World Youth Day

Jul 20

In: Family life, Personal, Spiritual

World Youth Day 2013, Brazil, via The Huffington Post

There’s an amazing cascade of photographs and posts on Twitter (example here). Many excited people from all over the globe are embarking on a long journey.

About two million students and young adults are heading to Krakow, Poland, for World Youth Day. 40,000 Americans are going, including one of our children. Pope Francis will be there.

World Youth Day is a spiritual pilgrimage. It’s not a holiday. The young people raise funds for their trip and also get together every week or two in small groups. When there, attendees walk many miles. They bring sleeping bags, and, on the Saturday night event, will sleep outside. The schedule is here.

I’ve never been. Those who go nearly always say that the experience was pivotal and transformative. They say it is physically challenging and can be uncomfortable. But, it is eye-opening to meet people from all walks of life and from around the globe. And, they pray a lot.

So, I’ll be keeping an eye on World Youth Day via social media. And, I’m looking forward to hearing an up-close-and-personal recounting in a few weeks.

A Brain Trick to Stop Worry

Jul 20

In: Brain hacking, Family life, Personal

By nature, I’m a planner. As a highly-pronounced ENTJ, I naturally am good at thinking ahead and coming up with contingency plans. But, that makes me a worrier, who has a great deal of problems letting go. I have to work every day to learn how to relax.

Recently, one of my children was dealing with a very important decision. Yet, there was an important meeting on a different topic that was about to happen. It required prep time.

I gave her some advice. Later, I followed up with an email regarding something that I do that usually works for me.

So, if you tend to worry too much and too often, I hope the excerpt below will be helpful.

I wanted to recommend a brain trick: scheduling on your online calendar.

One thing very powerful about the brain is that it can mull things over. Yet, if you mull over things over and over, for me, that leads to endless worry. So, one brain trick I try to do is to schedule something to deal with a certain issue later, so that it does not become a distraction now.

For example, I think I should have recommended to you this: “schedule an hour, for after your interview, to think about [the challenging topic].” I suspect then that it will be easier for your brain to let go of that topic.

There’s a great deal of power to writing something down. There’s even greater power to see that you will have time to deal with a certain issue. Both together really help quiet the brain.

Try it?


Jul 18

In: Fly fishing, Personal

It’s been a pretty busy two weeks, both because work has been consuming and because the news these days has been extremely intense.

So, on a lighter note, I thought I’d share the video up top (or, click here).

I like tuna. I like it even better now after seeing the video. It’s one of the best I’ve ever seen. It rocks.

Baton Rouge

Jul 17

In: Personal, Politics, Race

I’m struggling to find words to write. Instead, I will post the Tweets below. Rest in peace, Officer Jackson….


Jul 17

In: Entrepreneurship, Podcasts, Politics, Race, Technology and VC

Georg Hegel (Wikipedia)

After 9/11, there was a massive push from our citizens to quickly put “boots on the ground” in Afghanistan. My first gut reaction was: this won’t end well.

After Germany fully opened its borders to immigrants from Syria, I thought: there’s going to be push-back.

No, I’m not a political scientist, and I don’t try to predict the future. But, I did major in Econ. & Political Science, and I try to observe human behavior. What I’ve seen time and time again is what’s called the “Hegelian Dialectic.”

Georg Hegel was a monumental German political philosopher. He formulated a theory that says this: there’s behavioral momentum to do X; later, there’s a counter-reaction; then, the two forces combine and settle on a middle road.

You see this often with entrepreneurship and venture capital investing. There’s a new flavor of ice cream perceived as “hot.” Then, it’s perceived as “dead.” Then, there’s a bounce back. Think of ad. tech., which has gone through numerous momentum shifts over the past decade: up and down, up and down.

The key in VC is to buy low and to sell high. And, to realize that reality is usually in the middle: things aren’t as great as they were during the peak, and they’re not as bad as they seem during the nadir.

I’m thinking of all this as we get ready for the two political conventions. This will be an election process bordering on the interesting, infuriating, and comical, at least, for me.

When the President was re-elected in 2012, I wrote (here) that the U.S. was undergoing a massive transformation: the “male white vote” was mattering less and less. I didn’t then think of the Hegelian Dialectic.

But, it’s now obvious to me that Donald Trump’s rise among older working-class white males (and, others) is partially due to a reaction: females and non-whites helped re-elect an African-American President.

In that perspective, Trump is a natural outcome. If it were not he to champion an anti-immigrant stance, there would be someone else. This is all about the counter-reaction that has taken place. It’s why the “Make America Great Again” moniker really appeals to certain people, who likely desire a return to a white-and-male power structure.

It’s a bit self-centered to quote from your prior blog post, but the text below still represents how I think four years later:

My two cents is that this country will become more difficult to govern. We used to be homogeneous. We no longer are. I think that’s a good thing long-term. Short-term, though, the conflicting agendas will make it more difficult to compromise.

I know that’s probably not a view that you want to hear, but that’s my honest opinion. It just means we all have to compromise more in politics.

Yes, we have to learn to compromise. That will be the key factor in our political climate going forward.