Productize Your Purpose

Monetize Your Mojo

Tim Parsa
7 min readFeb 9, 2021


There’s a Venn diagram meme that has inspired millions to search for “ikigai.”

Meme/Market Fit

The meme is a treasure map. Also a self-improvement guide. Study it and you’ll likely share it. Share it with someone who is stuck.

Actionable Wisdom + Japanese Word

The diagram asks you to answer four questions to reach “ikigai”:

  • What do you love to do?
  • What does the world need from you?
  • What are you good at doing?
  • What can you get paid for?

The meme is a treasure map because the Internet can connect whatever you love to do and are good at doing to 4BN+ potential clients who will pay you for it.

Mind Virus Origin

Ikigai is an ancient Japanese concept meaning, roughly, “having a day-to-day life purpose that makes you happy to get out of bed in the morning.”

It was popularized as a word (but arguably maimed as an idea) by the Venn diagram meme’s creator Marc Winn, an unlocker of potential in people, organizations, and islands, most notably Guernsey where he lives.

On May 14, 2014 Winn published a blog post with the meme titled: “What is Your Ikigai?”

It included the original mind virus, a mash-up of the word ikigai and the “Venn Diagram of Purpose” created in 2011 by Andres Zuzunaga, a Spanish hacker/astrologer.

How it Started

Zuzunaga manifested the original Venn Diagram of Purpose (in his native Spanish) in 2011, first sharing it on Facebook in 2012.

Where it came from.

Proposito means purpose in Spanish. Winn heard about ikigai from a Ted X talk in 2009.

The four circle Venn diagram (albeit with Bliss rather than Purpose at the center) was first manifested by a kindergarten teacher and artist from Denver, Colorado named Dorothy Shapland in 2011.

It was inspired by a lineage of three-circle Venn Diagrams, some of which seem to have evolved independently, most notably this version created in 2009 by organizational strategist Bud Caddell.

Hooray Venn Diagram.

The earliest precursor meme I found was the Hedgehog Concept by business advice author Jim Collins from his 2001 book Good to Great.

Enter the Hedgehog Zone

Why was Winn’s meme so much more virulent than its progenitors? Two factors are likely: it was more infectious (the addition of the fourth circle and a catchy/mysterious hook at the center) and it was easier to spread due to Facebook user growth.

Many of those exposed searched online for “ikigai,” anchoring the meme (albeit erroneously) in an ancient Japanese tradition. The historic legitimacy mistakenly conferred probably increased the meme’s virulence.

Ikigai Ted Talk (2009) X Purpose Diagram (2011) = Viral Meme (2014)

Tens of millions have posted and shared Winn’s Ikigai/Purpose mash-up. Hundreds of creators have been inspired to publish blogs, make videos, teach courses, write books, and record podcasts.

The meme spawned an ecosystem of super-spreaders.

Improvement Pill

Hustle Asana

I first saw the meme in December 2020 on my Twitter timeline. It reminded me of these yoga asana magnets I have on my fridge. Both are colorful and easy-to-follow guides.

Yoga Asana Guide

The logic of the intersecting circles struck me as both clever and profound. For the previous 18 months I’d been living in the “get paid for” circle, iterating on Slyk, an e-commerce platform and money network.

The descriptions of the four areas just outside the center struck me as familiar archetypes of individuals struggling to monetize their talents. I’d been onboarding users to our private beta from all those stuck spots, trying to figure out who needs Slyk the most.

A few weeks ago I mutated the meme for an all-hands meeting, adding labels to the close-but-no-ikigai spots.

Who needs Slyk the most?

While building Slyk, I’d also been absorbing the popular “How to Get Rich” tweetstorm and related podcast from Tech Investor/Philosopher Naval Ravikant.

Clear, Concise, Actionable Advice

Naval’s advice jibed elegantly with the ikigai/purpose diagram, the way instruction from a great yoga teacher can help you nail a difficult pose way faster than just studying an illustration.

More recently I’ve been reading Scott Adams, polymath master of persuasion and author of his own version of a wealth-creation guide. Scott Adams could be your business teacher, pushing you to dare to do what you love, to augment your talent stack, and to get paid along the way.

From “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life.”

In the yoga/wealth creation analogy, Slyk is the yoga mat, where the exercises are manifested, progress made, rewards attained. Slyk is the interface between the practitioner and the market, where passion meets payments.

So I mutated the meme again for an investor pitch to add context to our Go To Market strategy: Slykigai.

Purpose to Product to Paid

Slykigai is a mash-up of Winn’s meme and Naval’s wealth creation advice, a framework to power your purpose with e-commerce.


It starts with asking yourself the questions from Zuzunaga’s diagram.

  • What do you love to do?
  • What does the world need from you?
  • What are you good at doing?
  • What can you get paid for?

Then you launch your Slyk and iterate by applying the sage advice of Naval. You could try Napoleon Hill or Jordan Peterson instead, I suppose, but Naval’s framework is bespoke for generating wealth leveraging code, media, and money, which is also exactly what Slyk was designed to accomplish.

Productize Yourself to Create Wealth

You bring the specific knowledge and the hard work. Slyk provides the leverage of commerce media and digital money in an app that makes experimentation easy.

Slykigai is the growth mindset of iterating with Slyk toward making money online doing what you love, what you’re good at, and what the world needs.

Slykigai or Die

It’s never been easier to turn your gig into a business or your hobby into a side-hustle. It’s also never been scarier to depend on a job or go all-in on a startup.

Don’t wait until your job disappears or your gig earnings decline.

The barriers to entry have never been lower (for you and everyone who might compete with you for clients).

If you are a hustler, if you are willing to work hard and learn fast, then there’s never been a better time to start experimenting with an online business.

Start your Sykigai journey today.

This “How-to-Ikigai” animation created in September 2020 by Dutch strategic designer Hermen Lutje Berenbroek is a great place to start.

Start your #slykigai journey here.

He also created an ikigai/purpose template on Mural that is fun to use.

Or try this Notion template.

To learn more about Powering your Purpose with Slyk:

Follow me (Tim Parsa) on Twitter, Clubhouse (@timparsa), and Linkedin.

Follow Slyk on Twitter and Instagram.

Join my Parsa Power clubhouse every Friday@7pm (PCT)

Join the early access waitlist for Slyk.

Join my Slyk to jump to the front of the Slykigai line.

Slykigai Guy



The Ikigai/Venn Diagram of Purpose Meme has little to do with traditional Japanese ikigai, a concept that dates back to medieval Japan.

To learn more about the Japanese philosophy of ikigai, I highly recommend Ikigai Tribe an online academy founded Nicholas Kemp.

Ikigai/Purpose Meme:

Mark Winn (meme lord). Get in touch with Mark to learn about innovation and unlocking the potential of people, orgs, and islands.

His ikigai/blogpost in 2014 that introduced the meme. And a blog post from 2017 reflecting on his viral meme.

Dan Buettner’s Ted X Talk “How to Live to be 100+,” based on his travels to the world’s “Blue Zones,” communities around the globe marked by longevity and life satisfaction, including Okinawa, Japan where the practice of ikigai is common. (Winn first learned about ikigai from a September 2009 Ted Talk by Dan Buettner, a National Geographic writer/explorer.)

Andrés Zuzunaga (creator of Venn Diagram of Purpose) is a hacker/astrolger and founder of Cosmograma, an international astrology/psychology school based in Barcelona.

Dorthy Shapland (creator of the Venn Diagram of Bliss).

Bud Caddell. Happiness at Work Venn Diagram.

Simon Kemp. Finding Career Joy.

Jim Collins (Good to Great author). Hedgehog Venn Diagram.

Anais Bock (Founder of Let’s Work Magic) Where does the purpose diagram come from). Purpose Test.

Hermen Lutje Berenbroek (How-to -Ikigai Animation Creator) is the founder of Artifizer, a strategic design studio.

Don Osborn has collected many ikigai/purose-related Venn Diagrams on this Pinterest Board.

Naval Ravikant

Slyk aspires to provide tools for entrepreneurs to apply the wisdom of Naval’s wealth creation framework:



Navalmanack, (compiled & published by Eric Jorgenson )

Slykigai: Naval Signal Booster



Tim Parsa

Founder/funder of early-stage fintech/blockchain ventures. @airtm, @cadooinc, @slykhq, uphold.com. 20+ years building startups. U.S.-trained lawyer. Father.