Tom Strange is on a mission to improve quality of life. His startup, Constellation AI, wants to enhance your ability to evaluate life, see your choices and make better decisions, via a new app called imi.
Empowering people is central to Tom’s life, and it shows in Constellation. imi is like your digital, AI-powered, mind: designed to extend your own intelligence to help you become more capable over time. It’s all about furthering human potential and benefiting humanity in the long-term.
In part two of seven insights, Tom shares his life-changing ethos: to set purpose and jump in to the unknown.
How has your professional background led you to where you are today?
Initially, I followed in my grandparents’ footsteps and joined the police force. I saw it as a way to help people but it quickly became clear the culture of the force would limit the positive impact I could have. As a union representative I became a voice for colleagues and stood up for those around me, but there was very little room to affect change. It was also incongruent with my personal values. I witnessed, what I considered to be, discrimination and heavy-handedness that I didn’t agree was necessary. I was once sternly reproached for not using force with a detainee and it just didn’t feel right to me.
I resigned from the force to further my education, receiving a first-class Marketing and Accounting degree. I’d hoped to work in investment banking, but this was 2009 and the financial crisis had rocked the financial world, limiting opportunities. I landed in Deloitte and studied militantly to become an ICAEW, Associate Chartered Accountant and subsequently self-fund and fly through the CFA Institute, Chartered Financial Analyst L1.
This phase of my career was rich in experience, spanning Audit & Assurance and Mergers & Acquisitions. I worked with companies in tech, media, telecoms, energy, biotech, consumer products and luxury goods advising global brands such as Red Bull Racing, Dior and Moet Hennessy. In M&A, I mostly helped entrepreneurs get value from their life’s work in sub-£100 million mergers, acquisitions and private equity backed deals. I launched a consultancy and advised start-ups and accelerators too.
One of the most powerful lessons I received during this time is now my enduring ethos: the most important way to shape your future is to decide clearly what you what, why it must absolutely happen and then take massive action toward that outcome. Do not question your ability or over-think how to do it. I learnt this by modelling the successful entrepreneurs I’d been fortunate to support, who accelerated my own ability and shaped my thinking. Living by this ethos, life has unfolded for me in profound ways. Often people think, ‘why it must absolutely happen’ is the same as ‘why you want it’, but to want something isn’t enough. We all want things and don’t get them. When you decide it’s a ‘must’, with no other option, it happens.
You can achieve success, by society’s definition, and yet feel that you have so much more to offer the world that lies unfulfilled. I could see where my life was heading; thirty, forty, fifty or more years into the future; and it led only to regret. The regret of not living congruently with my true nature or purpose was far greater than any fear about stepping into the unknown. It gave me powerful, emotional leverage to act, take the lessons and move forward.
The regret of not fulfilling your purpose will always be greater than fear of the unknown. Decide what you want from life and why it must absolutely happen. Take massive action towards it, without over-thinking or doubting your own abilities.
This is part 2 of 7. Part 3 of the series will be available here on Friday 28th September.
imi is currently in beta testing stage. Sign up here for the wait list.