Cambodia. Mike shares pivotal moments, including a radical intervention from a mentor that led him to Thailand, teaching at a rural school, and experiencing the stark realities of poverty and the power of social enterprises. His journey prompts reflection on the true meaning of success and fulfillment beyond consumerism and materialism.

I know you're going to love this episode so let's jump straight in.

Episode Transcript

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[00:00:10] Gerry: Well look, Michael, I am delighted. to finally get on a call with you. I've been, we've been emailing, I think it's probably about nine months we've been back and

[00:00:24] Mike Rios: It's been that long. My god.

[00:00:26] Gerry: yeah, and I haven't, I haven't been recording for the last while. Um, this is the last one of the year for me. So I was like, okay, I'm coming out of semi retirement this year from Michael Rios. But I'm delighted to have you here. And I honestly mean that, like, you know, cause, um, I'm. So impressed with the work that you're doing with the U.

[00:00:44] N. And specifically digital X, which is what you had up for the U. N. But maybe you'll tell us a little bit more. And it's probably better for you to introduce yourself to me. Kind of talk about you in the second person. So maybe, um, start off. Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you're from and what you do.

[00:01:04] Mike Rios: Great. Yeah. Well, thank you. First of all, just, just really excited to be here. And I can't believe it took nine months. My apologies, but, uh, we're here

[00:01:11] Gerry: we're up, we're busy.

[00:01:13] Mike Rios: Yeah. And, uh, yeah. So, uh, my name is Mike and I grew up in the US, uh, and spent the first part of my career working in creative advertising, doing campaigns for like Nike and Coca Cola, you know, you colors of Benetton and these things.

[00:01:27] Um, different things happened and I ended up finding myself in, in Cambodia. I, I, I backpacked for a year, uh, and Cambodia was the first country that I'd been to that I really saw two things. One was, uh, seeing poverty, uh, but then also seeing social enterprises and social entrepreneurship. And I, I never even.

[00:01:45] Gerry: Yeah,

[00:01:46] Mike Rios: Um, and so I, I saw this chef that had started this very inspiring restaurant, and he worked with, uh, youth that were on the street and get them jobs and get them working into the hotel business, restaurant business, um, and it made me start to think, uh, well, I wonder if I can, I can use my advertising skills, skills for good.

[00:02:03] It was a real life light bulb moment, um, and then I ended up starting my own ad agency for, for good causes, uh, called 17 Triggers. 17 Triggers. Um, grew that for about 10 years, uh, had some incredible ventures, which we may get into this, uh, this talk, um, and then, uh, sold it in 2019, uh, and joined UNDP in, in 2020, where I'm leading the DigitalX program, um, and, and really trying to reconnect with social entrepreneurs that have great proven digital solutions, uh, or, or nonprofits that have digital solutions and connect them to, uh, UNDP country offices in 170 countries.

[00:02:39] And, uh, government needs as well, and try to connect them for pilots.

[00:02:43] Gerry: Well, that arc is pretty impressive. Like you've come from this, this, I have to kind of gather my thoughts here. So you've come from ad agency, which is a lot of people. I get a lot of emails from people in that world kind of either wanting to get into different kind of disciplines within design, either it's service design or whatever it is.

[00:03:03] Um, And then landing in Cambodia, there's, there's probably about four or five chapters of, of a, of a biography in these pieces alone. What happened? I'd love to know your journey, like what happened coming from the world of advertising to the world in Cambodia? There's like a juxtaposition there of values, like, you know, within, um, The ad world, you're expected to, you know, foster growth, foster, you know, increased expectations, foster, um, you know, desire, all of these things, like these cravings from the ad world, especially Nike and Coca Cola, some organizations that, you know, some people may have contempt or, you know, suspicions around their, their kind of objectives.

[00:03:51] But then you find yourself in Cambodia. What, what, what was that journey like? That's, that's something that I'm really interested in, you know, from a human perspective. Um, how did you balance that? It was almost like releasing something.

[00:04:06] Mike Rios: I don't know if it was balancing or just, just, you know, falling off the cliff into a new reality, but,

[00:04:12] Gerry: Yeah.

[00:04:13] Mike Rios: you know,

[00:04:14] Gerry: Falling off the cliff.

[00:04:15] Mike Rios: Yeah, you know, there's, there's so many different things and chapters there, but, um, you know, I think a couple of things that were, were Quite transformative. A couple of different points in that journey.

[00:04:25] And, and, uh, one, I had a, a boss at the, you know, back in, back, back in Portland, Oregon. And, uh, when she was interviewing me, this, this is before I went to Cambodia, even,

[00:04:36] Gerry: Yeah.

[00:04:36] Mike Rios: said, you know, Mike, if you weren't here right now, what, what would you be doing? Um, and my career was just getting going. And my dream at that time was to make TV commercials for Nike.

[00:04:45] It was my, it was my ultimate dream. I'd been, I'd been my dream since a teenager when I started working and doing video production. And, Um, and then, uh, yeah, anyway, so I'm here, I'm doing, I'm at that interview and I told her how I wanted to get back to Asia because I was adopted when I was a child, a baby, um, and I'd looked at some different programs and looked at Korea, Japan and Thailand was really interesting because of the culture and the different things I was reading.

[00:05:11] Uh, so anyway, I got the job and fast forward a few months, um, and one day we're having lunch, and we're doing things for Nike, literally, um, and she hands me a newspaper, um, and it says Thailand, hidden gem of the Orient. And she hands me the newspaper and she says, Mike, I want you to go be crazy. I said, what do you mean?

[00:05:31] She's like, I want you to quit. You know, don't worry. I'll get you your job back. Just just go for six months. You know, look at me. I have this Porsche. I have this mansion. I have all these things. And all I wish is that someone would have told me to go be crazy when I was your age. Um, and so it was, uh, incredible advice.

[00:05:47] I actually just chatted with her, sent her a message the other day, um, so we're still in touch. Um, but that, that really just changed my life completely, obviously, um,

[00:05:56] Gerry: That's a radical intervention. That's, um, yeah.

[00:06:00] Mike Rios: Um,

[00:06:01] Gerry: And I use that word very, very specifically, it's a radical intervention because like you were on the path that you believed was the path that you were destined to, you wanted to, like everything was in your body was presumably telling you, I want to do TV commercials for Nike.

[00:06:16] And then this person had such a dramatic impact. Um,

[00:06:21] Mike Rios: and, and, and, and yeah, so I, I ended up staying with, um, a Thai host family and teaching at a rural school in Thailand. And, At the time, you know, they had, they had like one computer, uh, in the whole school for, for, for using, um, they didn't have an English textbook in English and, uh, you know, they just handed me a piece of paper.

[00:06:39] I mean, Thailand's, you know, middle income country now on these things. But at that time, it just hand me a piece of paper. And it said, like. Sports, human body, music, just five things handwritten, and they just handed it to me and said, well, I said, what is this? And like, well, this is what we want you to teach for a semester.

[00:06:55] Um, and, you know, luckily with the advertising background, I had, I had a lot of fun with it, um, as did the students, but it really, that was a moment where. I saw, wow, there's so much more to the world than advertising. Um, I, I, it was one of the happiest periods of my life, um, genuinely. Um, and it made me, I knew that I didn't want to go back to the States and work in advertising.

[00:07:17] Um, luckily I had some, some freelance clients, uh, and so that's when I decided to backpack for a year and, and, and see the world and that's when I went to Cambodia. Um, and then the second light bulb moment was, was there, um, and, and actually I had mentioned the, the social enterprise, that restaurant, but right before that I went to an orphanage.

[00:07:34] And, you know, now that I'm older and more educated, there's a lot of fake orphanages out there. Um, UNICEF has done a lot of studies on this. It's actually a kind of big problem in tourism. I didn't know it at that time. Um, but what I. What I did realize at that moment was how lucky I was to be adopted, um, and it was such a powerful moment for me and it made me question my life choices and my career and think about, okay, I wonder if I could use, um, or I wonder if I can get back somehow.

[00:08:03] And then that question just kept going into my mind. And that's when I went to the social enterprise restaurant, um, that same day. And so it was such an emotional day from like, you know, being grateful for my parents. To being grateful for just be giving a chance in life to being confused on my life choices because I didn't I didn't actually care about Nike shoes or beers or I didn't drink much alcohol like all these things.

[00:08:27] I didn't I didn't consumerism. I didn't I didn't really. I didn't really buy many things. So I didn't even question advertising as a, as a, you know, a business model. Um, and, and then here was the social enterprise, uh, and this, this, you know, successful chef coming in to Cambodia, which at that time, you know, Phnom Penh is now is a proper city, but at that time it was, there's still dirt roads and no, no streetlights or traffic lights, no movie theaters, no coffee shops.

[00:08:53] Uh, it was very, very different at that time. And, and it just. Um, it was just very, very inspiring to see someone leave everything that they have to go teach a new generation. Um, and that then many other things happened since then, and I'm still in Cambodia now.

[00:09:10] Gerry: Yeah. It's amazing. Um, where do you think the desire for Nike and Coca Cola came from? Do you think that was cultural, just something that was within society in America? Like that was the desire. It was something that was pushing you towards that direction.

[00:09:24] Mike Rios: Well, I, you know, I went to public school in Michigan, and I went to a school where we had a lot of different electives. It was a bit of a non traditional school, and one of them was in film and video. Um, and so, and I love that class. Of all my classes, it was, it was the one class that I just, it just resonated with me so much.

[00:09:42] Um, and then I just started to notice, you know, watching TV with my parents, different TV commercials, and it was these Nike commercials that were, you know, full movies and in 30 seconds or a minute. And I, I was just in awe. And I, I thought, yeah, exactly. So I thought, if I can do this, um, you know, that, that's what I want to do in my life.

[00:10:00] Gerry: Yeah, and the reason why I ask that is because sometimes, you know, we can almost fool ourselves, I believe, into this is what we should be doing, because, you know, We're interested in it, but looking beyond that is where the opportunity is for growth and when I'm listening to your story I'm hearing like lots of similarities with lots of people myself included you can be lured into this sense of like well That's what I should do.

[00:10:27] This is where I should go This is this looks like it's you know, the sparkly shiny thing, but the bit Over the hill is where the true purpose and the true calling lies. And you nearly need to go on the journey to get to that destination. So, um, I'm not in any shape or form saying like, you know, Nike or Coca Cola, going in that direction didn't serve you.

[00:10:50] I think it actually was part of the journey and part of the path, it sounds like.

[00:10:54] Mike Rios: Oh, yes. Uh, you know, we never know as Steve Jobs says, right? You never know how the dots will connect. Um, I'm so thankful for my time in advertising. Thankful for all my colleagues. They're thankful for the skills that taught me. Um, and and then being able to apply that and turn it into a social enterprise, right?

[00:11:11] Gerry: So tell us now, like, because this is like a, you know, um, this is your life kind of story. We have to be very wary that you're not at the end of your career here. We're in the middle, but like there's stuff there that with 17 triggers, like that agency piece that, um, it seems like it was a culmination of lots of stuff.

[00:11:31] It really allowed you to put roots into where you were in Cambodia and you still are to this day. Tell us a little bit about the journey, about the work that you were doing that ultimately set you up for the gig of where you're at now at the UN, so, um, tell us a little bit more around 17 Triggers, um, what kind of stuff you were doing.

[00:11:50] Mike Rios: Yeah, and I think that's the that's the link to human centered design as well. Um, and and so. Um, you know, it, it, there was a, there was an ad in the newspaper. It was looking for an advertising agency in Phnom Penh, um, to see if they could use advertising to get people to, uh, buy toilets, because at that time about 70 percent of Cambodians didn't have a toilet, um, and get people to wash hands with soap and, and drink treated water.

[00:12:14] Uh, simple, simple things, but I, I thought, okay, this, this could be a good, this could be a good campaign. Um, and so I applied for it and, uh, you know, with a couple other friends and it was enough to prototype an agency. We, we won the bid and we ended up working with like eight consultants. And, you know, we came up with the name at a bar and 17 triggers and all that.

[00:12:33] Um, and, and, and during that, you know, 3, 4 month period for that project, we were able to. Get our, you know, Penelope was really small. And so our name started to go around a little bit and, and people started approaching us from different NGOs and UN agencies and these things. And we started getting more work and then it just kept snowballing.

[00:12:51] But, but what was I think to HCD and, and what was interesting there is we quickly saw that advertising alone, because it was, it started as an ad agency for good causes, doing TV commercials, doing radio, doing print and all that, it actually could create more harm than good.

[00:13:07] Gerry: Hmm.

[00:13:08] Mike Rios: And I'll give you an example.

[00:13:09] One of our early projects was in Vietnam and it was working with the government and private sector insurance company to see if Um, to try to get farmers enrolled in this drought insurance, um, government, uh, that the government supported. And, what was interesting is, they, they wanted us to do the kind of information tools, communication tools, so that the farmers could know about it and all that.

[00:13:32] So when we were asking them questions, We, we need to know, okay, well, how's, what's the process? How could it work? And they put us, they put us at a, in a boardroom table with the, some government people and the insurance company. And, and, you know, I, I don't speak Vietnamese and, um, their, some of their English was not very good either.

[00:13:49] And like, okay, how are we going to get this information? And so never studying service design or anything like that. I mean, this was like 2011 or something. I mean, it existed, but I, you know, I, I didn't know of anything in Cambodia. Anyway, I just started, I just drew a stick figure. Uh, and I was like, okay, uh, this is, let's, let's say this is Mr.

[00:14:07] Huang on a little course sheet of paper. Tell us about Mr. Huang and like, what are the steps for buying the insurance? And I, I literally just drew every step with a little headline, uh, made a little storyboard of, of how it would work. And as we went through the steps, it quickly, the government realized.

[00:14:24] themselves. Well, actually, this is not a very well thought out product because they, the insurance company, the government, they hadn't, they weren't aligned on some things. And one of the biggest problems was that how could Mr. Hoang, a farmer living in very rural area of Vietnam, how could he make it and find it to the insurance company to make a claim if there's a drought?

[00:14:45] Right. And, and even if he did make that journey and make a claim, by the time he actually would get the money back, he would have lost his crops. So it's a useless product for him. Um, and, and the, the government official took the Mr. Huang pro persona, and he started showing it to each of the private sector people.

[00:15:05] It's like, you don't know, Mr. Huang, you don't know, Mr. Huang, you don't know, Mr. Huang. And we're like, Oh my God, what did we do? And they, they, you know, the government guy took us to lunch and, and he, he thanked us, he was like, we almost really did something that could have hurt some

[00:15:19] Gerry: Yeah.

[00:15:20] Mike Rios: thank you.

[00:15:20] We have, we have to, we have to rethink this. Um, and, and so that was, at the same time, I started to read this book called Switched by the Heath Brothers, um, and IDEO's Human Centered Design Toolkit also came out. And, and when I saw both of them, I, it's. Dorky, but I literally cried when I sampled them because the, I don't know if you read switch.

[00:15:39] It's about how people change behaviors. Just this thought of like, okay, sorry. Sorry.

[00:15:45] Gerry: A long time ago, yeah. I remember the book.

[00:15:47] Mike Rios: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So it's such a simple way of talking about how to change behaviors and simple framework and thought, okay, maybe we can teach this to people. And the IDEO Human Centered, uh, Design Toolkit also then gave us some more ideas on, okay, I wonder if we can use this.

[00:16:01] And so it was just purely experimenting and we started pitching it and then people wanted it. And, and, and even if they didn't want it, we were like, okay, well, we're not going to do your advertising campaign until we understand, like, how this user journey is. Um, and it just rolled and continued from there.

[00:16:17] And then Human Centered Design ended up becoming our main business line.

[00:16:21] Gerry: So, 17 Triggers, yeah, you mentioned there, was it 2018? 2019? That's, you, you sold the business. Is that right?

[00:16:32] Mike Rios: Yeah. You mentioned the transition to UN, right?

[00:16:35] Gerry: Yeah, I mean, the work that you were doing with 17 Triggers, um, Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It sounds like it's, you know, it's a culmination of lots of things, basically allowed you to explore and create.

[00:16:47] But how did the UN opportunity come along? Because even myself, I've been doing this for a very long time, and I don't know who connected me. Way back, this is the problem when I have all of these conversations at exactly the same spot in my house, at my desk. It's very hard to kind of remember small little instances of conversations, but Nick, who is at the UN as well, um, with you, um, mentioned you to me, and I was like, I couldn't get over.

[00:17:15] You know, the size of the design team at the UN, like, you know, like, and how much work and how much global presence that is. And it just sounds like a remarkable opportunity for human centered design to sink their teeth, for practitioners to sink their teeth into these problems, like, you know, and there's so many people out there crying out for these opportunities to get involved.

[00:17:38] And I was like, well, first of all, all of you need to come on the podcast and talk about it because to highlight the work that you're all doing, um, but I guess take, taking a few steps back, I'd love to know your journey into that world. Are you okay to talk a little bit more around that? Like how it all came about?

[00:17:55] Mm hmm.

[00:17:56] Mike Rios: sure. Uh, you know, there's a, there's a, there's a client that we had in, in Cambodia, uh, and we ended up, uh, that would, our assignment was to teach, uh, I forgot how many, it may have been a few hundred, um, young Cambodians working in tech, working in digital, teach them human centered design, teach them how to do service design, all these things.

[00:18:17] It was, we delivered several trainings. Each training was, was four days long, very, very immersive. Prototyping, all that. Um, and, and that client and I stayed together, uh, stayed, we connected well, uh, and stayed in touch over the years. And then, and then one day I'm updating my LinkedIn. I'd, I'd taken a sabbatical and that, uh, you know, I'd, that's a, it's a longer story, but one of the reasons I, I left the company is I just, you know, different people have different skills.

[00:18:43] And, and at that time I didn't, I didn't really. I kind of worked myself too much. I burnt out pretty, pretty hardcore, um, to the point that I wasn't, I could see I wasn't healthy and a good, I didn't want to be leading the company in the state that I was in. And so I needed to take some time off. Um, and I can get more into that later and kind of the rebound from that.

[00:19:04] But as I, you know, I went to India for a while, um, and, and, uh, uh, went to an ashram for a long time and, and, and totally, totally offline. Um, and then when I came back and updated my LinkedIn, I was, I was ready to get back on the horse again, and I was feeling optimistic about the world again. Um, and then when I updated my, my LinkedIn, then this, this old client reached out and was like, Hey, uh, we got this job.

[00:19:28] You might be interested to apply for it or if you know anyone, um, you know, it's, it could be right up your, your alley, uh, trying to bring design and, um, service design and innovation into the UN and see if we can use digital. Uh, as a, as a Trojan horse to change the way that the U. N. S. Working pretty good pitch.

[00:19:46] Um, very, very

[00:19:48] Gerry: do you say no to that? You're like, no, it's not my bag. Unfortunately,

[00:19:53] Mike Rios: But

[00:19:53] Gerry: like a perfect pitch.

[00:19:55] Mike Rios: yeah, it's very, it's very inspiring. Um, still had to go through the normal application processes and all these things. But, uh, but yeah, I'm very thankful. And I've been there for 4 years and. You know, time, time's flying. And, um, you know, in some ways that's, that's good because it shows that we're having fun.

[00:20:14] But, uh, but yeah, still, still many challenges to go. And, and it's, it's, it's right. It's a very large organization working in many countries. So, um, you know, it's one project at a time.

[00:20:23] Gerry: absolutely. So, tell us a little bit about Digital X. So that's the part of the UN that you head up. Um, what are the kind of projects that I guess you can talk a little bit more openly about as opposed to, like, I'm sure there's projects there that you're not able to talk about. But what's the project that you'd feel most comfortable to talk that really kind of allows us to get an idea of the work and the impact that you get to do um, during your work at the UN?

[00:20:55] Mike Rios: Right? Exactly. Exactly. Um, I'll just, I'll just pause to say, I'll definitely have to review this case to, to make sure I can say it later, but that we can release it later and maybe ask the people. But anyway, so time and,

[00:21:11] Gerry: all right.

[00:21:13] Mike Rios: yeah, so, uh, for digital X, we, uh, quite simply, we're, we're, we're connecting governments.

[00:21:19] So UNDP works in 170 countries and we're trying to find, um, solutions that fit their needs. Um, so for example, if, uh, government is trying to make a risk. Um, uh, sorry, uh, a disaster alert system. Um, if there's floods, wildfires, all these things, can we connect them to a solution that, that already exists rather than them reinventing the wheel?

[00:21:42] Um, and, and, and that generally happens a lot in digital. So that's the problem that we're, we're trying to address, uh, in development, uh, all over. And then, you know, some call it pilotitis. There's, there's just a lot of, a lot of pilots that get built and then it, and it goes into this value depth. Very similar to the private sector and startups and these things.

[00:22:00] There's only few that can survive. Um, and so when we're looking at the space, looking at the problem of, okay, we're trying to help not reinvent the wheel. We also thought about it ourselves, you know, as, uh, okay, we have a lean team. There's a lot of accelerator programs out there for good. What if we could be like a post accelerator experience?

[00:22:20] Um, and, and with a focus on matching those needs of governments with solution providers. Um, and so then we, we go to these accelerators, Google for Startups, for SDGs, a number of UN accelerators, WFP accelerators, very, very famous one. Um, and we say, okay, what are the best solutions that have graduated from your program or best teams, um, that have digital solutions and, and can we put them in this, this catalog that, that governments and you need to be country offices can search from, um, and so then from there, we also try to raise pilot funding, um, you know, I just said pilot Titus, but trying to get pilot funding, but for more proven solutions.

[00:22:56] So they're not so risky. For, for governments or for country offices to try. Um, one of my favorite projects, uh, is, um, working with a nonprofit. You may have heard of give directly.

[00:23:09] Gerry: Yeah. I've heard of that, yeah.

[00:23:11] Mike Rios: give directly had created this technology with UC Berkeley, um, where they use AI and satellite data to be able to identify vulnerable populations.

[00:23:20] Um, so you could, you could highlight a map, for example, and you could see, okay, this is area where a lot of factory workers, uh, are living. Okay, we can see based off their mobile phone. You should. These are the ones that probably lost their job in the recent round of layoffs. Um, or there's a flooding. Um, and they want to highlight and get families from around this flood area so people could call call in.

[00:23:44] It's automated the checks. Um, and with far more accuracy and less corruption than human verification, then they can also transfer money. Uh, to, to people in need for temporary basic, uh, income or, or relief funds. So, um, that's, that's, that, that was already happening in a few countries and we are helping them to get set up in, in Bangladesh as well and make those connections with government, which can often take quite some time also to, to try to work through the bureaucracy or the, the trust in this case with telcos.

[00:24:17] And so UNDP is a good, uh, convener of, uh, you know, all these different players and, and, you know, trying to get us to work together for, uh, impact the

[00:24:25] Gerry: That's awesome. I'd seen GiveDirectly, but I've never really actually looked at it quite, you know, kind of in focus. I've just been on the website there as you're talking. I like to make, um, and it seems like it's growing still, like I was, there's a list of countries where there's lots of specific things, like you can give monthly salaries and, um, help with the basic income and stuff.

[00:24:49] So, what kind of impact do you get to have With someone like, say, GiveDirectly, where they're almost like an institution themselves. They've set themselves up. Are you literally helping remove the blockers for them to become a stronger enabler, I guess, locally? A feet on the ground kind of situations?

[00:25:12] Mike Rios: Yeah. So, uh, for digital X, that's the, that's one case where you have a more mature or proven solution provider, and we're helping to open doors. Sometimes we say we're, it still takes an incredible amount of patience because it takes a long time to get to work with governments to work with UN. There's just, there's a lot of systems in place.

[00:25:30] And for, you know, for good reason, we're trying to, to avoid, um, you know, uh, avoid risk as much as possible. And especially when you're testing where digital is changing so quickly. Right. Um, but yeah, trying to open doors and make it a little bit less. That's less painful. Um, and that's for again, it could be their own entities, but it can also be for solutions.

[00:25:50] Um, so open source solutions or digital public goods. If you, if you've heard that as a term. Um, and so these, these tools that can be adapted that are not, um, you know, owned by a private sector entity, um, you know, there's some digital public goods 40 countries, for example, um, and, and trying to promote those to governments and, and help them learn how to adapt that, you know, how to train local developers to adapt that and these

[00:26:13] Gerry: absolutely. With something like GiveDirectly, where, say, I'm in Ireland and I give a hundred euro, how do you ensure, and this is probably more for the team at GiveDirectly than it is for

[00:26:27] Mike Rios: Yeah, I was gonna say,

[00:26:28] Gerry: you're like, you're going into the mechanics here, I can't help it, like I'm a service designer, but how do you ensure that the money gets to the end person?

[00:26:35] Because that's one of the bits that erodes the trust I find, if like, if the The connection isn't made, then it's kind of like, well, that's, it hasn't really fulfilled its, its goal because you don't know where the money's going. And one of my kind of things about, um, a lot of the organizations is from trying to set up several charities and failing.

[00:26:57] If you give a hundred euro. The institution itself has a management fund that takes maybe 50 percent and only the person at the very end of the chain gets 50 or 50 euros. Is, with GiveDirectly, is it a similar scenario where there's, or are you actually enabling the money to go straight into the hands of people?

[00:27:16] Is that what their value proposition is?

[00:27:19] Mike Rios: Yeah, I'm not an expert on, on give directly. I do know on their site that they, these are common questions and they're very, very transparent and

[00:27:28] Gerry: It looks like it's really transparent

[00:27:29] Mike Rios: they do it. Um, fun fact when I, when, when I was starting 17 triggers, uh, I met one of the founders of give directly when they were, when he was just playing with the idea and at that time we, we weren't even a registered company.

[00:27:43] They weren't registered either. Um, we just had a lovely dinner, you know, thinking about social impact and, you know, we're just two young kids and, uh. You know, look what can happen, you know, decade plus later. Um, but yeah, again, I'm not an expert on them. I don't want to say the wrong thing, but, uh, they, they, they are more, I would say more transparent and, and more, um, um, dare I say rigorous than, than a lot of, uh, organizations.

[00:28:08] Gerry: it looks, yeah, I'm going to put a link to this one into the show notes, folks, because, um, it's a fantastic example, um, of an organization that's come through this process. Um, so we, we spoke very kind of lightly over a topic there that I want to just bring it back into the conversation a little bit more.

[00:28:28] It was the, the exiting of, um, 17 triggers and into the UN. Um, burnout. It's something that I've experienced several times. Lots of people I coach are going through it. It seems like the year of 2023 has definitely been a year where it's taken its toll on lots and lots of practitioners around the world.

[00:28:49] Um, it's kind of surmising my, my year at the moment for, you know, an episode and Um, I spoke to some really interesting people this year, Hector Garcia, who's the author of The Journey to Ikigai, um, based out in Japan, and we had a big, long conversation around the small differences, um, to really take care of ourselves and journaling being one of the tools.

[00:29:13] What I'd love to talk a little bit more around is Not so much the experience of the burnout, the lessons that you learned from that burnout and how you've carried it forward to make you, um, avoid those pitfalls in the future, but also to better manage you as a person and a human. Because I believe that's really, really important.

[00:29:34] Probably not spoken about enough. What we can do at a personal level to really ensure our own success, our own growth as a human. Um, and I know you're a big fan of meditation because we've been back and forth on this one on email. But I'd love to get your thoughts on that kind of positioning, that framing, um, of your lessons learned and what you carry through into a day to day basis.

[00:30:01] Mike Rios: Well, thanks, thanks so much for asking me that and, and giving space for this as well, right? Um, yeah. Yeah. Um. It, it's, it's something very close to my heart because I, I know how scary it can be. I think, uh, you know, when, when you know you have a, you have a very, uh, yourself, you know, you have a, an outside kind of persona and, and, and these things.

[00:30:25] And then when you're a mess on the inside, it can be really hard. Not, not saying you are,

[00:30:30] Gerry: yeah,

[00:30:30] Mike Rios: but, but, but, uh, yeah.

[00:30:34] Gerry: most of the time, come on.

[00:30:37] Mike Rios: Um, you know, so, so many of us try to, you know, keep this kind of professional side up and, and it is, I, I have seen a big change, uh, over the years in, in terms of people looking for, uh, mental health support, um, and, and being open to talk about it.

[00:30:52] So that's good. But I think the more that we can even, we can even discuss

[00:30:55] Gerry: Talk about it,

[00:30:56] Mike Rios: yeah, yeah, exactly. So anyway, to your question, uh, in terms of lessons, I think the biggest lesson, if I were to just choose one is about the, the power of accumulation. Um, and it can go in both ways, right? So, you know, I, I hit a extreme low point, uh, one day I had a panic attack and I was already, I was already on sabbatical on you.

[00:31:18] So I, you know, um, but I wasn't, when I was on the sabbatical, I didn't, I didn't, I just didn't want to plan anything. I'd planned so many different things, uh, with the business and all this, I, I was. I was like, I just want to, I just want to zone out, um, and, and spend time with the kids and these things. Um, but I, I, I don't know if I would say it was a mistake.

[00:31:40] Sometimes we, we learn the best from these mistakes, but I still wasn't taking care of myself. You know, I, I, I was kind of, I was going out and seeing old friends that I hadn't seen for a while. I was, you know, traveling, seeing friends, drinking, eating really poorly, uh, wasn't exercising. So even though it was a sabbatical, I, I was still doing kind of all these unhealthy.

[00:32:00] Things that, that accumulated still and, and, um, then when we had a, uh, yeah, so then, then I had this, this panic attack, um, it was, it was really intense for, obviously for, for me, but also for my, my wife and our foster daughter. And it was just, I hit a real low point where I didn't know if I could get better.

[00:32:24] Um, and it was, it was really scary. And, and, and then I asked this question to myself was when, when was the last time that I felt, you know, good and whole, and I had this realization that, Oh, it's actually when I did yoga and meditation regularly, and, you know, I, I didn't realize it, but when I started 17 triggers right before I was teaching yoga, I was teaching meditation at that time, um, as like, uh, in the supplement to my, my other work, but just, uh, it was a passion for me.

[00:32:58] But I completely stopped doing it when I started my company and traveling and I stopped doing yoga. I stopped working out. I stopped exercising. I started eating well, and I don't, I don't think I ever ate well, actually, at that point, but, um, but accumulation. So you got at that time, you know, 78 years of, of just really poor daily decisions, um, that, you know, maybe I could get away with for a little while because of my youth.

[00:33:23] But that just then added up and I, then I, I was just paying the, paying the price. Um,

[00:33:28] Gerry: paying that off, yeah?

[00:33:29] Mike Rios: yeah, yeah. Um, and then, and then, so that realization. Of, huh, yoga. I haven't done yoga for seven years, but that's the last time I felt like pretty decent on a day to day level is when I was doing yoga regularly. And that's when I said to my wife, like, we got to go to India.

[00:33:46] I gotta, I gotta get back into yoga. Um, and so we stayed, we stayed about three months in an ashram. Uh, no phone. Um, but it was a strict option. There's different types of options,

[00:33:57] Gerry: Yeah.

[00:33:58] Mike Rios: great. And it's just what I needed. I mean, it was like, you know, getting up at 4 30 a. m. 5 a. m. And I am not, I was not a morning person at all.

[00:34:05] And, and, and so, but it made me realize also, even your thoughts accumulate, right? So for a period of time, I would wake up, And think that I don't really want to wake up like I, like I would say not, not in terms of like a suicidal way, but more, more just like, oh, I can't, I don't want to get up right now, you know, and, and yeah, yeah, and I, and I realized how many years, like even, even not at the ashram, but, you know, back in Cambodia, how many years did I hit snooze and not want to wake up?

[00:34:37] You know, and that was the first thought of my day. Um, and so then I, and then through the meditations and all those things, getting back into that, just becoming more aware of the thoughts that we tell ourselves, the stories we tell ourselves, some of which can be really unproductive. Um, so yeah, the greatest lesson is accumulation, and, and we can, we can have negative accumulations, but we can also have accumulations that are healthy for us, ourselves.

[00:34:58] Um, and, and we're, we're, we're very capable of incredible amounts of change, um, that we maybe don't give ourselves credit for.

[00:35:07] Gerry: Well, what does yoga give you? Like, what, what is it? You said that sense of wholeness, but, um, when you practice it, what does it really provide to you? Um, uh, at a kind of, not only just a spiritual level, but just at a practice level, like how does it impact your life?

[00:35:28] Mike Rios: Yeah, well, let's say I'll flip it a little bit or play with it a little, uh, in that I'll just include meditation there. And even the word. You know, meditation is is often translated poorly. It's, it's more of a state of mind, almost, almost like flow, you know, um, but maybe not in a, maybe not in a word context, but, you know, um, maybe there's a moment you're playing with your, your kids and you're, you're just really focused on what's happening there, or, you know, you're going for a walk and, you know, you're just enjoying the leaves and the breeze, or you're playing sports, sports are very easy way.

[00:36:03] Okay. Um, to get into that or, or playing with a pet, you know, um, play is wonderful in general. But, but, you know, so I think the, the, when we, when someone sits down for meditation, um, they often misunderstand it and they'll, they'll try to do a very advanced form of meditation, which is to sit and, and try to let your, your, your thoughts settle, which.

[00:36:25] If you if you if you haven't done it much, it's yeah, no one can really do it. And so I think using human centered design, there hasn't been a human centered design process for how do you make meditation a bit easier, right? It's like if you tell someone to go sit at a piano. Uh, who's never played piano or, or an instrument, and you say play for 10 minutes, you won't be able to play, right?

[00:36:47] Um, but if you, yeah, meditation retreats are also very powerful because if you put someone at a piano, let's say for 10 days and you say play, by the end of 10 days, if they've been trying for eight to 10 hours, they're going to come up with something that sounds decent. Right. But equally, you know, if we just applied human centered design to, to meditation or to yoga, then, you know, you can teach people little songs to begin with and, and, and other things.

[00:37:15] So the same, same goes for meditation. So anyway, so, so back to that question with yoga meditation, what does it provide? I mean, for me, becoming a morning person from, since I guess that the ashram gave me that from being a night owl to becoming a morning person and really dedicating that first hour. Yeah.

[00:37:32] Yeah. of my life to just my health, um, has been game changing. So, no phone, no work, no matter what. And I'm, I'm, sometimes I do physical yoga. Uh, like you, you know, I think most Westerners are seeing. Sometimes I'll be more traditional sitting, meditating, breath work. Sometimes I go and, and do a more traditional workout.

[00:37:52] Um, and swim, whatever, but it's something that, you know, the physical and the mental are very, very connected. Um, and so it equally, you know, could just be taking a walk for, for a half an hour. But I, I, I make sure I, I spend that first hour taking care of myself. Um, and it prepares me for the day and, and, you know, you know, it just gives me that, that safe kind of foundation.

[00:38:12] And then that accumulates because every morning is a good morning. I feel good. I feel like I've accomplished something. Um, and it, it sets the tone for the rest of the day.

[00:38:20] Gerry: So, in terms of your own kind of, you know, filling the cup, if you want, like on a day to day basis, that's something that you have kind of reintegrated with intent into your practice. Of living, I guess, if you want, like taking a completely zoomed out look at the end, anything else that you're using in terms of tool wise as reflective practices to really allow you to maintain your own kind of path.

[00:38:51] The reason why I say that is because what happened there with you say 17 triggers. Was and even with the ad agency, your head was down, you were running as fast as you could in this one direction. You know, both outcomes were relatively similar. Like, you know, you had a change of course. So are there practices there that you can use as more of a reflective practice to ensure that You're still going in the right direction.

[00:39:21] Mike Rios: That's a good question. Well, I, I, I don't know if also the, you know, the leaving advertising work and leaving 17 triggers. I don't, I don't

[00:39:31] Gerry: No, not the same, but there were both, there were both kind of like deviations, or one was like here, and then there was, there was a change, like an end of a chapter, if you want. And just to preface the question, it's not in any shape or form negative, it's just more. And it could be conversational talking, it could be coaching,

[00:39:50] Mike Rios: Oh,

[00:39:50] Gerry: be journaling, it could be those kind of tools that you're using to make sure that, like, ICA guy is a frame, you know, framework.

[00:39:57] Well, it's not really a framework, but you know what I mean? Like, it's, it's a sense of purpose that we're actually, you know, we're going to retire Or working career, um, if you believe that, that you've achieved something like that, you, you, you're, you're making that connection between yourself and your purpose.

[00:40:16] Um, that's what I'm asking. I guess in a long-winded way, everyone's just listening to this, throwing their eyes up to heaven.

[00:40:23] Mike Rios: yeah. Uh, yes, I mean, I'm so lucky to have some, some wonderful, wonderful mentors, uh, a wonderful coach, uh, named Gene, um, who I'll, I'll send this to afterwards, and Gene, Gene's been life changing for me, um, and, and I, I think a couple things that I try to keep, there are the lessons that they've, they've taught me, uh, one is around um, I don't know how it came out with Gene exactly, but it was, it was around, okay, I'm, I'm so ADD, there's so many different ways.

[00:40:51] This, this is before I joined UNDP. There's so many different ways I'm where I can go, you know, what, what, what's next, you know, um, and he encouraged me to align and, and figure out my own kind of personal values or, or even their, their key words. Um, or key kind of feelings that you want or key things that you want, but, but maybe not make it so goal oriented or orientated the goals you can figure out later.

[00:41:16] But, but, you know, what's what's important to you in terms of like, kind of simple values or criteria. And so for me, it was is very much. Okay, I want to be working in somewhere that I can be playful in some way, and it could just be with my colleagues. And speaking of colleagues, I wanted to work with nice, smart people,

[00:41:35] Gerry: Yeah.

[00:41:35] Mike Rios: and, um, and, and I was like, well, yeah, and then something that's doing more, more good than harm.

[00:41:42] And so then those were, it actually then relieved a lot of pressure. Um, and it, it gave, it gave, but it gave me enough kind of criteria to, to go look, look around. Um, so that, that was, that was helpful. Um, and then in terms of, uh, reflection, I'm obviously coaching, but I, you know, I enjoy a good, a good meal. I, I, I learned this with an Unreasonable Group and, you know, they, if you've heard of the Unreasonable Group, uh, program, but they have these lovely candlelight dinners where they, you know, they put together entrepreneurs and investors and all these things.

[00:42:11] And, and then they, they, they, they do what's called a Jeffersonian dinner. Um, the, the, the lore is that the, the President Jefferson at that time was, was hard of hearing in one ear, so he, he would ask one question to the whole table, um, and, and they would go around answering that one question. It may have been more like state of affairs or something, but the way that that has kind of evolved is to, to ask a more vulnerable question to a group that maybe haven't met each other before.

[00:42:40] Um, so for example, like, you know, what's, what's the, what's the best failure you've ever, you've ever had? Right. Or, um, you know, or which is a fantastic question to a group of people that I've never met. Right. Um, or what's, what's hard right now, you know? Um, and so I, I'm grateful from reasonable to kind of introduce that kind of, you know, candlelight knitter atmosphere.

[00:43:01] And I try to bring that whenever I, whenever, you know, we have guests coming into Encore Watch or CM Reap, which is where I live, um, you know, trying to bring that in to, to allow that social connection and these types of questions and these type of real conversations with people.

[00:43:16] Gerry: that's awesome. Yeah, I'm like, I'm blown away, but I never heard of the, was it the Jefferson? Is that what you said? The Jefferson,

[00:43:24] Mike Rios: uh, dinner. Yeah. Thomas Jefferson. Jeffersonian dinner. Yeah.

[00:43:28] Gerry: Yeah, it's, I'm a little bit hard for hearing as well. Like, so that's something I might incorporate around Christmas dinner in our household. Try saying that to a seven year old and a five year old I would say. It's really refreshing to speak with a leader who's so open, um, um, you know, happy to discuss some of these things because it's really, really important. I can't, you know, stress it enough to people out there like to really start talking about these things. But on that piece, or your purpose, or your, your values.

[00:44:04] I, when you were speaking there, I almost see that as being like the names on the steering wheel within your own vehicle. Like that's the, the parameters you give yourself in your life. And it sounds like, you know, you've kind of hit this sweet spot where you're, you're working with great people, working in an organization that has direct impact and direct access. Huge amounts of trust, you know, uh, has been placed in the U. N. To help improve situations. So it's so refreshing to end the year, really, to have, you know, someone from the U. N. On really point the finger and say, actually, you know what? There's some really good work here happening because a lot of businesses ask me where Where is design being used for good, and I can name lots of charities and stuff, but, um, it's just fantastic to hear some of the work, even, even if it's, you know, kind of, um, a small amount that you're doing at the UN.

[00:45:04] So I'll ask a question back to you before we start wrapping this one up. What's next and what's hard for you at the moment?

[00:45:13] Mike Rios: Thank you. Um, I think those are probably two different questions.

[00:45:19] Gerry: two questions.

[00:45:20] Mike Rios: yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I like that. Um, what's next? So, you know, actually just before COVID and before I took the UN job, um, my wife and I opened up, uh, what we call the nickname, the Burnout B& B, but we didn't, we didn't have a, uh, didn't have an official business or a website, but we just put this out there to, you know, friends and said, Hey, anyone you know is burning out, having a hard time, have them come to us.

[00:45:45] And they can stay in our house for a few days. We'll do a digital detox, take away their phones, their laptops, whatever. And we'll do like, we'll teach them basic meditation, uh, different types of meditation, handful of different kinds. Uh, but then also we'll, we'll have them do it in the temples of Angkor Wat and there are like 20 something different temples, right?

[00:46:04] So, you know, there's a, there's a temple that's dedicated to healing. There's a temple that's, you know, dedicated to, to, to great teachers and, and, and grand teachers and, um, all these different types of temples dedicate to energy. And, and so what we did is we started to, to do almost like a scavenger hunt.

[00:46:23] Meet some meditation retreat. And so we'd send them to different, like, let's say the energy temple, and then we have them do a reflection or journaling about energy. What's, you know, what's, what's kind of the, um, what's draining their energy? What's, what's giving them positive energy? All those things. What would their life look like?

[00:46:38] Can they cut any of the energy and have them journal? But then at the same time, they're also spending the day in silence. So, um, you know, giving them a tag that says silence so that, you know, people know that they're, they're kind of doing their own thing. Um, and they don't have a phone and, and they're just taking in these, these epic, incredible, um, you know, uh, Uh, temples that just just give a sense of all

[00:46:59] Gerry: Absolute beauty.

[00:47:00] Mike Rios: small.

[00:47:01] And anyway, so we had a, we had a handful of customers, uh, and then, then COVID happened. And that's, that's, that's when, um, you know, that's when, uh, uh, that's when the UN work and other things happened and then just carried on. And, you know, I do. I do occasional, um, webinars with UN colleagues that are in conflict zones, or they don't even need to be in conflict zones.

[00:47:23] They're just having trouble and they want to learn meditation. Um, but I, I've been kind of supplementing my, my desire to pass on some kind of teachings where I can there. Um, but actually just literally just a couple of days ago, we had, we had someone come and do the, the three day, uh, meditation retreat.

[00:47:41] Um, and it's combined with, you know, candlelight dinners at the end. So they, they do have a, uh, a period to talk, uh, at the end of the day. And then they go back into the meditation. So it's kind of, again, using that human centered design touch for a meditation retreat, you know, making it a three day, really beautiful three day experience.

[00:47:58] Um, with the last 24 hours being in complete, complete silence and they're doing these kind of simple meditations, songs or sequences, rather. Um, and, uh, yeah, so in terms of what's next, you know, I would love to continue to, to, you know, put this out there. Um, I'm, I'm just starting a, a, uh, a side like training for people called the better morning.

[00:48:21] So better mornings, not me, uh, shameless, shameless plug, um, about to

[00:48:26] Gerry: Plug away.

[00:48:27] Mike Rios: And have these like, uh, 30 day challenges for people to, to wake up, uh, an hour earlier every day, um, and, and, and design that hour, um, to, for some of the things that I was talking about. So. Um, those are, those are some things I'm getting more into.

[00:48:40] I don't, I don't know, uh, how much time they'll take, um, but, uh, you know, if it, if it starts to pick up, I, it is something very rewarding. So I would add maybe that into some of my values is, is something, some kind of teaching role as I, as I get a little bit older.

[00:48:55] Gerry: Yeah.

[00:48:55] Mike Rios: Um, so that, that's the, that's kind of the, what, what's next.

[00:48:58] And if we still have time, I can go into what's hard, but

[00:49:01] Gerry: Yeah. No, we talk about what's hard. There's something in that though. There's something really in that point where, you know, saying yes to things that you typically say no to, you know, like there's this whole kind of pushing yourself just a little bit beyond to really see that growth. There's lots of people have spoken about this.

[00:49:19] It's not revolutionary or really radical, but there's something in that like, you know. Really pushing the boundaries and exploring and experimenting because we are complex beings, so we need to constantly, you know, test and learn and bring that back into our practice like, you know, you mentioned there by waking up an hour early.

[00:49:40] I'm, I'm doing a lot of work in Australia at the moment, but I'm obviously in Dublin, Um, some of my clients for the last two months, I've been waking up at 3. 45 and, you know, presenting at 4. 30 and, um, first couple of weeks, I won't lie to you, it's pretty tough, but now I'm kind of finding myself waking up at 3.

[00:50:03] 45 and just walking downstairs and grabbing a coffee and I'd like to think that I'd probably weave some more of this stuff into, like, post that engagement. I probably will, because there's no one awake, and I can come up here and write and read, and, um, it's definitely been an eye opening experience, because I've never done that kind of stuff before, waking up in the middle of the night.

[00:50:27] Um, the problem is, at around now, at around eight o'clock, I'm fit for nothing, can barely speak. I'm just like, I'm walking around kind of grunting. So my poor wife is just being like, I'll just go to bed with you. I'm like, okay, go to bed. But onto that last question, what's hard at the moment? Yeah.

[00:51:00] Mike Rios: topic areas. Well, sorry, I'll start that in a different way. You know, there's, there's one part of me that's, that's very, very driven, very, you know, kind of, uh, what, what wants to accomplish a lot of things. And there's another part of me that's like. Wants to just relax and very, very, can be very lazy, you know,

[00:51:22] Gerry: Yeah. Yeah,

[00:51:28] Mike Rios: it's the ADD part, but some parts of me can be very, very much of a procrastinator.

[00:51:33] Another part of me can just really focus and get things done. And, you know, over time I, I forgot the exact quote, but there's this, this, uh, it was, it was, um, uh, I think it was a Sufi master or something in India about how, you know, we spend our first It's something like first 35 years of life building habits and the second 35 years of life repeating them and I'm 40 years old now.

[00:52:00] And so I made it. I made it a goal. Before my 41st birthday to be in the best shape of my life. And I. I've never, and this was actually inspired by a friend, that we do reflections once a year. What's the things, and I absolutely adore, we call it lessons from the pasties year, like a glass of pasties. And she shared with me how she always wanted to do a, this is a long kind of sidewinding story, how she always wanted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

[00:52:31] Right. Um, and so she went to the doctor and the doctor was like, you are not going to make it like you, you, you, you, like, you, you need to be physically strong to do. You need to start lifting weights to do it. And she was like, but I'm not a person that lifts weights. Right. And so, so anyway, so that, that tying that together is so she started lifting weights.

[00:52:50] She started going to the gym, she got strong and she was able to do it. And a lot of people that were trying to climb ended up dropping out because they didn't do the prep work. And she's like, she's like, I'm so alive. I never, I always scoffed at people that went to the gym and it, it actually resonated with me.

[00:53:04] I don't know if I scoffed at people, but I just didn't identify as a gym person. And, and I I've become a gym person in the last year. Um, much to my surprise and it's made me think how many things am I limiting myself with because I just think I'm not that I'm not that type of person. And so I think what's hard is also curious opportunity where I'm wondering, like, okay, even with with, you know, social media and this, this, you know, better mornings that me like I've always said, well, okay, I'm not, I'm not going to get into social media.

[00:53:37] Um, but, but is that a limiting belief, you know, so we, we have, we have different things, so I, I, that might be a luxurious hard, uh, to be able to say these types of things, but, um.

[00:53:49] Gerry: a good one though, it's a good one, like, because, you know, we probably do have those things, every single one of us that we could probably question a little bit more and learn about ourselves, but it sounds like it's working for you, Mike, um, and you look in great shape, you look happy. Um, and it's been a, it's been a pretty busy year by all accounts from speaking with you.

[00:54:12] Um, so, go

[00:54:15] Mike Rios: go ahead. Sorry.

[00:54:16] Gerry: I was gonna, so, so like it's, it's, it's gonna be a, an interesting one to watch from afar to see what you do in 2024. Um,

[00:54:25] Mike Rios: you, sir. Yes. And I'll be watching you as well.

[00:54:28] Gerry: absolutely. Well, look, Mike, if people want to reach out to you, because you've got so many things going on. You've got the head of Digital X at the UN. Um, you've got this other, um, Better Mornings piece that you're going to be working on. If either of those are ready or in the near future, and you wanted to share them out to the community, please just let us know.

[00:54:50] I know everyone will probably be, will be interested to learn a lot more. But what's the best way for people to get in touch if you've got any questions?

[00:54:58] Mike Rios: Yeah, I actually have been trying to stay active on LinkedIn. So people can add me on LinkedIn. I might not have a time for a call always. But what I what I try to do is if someone has a question or something, they can leave me a question and I'll respond. You know, it could be between travels, I'll leave a quick voice note, leave a quick text.

[00:55:16] So that's there's that if they want to do it. You know, the better mornings, uh, course go to better mornings, not me. Um, and then the temple one, I got to figure out a name, but, uh, I think we're going to start formalizing that. I don't know if it's like meditate with Mike or something simple, but, um, or, or mixing something with the temples.

[00:55:35] Yeah. I don't know. I have to advertising that a little bit, but, um, but no, I, I'm very excited about the temples one. Um, and just seeing this. This friend, uh, do that experience and you know, it's amazing how much we can transform in a few days of silence. So I, I, if I can pass that gift to others and utilize the temples I can.

[00:55:52] So, but thanks for asking. I hope that some people will reach out.

[00:55:56] Gerry: They will. And look, I, I end up every episode and this is eight CD with a big thank you to the guests because like, you know, they come on here. It is unscripted. We have these raw conversations. We aim for flow every single time. But it requires a certain amount of energy, aptitude, and vulnerability to be put on the spot.

[00:56:15] So, thank you for allowing me to kind of pick your brain and explore and ask questions that may seem a little bit, kind of like, untoward. But I really appreciated you giving me your time this morning, and I wish you all the best for the next couple of weeks, the season that's in it. Thank you again so much, Mike.

[00:56:35] Mike Rios: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you so much area. I, uh, looking forward to, to watching this later and watching some more of the podcast. This has been such a joy.

[00:56:43] Gerry: Great stuff.

John Carter
Tech Vlogger & YouTuber

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