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Strong opinions, loosely held. Burgess explores topics ranging from mental health to marketing to climate change.

When you know what you want, then you have to do something about it.

you don’t actually want to know what you want
PC: 贝莉儿 DANIST Unsplash

What job do you want? Are you happy in your relationship? If you had to choose one life goal, what would it be? What if you had to tell me right now?

I’m not Yo-Yo Ma with the cello. What the hell do I know?

If your answer is some version of “I have no freaking idea,” you’re not alone. In fact, you’re in the majority.

But you do know — just not consciously. In your subconscious, you’ll find faint desires too scary/embarrassing to admit to yourself.

Why? If you allowed yourself to know your passion, then you would have…

Time does not heal all wounds. Real loss ripples into the future. And resilience is my biggest strength.

loss of mother
PC: Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash

It’s been thirteen years since my mother died. I bring up time not because time heals all wounds (it doesn't). Instead, the distance between my mother’s death and my present reality has shown me how the loss of a mother cascades through your life, affecting the very nature of who you are.

Like only children who have never had a sibling, you don’t know what an alternate reality — one in which you have both parents — would look like.

I would be a different person had I not lost my mother, but in what ways?

Though I have no…

Yes, but at what cost?

New York City and Climate Change
Photo by Dee Willi from Pexels

Compared to the West Coast, New York feels like a climate paradise.

For starters, it rains here — and frequently. The tap water is good and (seemingly) unlimited. The park grass is naturally green. While it’s muggy, there’s no talk of Wet Bulb temperatures — at least for now.

But crossing the many bridges from Park Slope into Gowanus, a swamp-turned-industrial zone turned-hipster hotspot in Brooklyn, I see the water lapping against the land, secured only with rotting wood.

New York has 520 miles of coastline, and much of Brooklyn and Manhattan is built on landfill or swampland.

During tropical…

The universe favors those who act. What price are you paying for inaction?

After undergoing torture, Evey Hammond, the protagonist in V for Vendetta, lifts her arms up in the rain and starts laughing. Since I saw that scene as a child, I always envied Evey, who managed, with a few short weeks of torture, to conquer fear.

reducing fear

Fear keeps part of us hidden from ourselves.

Unwittingly, you may not know what you most want because you’re afraid of it.

Knowledge requires action: If you knew what you most wanted, you would be forced to act upon it, or live with the burden of doing nothing. …

Climate change is a series of rising inconveniences. If you live in the following places, it’s time to pack your bags.

San Francisco, 2020.

Don’t be caught flat-footed by climate catastrophe.

Take me, for example. I live in an elevated part of New York that (probably) won’t flood in my lifetime.

Despite this, I depend on subway lines that go through the Financial District, Downtown Manhattan, Greenpoint, and Williamsburg — all of which are predicted to flood regularly or be partially underwater in the upcoming decades.

I depend on a road that flooded last week thanks to tropical storm Elsa to get out of my borough. …

Mid-pandemic, I drove from Massachusetts to Texas and back. In dozens of hours on the road, I learned a few things that they don’t teach you up North.

I am but a version of “American,” and my version is the minority.

As humans, we mar the landscape of our beautiful country.

Our country is divided — but not just on political lines.

Slapped in the face with how out-of-touch and privileged I am, I felt the uncomfortable growing pains that come from seeing yourself. Here is what I learned driving across a country that is far from mine.

alien in my own country
Don’t mistake your America for everyone else’s.

The America I Know Ends at Virginia

This isn’t…

Through technology, the world has been reshaped to benefit introverts. Expect the balance of wealth and power to shift accordingly.

For as long as I can remember, and seemingly for all of human history, being an extrovert was better. They sweet-talked their way into promotions, relationships, and in and out of trouble. They made rooms erupt with laughter and shared beers with their bosses and coworkers.

Being “better” at a job was no sure way to get promoted. The job/girl/house/best slice of pie went to the loudest and most charming.

rise of introverts
Unsplash: Valentin Kremer (edited by Burgess Powell)

A World No Longer Ruled by the Loudest

But we are in the midst of a tectonic shift.

  • High-paying careers favor those with the stomach for deep, solitary work.
  • In-person schmoozing has taken a backseat to an online…

There is no good reason to move to climate-vulnerable places.

las vegas climate change
Las Vegas, Nevada. PC: Skyhobo, Getty Images Signature.

On June 17th, 2021, it was 118°F in Phoenix, Arizona — a temperature best described as “scorched earth” or “smote down from God” hot.

Phoenix’s record-breaking temperature comes hot off a trail of six, 110°F and higher days — a reality almost as disturbing as the fact that Phoenix is one of our nation’s fastest-growing cities.

It’s one thing to retire to the South or West. It’s another for millennials to move there in 2021.

How did we become so divorced from reality?

Many of the Fastest Growing U.S. Cities Will Be Most Impacted by Climate Change

Miami, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and to a lesser degree Austin and Salt Lake City, have one big…

Focus your efforts, trust your gut, and ignore the ‘experts’.

Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

Marketing for small businesses is never easy — especially for those (rightfully) more invested in creating a product than posting to their social media accounts.

I don’t know a single entrepreneur who isn’t overwhelmed with more critical tasks than AB testing Facebook Ads messaging/staying up-to-date on Google algorithmic updates/[insert essential but time-consuming SEO/social media activity here].

And because few entrepreneurs have the time or the inclination to lead their marketing efforts, I see these small business marketing mistakes all the damn time.

Small business owners out there, stop doing these eight things.

1. Don’t Trust the “Experts.”

Marketing is a snakepit. Many marketers are more…

Move over cypherpunks. The value of cryptocurrency is now top-of-mind for your parents.

When you (or your parents) start asking about the long-term value of cryptocurrency, you leave, not with answers or a feeling of security, but with insight into the fragility of existing systems.

‘Why does Bitcoin (BTC) have value?’ becomes ‘Why does the U.S. Dollar have value?’

‘What do blockchains do?’ becomes ‘What will happen to lawyers/realtors/credit card companies in 10 years?’

‘Isn’t Bitcoin bad for the environment?’ becomes ‘How ecologically destructive is our current financial system?’ and ‘Who is paying for these anti-Bitcoin articles?’

Weary millennials tired of explaining cryptocurrency to your parents, this article is for you. …

Burgess Powell

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