#WINNING @ SXSW and #LOSING in Japan

Posted on March 14, 2011. Filed under: startups, venture capital |








As I watched my twitter stream this weekend I was reminded, or should I say slapped in the face, by a war that has been stirring in my mind for more than a year.  On one side: the all-consuming, constantly updating, soap opera that is internet/startup land.  On the other side: everything else that matters in life.  All weekend, my feed was split between media recounting the ongoing devastation in Japan and self promotional SXSW tweets recounting parties and relationship building between the who’s who of the internet and VC world.  There’s something hard to swallow about watching a video like this: http://bit.ly/hySii6 and then immediately consuming a tweet like this:

“Ruh roh. Now SXSW is getting wacky. On a crazy bus to nowhere @abatalion (pic) @davemcclure @naval #winninghttp://plixi.com/p/83904094

I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Great, I’m glad Mark Suster and the CTO of living social are #WINNING right now, because there are certainly a lot of people #LOSING.”  Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with partying and having an awesome time at SXSW, but I look at self promotional hashable tweet after self promotional hashable tweet, and I am reminded how easy it is to get lost in the internet soap opera and forget that there is an entire world unfolding around it.

But again, this is only a salient example of a much more fundamental war for consciousness that I myself experience daily.  At other times, I am as guilty as anyone else of hanging on tweets, dipping in and out of the fabric of the social stream, moving around the pieces, and allowing the soap opera to become my own reality.  Just as I tweet something smart @fredwilson, there is an uprising in Tunisia where a reality exists that is so much more meaningful than anything I am thinking about or have to say.

I pass by 3, not 1, not 2, but 3 homeless shelters every time I walk home from the gym, and rather than take a minute to internalize what goes on within those walls, I am focused on how not to get hit by a taxi cab as I consecutively open Foursquare, then Twitter, then Instagram, and then Facebook, to make sure I am completely current and up to speed on what’s happening in the social media sphere.

My friend, Eric Ruben, who is a very deep philosophical thinker, dropped some heavy ideas on me last week around living and experiencing life in one of two ways: A) watching and objectifying those elements “external” to us vs. B) experiencing life connected to or internalizing those same elements.  The reality is, we make decisions about where and what to focus on.  This weekend’s twitter stream reminded me how easy it is to get lost in the bullshit, “externalizing” the rest of the world in the name of what’s right in front of our faces.

As I write this, I feel a little like that asshole musician, who preaches about politics or world hunger when all I came to do was watch the fucking concert, but so it goes.  Kill it in internet land when you need to kill it in internet land, but remember to “zoom out” and experience the more fundamental elements of life as well.  I write this advice to myself and anyone else who is similarly consumed.


Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

5 Responses to “#WINNING @ SXSW and #LOSING in Japan”

RSS Feed for Jordan Cooper's Blog: startups, venture capital, etc… Comments RSS Feed

Dear Jordan,

Living today is a bit of a moveable feast. What we care about, what matters to us is always there with us, no matter what we do or how we approach living in the physical or virtual world – experiences are there every moment.

In the connected world there is always something desperately bad happening somewhere and simply keeping a positive outlook and focus in one’s own life can be hard.

Acknowledgment first, participation second. For some of us, acknowledgment can take a really long time, many never participate in solving or trying to ease other people’s burdens.

In my own life I have a number of deep, must-do goals that coincide with my professional life and ambitions. If I’m able to achieve the one set, the other set will benefit significantly greater and in doing something active towards both goals, I live a happy and fulfilling life. And in my own mind I’m working for something greater than myself.

Have you thought about giving what you can to shelters and programs on your way to the gym; clothing, monthly small donations for meals, or volunteering to work community meals or holiday setup/break down.

It may seem trite but participation grows into deeper acknowledgment and it becomes easier and easier to realize how doing good, even in minute ways can fulfill a much deeper and lasting happiness.

thanks for the note…babysteps is a good approach, appreciate the thoughts

Love it.

Your schizophrenia is ripe. Striving between two worlds. It’s weird being so connected to bull shit and real shit at the same time.

Great writing! Thanks for sharing.

Great post, Jordan. As an activist constantly trying to use social media tools, the biggest challenge is how not to be a “downer” in an online world (at least in the US) that is decidedly lighthearted.

If I were only to post sad political/human rights stories, that would turn a lot of people off, so I try to mix it up with Charlie Sheen cooking shows. The juxtaposition feels weird.

Jordan – I have come to terms on my own worldview in the last few years about income gaps, opportunity and social equality.

I have a lot of reasons for starting up a company now; mainly the customer/market fit to the solution. But also:

I also want to make a direct difference in young people’s lives. I want to introduce a concept of a “second seat” in my next venture. Wherein employees at all levels are encouraged to spend 10% of their week working with local young people.

Through promoting interested young people through a learning lab, to an internship in the company doing actual work in marketing, HR, web design, development, management, I want to engage directly with youth that traditionally hasn’t had entry to equal opportunities.

I want to show them early on that it isn’t something outside their scope of achievement and partner with them throughout their journey through young adult-hood. This won’t slow down the company but it will make sure we do good and can have a direct impact on our communal well-being.

This is a primary driver for me; not only building a great company, but opening doors to the kind of generational opportunities for those most in need of it.

Be well,


Where's The Comment Form?


    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I've started a few companies and a venture capital firm. You can email me at Jordan.Cooper@gmail.com (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it)


    Subscribe Via RSS

    • Subscribe with Bloglines
    • Add your feed to Newsburst from CNET News.com
    • Subscribe in Google Reader
    • Add to My Yahoo!
    • Subscribe in NewsGator Online
    • The latest comments to all posts in RSS


Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: