June 12, 2015

Magnify by Subtracting

Written by derekherrera
This is a scientific term, referring to the field of view on a microscope.  The more an image is magnified, the smaller the field of view becomes.  The object can be seen in very fine detail and the viewer becomes oblivious to anything in the periphery.  This magnified view has also made the object much larger.
I recently heard someone use this term to describe Entrepreneurs and thought it highly accurate.  They explained that there are people who will always have 10 irons in the fire and constantly be chasing something new and exciting.  These kinds of people are great at starting things but not always at executing and seeing things through to the finish.
The other end of the spectrum are people who are laser-focused on doing one thing.  They are completely content to do one thing for their entire lives and master that craft.  They rarely start new things but always work incredibly hard to execute a plan or see a project someone started through to completion.
After understanding this concept, I realized that I no longer want to have multiple irons in the fire.  I have found the one pursuit that I am willing to pursue at the cost of any others and have put nearly all other activity on hold until I achieve success in this endeavor.  I have gradually subtracted more and more activities from my life so that I can try to magnify and grow the one project I am willing to commit to indefinitely.  It feels great to have that sense of purpose and clarity in my life and has caused me to get up every day excited to go to work.
Spinal Singularity - UCLA Knapp Business Plan Competition @2x
This opportunity is the startup company I have been working on called Spinal Singularity.  Our company designs medical devices to improve the quality of life for people like me, with Spinal Cord Injury and Disease.  In the past few months we have made significant progress and won two Venture Competitions at UCLA.  We will launch a fundraising campaign in Mid-July to raise the seed money necessary to continue developing our first product (a technologically-advanced solution for neurogenic bladder).  If you are interested in learning more please email me.
A lot has happened since I last posted.  Many good things and some bad.
Marine Raiders killed in helicopter crash MARSOC
One of the most terrible things was when seven MARSOC Marines (and 4 Army National Guardsmen).  I knew the Team Commander who was leading the mission.  His name was Ford Shaw.  Ford was a phenomenal human being.  We both graduated from the Naval Academy in 2006 and went through Basic Officer Training and Infantry Officer Training together at Quantico, VA.  He was always able to crack jokes in the worst of conditions and cheer everyone up, motivating us to continue in the face of adversity. Ford was just an incredible Marine leader and was highly proficient in all aspects of our profession.  The other men killed in the accident were equally as impressive, although I never had the pleasure of meeting them because they were stationed in NC.  More can be read about them in this article from the Washington Post.
As a board member for the MARSOC Foundation, these are the types of crises that I continue to raise money for.  When an incident like this takes place, there are certain benefits provided for by the government.  In nearly every situation there are things that the injured service-member or his/her family will need that the government is unable to support (because they are constrained by congressional law).  This is why I am still actively seeking donations to support the MARSOC Foundation.  If you or any one you know are interested in learning more about how you can help in this effort, please email me and I will personally explain how you can help.  Please remember that regardless of what you hear about in the news and media outlets, there will ALWAYS be service-members across the world who are sacrificing to protect this nation.  As long as MARSOC exists, I will continue to support the community by raising funds for the MARSOC Foundation.
I was invited to share my story at the American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual Policy Conference in Washington DC in early March.  I had a great time meeting all of the people at the conference and it was a fantastic venue.  This was the first experience I have had with AIPAC and really enjoyed the opportunity to see so many people from all over the world come together to demonstrate support for Israel.
I spent two weeks conducting primary research for our project at Business School.  It was a great time and I had a very enjoyable trip.  I went with three of my classmates and we spent two weeks in Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, and the Serengeti.  This was my first trip to Africa outside of Djibouti, and it was a very good time.
Maura graduated from her Master’s program and we traveled to England for her graduation.  We then went to Italy for vacation for a few days before heading home.
I recently started an official Facebook page.  Please share this with anyone you think would be interested in following my journey.  I’ll be headed to China next month for our class field trip and then graduate from school at the end of July.