Thought Box

The Thought Box.

Have I mentioned before? Not sure. If not, it’s high time. If I have brought it up before, well, worth exploring a little once again.

The central idea of the Thought Box…just what is it? It’s a concept, that can also be made into a visual reference, a model, a thing to hold and touch.

It’s for the kids; at least that was the original idea.

And how do I suggest they use it? I came up with the box for our kids as a way to clear the mind when trying to go to sleep.

It could be imagined two ways: either a box to put your bad thoughts in, or a box to be imagined as your mind, and this the space to push all the bad the bad thoughts out from. I’ve used the concept many times myself over the years to clear my mind and keep it that way as I go to sleep.

The physical box came to mind when I wanted to give the kids something to help them visualize.

But really, it’s a good way to focus the mind generally. What’s more, it’s not just a way to deal with nightmares, thoughts about bad guys, scary shadows, noises you think you hear down the hall…

Maybe the Thought Box can even be helpful to calm anxiety. Clear your mind of that…pick the color of your anxiety…maybe it’s like green slime…and you push that slime out of the box in your mind; just don’t let it in. Maybe easier said than done; but that’s coping in your mind generally, I think. It takes practice, but these sort of techniques can help.

Go ahead, give that ol’ Thought Box a try ~ you have nothing to lose but your anxiety!

Lyrics Post: “Guns and Ships“

“Guns And Ships”, another from the musical, Hamilton. Reading the words, I can hear the song in my head, some of the lyric so swiftly delivered, even with the words in front of me I can’t keep up the pace. So GOOD.

[Burr:]
How does a ragtag volunteer army in need of a shower
Somehow defeat a global superpower?
How do we emerge victorious from the quagmire?
Leave the battlefield waving Betsy Ross’ flag higher?

Yo. Turns out we have a secret weapon!
An immigrant you know and love who’s unafraid to step in!
He’s constantly confusin’, confoundin’ the British henchmen
Everyone give it up for America’s favourite fighting Frenchman!

[Company:]
Lafayette!

[Lafayette:]
I’m taking this horse by the reins makin’ redcoats redder with bloodstains

[Company:]
Lafayette!

[Lafayette:]
And I’m never gonna stop
Until I make ’em drop
And burn ’em up and scatter their remains,
I’m

[Company:]
Lafayette!

[Lafayette:]
Watch me engagin’ ’em,
Escapin’ ’em!
Enragin’ ’em.
I’m

[Company:]
Lafayette!

[Lafayette:]
I go to France for more funds

[Company:]
Lafayette!

[Lafayette:]
I come back with more

[Lafayette and Ensemble:]
Guns
And ships
And so the balance shifts

[Washington:]
We rendezvous
With Rochambeau,
Consolidate their gifts

[Lafayette:]
We can end this war in Yorktown, cut them off at sea,
But for this to succeed,
There is someone else we need:

[Washington:]
I know

[Washington and Company:]
Hamilton!

[Lafayette:]
Sir, he knows what to do in a trench
Ingenuitive and fluent in French, I mean

[Washington and Company:]
Hamilton!

[Lafayette:]
Sir, you’re gonna have to use him eventually
What’s he gonna do on the bench? I mean

[Washington and Company:]
Hamilton!

[Lafayette:]
No one has more resilience
Or matches my practical tactical brilliance

[Washington and Company:]
Hamilton!

[Lafayette:]
You wanna fight for your land back?

[Company:]
Hamilton!

[Washington:]
I need my right-hand man back!

[Women:]
Hamilton!

[Lafayette (men):]
Ah! Uh, get ya right-hand man back (Get your right-hand man back!)
You know you gotta get ya right hand man back (Your right-hand man back!)

[Lafayette (women/men):]
I mean you gotta put some thought into the letter (Hamilton!)
But the sooner the better (Hamilton! Hamilton!)
To get your right hand man back! (Ha ha)

[Washington:]
Alexander Hamilton
Troops are waiting in the field for you
If you join us right now, together we can turn the tide

Oh, Alexander Hamilton
I have soldiers that will yield for you
If we manage to get this right
They’ll surrender by early light
The world will never be the same, Alexander….”

By Lin-Manuel Miranda

Jerry Rig

Jerry Rig or jury rig, is the practice of making due with what you have on hand to repair something or otherwise solve a problem. Making due, that’s a good life lesson.

Things don’t always go as we’d like; sometimes to get some result close to what we want, we have to make due, make the best of the situation as it is.

Opportunities arose for this practice all the time. It promotes compromise and resilience and fortitude.

Don’t be afraid to jerry rig something if need be to accomplish your goal. Be resourceful. Make it happen.

Oh yea, and if you want to learn more about the term and it’s history, see below.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_rigging

Presidents and People

It’s a big world out there: more than 7 billion people, on 7 continents, more than 200 countries all told.

Who leads? It depends. In the United States, we have something like a democracy. And so in this political system who leads formally? Depends on who wins the election.

Who follows? Everyone else.

The thing is, at least in the United States, those who become president, he or she, has pretty close to an ultimate power while in office,

And then they become regular citizens again, once the term is completed.

Presidents, and all leaders, in the US and everywhere, they should be, and are, just people like everyone else.

Presidents in their best moments, give themselves to their office, to their people who they are elected to serve.

That ultimate power, it’s to be used to serve, to further the common good.

Let it be so. Let it be so.

Feed The Birds

Simple joy, feeding the birds. Two feeders hang off the house, outside windows, we get a good view.

My grandparents fed the birds. My parents fed the birds; heck, one of the feeders I use is from my folks.

It’s just so peaceful. Listen to the birds. Listen to them, warblers, wrens, finches, doves. Squirrels scamper about too, gather from the ground below.

Simple. Doesn’t take much. Big bag of mixed seed from the store lasts maybe a month.

Nature right there. Peace right there. Joy right there.

GOOD.

Navalny

Democracy is for all humanity, at least it should be, in my humble opinion.

One country in which democracy has long struggled is Russia.

One voice that resonates from within? Alexei Anatoliovich Navalny.

He has become maybe the most powerful voice calling for an end to corruption and more transparency in the Russian political system, policies, and decisions therein.

He was poisoned in Russia last year; flown to Germany for treatment; there, he recovered. There he could have stayed, safe in self-imposed exile.

But he did not. His place is in Russia. His home is Russia. And there he must do his work.

He flew back to Russia with his wife last week. And he was swiftly arrested at the airport.

The charges? Money-laundering. Six years ago. The details? Murky. What’s not murky?

Navalny’s steady voice of opposition in a country long characterized by a heavy, authoritarian hand against said opposition.

Well more than 10,000 protestors across all of Russia’s vast timezones protested for Navalny’s release on Saturday. More than a thousand were arrested.

His voice, and all such peaceful but very critical voices need to be heard. When the people‘s voice is silenced, it must be supported from all sides, allowing it to resonate.

Let Navalny’s voice be heard.

More on Navalny? Yep.

Straight from Wikipedia: Navalny, (born 4 June 1976) is a Russian opposition leader, politician, lawyer and anti-corruption activist. He came to international prominence by organizing demonstrations, and running for office, to advocate reforms against corruption in Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Putin’s government.

And the link to the whole wiki-profile, here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexei_Navalny?wprov=sfti1

And the article about his arrest, here: https://globalnews.ca/news/7595321/alexei-navalny-putin-protests-explainer/amp/

Let Navalny’s voice be heard.

Transfer

Freestyle on it, on the transfer. “What transfer?” you ask? The transfer of power, political power, the power over others.

We mark Inauguration Day in these United States as a cornerstone of our American Democracy. The peaceful transfer of power.

This time it’s 45 to 46. In spite of the struggle and the lies and the violence and even insurrection. Forward now peacefully.

Forward we go. Together.

As many as are willing to compromise to move our community and society forward.

Together.

And let it be so.

Another Voice for Change

After MLK Jr. Day, after all the many situations and examples and tragedies that have been freshly brought to light of late around racial inequality, and the many things we need to do to change things for the better…

I came across these two posts from one of my more favorite voices on social media. Fred Wilson.

He’s a business guy, a big money guy, but he’s also got one of the best perspectives and voices and balance to social and economic and cultural topics I am aware of. He’s no B.S., and he’s worth listening to.

And so though I have a couple hundred followers on WordPress, and six hundred some followers on Twitter, and Fred Wilson has more than six hundred thousand followers on Twitter – point being he’s got plenty of social media reach -?I’m going to share these two posts anyway. Because I agree with his remarks and I want to elevate them.

This is a guy whose making a difference on a lot of levels, including racial / social justice in these United States of America. Thanks, Fred ~

He wrote:

JAN 18, 2021

Six Months Later

In early June, I wrote this post explaining that I and we need to do more to reduce the inequality issues for Black people in tech, venture capital, and startups.

I think MLK day is a good time to talk about what has happened since that post.

We have identified a number of areas where we must do better:

  • Increase the number of Black founders we back
  • Increase the number of Black team members at USV
  • Increase the number of Black VCs we work with and support
  • Increase the number of Black board members in our portfolio
  • Increase the number of Black leaders in our portfolio
  • Increase the number of Black employees in our portfolio
  • Increase the number of Black engineers in our portfolio
  • Increase the number of Black investors in our funds
  • Increase the number of Black college graduates going into tech, venture capital, and startups
  • Create pathways for Black students to study STEM and find their way into careers in tech, venture capital, and startups

We have ongoing projects, workstreams, investments, and efforts in each and every one of these areas and we have made tangible progress in almost all of them.

I believe that the inequity issues are so severe and deeply rooted that it will take a concerted effort over a number of years to truly erase them.

But we are making progress and if we keep at it, across many dimensions, we can get where we need to go. Roughly 15% of Americans are Black. Until we can look around the room and see at least one Black person for every six in the meeting, we haven’t done enough. Today is a good day to remind ourselves of that and recommit to the work that needs to happen.

Jeff Interlude: And before that one, he wrote this one:

JUN 4, 2020

Black Lives Matter

I believe that Black lives matter.

I understand that the phrase Black lives matter speaks to a movement to stop the murders of Black people at the hands of the police. I also understand that it speaks to a broader protest movement seeking to reduce the unchecked power of the police. I support these efforts and am sympathetic to them.

But the words Black lives matter mean even more to me.

They mean that a Black person’s life matters as much as any other person’s life.

They mean that the living situation of a Black person matters as much as anyone’s living situation.

They mean that the food a Black person eats matters as much as the food anyone eats.

They mean that the health care that a Black person has matters as much as the health care anyone has.

They mean that the education a Black person has matters as much as anyone’s education.

And they mean that the economic opportunity that a Black person has matters as much as anyone’s economic opportunity.

My record and that of the USV is poor on that last measure.

We have spent much of the last week at USV talking about that and we talked about it publicly on our blog and Twitter yesterday.

When the collective minds at USV focus on something we have always met our goals.

While we are late to put our collective minds on this opportunity, we are not too late. And we have already started our work on it.

We will do this the way we do everything at USV. We will stick to our thesis of access to capital, knowledge, and well-being. We will back teams that are working on these problems in ways we think are impactful. And we will be engaged, honest, and present in the work.