Archive for July, 2016

Is abundant data redefining morality?

Posted on July 25, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I am not a political animal, never have been…but this weekend I had a brief chat with a friend who is voting for Hillary Clinton. He said, “I’m doing it, but if you read the report on her private server, it’s really bad…” My response was that I have become a bit jaded i guess, and at this point it is clear to me that 95% of people who reach Hillary’s level of influence, or even a few rungs down on the ladder, have bent the rules one or many times along their path to the top. It’s a bummer to say…but this is not just a political phenomenon. In business as well…most of the billionaires you know or have heard of…at some point along the way…they broke a law, made a questionable call, stabbed someone in the back, or worse…For better or for worse a very reasonable path to amass influence and wealth in modern society is to break the rules…Many of your entrepreneurial heroes, many of your VC crushes…way more people in our own ecosystem than you might at first consider, have done wrong on their path to the top.

Historically, I have reveled in the fall of unethical titans. Maybe it’s a chip on my shoulder…I don’t know…but as the world is filled with more and more information…and as it becomes easier to see a person’s every move, I have come to accept that almost everyone…even “good” people…do “bad” sometimes. We are in this moment of unprecedented visibility into the lives and actions of any individual…be it a police officer, civilian, public official, or CEO…and I think it’s becoming clear that there is a lot more bad behavior in ANY individual’s life, than we were previously willing to admit or wanted to acknowledge.
In a world of top down media and information, it used to be easier to dilute ourselves into believing that the objects of our public affection were ethically perfect and behaviorally consistent…but in today’s world where everything is recorded and everything is findable, it has become very clear that most are not…

Now we could be depressed that our society seemingly rewards questionable ethics and behavioral compromise with power and influence..or…we could redefine our expectations and accept that ethical compromise is the norm amongst those at the top as well as the bottom, and therefore judge it less harshly. I’d like to think that increased transparency in today’s information age will lead to cleaner behavior amongst our leaders, but I fear we are, albeit understandably, moving more in the direction of lowering the bar…

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Posted on July 18, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I’ve been an American Express card member for over 10 years…over that time I’ve accumulated quite a few rewards points…and this past weekend I decided to spend some for the first time that I can recall. Jetblue has this new Mint service which is their business class seat where you can lie down flat and fully recline. I “bought” two seats with my squirreled away rewards points for Liv and I to take the redeye home from SF last night. I figured we’d save on an extra night in a hotel and still get some sleep if we sprung for the seats that would let us lay down.

As the plane boarded, a guy in his fifties who was probably 6′ 5”, 250 pounds started to antagonize us as we sat in those fancy seats. He said we were too young to sit there, and that we were ugly people…and disgusting people for paying for these seats. I tried to explain that we used miles (not that it was any of his business), but he was visibly angry…and somewhat threatening.

I had the choice to stand up to him and start a fight on an airplane (which was the last thing I wanted to do), or to just quietly ignore him as he continued to be abusive toward us…and I chose the latter. At first i thought he’s probably just drunk, or crazy…but then I realized we were flyinh from SF…where young rich people are obviously taking their tole on the rest of the city and it’s culture, and maybe he really was just fed up with that dynamic.

This guy was upset. He is not alone these days. He was totally wrong…but i couldn’t help but wonder if he was also a little right.

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


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