What an emotional week! I have been unable to comprehend the impact of United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union. It was not how I expected to end my week – considering I spent the first three days in uncharacteristically warm Stinson Beach, in the company of my colleagues from True Ventures.
I first traveled across the San Francisco Bay, over the Golden Gate and across the winding roads that hug the mountains and almost kiss the sky, to gorgeous Stinson Beach with True’s founding members, back in 2006, just after the firm provided seed capital to GigaOm. Later in 2008, they asked me to become a venture partner, just after I recovered from my heart attack. And every year this annual tradition is a way for the group to center itself around its core values and find ways to grow the True family.
Many of our community-oriented ideas came here, because we spent a few days not worrying about the investments, but about the investment in a world which is better for more and more people. Ten years later, the firm is going strong. Some tactics might be different, but the vision and purity of our mission is still clear. The fact that I enjoy Stinson is because of my colleagues – not because I like beaches or the ocean. I much prefer the mountain peaks, the cold winds and grey skies.
I came back on Wednesday, refreshed and excited about the prospects of Twilio going public. I both underestimated the company and its wonderful founder, CEO Jeff Lawson, when I met him back in 2008. The success of this company and its long march to public company status was joyful for two reasons — Jeff did what seemed to be impossible: he upended complexity of telecom with five simple APIs. And secondly, it is a reminder that dogma has no place in technology and those who believe in the future. “There is a new playbook every 6-to-9 months,” Lawson once said. “You just need to know what are [your] non-negotiable values.”
The excitement over Twilio’s offering was unfortuantely overtaken by a sense of anxiety around Brexit and what it means. I have friends who are in Scotland, Ireland and London. I have friends in Europe. What does this all mean. I am a little scared for them. I am a little worried about what it means for globalization. Deep down, however, I am also optimistic – humans do find a way to move forward and find silver lining when there doesn’t seem to be one.
That said, I have been wondering about how our world is changing. If you have been a regular reader then you know I often talk about a world that is moving faster than our ability to comprehend it as humans. The white noise of information isn’t something we were equipped to handle, so we find ourselves in bubbles – filter bubbles that only reinforce our fears and our beliefs. Politics, like many business sectors, is being upended by the confluence of social networks and lack of patience for an alternative opinion.
“Insurgent movements of left and right, posing as standard-bearers of a popular revolt against the political establishment, can spread and grow at scale and speed,” writes Tony Blair, Britain’s former prime minister in The New York Times. “Today’s polarized and fragmented news coverage only encourages such insurgencies — an effect magnified many times by the social media revolution.”
I never thought I would quote Blair – not a fan. But he did a good job to distill today’s media reality. Media has to become more stringent and accurate in their reporting. The Brexit Leave campaign leaders in these past 48 hours has pretty much admitted (in not so many words) that they lied about everything and the country and perhaps the world at large might pay a price for it. The time to question their lies would have been earlier and not now. Same goes for false promises of our politicians – it is time for the media to act more responsibly.
Oh, to get over the negativity, I drove with friends to the newest hot spot in the Bay Area: Walnut Creek Dunkin Donuts. We stood in 95 degree heat for about two hours to get these sugar bombs. I still don’t care for their donuts, but have fond memories of their toasted muffins. But hey, to each their own.
June 27, 2016. San Francisco