2020: The Year that Contained Multitudes
December 31, 2020
There were days this past year that felt like decades, and days that flew by. I can’t quite remember another year of my life that was filled with so much grief and sadness but also hope. Hope for a future that will be better than the past, where my life’s work of creating equitable opportunities for all may actually materialize.
Both the grief and hope come from the same place – a system that finally broke after years of heavy weight born by the masses. I am a venture capitalist and believe in new ventures and capitalism. I do believe both, enabled by technology and human talent, can lead to a true meritocracy – but haven’t been applied to do so in the past. This is the primary reason I started my own VC fund almost 8 years ago, to fulfill that promise. This is the reason I became interested in crypto at first sight – the promise that we could provide more equitable access to assets, broader participation in the world economy, and harness the abilities of everyone according to their own innate talents. This is the only future I can see that solves the challenges that lay ahead of us.
The hope is born from the advances I saw in how we think about equity in finance, in healthcare, in connectivity, in food security and every other aspect of our daily lives – I saw some of the most privileged who previously lived in their bubbles realize they couldn’t escape completely from the suffering of the many as it impacted their own daily lives. That we live in an interconnected world. Yes there are those that escaped to compounds elsewhere and may be content doing so but they can no longer partake in being part of the human experience. The virus became an equalizer – not completely, as we continue to see by who gets access to working from home, education, internet connectivity, vaccines, PPEs and healthcare – but the virus exposed these inequalities to everyone. What we do next with this information will be key.
As a double minority in a white male dominated world my whole career, I have also never experienced a year where so many people finally woke up to the systemic injustices that the majority of the world’s population face. I have been writing and speaking on this topic, as have so many others, for years. But this is the first time that I felt truly heard and “believed”. Previously, even the most well-intentioned would find excuses (“you’re being sensitive”, “I don’t see it therefore it can’t exist”, “have you thought of changing your behaviour”) – a thousand cuts, that have become battle scars, that luckily have only strengthened my resolve, but shouldn’t have been inflicted in the first place.
This post was going to be about the 2020 inflection points in technology and our Future\Perfect Ventures thesis, and I will write about that in the new year. Right now as the world turns to say goodbye to a challenging year I wanted to reflect on the year’s impact on our collective humanity, and my hope for the future. Happy New Year to all of you, and my condolences to all that experienced loss this year – may you find healing in memories and the precious time you were able to spend with that/those that were lost.