Bringing my whole self to life.

One digital native’s struggle.

This is the story of my past addiction to smartphones and social media.

Technology for humans being.

This is the story of my journey with Siempo, the phone for humans.

Running the most important company on Earth.

This is the story that I have the privilege of writing.

One digital native’s struggle.

This is the story of my past addiction to smartphones and social media.

From the day I received these shiny, insidious tools to my first night without WiFi 10 years later, I operated under a hypnosis that stifled my development and watered down my potential.

The prime years of my life were more of a lost decade. This is not hyperbole. I was largely an unhappy, lonely, apathetic teenager. I was an addict. It’s impossible to trace the paths of causation, but emerging research reinforces the notion that screens are fundamentally changing the essence of our being. I was one of the first young adults to endure this new reality, and am in for a life-long process of remediation 😔

The more my attention was pulled out of my body, the less connection I had with my intuition. This may be one of the bigger tragedies few acknowledge–that we are losing our ability to listen to what our body needs.

I could not pay attention in the majority of my college lectures, where phones and laptops were freely welcomed. I worked my ass off for a 2.98 GPA, given that I was spending four (five? six?) hours per day on my phone alone. Social media and messaging apps made it so easy to stop and do something else whenever I hit a wall, preventing me from truly working hard and smart. I certainly didn’t “learn how to think,” and therefore struggled to develop strong foundations for advanced studies, mental models, personal values and opinions on pretty much anything. My sphere of caring about people and events did not extend past my peer groups on social media.

I can only imagine how much worse things would have been if I were born 10 years later. What if I had a fully loaded iPhone at age 11 instead of 21?

It’s really a tragedy that we have limitless potential, yet we squander our attention unknowingly to powerful interests, creeping their way into our inner worlds at an accelerating rate. We increasingly have less control over our thoughts and wellbeing than we realize. And that’s what fires me up: now that we have a better understanding of the impact of these products on people, wouldn’t their creators do something about it? What kind of digital world are we creating for our children? Apparently not one we feel comfortable having our kids play in 😖

It has taken me four years and counting of experimenting with dozens of combinations of apps and new habits–not to mention expensive and esoteric transformative experiences–to crawl myself out of these addictions and set up my own systems for success. Now what if our tools were simply designed that way?

Personal struggles gave me the capacity to care about solving a problem, which guided me to the place I am in today. I am grateful for the struggle. But I won’t stand for watching the next billion children have their wellbeing and humanity robbed from them.

Technology for humans being.

This is the story of my journey with Siempo, the phone for humans.

When one is immersed in a screen, they aren’t experiencing the worlds around and within them, which offer lots of useful information.

I wanted more people to understand this so they could feel better in an existence increasingly dominated by screens. Helping others find a healthy balance felt like a worthy endeavor, so I began working on a product to simultaneously solve my screen compulsion issues and scratch the note-taking itch. Buddhi (Sanskrit for “mind”) was a wearable that would let users get their thoughts down without having their phone on them💡

With Siempo I felt very aligned in working on something I was both passionate about and seemed important for the world.

I realized that Siempo was the perfect platform with which to start working towards this vision, and tapped into a previously inaccessible confidence that I could lead the team effort.

These visions dissolved a sense of self-doubt, stories that I wasn’t good enough or didn’t have something important to say. I realized trust in my authentic self in seeing that I would be a leader. I gained conviction that this was my time to shine, to kick things into high gear. I am the person to do this. I am an original, a connector, a creative. I am fearless and willing to suffer for this. I have the requisite experience, I live and breathe the mission because I personally struggled with digital addiction, and my focus on inner work allows me to think differently about business and product than other tech entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on the emerging opportunity.

Running the most important company on Earth.

This is the story that I have the privilege of writing.

In feeling a growing misalignment with my personal values from one early stage startup to another, I constantly questioned my place in the business world, and would repeatedly get into trouble for not conforming to the status quo.

I naturally gravitated towards the learning and development side of each organization I joined. People were always more interesting to me than decks and spreadsheets, so I would often raise my hand for training, culture and recruiting projects because I thoroughly enjoyed thinking about how to make the employee experience better than what I was enduring. I wanted people to feel comfortable being themselves in the workplace. It’s so unfortunate that we’re conditioned to construct false boundaries and wear masks that prevent us from relating on a deeper level.

If we can’t bring our whole selves to the office, then how can we perform to the best of our abilities and find meaning in our work?

In hindsight, these underwhelming work experiences served as important teachers. Each misgiving taught me an invaluable lesson about organizational and people development. Instead of blindly accepting the ways things were, I learned to listen to my inner compass and make decisions I felt in strong alignment with. Working in tech served as a key initiation to firsthand understand the faults and opportunities within the business world. As uncomfortable as these experiences have been, I’m grateful for the growth they have induced.

It is becoming critical to be mindful of how who one is and what they value will manifest in the team and product they create, and to be sensitive to how these creations might harm others in ways that are sometimes impossible to predict but always possible to stop. To truly care about all one’s stakeholders, internal and external.

As “conscious leadership” becomes in vogue, we are seeing executives focus on inner work and systems thinking, investors launching innovative impact funds, and the cultural conversation shifting towards more ethical design and corporate citizenship. Being a part of this movement gives our work new meaning, not only because we get to experiment at the leading edge of business and organizational innovation, but also because we can be a light for future entrepreneurs and teams eager to create in more wholesome, human ways. We find ourselves asking how we can measure success in different ways, make our product more accessible, collaborate with “competitors,” involve more of our community in decision making.

I can’t help but believe we have the resources, creativity and motivation to achieve a society that works for all; it’s just going to take many more of us to participate, and do so from a place of love rather than fear.

I’m still wrestling with these ideas, and claim no expertise on history, philosophy or economics, but am thrilled to apply a more holistic and human-centered approach to growing an organization and bringing a creation into the world that can help people get their lives back. I wake up every day knowing I am doing exactly what I am meant to do, and I draw power from being willing to consider alternative possibilities in all areas 🔭

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Andrew Murray Dunn

Andrew Murray Dunn

Regenerative Tech | Business | Culture | Life. Co-founder @getsiempo, Digital Wellness Collective, @Wharton Wisdom. www.andrewmurraydunn.com