Week One in NYC

As I venture further and further from the world of resumes, cover letters, and succinct job titles, I’m finding comfort in my inability to be defined.

There isn’t a label for what I do. I don’t have a title that describes me. There’s no way to capture the essence of my interests in a single paragraph. And that’s fine.

What I do know is that I connect dots. And I see opportunities growing organically in a way that’s hard to articulate. I know that I maintain a healthy disregard for the impossible, and that I’m interested in living a life worth leading.

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up however, so I’m in search of novel experiences that stretch me, challenge me, and push me outside of my comfort zones. So being involved with this project works out pretty well.

Fifth Avenue

As Seth mentioned, we’re brainstorming. Vetting ideas. Considering notions. Differentiating between those as well. The best analogy I can think of is that Seth is teaching us how to hit a target that we can’t even see (yet):

At this distance, we must consider the coriolis effect, humidity, ammunition used, time of day, wind speed/direction, and host of other factors. The group is smart enough to come up with some great “close-range target” victories, but that’s not enough for what we need.

This kind of thinking take practice. It’s not easy, but it’s exhilarating. We don’t work long hours, but it’s mentally taxing (in a good way).

Perhaps I’m just out of shape.


Never in a million years did I expect to be living in NYC. I thought I’d possibly relocate to Miami to escape the Atlanta winter, but here I am.

Sunrise in Harlem

My apartment is situated a few paces from an express subway line (the 2/3 if you’re nasty) that can get me from where I am (uptown/Harlem) to lower Manhattan (Wall Street) in ~25 minutes. I’m also walking distance to two famous soul food restaurants.


A few of my friends have seen my place (I’m renting a room from an entrepreneur to whom I was introduced by a very good friend) and the general consensus is that I’ve done extremely well. The apartment is beautiful by any standards, and palatial by NYC standards. I’ve been very fortunate.

I still have a house and tenant in Atlanta, but I’m ridding my life of the former. This transition to NYC dovetails quite nicely with this phase of my life: I’m looking to travel, to deepen my relationships with friends and family, and to cut unnecessary ties to things I neither need nor want. Moving up here on such short notice wasn’t cheap, but I’m where I need to be. What I don’t need is a virtually-empty five-bedroom house with no sign of a wife or kids anywhere on the horizon (no, I’m not looking).

(so…does anyone want to buy a house?)

People Love You

I’m thoroughly convinced that it’s our relationship with fear and uncertainty that defines us. A good friend of mine (an attorney in Florida) told me that I’d make a great lawyer, since I get myself into tough situations just to see if I can get myself out of them. This paints a slightly reckless and inaccurate picture of who I am, but his point was well-received.

Let’s get social

I’ve been much more social since moving up here. In Atlanta, I live a good distance from most of my friends. Coupled with my homebody habits and the fact that I enjoy my own company, I’m not much of a social butterfly.

Being in NYC is a different story.

In addition to knowing at least a dozen people up here already, I’m getting to know my Domino teammates. I love them, and I’ll probably do a full post on them soon.

Something I’ve discovered about myself is that I work much better in small groups (2-3 people) than with larger ones. I came to this realization when we split into smaller groups on Thursday. I paired off with the other web-savvy guy on the group (mainly because he was sitting right next to me) and we worked on a time-sensitive task.

I have a few thoughts around why this was the case, but we definitely captured lightning in a bottle in our time working together. It’s not that what we came up with was so spectacular; it’s that we had outstanding working chemistry. We spoke each other’s language and were able to attack our project with intensity and efficiency.


Perhaps this is a function of us just having great working chemistry, but there are other examples where I’ve noticed myself come alive in smaller, one-on-one interactions.


One of the week’s highlights was being called “special” by Seth, and he wasn’t being kind. Hilarious.

So…what exactly am I doing up here?

I can’t go into the specifics of my responsibilities (although there’s not much to tell yet), but it’s fun. And challenging. And it changes every day. There is no fluff, no busywork, no wasted effort, or any of the things I was used to in my previous life as a corporate schmuck.

Working with Seth

Seth is an extraordinarily normal person who is extraordinarily good at fielding good ideas. He speaks (and thinks) just like he writes, so you actually know him a lot better than you think you do 🙂

This is New York City

Next up

I’ve been buying all my meals thus far, which has been amazingly expensive (and delicious). In the interest of paying my rent and avoiding heart disease, I will endeavor to prepare several of my meals ahead of time. Before I left for New York, I started drinking Full Strength (aff) shakes in the morning. They are delicious meal replacement shakes and perfect for someone on the go, so I will soon invest in the three month package (unless of course they’d like to send it to me for free).


A few of my friends and clients have wondered if I’m going to stop freelancing and taking work now that I’m up here. Short answer: no. I’m certainly going to pivot a bit and take on fewer web projects, but the website performance consulting I do actually lends itself well to my schedule.

Of course very few of you know anything about how I make money since my operation is stealth, but that’s another post altogether…

Willie Jackson is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Consultant & Facilitator with ReadySet, a boutique consulting firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a frequent writer and speaker on the topics of workplace equity, global diversity, and inclusive leadership. Connect on LinkedIn or get in touch.