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.
Trinet founder Martin Babinec offers timely advice on why and how VCs should engage politically, and how they can leverage opportunities outside traditional startup ecosystems.Read more ➞
I've learned a lot about life and business from my mother’s and my five-year journey to reconcile our political differences. I want to share our story because I think it may be of service regardless of which way you lean politically.Read more ➞
I’m starting a new series to feature some startups sourced from our Fund81 VC forum members’ portfolios. In this episode, I interviewed Gurjot Narwal, CEO of Gini Health.Read more ➞