No matter what Ann Peebles sings, there is nothing quite like being woken up by the tap-tap-tap of angry raindrops on the window. And that is how I woke up this morning, earlier that my usual 4:30 am. It gave me a lot of time to do things that I usually do at the end of the day: read, write, send messages and sometimes even sit still.
It was pouring in San Francisco today, though that might seem like a light drizzle in places that get a real monsoon. It is the kind of day when everyone goes a little nuts, especially driving around the city. Thank god I don’t drive; otherwise I would be overcome by some real road rage, thanks to those who drive when stupid. I can’t believe so many of them actually get driver’s licenses!
Tuesdays are my day to visit Palo Alto. That’s when our firm, True Ventures, has its weekly partner meetings. I get updates on our growing family of companies, discuss new opportunities and deliberate on the challenges that are part of every growing enterprise. I use the journey south as an opportunity to think without any interruption.
I had a lot on my mind, thanks to an email I got from my good friend Pip Coburn over the weekend. He wrote, “I don’t take media as my indicator. I find it a wide scale toxin at times in our systems preying on our fear.” His words summed up my frustration with the current media landscape, where, barring a handful of publications, many have completely lost sight of why they exist. Most are so busy praying at the altar of views that they have forgotten what got them soaring in the first place.
My frustration is with the media bosses who decide that Trumpisms are more important than what Bernie Sanders has to say, even though more and more people seem to like what he has to say. And when today they did write about him, most of them were dismissive of him and his ideas. New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait made a case against Sanders. Classic, because dismissing Sanders is dismissing the reality of our country.
“Nerds and outliers ultimately triumph, they’re the only ones with the balls to do it differently,” writes Bob Lefsetz. Trump and Sanders might be the extremes, but there is a reason why they are getting attention from people who are not part of the elite media. “The media is hung up on the election but the truth is the rank and file have given up on Washington, it hasn’t done anything for them lately, so they’ve tuned out,” he points out.
A Brookings Institution study highlights the growing and ever widening income disparity in America, and it’s especially so in the big cities. Pacific Standard points to research from Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, Patrick Kline and Emmanuel Saez, who write, “The U.S. is better described as a collection of societies, some of which are ‘lands of opportunity’ with high rates of mobility across generations, and others in which few children escape poverty.” The reality is that the forthcoming wave of automation is going to result in even more dislocation and disruption in our society. I worry about that, because in the end, that is a nonpartisan issue.
Before I sign off, here is a video that will make you smile and forget reality for a bit of silliness. Thanks, Jim, for sending this along.
Jan. 19, 2016, San Francisco