I grew up in the 60s. From 1960 to 1969 I was 0 to 10. During that time my dad, Bob Kahan, was a young university professor. All of the unrest that was taking place on college campuses and the hippy culture surrounded me. Psychedelic art was everywhere. I remember going to events where people used overhead projectors, oil and food coloring to project moving liquid art on the walls while bands played the music of Jefferson Airplane or Deep Purple at places that had weird and fun names, like Armadillo World Headquarters.

On the campuses there was a palpable sense that the United States was caught in the vicious trap in Viet Nam, and desperation to find a way out. This showed up in massive protests that sometimes turned violent. Walter Cronkite every night on the evening news gave us a fatherly interpretation of what was going on.

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness that would hand out flowers in airports, invite everyone over for vegetarian Indian meals, and form little groups to chant, “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare.” The picture above was one of those groups, taken by my father, Bob Kahan, at the University of Texas in Austin, where I spent many of those early years.

This was my roots and I feel its influence today. I remember tagging along with my father through it all. My values were shaped in that environment. I learned that all kinds of people from many different backgrounds could come together and make art while moving our country forward through difficult passages. It was messy and not always clear what was going on, but the forward motion never stopped.

We got out of the war. Many of those students went on to shape our world, and in the next decade we saw some amazing inventions that included email, video games, genetic engineering and the artificial heart. Out of the chaos of youth in turbulence arose a wave of life-changing innovation.

What are your roots? What shaped your early experience? Where do you see new worlds rising?

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
– Steve Jobs