Food For Thought (6/7/20)

Hi Friends,

What a month it has been. I feel mentally exhausted but weirdly energized and focused on change. I’ve been pleased to see non-blacks acknowledging the need for education, conversation, understanding and above all ACTIONS. I’ve been pleased to see white folks stepping aside and giving room to others and I’ve been pleased to see new venture funds getting created to support minorities. It's also been great to see CEOs of venture backed companies vouching to do better, learn, and try to have more conversations. 

Yes there are glimpses of hope and I think this is why it is important for us to continue and learn, to remain open minded, to have difficult conversations and fight for those that have been systematically marginalized. This is just the beginning. 

But in order to help others we need to understand. We need to understand ourselves first. Understand our own biases, the things that keep our eyes closed to the bigger truth. And we need to understand others and the world around us. 

Below are a few of my findings that have shed light and surfaced new perspectives on how I view the world. 

I hope you give yourself a moment, take a deep breath and learn something new!


It’s time we dealt with white supremacy in tech - Tiffani Ashley Bell Founding Executive Director at The @HumanUtility asks “what are we willing to do differently to dismantle white supremacy in the technology sector and because of technology’s pervasive influence, dismantle white supremacy in society?” An important question with massive consequences that many in Silicon Valley haven’t really thought about. 

A commencement address too honest to deliver in person - This is a beautiful piece by David Brooks where he shares his advice with recent graduates. He capitalizes on the opportunity of the faculty, parents and the student themselves being absent due to COVID-19 and delivers one of the most honest commencement speeches I’ve ever read.  

“No, my worry is that, especially now that you’re out of college, you won’t put enough really excellent stuff into your brain. I’m talking about what you might call the ‘theory of maximum taste.’ This theory is based on the idea that exposure to genius has the power to expand your consciousness. If you spend a lot of time with genius, your mind will end up bigger and broader than if you spend your time only with run-of-the-mill stuff.

The theory of maximum taste says that each person’s mind is defined by its upper limit—the best that it habitually consumes and is capable of consuming.”

Book recommendations:

The Five Language of Love - In this New York Times bestseller, you’ll discover the secret that has transformed millions of relationships worldwide (including mine). Whether your relationship is flourishing or failing, Dr. Gary Chapman’s proven approach to showing and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with others.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull - This is the story for people who follow their hearts and make their own rules…people who get special pleasure out of doing something well, even if only for themselves…people who know there’s more to this living than meets the eye: they’ll be right there with Jonathan, flying higher and faster than they ever dreamed.

Worth watching:

In this talk William Ury explains how listening is the essential, and often overlooked, half of communication. His stories of candid conversations with presidents and business leaders provide us with impactful lessons, such as understanding the power of a human mind opening up. He asks us to join a listening revolution, and promises that if we all just listen a little bit more, we can transform any relationship.

William Ury

Picture highlighted:

This picture was taken on Clarion Alley in the Mission District, San Francisco. 

The piece is called In Honor of…is a multi-faceted project of art, literature, and performances, in remembrance of hundreds of men and women who have been taken as political prisoners in Iran in recent years. They have fought for social justice, civil liberties, and worker and environmental rights. Today, they are behind bars for wanting to speak freely, practice their faith peacefully, join a union, receive fair wages, or protect the environment. The Iranian regime, however, has continued to deny them this voice and freedom.


Unit next time 👋🏽

Stay positive, keep on learning!

Dena Nejad

Leave a comment