We all have certain things in life that drive us to obsession. We become infatuated, fixated, or even addicted to things, people and places. Our passions and compulsions might be momentary or lifelong. Lately, we’ve been asking some of the world’s leading innovators what’s driving them to obsession.
Here’s what Modify Watches co-founder (and Director of Player Personnel) Aaron Schwartz is currently obsessed with. If you don’t already know Modify Watches, they are super-dope, interchangeable watches. You can mix-and-match faces and straps to create the look that allows you to make your own personal statement. We think Aaron is pretty “super-dope” himself, and so are his latest obsessions:
Making custom products - I am fascinated by custom products. The first "custom" piece I ever bought was a mug I designed on Zazzle.com nearly a decade ago. And of course, I have two Timbuk2 bags (I do live in San Francisco). There is so much more going on, and I cannot wait to see how the offerings develop. Modify's goal is to allow our customers to customize their look through interchangeable products and show their colors. We're going to get better at this as we learn from 3D printing companies, brands like Burberry that are starting to allow fans to design their own products, and even thought leaders like Fluid, which is behind the "configurators" that you see on so many websites.
Homeless and At-Risk Youth. Outside of Modify I spend the vast majority of my time working with Larkin Street Youth Services. Larkin Street is a 30-year-old organization that provides a continuum of care for at-risk and homeless youth. The organization has recently launched a new strategic plan with a deeper focus on measured education and employment outcomes. Of course, Larkin Street will continue to provide beds for youth in the area (over 80,000 nights in 2012!), as well as counseling, healthcare and more.
Trying to balance work with getting in shape. I just started using Cody, a pretty neat "social-first" fitness app from which I've received a ton of encouragement from friends. Over the past three years I've pretty much stopped trying to get in shape. I'm a skinny guy, so my clothes still fit, but I know I'm not doing anything positive for my long-term health. I've been walking more, and have joined a basketball game on Saturday morning which is my only "appointment viewing" of the week. Tracking my efforts on Cody - and getting such positive feedback and encouragement from a community - has helped me to get moving. FLOTUS would be proud.
The NBA Playoffs. It's tough being a fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers - I root for us to lose so that we can get a higher draft pick this year, but I'm incredibly excited about the young talent on the team (Kyrie Irving, if you're reading this, hello). The Western Conference playoffs are going to be amazing this year. Last April-June Modify's productivity dropped pretty considerably as we went to a bar nearly every day to catch a game.
Startup America and helping startups get going. I'm one of the co-leaders for Startup America in the Bay Area with Abtin Rostamian. Startup America is working to support entrepreneurs across the country. In the Bay Area there are a *lot* of resources for start-ups. We are working to aggregate these resources, and become a megaphone for the rest of the events that exist.