Building Scout Ventures

As I think about the next phase at Scout with multiple partners and institutional LPs, I consistently look for guidance on our strategy.   

Today, Fred Wilson wrote a great post about his model at USV and it sounds a lot like where we are heading with Scout.

So that makes me feel good.

It’s worth your time:

http://avc.com/2017/10/our-model/

Building Scout Ventures

Take a knee

My wife asked me to spend some time and share my thoughts on the current situation between the President and the NFL.

I thought it was an interesting request as I hadn’t really shared any thoughts on the matter up to this point, but let me begin.

I’ve never been a believer in allowing people to burn the flag or disrespect the National Anthem.  In my opinion, America is our home and it’s our teamwork and unity that has made us the greatest nation on earth.

I agree with Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints when he told The New York Times, “I will always feel that if you are an American that the national anthem is the opportunity for us all to stand up together, to be unified and to show respect for our country.”

But what should happen when our country is broken?

At some point, Americans need to decide where they stand.

Well, the NFL players and owners are making a stand.

Personally, I don’t view taking a knee or locking arms as a sign of disrespect. In fact, its actually a fairly effective method of conveying disapproval while not being disruptive or confrontational.

I am sure my Jewish grandfather who served in WWII fighting Nazis would prefer NFL Players taking a knee during the National Anthem to armed Nazis march in the streets, carrying the Confederate flag and shouting messages of hate and violence outside the oldest synagogue in Charlottesville.

This is not why he fought for freedom.

This is not why my brothers and sisters in arms have put themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedom.

I’ve heard the argument that somehow these NFL players taking a knee are disrespecting the men and women of our Armed Forces. As you may have read, in 2009, the government actually contributed money to several sports leagues so they would do more with the National Anthem as a sign of Patriotism – and the NFL players have been supportive.

But now these players, through abstaining from the National Anthem are sending a clear message to the President and our nation. In the words of the Seattle Seahawks

“We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed to continuing to work towards equality and justice for all.”

So how are Americans supposed to express their disapproval of the status quo?

How do we get our leader, President Trump, to understand and address the underlying problem?

The harsh reality is that people of color do not have the same level of freedom as white Americans.

If you’ve spent any time following the messages of the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Bob Marley, or the Old Testament, then you must know that as a community we can not be truly free until everyone is free from oppression.

No American should ever feel like their freedom is at risk because of the color of their skin.

I think about the future of this country and it’s not Donald Trump, but rather my kids.

My kids don’t see race.  They see their friends and teammates.

If I asked them whether or not they wanted to take a knee to support their classmates, they would immediately take a knee.

Take a knee

10 Habits That Have Changed My Life For The Better

  1. Morning Meditation
  2. Yoga
  3. Reading
  4. Daily Breathing exercises
  5. Tongue scraping and Daily Swish
  6. Avoiding alcohol and/or drugs
  7. Eliminating chemicals, refined sugar and gluten.
  8. Following an Organic Diet 
  9. Acupuncture
  10. Saying “I love you” to Angie, Scout, Elvis and everyone else in my genetic and spiritual family every day – now and forever.
10 Habits That Have Changed My Life For The Better

Creating inner peace

The past few days as I settle into the post-summer routine and focus on my priorities through 2017 and beyond, I am extremely optimistic for the future.

In the office, my team and I are in sync, our key portfolio companies are performing well, and we are looking at super cool technology created by amazing entrepreneurs.  Our next milestone is successfully closing Fund III with institutional investors.

On the home front, things are equally great with a happy wife, healthy kids and everyone seems to like each other at this present moment.

Ironically, even as I optimistically move into a new phase of life marked by amazing physical, mental and spiritual growth – there are still those out there that don’t get it.  They are rooted with outdated programming that makes it impossible for them to understand that that in order to bring peace, we all need to give each other space so that each of us may find peace within.  And the journey to find inner peace is one that takes a lot of work, self-reflection and a tribe of people to support you through the journey.

I know because I’ve been on a few different journey’s thus far, and each has presented its own challenges, and ultimately its own reward.

For example, if you make time to meditate every day, then your reward is your own internal peace – even if only for a few minutes.

It sounds simple to sit with one’s self and reflect to create space – your own internal space where there is no judgment, no haters – just your own happy space.

When I was in my own space recently, I reflected on the things that matter.

First and always, my family – Angie, Elvis, and Scout. It’s important to remember how blessed we are and to incorporate that gratitude in our daily lives. We should all wish that people remember that family – whatever it may look like in your life – is the fundamental building block for communities.

Second, my amazing group of friends – those I’ve served with, those I’ve worked with and those I’ve partied with – how thankful I am to the journey we’ve shared to this point and how excited I am for what’s to come.

Third, to all the teachers and mentors who have provided guidance and knowledge along the way.   If you know who you are – then you know how much I appreciate our relationship.  And if you are among the group that has been invaluable without even knowing it, I hope at some point you realize how much you’ve positively impacted my life.

I hope that each day, we all take one more step toward being more thoughtful and loving – our children deserve it.

Here’s a little tune to bring a little peace and harmony to your day.

 

Creating inner peace

The Devaluation of America

I’m on a flight from Mexico, studying my book on Hawaiian Adventurer Shamanism and I’m truly grateful for where I am in the life.  

I finally have a full appreciation for how lucky I am to have the family and friends that I share this life with. For without them, life wouldn’t be life.

But then, as I fill out my Mexican Customs Declaration form and enter my nationality “USA,” I am immediately shaken from my bliss with disappointment.

I am disappointed in my country.

After years of service and loyalty, I fear we have lost our way.

Our President represents our confusion. 

We’ve been dealing with so much change as a nation and a culture as we’ve grown from our humble beginnings to where we are today.

America has always been the greatest country in the world.  But I fear America may become a has-been if we don’t make a change.

But in the last few years our nation has been crashing – literally and figuratively.

Our beloved Navy had four accidents resulting in the loss of life and the removal of the Admiral in charge.

I’m pretty sure rule number one in the Navy is don’t crash your ship.   

When I see Nazis marching in the streets and teenagers dying from opioids in every community, then I fear our ship, USA, is crashing.

Luckily, I’ve lost my way before and I know how to find focus.

And focus – being present – is the key to not crashing.

First, ask ourselves what is truly important?

If the answer doesn’t include love and gratitude, then rethink your answer.

Second, ask ourselves what it means to be free?

If that answer doesn’t include love and respect for others, again, rethink your answer.

Third, ask ourselves what it means to be tolerant?

This answer involves a world without hate and violence against any other race, sex, nationality.

America is supposed to be a role model.  A place where ANYONE can be free.

It’s true – our skin is different today than 100 years ago.  Tanned and strengthened by the immigrants that built this country.  Our strength should lie in the diversity of our community.

Let’s remember what made us great.  

The Devaluation of America

Nazis in America

There was a time when seeing this headline anywhere in the United States would have implied an invasion.

It would have been no different than the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor or when the towers fell on 9/11.

But yesterday I saw chilling images from Charlottesville.  They were the view of the riots from inside the city’s oldest Synagogue.   

During the protest, the congregants were trapped while outside Nazis armed with AR-15s pointed them toward the front doors.  

These Charlottesville based American Jewish citizens, were threatened on US soil.  

To me, this represents an act of war.

And thus, I call for a National Ban on the Nazi flag and all similar memorablia as it represents a symbol of hate, violence, racism and the belief in genocide.

Second, I call on the American people to unite in Amending the Constitution of the United States to more clearly address that affiliation with any group focused on hate, violence, racism and genocide will result in the forefiture of certain constitutional rights such as the right to bear arms, the right to freedom of speech and the right to assemble.

This is the only option.

I will not stand by and allow the destruction of America.  

I will not allow racism and discrimination to exist.

The Constitution by design ia supposed to ensure the safety of all citizens and the survival of the country.

Today, black people fear the police, immigrants fear ICE, and Muslims fear Nazis.

The time for permanent change is now.

I call on everyone to do your part in making a better, safer, world.

Nazis in America

Who are we?

As I reflect on this past week, I’m compelled to share some thoughts.

First and foremost, a huge thank you for all the word of encouragement, phone calls and stories which people have shared around my post “100 Days.” I’ve learned that everybody loves drinking, myself included, but that A LOT of people wish they could drink less.  Our current social structure puts alcohol front and center – happy hours, summer Rose, concert and sporting events, etc – so it’s extremely difficult not to consume booze. Unfortunately, the older we get, our bodies change and the physical consequences on the body become more pronounced. However, from all the people that shared stories of their lifestyle without alcohol – 100% said they would never go back. I admit a cold beer on the Playa or sunrise Champagne will always be a delicious experience but for now I’m focusing my energies on family and work.

Second, a huge thank you to all the entrepreneurs and co-workers that have made it a point to emphasize how clear and focused my thinking and advice has been. When you start to see lifestyle changes positively impacting other really smart people – it’s super rewarding.

Third, I’d like to acknowledge the power of manifestation. Through clarity of thought from yoga, meditation and purity of diet, I’ve realized the power to manifest the life I want to live.   Quite simply, visualize what you want to accomplish and make it become a reality.

Fourth, I am overwhelmed with a burning desire to become a catalyst for change.  As the news of our President threatening North Korea is followed by images of a Neo-Nazi / KKK rally, I realize we need to make a choice. We need to redefine America. We need to decide who and what we want to be at this critical point in our history.

While this great country was built on the promise of freedom, the foundations of this promise were flawed. As Condoleezza Rice said, our country was born with a birth defect and that birth defect is slavery. And it almost caused our demise in the Civil War, it caused turmoil during the Civil Rights movement, and continues with a constant struggle for survival in our underserved communities.

Now, we need to remember that our freedom has been won by the brave men and women who have fought and died for freedom. The early revolutionaries, the Underground Railroad, and above all our military who fearlessly put themselves in harms way generation after generation.  As someone who served and swore an oath to defend our constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, I think it’s time to draw a line in the sand.  Because freedom can not co-exist with hate and violence.

When I was in High School, I remember fighting to protect a gay classmate. When I was in college, I remember fighting to protect a black classmate. Ironically at that point in my life, I was probably a bit homophobic, surrounded by racism with its fair share of misogyny.  It was acceptable programming of the time.

Well – it’s not acceptable anymore.

It’s time to reprogram what is acceptable.

So if you were raised a racist, misogynist or homophobe you are due for an update.

You know when your cell phone or Apple TV stops working because you haven’t installed the most recent software update – well, our country is about to stop working.  We have some critical failures that we need to fix.  The good news is that we should be able to make this a software update.  If we need to eliminate the hardware with the faulty programming – then we find ourselves in the second Civil War.

It should not be your right to assemble and have freedom of speech, if that freedom is fueled by hate and violence.

Negativity creates negative outcomes. Hence, someone driving through a crowd of hateful demonstrators in Charlottesville.

I remember as a young Army officer, getting dispatched to some civil unrest where they briefed us that our job was to defend the protestors burning the flag. It seemed odd to me that I needed to let people burn the symbol of freedom. I had learned through military history that it was our duty to make sure the flag never fell.  In fact, military rumor has it that in the ball atop of every military base flagpole, there is a razor blade to cut off the stars, a match to burn the starless flag and a bullet to take your own life instead of surrending.

So I think we can uses the same three things to change our country.   A razor blade, to cut out the hate and violence from racism, homophobic behavior and misogyny.   A match, to light a fire to mark a new beginning – where we can cast our past and chart our future.  And a bullet, because if hatred and violence will not go willingly, then we will meet it head on.

More than one wise teacher said, before you can bring peace to the world, you need to find peace within.

I have found my internal peace, so watch out world, here I come…

Here is this post in my own voice:

 

Who are we?