Spontaneous Reflection: COVID

So much has changed since COVID came to us, so much, in so many ways, so many ways, yet the challenge, the tragedy, maybe more fundamental.

How many people infected, millions upon millions upon millions more. So many millions we really can’t comprehend.

And the deaths, in this American country alone, three hundred and fifty thousand —- 350,000 —- and climbing still, more and more and more. Current trend has north of three thousand —- +3,000 —- dying, EVERY DAY, more each and every day. It was + 3,000 that died on 9/11, and we were outraged, OUTRAGED, and we’ve been at war ever since,

But with COVID, are we outraged at the response, the failed response of our federal government to help us, so fewer people suffer? So fewer people die,,,? Where is the outrage?

A fundamental debate in this country is “more government” versus “less government”. This COVID time, overwhelming our people, killing our people, this is the sort of circumstance where we need government to help and to lead. It’s like a war. It’s like an invader has come to our shores and threatens our very existence as a society. We would not respond separately. We would have to respond together to overcome the foe.

COVID is such a foe.

But it will not win. We won’t let it win. We cannot let it win.

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.

Skinned Knees: Hope Is A Salve

Skinned knees. Remember them before? Maybe recently?

Even if it’s been a while since you physically fell to the ground…maybe you’ve had a series of fails at work – it’s sort of the same.

It stings; it hurts; the wound lingers, there’s periodic pain, it doesn’t go away quickly.

What’s the answer, what’s the salve to ease the sting, ease that pain…?

Hope.

Struggle? Repeat Mistakes? Not sure how to proceed?

Recede.

To.

Hope.

Fall down, again and again? Skinned knee that won’t heal, from all the falls?

Don’t give up. Keep trying; keep going.

Hope.

Do the next right thing. Don’t lose hope.

HOPE.

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.

How Far? MLK Jr.

This is a day to remember many things.

Where we started.

Where we’ve been.

How far we have to go.

And of course, this man, Martin Luther King Junior, his words, his work, his inspiration.

Especially after these recent years, and all the divides, I think I’m most hopeful that King’s words only gain more credence, more salience, with time.

I’m also hopeful because my children know King’s stories, they know his leadership, his vision. So very VERY grateful for that.

“He was a hero, a leader, a speaker, a man of great courage, and a very wise man, a counselor, a believer, a pacifist, a preacher. And all people were the same to him.”

Yes, there is reason to hope. There is much MUCH work to do, be we should do it being hopeful. We CAN make it better. Let it be so.

Remote, Yet Close

Strange times, pandemic times we’re in, we’re living, so much has changed on so many levels.

We’re restricted from each other for school, for work, for worship.

Fundamental to most faiths, the worship therein, we’re meant to come together, have a sense of the come together, can’t be together in-person just now. Screens and social distance are the necessary norm just now.

What does that do to faith? How do we exercise our faith? How do we teach our faith to our kids in these times? More effort needed, starting with an example, striving to draw near to the perfect example, is God near?

God is near…find God in every moment, draw near, God is close…

Now not my words, but good words for sure, have a listen, God is near,

“The design that God has for each one of us is always a design of love. And the greatest joy for every
believer is to respond to that call, offering one’s entire being to the service of God and the brothers and sisters.”

“In each act of service, in every work of #mercy we perform, God manifests Himself; God sets His gaze upon the world.”

“We are always on a journey in life. Let us choose the path of God! We will discover that there are no unexpected events, no uphill path, and no night that cannot be faced with Jesus.”

“A society is all the more human to the degree that it cares effectively for its most frail and suffering members, in a spirit of fraternal love.”

These from Francis, Jorge, and grateful, so very grateful for this voice, this humble insight. In these pandemic times, to find our way, how to find our way? This is the path.

God is near, God is with us, God is waiting for us to turn, let us turn, amen, AMEN.

Inspiration Everywhere: Nick Chubb, Running Back, Cleveland Browns Football Team

Baller. Grinder. Fun to watch. Brings it on every down. Inspired player.

Pretty quick, all these thoughts came rushing in when I watched the Cleveland Browns game Sunday night.

Nick Chubb was inspiring, the way he ran. And it came to mind, gotta share that simple thought: be inspired by the simplest of things.

I mean, I’m not a huge sports fan; and in football I’m really a San Francisco Forty Niners fan, having grown up and still living just down the road in San Jose.

But Chubb inspired, so I’m sharing it, it’s that simple. Allow yourself to be inspired.

Inspiration Everywhere: An Occasional Series

One of the main purposes of this blog is to further positive feelings, vibes, attitudes.

Through snippets, tales, stories, recaps, I look to show and share the good, even in situations that sometimes don’t seem so positive on the face of it.

When I was a kid I used to read the weekly magazine, Sports Illustrated. Maybe my favorite part of that magazine was the feature articles. I loved reading about the people featured — mostly athletes, but others too — their trials, tribulations, and triumphs.

So in that vane, I’m starting a new occasional series entitled, “Inspiration Everywhere.”

Over the years I’ve often posted song lyrics I find appealing, fun, inspired. This new series will be similar, with the main intent the same: to find more good and share it.

Thanks for your attention.

Glimmer

A glimmer of hope, that’s what I find;

That’s what I find when I look up close, when I’m open, eyes, arms, wide.

A bit of hope, a friendly tone, an unexpected embrace, literally, figuratively, over a screen,

A glimmer of hope, glimmer, not dimmer, brighter still, in a friend’s voice, my kids’ joy, gentle lean-in, hug, love,

LOVE.