Nicaragua

Part I

Earlier this month we visited Nicaragua for the very first time.

It was different than any other family trip we have made to date.

While the landscape is beautiful, you can see and feel the economic hardship of the country. The country is extremely poor. In fact it is one of the poorest nations in the world, with 80% of the population living on just $2/day. Buildings were old and often in ruin. There is no train system. They had to sell the metal and trains for money years ago. The roads are narrow and bumpy. Most people walk, take the bus, or ride bicycles because cars and gas are too expensive. And yet the people were incredibly kind, giving and warm from the coasts to the rural communities to the cities. We were greeted with a friendly spirit everywhere.

The people in particular made a striking impression on all of us. Lauren researched the country before our arrival and discovered a program called Empowerment International. We visited the founder during our trip and met many of the students in the program. They are doing really incredible work and we made a donation and brought school supplies from the United States. If you want to make a donation you can do so here. I am still thinking about those kids.

On the plane heading home, Lauren kept saying how she wants to go back and see more of Nicaragua. I feel the same way.

(Part II here)

The implications of the government’s demands are chilling. If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data. The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.

Customer Letter, Tim Cook, Apple

When I read Tim’s historic post, I wonder how many other technology companies have simply complied with the DOJ’s requests in similar situations. I was happy to see Jack tweet Twitter’s support and follow Apple’s lead. 

Do we have any assurance that Google (Android, Nestcam), Facebook, Dropbox and others are standing resolute with Apple? 

Now would be the time to stand straight and tall. 

Update: It looks like Facebook is on Apple’s side as well. Good. 

February is often a time for personal reflection for me.

The new year is underway. Things get busy again. We often do some family traveling. This month we celebrate Valentine’s Day, my son’s birthday, our wedding anniversary and my birthday too.

When I turned 30, I was wistful about losing my 20’s and my youth. Someone once told me, “if you do it right, you won’t want my 20s back”.

And that is how I feel today. I don’t want them back. I’m grateful for these moments and these days.

https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/246461252/stream?client_id=N2eHz8D7GtXSl6fTtcGHdSJiS74xqOUI?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio

Hallway Chat, Episode #22

Yesterday, Nabeel and I recorded another episode of our podcast.

Show notes:

-Responded to questions by Hallway Chat listeners/friends Semil and Steve Kane

-How do we work with founders “after we write the check”
-Impact of social media in politics

-Perils of optimizing for valuations
-Upfront Summit & thoughts on current state of the market
-Andy Rubin’s new AI initiative & the future of VCs

As always, thanks so much for listening and send us your questions and feedback.

Cheers!

Stewart Butterfield, San Francisco. January 2016.

Stewart cofounded two super impactful and meaningful companies, Flickr and Slack. I am a subscriber to both products and we are investors in the latter.

A few weeks ago we had our annual meeting with our investors in San Francisco . Stewart spoke at our event and was so very thoughtful about the challenges and opportunities at Slack. But what impressed me the most was just how down to earth and direct he is. Inspiring.