I woke up one morning in March of 2001 with a clear vision. I saw, in my mind’s eye, two light beams intersecting, with each beam representing a different field or culture. It stayed with me for less than a minute, but I felt that perhaps my whole life had led up to this vision.
All I have ever known are intersections. I’m the son of a Black and Cherokee woman from Hickory, NC and a white Swedish dad. Growing up in the homogeneity of Stockholm, my interests were always broad. I loved fishing, I wrote a fantasy novel by the time I was in high school, and I fell in love with quantum physics after seeing a diagram of the double-slit experiment.
My interest in fishing led me to major in environmental science at Brown University. After college, my cousin and I started a company which involved taking good ideas used by hospitals in the US and introducing them to hospitals in Sweden. It was remarkable how quickly we became seen as experts by simply intersecting existing knowledge with a new geography.
When applying for a Ph.D in Marine Biology, one of my recommenders forgot to turn his letter in on time. Because of this hiccup, I applied to Harvard Business School, something I would have never considered a few months earlier, but a decision that ultimately led to the publication of The Medici Effect.
The Medici Effect launched my global speaking career and, later, my consulting firm, The Medici Group. The Medici Effect and its follow-up The Click Moment have had an impact on industries, fields and leaders way, way beyond my expectations.