Creating an Exodus

It’s Good Friday, and I’ve lost my voice. So, it’s a pretty introspective day for me.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about power and how to make change. And, Passover. Let me explain.

A few days ago, Curt Woodward of The Boston Globe called me regarding the Ellen Pao discrimination lawsuit (article here). I told him that regardless of the verdict, I thought that what Ellen Pao did was very brave.

So, I don’t know if KPCB was innocent or guilty of the charges. But, I was amazed that Ellen Pao took on one of the most powerful VC firms in the world. Rather than agree to a settlement and abide by a confidentiality agreement, she instead decided to go to trial.

I personally believe that her lawsuit is a seminal event for gender discrimination in high tech. I predict we will look back at it as a pivotal event, one which not only elevated a topic to a national forum, but changed its arc.

IMO, the best way to change an industry’s culture is not to wait for the keys of power to be given to you. Instead, it is to create those keys for yourself. Rather than change a company, create your own. Rather than fix someone else’s house, build your own. I suspect that is what Theresia Gouw and Jen Fonstad are doing with Aspect, their new VC firm.

Someone has to go first. It can be the person who refuses to sit at the back of the bus. It can be Moses, who decided not to wait for better living conditions, but, instead, to lead an Exodus.

And, it can be someone like one of our ancestors. Rather than wait for land reform in Poland, less oppression in Ireland, etc., someone made this decision: to move.

Call it impatience, bravery, or impulsiveness, in each of our families, there is someone who decided he/she could no longer wait for The Man in Charge to change. In each of our families is a true entrepreneur, who changed the path for the generations that came after.

So, that’s what I’m thinking about today. I think creating change, or, even, an Exodus, is difficult and needed. Starting Kepha was a huge challenge. But, it was inevitable. I simply felt that I had to do it.

A wonderful Easter and Passover to you.

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