I took a break or sabbatical from Spinning Forward without knowing it. At first, it was about taking care of my health, which my doctor says is back to normal now. Then, it was about completing a few entrepreneurial programs and fellowships. I decided to stop writing and instead talk and listen to my audience. I spoke to students, professionals, parents, educators, and some businesses folks.

I learned young people and creators of color care deeply about issues in their cities like food insecurity, housing and affordability, financial insecurity, education, career, public transit, violence, mental health and many others. That’s in addition to many topics on how to succeed in the online world. Many Gen Z and Millennials feel decision-makers don't care what they think, which is one reason why so many are online. For many, being online is how they find community, while for others, it's their main side hustle. Parents and educators are also concerned and want young people to find their footing and succeed.

From the community listening, I learned people want more audio and video stories, which starts soon. They want to hear more stories about how creators of color find their way in real life and online. We'll also plan to send short surveys asking what topics interest you.

I interviewed Kyle Kim and Michael Jibrin, two remarkable creators and beautiful people. It’s a privilege to share their story. This issue is inspired by Kyle and Michael. It’s for anyone who has ever put something off for too long. No matter how small or foolish you think it is, “Just Start”!

⌚Approximate reading time is 10 minutes.


➡️ If it’s never too late to start, then why start now?

➡️ Some young Canadians would rather die earlier or not have sex than lose social media.

➡️ Hollywood is on strike.


"I appreciate people who start because I know in time, they're not going to be where they are, because they started that journey."

-Michael Jibrin, Actor, Writer and Podcaster (Source: Just Start)

“My advice to creators is to just start. It's important to keep creating because it's going to bring you order out of chaos. It's going to give you meaning and make you live. Keep your day job because that experience will combine with your creative urge and the two worlds will create a new thing.”

-Kyle Kim, Filmmaker and YouTuber


If it’s never too late to start, then why start now?

Why so serious? So many creatives take forever to start because it’s got to be perfect. It’s the most important thing. What if tomorrow never comes?

“Some things are too important to be taken seriously.” ― Oscar Wilde

I remember watching a Warren Buffet talk to students. He asked them what one quality should you look for in a spouse. He mentioned the most popular choices:

"Do you look for brains? Do you look for humor? Do you look for character? Do you look for beauty?"

Buffett answered no. Instead, he said,

"You look for low expectations! That's a marriage that's gonna last".

If both partners don’t wait so long and enter with lower expectations, the marriage is more likely to work.

Why do creatives take themselves so seriously and wait for the perfect moment?

Start small, play for fun: Rick Rubin, the legendary American record executive and producer who produced albums for acts like the Beastie Boys, Run-DMC, Public Enemy and LL Cool J, has a new book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being. He says most creatives get stuck when they begin a work, complete a work or share a work. They're convinced what they're working on is the most important thing in their life and that it will define them for eternity. It’s easy to see how putting so much pressure on themselves can backfire.

Rubin recommends you lower the stakes and view your creation as a small work, an experiment or a beginning. He says,

"If you start from the position that there is no right or wrong, no good or bad, and creativity is just free play with no rules, it’s easier to submerge yourself joyfully in the process of making things. ... We’re not playing to win, we’re playing to play. And ultimately, playing is fun. Perfectionism gets in the way of fun. ... Setting the bar low, especially to get started, frees you to play, explore, and test without attachment to results… Active play and experimentation until we’re happily surprised is how the best work reveals itself. ―Rick Rubin

Who's got your back? We live in the most connected technological time. Yet, more people than ever are lonely and say they have no real friends today.

What makes a good life? Dr. Bob Waldinger and Marc Schulzm, published a new book called The Good Life: Lessons from the World's Longest Scientific Study of Happiness. The authors, part of an 85 year long study, the Harvard Study of Adult Development, have been tracking the lives of 724 Americans over three generations on what makes a good life.

Everyone needs someone: Waldinger in a TED talk, said, “Everyone needs at least one person they can call on in the middle of the night if they are sick, or scared. People who are more socially connected and who have good, authentic relationships are the healthiest and happiest. They are more insulated against stress, depression, and cognitive decline. What matters is not where you connect but how you connect with other people.

He recommends making a list of your closest friends, family, and acquaintances not based on importance or success but instead on how they affect you daily, weekly or monthly. What matters are people who consistently energize you, regardless of how frequently you see them.

Call To Action for a Good Life: Waldinger suggests doing a simple exercise that involves reconnecting with someone from your past. Think about someone you miss, someone you haven't seen in a while. Email or text them with a message like this:

"I'm thinking of you and wanted to connect."

Then watch what happens next and engage.

Start by engaging in the comments section: Creators meet and connect in the most unusual places, which is how Kyle Kim and Michael Jibrin met. Kyle Kim, a Toronto-based Korean YouTuber and filmmaker, has been creating videos for fun as his side hustle for more than ten years. Michael Jibrin, is a Nigerian actor, filmmaker and podcaster based in Boston who has been been a creative for about ten years. Jibrin stumbled on one of Kim's YouTube videos early in the pandemic and reached out in the comments section to talk shop about cameras. The conversation quickly moved to Instagram chat and then to phone and video calls. Jibrin interviewed Kim for his podcast, "Road to the City".

Just Start: Then, in 2022, Kim was invited to a Christian conference as a guest speaker in Boston and met up with Jibrin. Incidentally, Kim has a full time job as a video editor and is also a pastor at a Korean church in Toronto.

In Boston, the two creators met for the first time in-person. They spent the day together, eating and talking about their lives without really having a concept for "Just Start", a 6-minute video they made for Kim’s YouTube channel that's been watched by almost half a million people.

Kim told me there was no plan for the video, but he and Jibrin shared a common thread in their story as struggling immigrants desperate to find their place and belonging in their adopted countries. Kim said,

"We needed to learn how to survive, how to create and and how to strive as creatives". ― Kyle Kim

Jibrin told me that nothing was planned when they met to make the video:

"We were two people with no expectations. There was no end goal. It took two years of back and forth. When we made that video, it wasn't scripted. .. If you find someone and you're curious about the person. If you're interested to know what they're doing, then over time, just ask them. ―Michael Jibrin

Jibrin sums up the magic of connecting and starting a new relationship with someone without worrying about what might happen:

"It wasn't planned. I think that's the beauty of life - is that we just do things and not know what comes - but then end up being surprised by the beauty of what comes out of this." ― Michael Jibrin

Asked what advice Kim would give to young and aspiring creators who feel lost and overwhelmed, he has two simple words for them:

"Just Start"


What if imagining your future made you healthier, happier and richer?

After Kyle Kim immigrated to Canada at the age of 16, he felt lost and confused in his new home. Fellow creator, Michael Jibrin asked Kim on his podcast,

”If there was one thing you could tell your younger self at 16 years old, what would that thing be?”

Kim recounted an evening two months after arriving as newcomer in Toronto about two decades ago at the age of 16. Kim at the time couldn’t see past those hard times. His future self reflects on what he would have told his 16-year-old self.

”This was a long night because I felt homesick and I was struggling. I was struggling to fit in, learn the new language. School just started and it was hard for me. I went out not knowing where to go and just wandered around the city. I just went to this shop and got a soda, opened it and drank it.

If I could go back to that moment to myself, I would tell myself you'll be okay. You'll be Canadian. Don't worry, you'll be a proud Korean Canadian that speaks for yourself and for your nation, both Korean and Canadian. And you'll have family in the future. So don't worry, tonight it's going to be over. That's one thing I want to tell myself.

Kelly McGonigal, in her book “The Willpower Instinct”, referenced research which found that when people think about and connect more closely with their future self, it can have profound consequences on their health, happiness and financial wellbeing. Similarly when people feel disconnected and more distant with their future selves, they are more likely to act unethically or break good habits and generally create more problems and headaches for their current self.

In other words, don’t be a stranger and feel so removed from your future self. Get to know your future self as an extension of who you are and will become because it means you’re more likely to invest in yourself now. McGonigal suggests doing an exercise that may help you align and make your future self feel more real and connected with your present self.

Future Self Exercise: Pick a date in the future to autmatically send yourself an email using the free website Think about your hopes and a goal that you want to achieve for your future self by that date. Imagine your future self looking back on your present self. What might your future self be thankful and grateful for because you started today, no matter how small? Studies show that the act of reflecting and writing this kind of letter will help you connect with your future self and boost your present self’s willpower. Try it!


📱 🇨🇦 What would you give up to stay online: University of Windsor researchers in a 2023 study asked 750 Canadians between 16-30 years old what they would be willing to give up to maintain their social media connections. The hosts of The View TV show had a good laugh discussing the results:

  • 40% would give up caffeine, alcohol and video games.
  • 30% would give up playing sports, watching TV and eating at their favourite restaurant for an entire year.
  • 10% would accept being unable to have children, give up sex or give up one year of their life.
  • 5% would give up five years of their life and 3% would give up ten.

🇨🇦 🇺🇸 Hollywood on strike: On July 15, Hollywood actors started to strike, joining film and TV writers who went on strike this past May. Of the many contentious issues, the biggest sticking points is the SAG-AFTRA union's demand for 2% of the revenue be paid to performers from revenue generated from streaming shows. Another issue is that studios need to get consent from a performer when they use their performances to train an AI system. Writers also want guarantees that they will not be replaced by AI. Justine Bateman, an actor, writer, director, and producer who also has a computer science degree, wrote a op-ed about how AI in the arts will destroy the film industry. She believes the public has been conditioned for AI images and film because, their "eyes have been trained on faces that have been amended by plastic surgery, by Instagram and TikTok filters. The strike will likely have a negative impact in Toronto and other cities on productions that employ talent in Canada and the US. It will also reduce celebrity appearances at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which runs from for Sept. 7 to 17.

🚫 🇺🇸 🌎 TikTok Bans: In December of 2022, TikTok admitted to spying on journalists to track down their sources. Since then, governments around the world have restricted access to TikTok in Canada, the US, the UK, Europe, New Zealand, Australia, and Taiwan on government-issued mobile devices due to privacy and cybersecurity concerns. Ontario and the City of Toronto banned TikTok from government-issued devices. In May 2023, Montana became the first state in the US to ban TikTok for all residents, which goes into effect January 1, 2024. Tiktok creators are suing to overturn Montana's statewide ban citing it violates First Amendment free speech rights while TikTok revealed it is paying their legal costs.

📽️ The YouTube Effect, a documentary, directed by filmmaker, Alex Winter, covers the rise of YouTube in 2005 to its three billion daily views today. It features interviews with YouTube creators, users, executives, and critics. It explores the rise of online celebrity, the spread of misinformation and hate speech, the exploitation of children and how technology creates community for better and for worse. The film is being re-released July 14 in selected US theatres and will stream on the education platform, Kanopy in August in Canada and the US.

📱Instagram's Threads Daily Engagement Drops: Last week, Meta rolled out Threads, a new app like Twitter. It got over 100 million downloads in less than a week. Gizmodo reports daily active users for Threads dropped by more than 50% from 20 to 8 minutes. Sriram Krishnan, of Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm wrote a New York Times op-ed about how social media platforms are in the midst of major innovation and chaos today and for the foreseeable future.

🌐 🇨🇦 How Canadian women use social media and thoughts on Influencers: University of Windsor researchers in a 2023 study asked 750 Canadians, mostly women, about their social media use and what they think of social media influencers.

  • 95% access at least two social media accounts, with Instagram, YouTube and Facebook being the top three.
  • Half check their social media nine or more times a day, mostly in the morning and evening.
  • 75% want to become social media influencers citing money, access to new products or services and being fun as their three top reasons.
  • Most are not aware of the challenges and negatives like increased government intervention and new laws, the unpredictability of algorithms, inconsistent earnings and the lack of regulation, training and support.