I see the light…i swear

Posted on July 8, 2012. Filed under: startups, venture capital |

It’s easier to hate than it is to love. Today I realized, that I have been doing a lot of hating of late. “I’m mad at market X”, “I’m annoyed with the way the press is covering Y”, “I can’t stand how founders do X”…this phenomenon has been pointed out to me not by colleagues or startup peeps, but rather by my closest friends and family.  I get questions like, “dude, you are such a positive person, your blog makes it sound like your angry or depressed or something.”  I sort of scratch my head and say, “I don’t know what to tell you, that’s what’s on my mind” or “sorry that was so negative…but it’s true.”  I still stand behind those answers, but I realized something today…which is that I’ve been a little lazy in my writing lately.  It’s easy to sit down to a blank page, think about the last thing that pissed you off, and go at it for 2 paragraphs in a way that will strike a chord with everyone else who has experienced something similar…it’s harder, however, to sit down to a blank page and think about what makes you a believer or what you really love or really appreciate…or the thing that gets you so spanking excited that you remember why you are in this business in the first place…

A long time ago, I realized something interesting as well…the posts that get the strongest reception, syndication, commenting etc…are almost always about “the struggle”…in one form or another, people seem to dig writing that they can identify with…and let’s face it…everyone who’s hustling and working their asses off, rich or poor, unproven or successful, is somehow experiencing struggle…and therefore can relate to it.  So I write a lot about the struggle, and my struggle, which is ever changing, with new challenges, new aspects of life becoming less certain than they were, etc…but just because I focus on the struggle, doesn’t mean I’m struggling…it’s just great fodder for this forum…and writing is therapeutic…it helps to fight whatever forces are contributing to the struggle at any given time.

A friend recently sent me a note, after a particularly frustrated post I wrote, and said “hey dude, do you forget that your blog is public?”…I sort of smiled and wrote back “sometimes”…and that’s true, it’s no secret that unfiltered thought and content is way more compelling than sanitized writing…and I try to stay really true to whatever I’m thinking…where that ends up is occasionally in a post that I don’t end up publishing, but it’s boring to write only the thoughts and feelings that are “fit to print.”

I’m sure many of you read Dave McClure’s post today about his struggle over the years.  He revealed some elements of his psyche that most push deep down, into dark places, and he served them up, really crisply and clearly, for all to read.  You could read this post and walk away thinking, “wow, I had no idea Dave McClure was hurting like that,” but the truth is he’s probably not…at least not any more than any other conscious human…it’s why the post was tweeted a billion times today…because everyone can identify with the pings of inadequacy, self doubt, and unrealized aspiration which he elucidates.  And there is something comforting about reading a post like that from a guy who’s public façade looks closer to bullet proof than unproven…the only difference between him, you, warren buffet and batman is that he wrote those thoughts down on paper and published them to the web.

This post is getting long, and I didn’t intend to dive as deep into the struggle as I ended up going, but the point I wanted to make was that there is a place for this pain in the spotlight of startup land, but there is also a place for hope and love and happiness.  So I fear I’ve neglected those elements in my writing of late…too much struggle, too much hate,…so today I wanted to find the love…or more specifically my love…what do I love about startupland?  What do I love about the decisions I’ve made?  What do I find beautiful in the world of venture capital?  These are themes that will not get retweeted…because nobody in the struggle wants to read about the deep satisfaction of someone who, at least on the surface, has less struggle then comfort, but for the sake of my mother, and my friends, who are worried that I have lost the optimism at the foundation of my self, below is a concerted effort to show you my rose colored view of this world:

1)   I love the choice that permeates our ecosystem.  There is no path, no ladder to climb, and no rules.  There are decisions that will make your life harder, for sure, but if I can write shit, piss, fuck on this most public representation of myself and still persuade someone to give me $10 Million of their hard earned money, it is pretty clear that we are in a world where “Do You” trumps “fit in” or “you can’t say that on television” (Note: I have not raised $10M…yet…)

2)   I love that the word “NO” fuels our progress at the same or faster rate than “YES.” I love being surrounded by people who do not sink their head at the first taste of adversity…I love that we work in a world where “NO” is received with an internal vow to make the deliverer of said word taste it hard…and let me tell you…for those who haven’t made the doubters taste it yet…when the day comes…it feels fucking great…

3)   I love , love, love how fast we are able to go from the depths of hell to outerspace….it is a rare world that sends rocket ships into space every single day…and we are in it…and believe it or not, painstaking hard work earns you a seat on the ship.

4)   I love that my train just stopped for the xfer at Jamaica and I closed my computer but I can keep writing this post on my phone because we live in the future…and I love that we work in the one industry on earth that gets to imagine what that future will be

5)   I love that you don’t have to wait until your 45 years old to make decisions here. In a world where all decisions are imperfect, we have an amazing openness and acceptance of imperfection…we prefer 90% right at 23 years old o 94% right with 20 more years experience…which is awesome. I was about to right something I can’t stand about corporate culture but then remembered that this is a post about love and not hate.

6)   I believe that we are pushing things forward in a direction that is better than the present. Sometimes I get frustrated by the forces in our market that work against this progress, whether they be contributors to the noise, or inefficient capital markets, or frankly human characteristics that work against us, but as a whole, when all is said and done, we are changing the way our population and environment exist, and we are doing it somewhat deliberately…which is so awesome. What an amazing role to play…it’s no wonder so many want to participate…beyond the noise, I see light…it is this light that inspires me and fuels my impatience and dissatisfaction at the same time

7)   I love watching the entrepreneur come of age…to see a human being who has been something her entire life step into it is amazing…the founder who begins is unlocked for the first time…we work in a world where we witness birth every day…aside from OBGYN’s, I’m not sure who else can say that

I could think of 50 more, but my train just got to Penn Station. I love this world…if my words on this blog skew negative…it’s just because I believe and want for more

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5 Responses to “I see the light…i swear”

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you continue to PWN in this space. Nice job!

The work of a great writer resounds far beyond the scope of his intent. Nice work Jordan, I find your words fit my own field well too:)

thank you, hope you’re great

A great list as always and reminds me of a speaker I heard recently who spoke about the importance of writing down positive things that happened to you during the day or over the last week and its impact on your outlook. At the same time, often channeling frustration, etc. allows us to be more introspective/thoughtful in critique. Both have a place and can make the other more powerful. Please continue to share.

inspiring. thanks, i needed that. 🙂


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    About

    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I think there is one metric that can be used to measure the value of a human life and that’s impact. How did you change things? How many people did you touch? How different is the world because you lived in it and how positive was the change that you affected? (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it) You can email me at Jordan.Cooper@gmail.com

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