Good morning, All,
Our next Breakfast with an Investor will be on November 20th and our guest investor will be Pedro Torres Picon, founder of Quotidian Ventures.
Pedro Torres Picón came to the US from Venezuela and founded Quotidian Ventures, a seed stage fund. His passion lies in “helping founders create technology products that modernize large industries in which they have deep domain expertise.”
The fund focuses mostly on Big Data, Location Based Services, and Mobile Commerce and invest in companies with technology products that modernize large existing industries and in founding teams with unique and proprietary knowledge of the industry they are modernizing. They also tend to focus on the earliest stages of a product’s development, when it’s often pre-product and pre-VC, and on products that represent a radical efficiency leap when compared to existing alternatives, and they prefer New York City-based companies. More about him on the eventbrite page, and he is a very active early stage investor – and always has a great story to tell. Register here.
If you’re attending the Web Summit in Dublin this week, let us know – let’s meet up!
Tim Cook came out last week. He admitted that he is gay, an announcement that took the industry by surprise – almost as much as does any other big Apple announcement, which is always leaked well in advance of the press conference and surprises absolutely no one. Save for the fact that it seemed to have come from out of nowhere.
What was missing was context, so let us fill you in. A few months back, Apple was taken to task about its privacy and security issues. Cook so-called addressed it, but he really didn’t. In fact, he ducked those issues, and instead, deflected the conversation, so maybe this press conference was his way of saying that one’s personal privacy is not top of mind at Apple, or for those people – like him – at the very top of the Apple food chain. Of course he didn’t come out and say this, but he might have thought that it was somehow implied and our response is: you have a responsibility to those of us who buy your products. Man up.
Now, we’re assuming that Cook has been aware of his sexual orientation for quite some time, and whatever. He spoke about human rights and equality and all of that. But let’s be honest: it’s not difficult to be a gay person in California, where he lives and correct us if we’re wrong, but being the CEO of one of the top companies on the planet, well, that’s not exactly a hardship, either. We personally would have been more convinced of Mr. Cook’s unwavering devotion to the human condition and the problems one has to contend with in the face of adversity, had he spoken up during the Brendan Eich controversy – when Eich was ousted from the top spot at Mozilla Firefox for having made a political donation that some people were unhappy about.
Then again, considering the aforementioned Bill Maher piece (“Bill Maher thinks ‘gay mafia’ went after Mozilla Firefox CEO: If you cross them ‘you get whacked’”), one can only wonder why such a generally private person as Cook suddenly did make that announcement and the answer to that question might be even more troubling.
Newsflash: with all of this sudden focus on the need for diversity, that includes political viewpoints, as well, Silicon Valley, whose message seems to be that diversity is fine, as long as you think like us. There’s no difference between discriminating against someone for his/her sexual orientation and discriminating against someone for his/her personal beliefs. Everyone should be accorded the same consideration. If Tim Cook truly understands suffering and wanted to convey this, at the very least, he might have mentioned Malala Yousafazai, the young Pakistani Nobel Prize winner who risked her life to get an education – and tell her story – rather than invoking Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. “I don’t pretend that writing this puts me in their league,” he said. Maybe delivering a speech that was more inclusive and more relevant to our time might have helped. Over and out. Onward and forward.