The New Normal

I want to apologize to Wendy Dent for using a sexual innuendo to end our relationship. I should never have done it.

It was stupid and was one of those “Marc Canter” moments where my unfiltered flow of sarcastic, unconventional communication and behavior backfired on me.

I’m sorry.

I realize the impression of my statement are being misconstrued and being blown WAY out of proportion, but that doesn’t matter. If she didn’t like it and the NYTimes thought it was important enough to report — than I’ll deal with it.

In fact — all this attention and scrutiny I’ve been getting has certainly shown me how important every single I say and do — matters.

I never intended to hurt Wendy, to betray her or to in anyway — lead her on or seduce her. This is back 2 years ago when she approached me.

I made it clear to her I wasn’t an investor — so all I could do was give her my honest opinion and feedback. And I did.

But that’s just the beginning of this story. By being included in a story about Dave McClure and Chris Sacca — I have received a whole lotta attention — whether I deserve it or not.

From now on I’ll be known as the guy who “got rid of Wendy Dent by coming onto her.” That was wrong and I admit it.

It is endemic of the Bro culture that permeates in the Valley — obviously to NON investors like myself — who are just stating our opinion and giving feedback to female entrepreneurs.

The real issue is: “what comes next?”

As danah boyd wrote: “The question is whether or not he (Me) will admit that to himself, let alone to others.”

danah was referring to the fact that when I first met her — 15 years ago — I propositioned her for a threesome with my wife. I realize that was stupid and wrong and I certainly NEVER intended to make danah feel uncomfortable, ashamed, and scared!

So I apologize to danah — as well.

I totally agree that we men — as a whole — need to change and I will be the first one to admit I need to change. So I’m gonna do that!

Here are the four areas that danah suggests we change:

Recognition — its the small things that matter. I’m helping out various female run companies — and I hope others will do the same. I’ll be very careful in the future to make SURE that all feedback I give is stripped of anything that even differentiates between female or male. There are great ideas being percolated and dreamed up — every day — and each of them deserve “the light of day” — regardless of who dreams them up.

Repentance — I hope that this note will communicate properly to Wendy my sincere apology. And to danah. And I wish to extend my apology to any other female I might have offended in the past.

Respect — all the way. Especially to the female run startups I know of — and am helping (as we speak): Ariel McNichol of SmartSpark and Lisa Padilla of NewPathVR

Reparation — I am actively seeking to recruit female engineers and board members.

For myself and my current company — Instigate.ai we are focused 1,000,000% on positive, move forward actionable efforts to help facilitate change.

That’s the best thing I can do — focus on real ACTION - rather than just talk which moves us all towards encouraging and supporting behavior change.

Again — I sincerely apologize to Wendy and I wish her nothing but the best of luck on her endeavor.

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