It has been quite a whirlwind of a week. Last weekend I was in Big Sur, celebrating (and officiating) the wedding of my dear friend Steve Jang and his lovely bride, Margaret DesGaines. It also meant an opportunity to enjoy the rugged beauty of Big Sur and the California coastline. A week later, I was up in Napa, to spend what was a relaxing weekend with a handful of friends to celebrate my 50th birthday. Instead, Matt (Mullenweg) surprised me by a (almost a) surprise party (first in 50 years) with collection of some of my closest friends. That was the best gift ever – plus to have it in my favorite spot in the wine country – Bottega of Yountville was even more amazing. Continue reading “Big Sur to Pittsburgh to Big Apple: What a week!”
Captured with iPhone 7plus and slight modifications using VSCO Preset #6. Reduced the saturation and highlights to bring more balance to the photo.
As part of True Ventures’ Founder Camp, I spent a couple of days this past week in Carmel Valley. I went on two photowalks and took photos at the camp as well. Instead of my usual Leica M-P, I borrowed a friend’s Fuji X-T1 (graphite) camera with an amazing APS-C sensor. The sensor might be smaller than the full frame 35mm cameras, but it is by no means a slouch. I used two lenses to take these photos – f2/16mm (equivalent to about 24mm on full-frame cameras) and F1.2/56mm (equivalent of about 85mm on full-frame cameras.) Here are some photos — most of them are jpeg’s right out of the camera. A handful were touched up in LightRoom.
There are weeks that pass in the blink of an eye. The week that passed was one of those – just like that it was gone. It started off early, with a drive down to Carmel for our annual True Founders Camp, where I get to spend with a growing family of True founders. Often when attending the camp, I am wistful and longingly ache for those days when I was an early stage founder, trying to figure out a path forward.
If there is was a way to describe this group, I would label then as missionary founders. The camp was about having honest discussion about their missions impossible. In this endless loop of valuations and fundings, what we often forget that the essence of capitalism (or at least the kind I believe in) is freedom – to think, create and be a positive change on those around you and hopefully many others. It is a great feeling to create something out of nothing, something that hopefully employs thousands and changes lives in a small meaningful way. This group is my energy source for a new beginning.
The great part of the camp was that it gave me w chance to go for a photo walk (or two) along the Carmel coast and capture the beauty of the Big Sur. I have to say the morning mist, when night is flirting with daylight, kissing the surface and spreading slowly like the first blush across our planet’s cheek. Blues, grays, lighter blues, some pink, turquoise blue, and some deeper grays. It was the most magical of mornings and I am so glad I got to go out and make a few photos.
This year’s camp was extra-special because it fell on the 10th anniversary of the day Phil Black and Jon Callaghan signed the papers that led to the formation of True Ventures. Tony Conrad, Toni Schneider and John Burke joined there after, and it would be a few years before I would become part of the team True. Ten years sure have flown — I have changed, Silicon Valley has changed and the idea of innovation too has changed.
It was back to business as usual on Wednesday — meetings with new companies and of course two board meetings — TwinPrime and Academia. Both these companies are inventing new approaches — TwinPrime has built a new software platform that allows apps to performs starters by being network aware and intelligent. Academia is all about enabling open science. Rest of the week was spent in meetings — and what that meant was less time to even think about non-work stuff. I have still not digested the good news from Microsoft, Amazon and Google.
There are many scribbled notes and thoughts around the Theranos-Wall Street Journal skirmish. It has opened up a debate around media and tech startups, including many of my peers in the venture business. Having been on both sides — media and now venture investments, I just have to find time to articulate my thoughts on paper. Hopefully soon!
October 24, 2015, San Francisco