Pinksocks Life, Inc. is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organization focused on promoting human connection around the world by socially supporting other public charities. The pinksocks movement empowers people from all walks of life to connect with anyone, anywhere, by creating a global tribe of pinksocks-wearing people who are focused on empathy, caring, and love. The movement has been decommoditized from its beginning in 2015 – all pinksocks are gifts. Every connection made between the gift giver and recipient is based on an authentic connection, not a transaction.
We’re a community of over 100,000 happy smiley people who are united in changing the world from the ground up, with heart speak, hugs, and gifting. The pinksocks movement began in healthcare, and is now growing in all kinds of industries around the world! We’re all about working together to activate solutions to help move us forward. Politics, bureaucracies, and legacy systems have unfortunately done the polar opposite of what each of us as humans want……which is to be connected!
We all have to work together to pull this off. There’s a difference between having the socks and wearing the socks. Don’t forget the moment when you first received your pinksocks. Someone shared space with you and looked into your eyes and told you the truth – that you’re awesome. And, yes we are!
So, here’s how the pinksocks movement began. I went to Burning Man for the first time in 2010 to disconnect. To unplug. I found 70K people living in heart space without the construct of judgment or prejudice or fear. 70K people having 70K unique experiences. The art, the music, the people, the desert, the heat, the cold, the sunrises, the sunsets, the stars…..it was all mind blowing…..but more importantly it blew my heart wide open! What an amazing experience to find that we can all live as one and treat each other with love and kindness. If it can happen for a week in the desert, can it be replicated year round in the cities that Burners return home to? Ask a Burner, and we will say “Yes!”
Burning Man becomes “Black Rock City” the 5th largest city in the state of Nevada for one week out of the year. The city is self governed by 10 principles. One of my favorite principles on the playa is “Gifting”. A gift can be fresh water, a beer, a back rub, a bracelet or a necklace, pancakes, or bacon. The principle of gifting does not require quid pro quo. If you give me something, I don’t have to give you a gift in return. A person’s accepting the other’s gift IS the gift. Accepting with gratitude and love. Seeing, really seeing, the other person in that moment…..that’s the magic!
It’s from the principle of gifting that the pinksocks were born. When you wear a kilt, you have to wear fun socks. My friend, and co-founder at a healthtech startup, Andrew Richards and I were on a business trip to San Francisco trying to raise money from some bay area VCs. There was an adorable older couple from Israel whom we met at the hotel one morning over coffee.
The husband’s name was Shlomo and he had one of the most awesome smiles! Full of loving energy and joy. He was crazy about the robot monkey socks I was wearing. I had a new pair in my bag that I hadn’t worn yet, so I gave them to Shlomo as a gift. And, I remembered…..I felt…..how amazing the connection between two people can be from gifting!
Andrew and I attended a healthcare conference in Chicago in 2015. There were over 40K attendees at the event. And, as we prepared to go we packed our bags full of what had turned out to be the crowd favorites every time I wore them – the pinksocks with the mustaches. Every time someone came up to us and commented on our socks and asked us about them…..we reached into our bags and gave them a pair of pinksocks.
When I gift the socks, I always look the other person in the eyes and say “Every time you wear your pinksocks you’re going to make people smile! People will come up to you and ask you about your pinksocks. That’s your opportunity to connect with another person, that had you not have been wearing your pinksocks that day, the two of you would have missed each other in the universe. Don’t miss that moment to connect and share space! Get off your bike, stay on the train or bus for another stop, look each other in the eyes and connect. That’s what we’re here for! Don’t miss it!”
The first person we gifted a pair of pinksocks to was Eric Topol. Dr. Topol is a world renowned physician, scientist, and author…..and he has a huge Twitter following. I asked him if we could take a picture together with his pinksocks so I could tweet it, he said yes, and then he retweeted it to his followers and the next thing I knew people were coming up to me asking me what my story was and could they have some pinksocks.
We continued to attend conferences and gift pinksocks. Some of the most important and influential people in healthcare have them…..even an astronaut who piloted the space shuttle wears pinksocks!
For me, I enjoy the moment of connecting with another person. Seeing them smile and us both sitting in the space of gratitude and oneness even if it is only for that moment. My intentions never were about disrupting healthcare…..it was and still is…..simply about having fun and sharing a connection with someone else.
The pinksocks tribe represents all walks of life. We’re literally around the world at this point. Somewhere along the way someone assigned a meaning to the pinksocks saying that anyone that wears them is disrupting healthcare from the ground up. To me the pinksocks are a lot like Burning Man, whatever they mean for you is what they mean.
Pinksocks bring the relationship back to what it should be…..a shared moment in time. To understand that we are all in this together. That we’re all working together toward a shared and common goal. The pinksocks are our reminder that shared connection is what it’s all about. Have fun! Smile! Give hugs! Life, it’s happening right now! Don’t miss it!