I’m angry. I’m confused. Yesterday I hardly got any work done in my glassy-eyed stupor. I see now that I had been sleeping. Now I’ve been shaken awake. I’m awake.
“It’s 2016,” we said, as if we’d bent space-time to finally arrive in the future. This is 2016. The future is tomorrow. Tomorrow it will be the next day, and so goes the arrow of time. We have not arrived. This is not the end, but it is the road. That gleaming city, that distant peak, is still in the distance. Was it a mirage all along? Partly. The city isn’t there; it must be built. As a futurist (in both senses of the word) I believe technology, if conscientiously stewarded, presents a ‘third way’ to solve many of the problems we face. All does not yet gleam in glory. Roll your sleeves back up. We have work to do.
Yesterday I felt helpless. I was, but of my own doing. No longer. I have a voice. I have privilege. I’m an investor. …I have a responsibility. Never again will I let a day pass in self-inflicted ineptitude. While I sat in shock my incredible entrepreneurs kept working––I know because their emails didn’t stop. Gauri kept building a connectivity device for children. Thibault and Skinner, both Deaf, respectively from France and Taiwan, honed their barrier-breaking communication tool. Jeff, an amputee, continued work on a CAD suite for prosthetists. KJ, whose grandparents immigrated from Scandinavia, and Carlos, her Nicaraguan Co-Founder, focused on their barter economy platform. Jay and Doug, British and Australian, were heads down on their ethical and sustainable asset manager. They haven’t lost sight. How dare I? I’m awake, and I have more work to do.
Nearly 30% of publicly traded companies were founded or co-founded by people who immigrated to this great country or whose parents did. Nearly half of the entrepreneurs I’ve backed have a similar background. A growing portion of the pitches I hear are from women. I’ve been meeting more Black and LGBT investors. I am honored by their friendship, by their partnership, and I am immensely thankful this country has them. (Remember the vast majority of us are progeny of immigrants, simply on different timescales.) They give me hope. But we have more work to do, so Cantos will redouble its efforts to work with them. Doing so is not only a responsibility but––fortunately for my LPs––an opportunity. In marginalizing such groups society, and the market by extension, undervalues their hard work.
Hope is not lost. There’s simply more work to do than we thought. We’ve turned a corner to realize there’s one more valley than expected between us and that idyllic peak where our harmonious city will be built. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it. The process is not yet finished, but it is going on. Rage––though peacefully. Mourn––in empathy for others. Then take a deep breath and roll your sleeves back up, because we have work to do.