Ankord Memo - March 27, 2024


March 27, 2024


Milan Kordestani

Entrepreneur, writer, and founder of 3 purpose-driven companies oriented toward giving individuals control over their own discourse and creation. Milan works to produce socially positive externalities through a mindset of social architecture.

Milan Kordestani

March 27, 2024

Milan Kordestani Profile Image

Milan Kordestani

Hi! I'm Milan, an LA based founder and writer, architecting impact-first businesses.

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Happy Spring Friends!

Since my last update, I took a trip back to the Bay Area to visit family and celebrate Nowruz, the Persian New Year! This joyful holiday coincides with the spring equinox every year, marking a time of doing away with the old and freshening up to allow for new beginnings. For my family, Nowruz involves visiting extended family and eating lots of incredible home-cooked food.

With the spring equinox has come so much pollen, thus the Bay Area's notorious allergy season threw a bit of a wrench in the festivities for me. As someone battling oak pollen allergens, the abundance of these majestic trees made for some sniffly days. The good news is, I'm actively working on allergy immunotherapy, which should offer significant relief in a few years! Until then, it's running back towards the palm trees in LA for me!

Ankord Media:

If you don’t know about my work as a writer and content creator, know that I’m a best-selling author and journalist who contributes regularly to Entrepreneur, Rolling Stone, and Forbes, championing conscious capitalism and innovation across industries. My first book, I'm Just Saying: A Guide to Maintaining Civil Discourse in an Increasingly Divided World, reached #2 on the Wall Street Journal’s Bestseller List in 2023, and I am working on a follow-up manuscript, focused on fostering moonshot moments.

From Milan the Author:

Ever since Michael Pollan's book blew my mind open to the world of psychedelics in 2022, I knew I would someday explore them further in my own writing. It's not just the therapeutic applications that intrigue me – I'm especially fascinated by the potential for psychedelics to unlock new avenues of thought, the kind of connections that fuel "moonshot moments" of innovation.  This feels like a new frontier in mental healthcare and our collective human evolution, thus I'm energized to delve deeper and share where the research (and my writing!) has been taking me, soon.

The book creation journey is nearing its end, and I'm buzzing with anticipation for the next step!  Reaching out to all the experts and previewers I’ve been reading along the way is just as exciting as finishing the book itself.  I can't wait to connect with them, delve deeper into their expertise, and hopefully create some thought-provoking content to share with you on my YouTube and social media!

From Milan the Content Creator:

My creative energy is currently laser-focused on two incredible projects. First, I'm neck-deep in the exciting world of moonshot moments for my upcoming book. It’ll be a thrilling exploration of all of my favorite research topics woven together, and I’ll be creating media to share some of the philosophies and interviews with professors whose research inspired me to write this book. Second, I'm collaborating with our amazing non-profit partners at Narratives to craft what I believe will be some of the most important storytelling of my life. Sharing unique interviews that foster empathy on the internet is deeply rewarding to me, and I can't wait to see this project come to life.

This Wednesday, I'm buzzing with anticipation for my interview with Quan Huynh, a formerly incarcerated individual who has defied the odds. Quan Huynh's journey is truly inspiring – after serving a life sentence, he's not only turned his own life around, but has also dedicated himself to helping others through Defy Ventures, a non-profit fighting recidivism with entrepreneurial training. His book, Sparrow in the Razor Wire: Finding Freedom from Within While Serving a Life Sentence, chronicles his path to self-discovery while behind bars.  My interview will delve into his experiences, from his childhood to his past as a murderer, with the aim of creating powerful content that sheds light on the possibility of redemption.

The past year since my book launch has been a rollercoaster. I've been hustling to create content, tirelessly marketing my book, and all the while, trying to figure out my niche and path as a content creator. It's been a period of exploration and experimentation, and there have definitely been moments of uncertainty. But recently, something has shifted. I feel a newfound clarity and surge of excitement for the content I'm about to create. It's like the frenetic energy of the past year has coalesced into a focused vision.  Part of this excitement stems from discovering my voice as an interviewer. I'm truly enjoying this new direction and the opportunity to delve into the stories of others.  Stay tuned, because I can't wait to share what I'm working on – I believe you'll find it refreshing and engaging.

Ankord Labs Weekly Spotlight:

Ankord Labs is a private venture studio where I incubate and invest in social impact startups. We partner with visionary CEOs who share our commitment to social good. Together, we engineer impactful companies that tackle real-world challenges faced by real people.Each week, I rotate highlights of the progress made at one of Ankord Labs’ featured startups. This week, the focus is Narratives: a 501(c)(3) content house and holding company, publishing a diverse set of interviews from people’s lives to showcase stories of redemption, personal growth, and struggle to create empathy online. Narratives is also a holding company of TheDoe, a publication sharing anonymous, heart-centered narratives to promote empathy across divides.

Narratives & The Doe:

The Narratives team is excited to announce a major step forward for our non-profit! After much work behind the scenes, we're gearing up to film our first ever interview with Quan Huynh of Defy Ventures. This meaningful talk will not only be the first official shoot for Narratives, but also our inaugural bylined interview across the holding company. This signifies a sprout of new growth for the organization as we move from concept to creation, sharing powerful bylined stories that foster empathy online.

At The Doe, we remain committed to sharing powerful narratives that spark conversation and challenge perspectives. Recently, two stories, "I'm a Woman Who's Sleeping With a Gay Man (Yes, He's Still Gay)" and "I Had an Affair While Pregnant. I'm So Grateful I Did," have ignited lively discussions on social media. These diverse experiences push boundaries of sexuality and women’s control over their sexuality. Thoughtful narratives like these encourage readers to grapple with complex emotions. We believe in the power of storytelling to foster empathy and understanding, even when the stories we share don't always provide easy answers.

Things I’m Reading:

Things I’m Watching/Listening To:

  • Dreamin - Jean Deaux, one of our Guin artists, has an R&B album coming out that is just so sensual you might just blush. Check out the first single, and put it on repeat until the album arrives!
  • Speaking of fresh sounds, I'm always on the hunt for new music to fuel my creativity.  This week's newsletter ignited a craving for some good R&B! Whether it's classic jams or fresh takes on the genre, I'd love to hear what you're into. Hit me with your favorite R&B artists or hidden gems – what are you currently grooving to? I’ll post my favorite new finds based on your recommendations!

Wrapping Up

As I spend more and more time writing my book, it's easy to see the profound connection between curiosity and strong mental health.  Research reminds me that opening the mind to unconstrained thinking can alleviate mental illness but also awaken meaningful curiosity and joyful wonder. Much like the journey of continuous learning when writing a book, curiosity hinges on a sense of wonder and the belief that there's still so much to uncover.  In sum, the moment we believe we know-it-all is the moment curiosity stagnates and we become depressed and anxious.

To keep your flame of exploration strong, embrace the practices that ignite your curiosity.  Devour books and content, explore new ideas, and don't be afraid to embark on adventures, both physical and mental. As you delve deeper, find ways to capture your discoveries, even if it's just a simple sketch or a weekly journal entry. The universe rewards the curious, along the path of chasing your curiosity, you’ll find so many gems that you couldn’t have even dreamed of.

Stay tuned for more explorations in the upcoming issues, and in the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. You all make this newsletter worth writing!

Until next week, stay curious!

Milan Kordestani

Milan Kordestani, a social entrepreneur and impact-driven founder, serves as the CEO of AnKord Labs, a startup incubator committed to fostering businesses that scale social impact at scale. With over 6 years of experience building predominantly technology-based startups, Milan architects and invests in co-founders who are deeply ethical, and compelled to contribute to making the world a better place. He is an avid contributor to several online publications, and his first book reached #2 on the Wall Street Journal’s Bestseller List. Milan's values are to scale conscious capitalism, and cultivate collaborative consensus to advance the species.