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.

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.

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.

A Tribute to David Greene

I remember when David Greene was a correspondent in Russia… That’s when I first heard him and learned his name associated with NPR.

I remember I bought his book about travels and reporting in Russia.

When he came back to the states and began his time with the NPR radio show, Morning Edition, and then too the NPR podcast Up First, life got even sweeter listening to the radio.

And now he’s leaving NPR, on to new adventures. Today is his last day. This tribute as spoken by his friend and colleague, Rachel Martin:

“As much as I’ve been dreading this – the time has come. @nprgreene has just one more day @NPR. His departure is going to leave such a big hole.

David is the heart of @MorningEdition. He is the guy who can tell in two seconds if you’re having an off day and when he asks how you’re doing – he really wants to know the answer.

His work is some of the best to come out of this network. His powerful interview with gay rights activists in Chechnya just one example. He approaches every story with diligence and respect for those trusting him with their stories.

But he himself travels lightly through this world. He understands the trauma seeded in so many corners of our lives but he finds the good everywhere. It’s what draws people to him. His open heart and open arms and his open imagination about what could be.

David is adventure and possibility and goodness and working with him has been a wonder. Counting him as my friend – an even truer gift.”

Godspeed, David, hope to hear, read, see you again!

This image courtesy of One of David’s NPR producers, on a reporting road trip in Montana.

And this montage of photos posted on Twitter through out the day…I’m a little fired up about David Greene…

Chase

All day long, day after day, sometimes that’s how it feels: chase.

Long lists made longer by hundreds of email, how can that be? Feels like more to do every moment: chase.

Dishes and laundry and honey-do: chase.

Dream of a race, gun goes off, I can’t run fast enough, slow off the line, sloth-like: chase.

When it’s like that, here’s the answer:

One thing at a time. KEEP GOING.

Feed The People

It’s Thanksgiving time here in the US, time to feed the people again. Perhaps the most American of holidays, at least we try to make it that way. Everyone has things to be thankful for, everyone should have the opportunity to feast a little for the holiday.Everyone has things to be thankful for, everyone should have the opportunity to feast a little for the holiday.

Food drives to provide Thanksgiving meals, these happen all over the country. Generous people helping others, it’s one of the most heartwarming, and hands-on way to connect with others, if only through a little charity.

And so right here at home, here’s how it goes, Thanksgiving food boxes for 150 families. Via the Cupertino DeAnza Lions Club. GOOD.

Local donation location this year, COVID-Friendly, rather than store front
Garage Become Sort Center
Delivery Rig

Easy Does It

Got some work to do this weekend. Easy does it.

None too happy about going into work on a Saturday, but that’s just how things are right now: short-handed; several challenges across the business. Easy does it.

Once I decided and accepted I was going to work for a few hours over the weekend, well, everything felt a little lighter.

Do what you can. Keep going forward. Easy does it.

Nighttime? Nope, Early Morning

Reset

First a few more headlines from yesterday…then the reset at the bottom.

San Franciso
New York
Philly
Miami (FL)
Ottawa
Winnipeg
London

And most important…IMMEDIATELY…announcements and initial information regrading the Biden Administration’s priorities.

RESET.

1/ COVID-19

2/ Economic Recovery

3/ Racial Equality

4/ Climate Change

A Simple Message

I did. If you’re 18 or older, you can do. Do what? VOTE.

Here in the United States, today is Election Day. And so if you can, vote.

About 100 million eligible voters have already voted. There are about 255 million Americans who could vote.

DO SO.

Even if you’re not registered, you might be able to vote, depending on the state you live in.

BOTTOM LINE: VOTE.