MojoMonday – Impressed Customer befriends ChickFilA Employee, Builds Home for Him.

Embody the change you wish to see in the world.

Welcome back to the CenterOfGravity Blog, I’ll be navigating these wild swells right along side you my friends. I hope you all had a safe and exciting weekend.

Today is MojoMonday, and I stumbled across an extremely inspiring story of kindness in my browsing. Enter Bryan Smith & Shakeel Williams.

One thing I’m always blown away by is the level of service offered at ChickFilA. The employees are always helpful, chipper, and extremely organized. It’s a welcome change from the typical low quality service experienced at the majority of fast food chains the world over.  ChickFilA has a fantastic vetting, training, and retention rate amongst the fast food contenders.

Bryan Smith was another such patron that was wowed by the service and experience that he had when he visited the ChickFilA that Shakeel Williams works at. After a brief discussion, the two kept in near constant contact after the encounter. Bryan later discovered that Shakeel was afflicted with Sickle Cell Anemia, a disease that affects primarily the African American Community. 

With medical bills piling up, Shakeel was fighting to make ends meet while also fighting for his life. A truly daunting battle for someone, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Medical bills are crushing to the average Americans finances, and lifelong illnesses such as this only compound the financial blow. It’s extremely difficult to build wealth when facing such a predicament, and this often perpetuates the cycle of poverty.

Over time, as their friendship grew, Bryan started paying some of Shakeel’s medical bills to help him get a leg up. Shortly thereafter, Bryan decided he would take his generosity to the next level. 

He decided to pull out all the stops, and eventually surprises Shakeel and his family with a home of their own. They could finally leave the dilapidated trailer their entire family shared, a blessing in a time of general animosity and mistrust amongst the populace. 

It is truly amazing that even during these times of turbulence, people like Bryan are breaking from the perceived norm and showing us that generosity and care will always trump greed and selfishness. We should try to emulate this spirit of giving, large or small, as often as we are able to. This is the root of what really makes America great, the love and compassion we show for our fellow man.


ThoughtfulThursday – Michelin Star Ranked Restaurant Dishwasher Promoted to…Partner?

Noma Restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark

Ladies & Gentlemen, welcome to ThoughtfulThursday at the Center of Gravity Blog! It’s time for a break from the constant negativity swirling around us, and I believe I have just the anecdote to do that.

Today I want to discuss a truly inspiring story I stumbled across in my morning browsing. The concept of going ” from the mailroom to the boardroom” is what was thought to be a uniquely American ambition. That is, the ability to start at the bottom of the ladder and advance all the way to the top via a merit- based system or recognition & reward. This, to me, is the quintessential American dream. Such a trajectory was recently realized when the 2 Michelin Star Ranked restaurant Noma declared they were promoting their long time dishwasher to a partner position in the business. 

The restaurant, which is based in Copenhagen, has been voted best restaurant in the world three times in a row by Restaurant Magazine and is know for its exquisite and unique dishes that challenge and invigorate the palate. The owner/chef René Redzepi is a mastermind of the kitchen, and decided his long time dishwasher Ali Sonko had earned his stripes after a long tenure of dedicated service. He immigrated from Gambia and has 12 children that all rely upon him. 

At 62, Ali has been in Copenhagen at the direction of René since he immigrated in 2003. Despite coming from an impoverished area with little to his name, he grinded everyday and persevered to obtain the full trust and confidence of the owner and staff. He has become a household name not only at the restaurant, but the entire local community. 

It is my sincerest hope that we as a country can continue to build up and inspire people in a similar fashion as Ali. His drive and grit pushed him through a time and situation that would’ve broken many others in a similar set of circumstances. It also speaks as a testament that hard work and loyalty can still take you anywhere in this world, regardless of your country of origin, beliefs, and ethnicity. Truly inspiring.

Bravo Ali, and best of luck in your new role as partner ! 

WildWednesday – New CO Music Fest by Coachella/Bonnaroo 

Hello there!  Welcome to The Center of Gravity! 

Today is WildWednesday and we’re going to briefly discuss the new festival in the works from AEG Live and Superfly (Coachella/Bonnaroo). These are some of the titans in the festival industry known to bring out some of the most popular acts in the electronic music, indy , and alt-rock genres. 
The state is ripe for a festival of this caliber, and the potential locations in Denver & Westminster are more than capable of handling a major event should the local communities approve. Obviously there will be a huge economic benefit in bringing out of state visitors to a large festival, and the well off millennial population of Denver would be easily swayed into attending something so close. 

Some big criticisms that could be raised are the general belief of decline in lineup quality and the prospect that the music festival scene is starting to be a bit bubblicious. Although the genre/scene generates massive profits for those with solid brands and deep pockets to finance costly events, there has been a massive influx in festival creation over the past few years. The supply of events is saturated, and the organizers are chasing fewer and fewer dollars as the industry begins to mature. 

Luckily the veteran teams running these organizations have many years of experience orchestrating successful events. Keys to success in this new venture are thus:

  1. Ensure adequate care is taken to review feedback/suggestions from past patrons of their other festivals.
  2. Understand the changing climate of the scene itself and adjust as necessary. 
  3. Bring up fresh acts that have a chance to get some exposure, as opposed to booking the same stale headliners/middle acts. 

I’m very interested to watch and see how this fest will be constructed from the ground up, and hope that they will listen to the fans when it comes to lineups and location. Additionally, there will be and artistic component that I truly hope is given the attention it deserves. Good music festivals have solid acts, great festivals build a theme and aesthetic that you’ll never forget. 

The Center of Gravity w/ Nick

Welcome to The Center of Gravity!

I’ll be your host for the evening, and yes we could experience some turbulence as we hurdle headlong through infinity at an unthinkable velocity.

Everyday, we are presented with vastly differing opinions, viewpoints, and stances on a gamut of issues affecting each and every one of our lives. Although we may feel deeply rooted in our belief systems for a multitude of reasons, we must learn as a collective that the purest truth is most commonly found in the shades of grey encompassing the middle ground, which is typically no-mans land in todays sociopolitical climate.

It is my firm belief that by hanging up our swords and shields at the door of dialogue we can slowly erode the walls of ignorance. One thing that I keep in mind when speaking to or debating those with conflicting viewpoints is that everyone experiences a completely unique set of circumstances that brought them to where they are today. We find little benefit overall in reducing our communication to simple insults and slights. There is so much to gain when we take the time to respect our fellow man enough to hear their concerns with open minds instead of daggers and arrows.

My goal is to never shut down someone simply for their point of view, but to first tease out how they crystallized their volitions in the first place.  You cannot build from the ramparts, it starts in the ground with every last piece of brick, mortar, and soil that encompasses the foundation. The roots of our lives run deep into the dirt, which is where you’ll find the origins of our fear that manifests as irrationality. This is where we will begin.

Today is the first day of the weekly roundup, aptly titled “Mojo-Monday.”  l’d briefly talk about a topic relating to something I find inspirational and open things up for discussion and comments. The list below breaks down each day and the associated topics that could potentially be covered.

  • MojoMonday – Inspiration/Creativity to stoke the week
  • TechTuesday – Mind bending research and other science/tech
  • WildWednesday – Action, Sports, and Events
  • ThoughtfulThursday – Acts of kindness/Good deeds
  • FreshFriday – Startup chatter & Think-tank

In the near future I’ll be live on Periscope talking about the topic of the day, fielding questions, and fending off the trolls. I’ll also be answering questions that are emailed or DMed to me via Twitter so feel free to throw in something relevant to the topic (or not). Thank you for taking the time to visit, and I hope you will stop by again.


Feel Free to email me or follow me on Twitter as well!

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