Great (Un)Expectations

Below is a very lightly edited version of a brief introduction I gave at the final presentation day for the second cohort of the AMP NYC media & entertainment accelerator program in New York.

I’d had a busy few days and showed up at the venue with nothing prepared at all. An hour before the session started I got going on my Morning Pages to riff a few ideas. 

The morning pages started with:

AMP NYC intro speech. 

Hmm. Not going well so far. I can improv it but better to have something down. 

Let’s just go with writing it.  No. Resistance kicking in. 

After a few minutes of absolutely nothing, and then a few rapidly aborted first lines, I remembered some conversations I’d had on expectations for groups. A quick search for Great Expectations brought up the juicy fact that the date coincided. The rest then came together in a few minutes. Phew. Thanks, Charles. 


157 years ago this week, Charles Dickens published his 13th novel. 

It told the story of someone going one from place to another, of daring to dream. 

While, like the novel, this program has some clear expectations (and some of them could be considered great expectations), I think about the inverse: the unclear, the unexpected. 

A little under 2 years ago I was living a fairly stable life in a pocket of East London. Now I unexpectedly find myself here in New York City, with the privilege of being able to go out and do this work with people like you, in the place I now call home. 

Designing this program we’ve learned to expect the unexpected; to be able to pivot and switch and respond when things inevitably change. 

Perhaps your experience during the last 10 weeks ago has been unexpected; did any of you expect to spend the first morning of the program telling 20 strangers about your greatest fears as a entrepreneurs? 

And in building a business, stepping out as founders and doing the work, the unexpected is always to be expected. 

So while we should rightly place some expectations on ourselves and each other, we all need to expect the unexpected on our respective journeys. 

Everything we’ve created for this program is designed for you to take with you on the journey; whether it’s resources, tools, my bad jokes, or the connections and community you’ve now become a part of. 

Today marks the end, but only of this chapter. Tomorrow the next one starts, and the journey continues. Onwards.

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