We All Need More Empathy in Our Lives and Deaths
Why we invested in Empathy
As I have written in my last three books, in the 21st century, “values create value.” Perhaps one of the most important values needed in our world today is empathy. In a world of more screens, we need to exert more empathy. In a world of pandemics and social distancing, we need more visual and physical empathy. In a world of loss and loneliness, we need more mutual empathy.
In two previous blog posts, I outlined an investment strategy called “Long Humanity.” More hugging, more mutual civic responsibility and more technology in service of and support of humanity, its opportunities and challenges.
Over the last couple of years, Ron Gura has been talking to me about the lack of humanity in and technology available for dealing with end of life issues. The issue is inherently difficult. It is difficult for children to talk to their parents about end of life and also difficult for many spouses to talk about it with each other. And then when it happens, there is nobody left to talk to. Bereaved families are alone. At the time of your most human need, a time of personal pain, not only do you and your family have nobody to talk to, but you can bang your head against an un-human and even inhumane wall of bureaucracy, forms, painful encounters and financial stress. Ron was sure that we can help solve the dull and constant pain of bureaucracy with technology, and that we can even help alleviate grief and empower families with human empathy amplified by technology.
I have known Ron for well over a decade. Ron was an EIR at Aleph, a successful founder at The Gifts Project, a leader at eBay (which acquired The Gifts Project) and a legendary scaler and innovator at WeWork. We have worked together and always wanted to work on a new startup together. I can’t think of a better and more important mission to partner on. Ron has always employed technology to solve human problems. Most significantly, he lives the values of humanity and empathy that shine through in the product Empathy has created for one of life’s most difficult challenges: end of life. Loss shouldn’t be as complicated as it is; Empathy is designed to take on some of the burden.
We are thrilled to partner with Ron and Yon Bergman (who I have known and admired for years) to transform the end of life experience for next of kin. Empathy is going to wear its empathy on its virtual sleeve. We want to bring real humanity to life in our app and experience. Ron and Yon believe we can change how the world deals with loss and build a big business and brand at the same time. I agree. 21st century businesses built on values, transparency, technology and empathy will be the businesses that are the foundation of the economy. They will help all of us build lasting legacies for our loved ones while helping families to cope and heal from loss. Praying for and wishing us all only happy and healthy times, but simultaneously realizing that life is… life.