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?

100 Days

Today marks 100 days since I had my last drink of alcohol.

And I feel great!

Obviously, drinking is a huge part of our culture.   We drink while we watch sports, eat a nice meal or head out for happy hour after a hard day of work.

But over the last 10 years, as I’ve grown a bit older and clinging to the edge of my athletic years, I’ve taken a few breaks from drinking and it always had a positive effect.

This includes weight loss, better sleep, less moodiness and a much, much happier wife.  And as the saying goes, happy wife happy life.

This doesn’t mean I don’t miss a delicious glass of wine especially with a beautiful meal, but it’s about a lifestyle change.   One that will result in a much healthier and thus enjoyable journey as I get older.

I continue to meditate and practice yoga – both which reinforce how good I feel without the booze.

And my spiritual evolution continues with more clarity.

It’s not for everyone, but it’s working for me.

Much love

100 Days

Live the life you want

I recently read a story about Steve Jobs and his final days.

Essentially, on his death bed, Jobs realized the “non-stop pursuit of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me.” He continued that “God gave us the senses to let us feel the love in everyone’s heart, not the illusions brought about by wealth”

As I am now in my 40s, I’m spending more and more time contemplating how I live from this point forward.

I’ve made some great choices and I’ve made some that were not so great.

Now, as I reflecting on my collective experience, I realize I have the choice of how I live my life.

I know my kids will only have one childhood and I will be an integral part of it.

But how I decided to spend time with the people outside of my family, is where the real opportunity lies to proactively live the life I want.

To pursue entrepreneurs and companies doing cool, innovative things with purpose.

To continue to express the need for humanity to provide food, water, shelter and security to every living person.

To meditate and be present in everything and every relationship I pursue.

Love can travel a thousand miles. 

Life has no limit. 

Go where you want to go. 

Reach the height you want to reach.

 It is all in your heart and in your hands.

– Steve Jobs


Live the life you want

Gratitude

I find myself in one of the most grounded, healthy and happy places I think I’ve ever been.

While the constant ups and downs of life still continue, I have found an internal compass magnetized by gratitude and pointing me in the direction of happiness.

This has not been an easy or short path.

It has not been without obstacles especially those self-imposed.

But as of now, I am in tune.

Much love.

Gratitude

New Beginnings

Yesterday we officially opened our new office at 65 N. Moore in Tribeca.

I couldn’t be more proud of my team and the entrepreneurs that helped us get here.

I started Brad Harrison Ventures, the predecessor to Scout Ventures, almost 8 years ago at a small Ikea desk in the corner of my bedroom.   From the first day when Niko Herman showed up to be an intern, I knew we were going to have fun.

We moved from my apartment into a squatter situation in midtown.   That office and part of the city just wasn’t a fit for us

But when John Ryu, my original venture partner, decided to leave WebMD, we moved back to Tribeca and found a brand new Regus with a spacious one room office at 99 Hudson Street.

From that office, we grew to four people, all of us unpaid.  We started to raise capital and invest. Our earliest investments in GateGuru and Olapic have both paid out significant returns and provided our LPs liquidity.

Then we decided to move to the basement of 47 Murray Street.  The office was really cool and provided us ample space to grow and expand our footprint.  Additionally, our home on Murray Street was super convenient – across the street from Equinox and only about a 1-minute walk from home.

It was in that basement that we built our initial bunker of good entrepreneurs, friends, Veterans and our advisors.  Our portfolio company, UniteUS grew from an idea to a 35 person entity provided SaaS products to help coordinate care in the human and health services sectors including Veterans.  Greensbury grew from an idea into an operating company with CEO, Ted Hopper, my old friend and colleague from AOL. We have also incubated a few other startups to include AssurelyAssurely, PortfolioWatch, MercuryXchange and a few others.

Now as we look forward to the future, we identify ourselves as investors, co-builders, and entrepreneurs.   We are now in the process of raising Fund III.  We have never been more excited about the future.  Our next step is to find the right institutional investors who can recognize all that we have been able to accomplish with limited capital, perseverance and a ton of heart.

Thanks for all the hard work from my team especially Brendan Syron, Dan Brillman and Andrew Price for helping me with the move in more ways than one.

My success is nothing without people to share it with.

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New Beginnings