In a conversation on my partners Sue and Leah’s Marco Polo Channel this week, I shared that my fear of how my participation may be received given my white privilege has historically kept me on the sidelines of the racial equality conversation. I'm working to change that and guest coach Kimberly Smith gave me some excellent advice that I'd like to pass on. She said that, as a first step, I should think deeply about my white identity by asking these questions:
What is the lens through which I view the world?
What assumptions have I made about life and about people?
Can I find white allies to explore this topic with me?
Can I find people of color to provide ongoing gut checks?
She also asked me if I recognized my “white comfort” and suggested that I ask myself what this white comfort has afforded me and why conversations about race cause me discomfort. She pointed out that I will need to move into discomfort if I really want to step up and be a meaningful part of the fight for racial equality. I'm taking her advice and have spent the week working to become comfortable with my discomfort.
You can hear more thoughts from Kimberly Smith here.
Listen of the Week: A Lesson in Leveraging My VC Network for Good | COVID-19 in Vail, Colorado. I spend half the year in Vail, Colorado, a community that is now facing a more than 30% unemployment rate because 50% of residents are employed by the tourism industry. I hosted an event to introduce my network to four nonprofits that are providing COVID-related support. I learned far more than I expected from their presentations and I think this episode humanizes the multifaceted effect of COVID-19 on our communities. I’m also hoping this will serve as an example of how to leverage professional connections for good. 38% of the people I invited attended this call.
Portfolio Quick Hit: Despite the pandemic's effect on travel, Hostfully, a vacation rental software company, achieved 21% growth in April. As Hostfully explains in its outlook on the 2020 holiday season amidst the pandemic, vacation rentals are seeing an uptick in reservations as more people look for ways to get away while avoiding airplanes and hotels.
I post my most interesting weekly thoughts, coupled with the best of my listening and reading list, and occasional MergeLane portfolio news every Tuesday. To follow Tuesday Takeaways and our occasional blog posts, you can subscribe to our blog or follow me on twitter.
Kim Smith, executive director of the League of Innovative Schools, shares her thought-provoking insights to help drive racial equality in our venture capital industry, and makes a powerful call for white co-conspirators who are ready, willing, and able to fight.
I am grateful for the clarity and inspiration this emotional time has afforded me. I am more driven to do work that matters than ever before. Because we still have a long road ahead, I'm going to take an emotional breather.
I find that I have to expend three times more energy to feel productive during the holidays. This pattern tends to persist not only during the week of July 4th, but for the entire month of July.
We sourced five startups from our Fund81 VC forum members to present for our June forum. Check out this episode to hear pitches from these incredibly tenacious entrepreneurs.
I have fielded several requests for introductions this week. I like to be helpful, but I also like to be respectful of my network’s time. I'd like to share a few tips for making double opt-in intros easy.
I’ve always thought of myself as someone who has a modern marriage. Three months into this COVID-19 situation, however, I'm starting to feel like I'm stuck in a 1950s sitcom.
In a conversation on my partners Sue and Leah’s Marco Polo Channel this week, I shared that my fear of how my participation may be received given my white privilege has historically kept me on the sidelines of the racial equality conversation. Guest coach Kimberly Smith gave me some great advice.
As a VC, I have the opportunity to build relationships with people who have tremendous resources. I often hesitate to ask my network to support philanthropic causes, because I want to respect our business relationship. After seeing the impact of COVID-19, however, I decided it was time to ask.
I post my most interesting weekly thoughts, coupled with the best of my listening and reading list, and occasional MergeLane portfolio news each Tuesday. Here’s the best of what I’ve read and listened to this week:
I invited Dick Rothkopf, co-founder of Learning Curve International, the manufacturer of the Thomas the Tank Engine toys, to share his thoughts on how to spot big thinkers and big ideas with the propensity to scale, and how to help entrepreneurs think bigger.