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Preview: Chris Sacca's 'What is left?'

Chris Sacca's 'What is left?'



Chris Sacca's assorted musings on his transformation from a young Michael P. Keaton to an enlightened lefty and his eclectic stops along the way.



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Six ways you can help in Haiti.

2010-01-13T08:55:48-08:00

We are all saddened to hear of the tragedy in Haiti today. While we still don't know the full extent of the damage, we can be confident that an already fierce, daily struggle to survive has taken a disastrous turn...We are all saddened to hear of the tragedy in Haiti today. While we still don't know the full extent of the damage, we can be confident that an already fierce, daily struggle to survive has taken a disastrous turn for many Haitians. Like most of you, I wanted to immediately know how I could help. So, I checked in with a few of my friends, people who, not coincidentally, I happen to admire most, and here is what I pulled together. In no particular order: 1) Text "HAITI" to "90999" to donate $10 to the Red Cross -- Our friends at the US State Department, including Katie Stanton (@kateatstate), very quickly put together this number to channel relief contributions directly to first responders who will be on the ground there. I love that our government does things like this. (Update: I am told this only works in the US)2) Text "Yele" to 501501 to donate $5 to Yele Haiti -- My good friend Wyclef Jean (@wyclef) created this foundation to permanently improve the lives of the most impoverished in his home country of Haiti. Over the years, the stories I have heard from Wyclef remind me of how hard the living is there. I am humbled by Wyclef's commitment to the region and the impact Yele Haiti has there every day. Check out more on Yele Haiti. 3) Donate to Partners in Health (click here) -- PIH (@pih_org) is already on the ground in Haiti and mobilizing their relief efforts. If you have heard of Paul Farmer, this is the organization he co-founded. Working to provide health care and education to the poorest of Haiti, PIH is the real deal. 4) Donate to Architecture for Humanity (click here) -- Cameron Sinclair (@casinclair) and his non-profit Architecture for Humanity (@archforhumanity) can be found at virtually every developing world disaster site on the planet. These guys are a collection of design and housing geniuses who work tirelessly to provide shelter for the most deserving. 5) Donate to charity:water (click here) -- If you know me, you know how passionate I am about charity:water (@charitywater) and it's work to bring clean water to the 1 billion people on the planet who don't have it. Recently, the organization's founder, my friend and inspiration Scott Harrison (@scottharrison), traveled to Haiti to commence operations in that country and already thousands of Haitians have clean water to drink. As if the situation wasn't already bad enough, the need for clean water only intensifies in the aftermath of earthquakes. Every dollar of your support to these guys goes fully and immediately to work in the field. (Update: charity:water wrote a post encouraging you to also help their partners in Haiti.)6) Learn more about Haiti -- So often we send token amounts of charity to far-flung developing world destinations. Yet, rarely do we have a sense of what life is like there. Thus, one of the ways I believe you can also respond to a tragedy like this is to commit to learning about Haiti, it's culture and wonder, as well as its daunting hardships. To that end, I recommend reading Paul Farmer's book Mountains Beyond Mountains to get a taste of the hard work underway. Also, be sure to watch Ghosts of Cité Soleil. Produced by Wyclef, and starring him as well, this documentary terrifyingly depicts the heavily armed gang leaders in Haiti's poorest neighborhoods. Meantime, try following the Twitter accounts of the folks mentioned above. Each of us can learn something from them.7) Update -- A lot of thoughtful folks have left links below to other organizations who can channel your help to those who need it most. Please check out those groups and feel free to discuss them here.Thanks to all of you for taking action. We owe it to Haiti, a[...]



Best angel? As unlikely and undeserved as heaven admitting me in the first place.

2010-01-09T09:19:39-08:00

Tonight, TechCrunch will celebrate the last twelve months of fearless ingenuity, dogged ambition, and above all, plain ol' good luck that underpins the stories of all the dauntingly impressive companies that have been nominated for The 2009 Crunchies. Many of...Tonight, TechCrunch will celebrate the last twelve months of fearless ingenuity, dogged ambition, and above all, plain ol' good luck that underpins the stories of all the dauntingly impressive companies that have been nominated for The 2009 Crunchies. Many of the entrepreneurs who inspire me each day are among those contending for awards tonight including: Posterous, Gowalla, DailyBooth, Zappos, Betaworks, and my beloved Twitter.As in years past, I am thrilled to see the unwavering passion of these teams rewarded with some due recognition from their peers and, more importantly, from their users. It is in the light of all of their hard work and success that it feels weird to me, uncomfortable really, to have been nominated for the Crunchie for Best Angel Investor.It isn't that I don't think I am a helpful angel investor. To the contrary, it has thrilled me over the last couple of years to find that I really can move the needle for the companies I advise and in which I invest. It charges me up to see my involvement allow company founders to be focused and empowered and free of a lot of the traditional startup bullshit that can be a debilitating distraction. I love what I do precisely because the teams I work with see and feel how helpful I am. That's a win for everyone involved.So why does it feel so uncomfortable to be nominated? Because, well, look who else is on that list!! The other folks nominated have each quite literally revolutionized early stage investing. I don't say that lightly. Each of them is an unmitigated pioneer:Betaworks - John Borthwick and Andy Weissman took their vast experience as product gurus and all-around businessguys, raised a small fund, and built a place where brilliant entrepreneurs in NYC could not only get access to capital, but also experienced co-founders and a wonderful physical space to get stuff done side by side with other geeks. Their track record speaks for itself when you consider companies like Summize (acquired by Twitter) bit.ly, and someecards. I wouldn't think of touching down in NYC without a visit to their enclave and I always emerge smarter and happier as a result.Jeff Clavier - Jeff was one of the first guys to establish the notion of the small venture fund, a big break from an era that was driven by VC lust for management fees. In doing so, he took angel investors from riding shotgun to being in the driver's seat with a new breed of lean companies. Rather than waiting for a lead to dictate all the terms, Jeff gets a full round of seed investment to a team so they can get back to the business of building great products. Jeff and I have done a couple of deals together including with the superstars at Fanbridge and I am impressed every time by his product insight and his willingness to roll up his sleeves.Yossi Vardi - Not only has Yossi been a groundbreaking angel investor, and incredibly successful at that, he has opened the eyes of many of us in the Valley to the wealth of talent that lies beyond the borders of the US, particularly in Europe and the Middle East. Yossi is often held out as an example of the rise of the Israeli technology realm, but after spending time with him over the years, and traveling to Israel with him, it is clear Yossi's work has an even higher purpose. Though it is easy to remember him just for his corny jokes at conferences, Yossi has been an instrumental voice of reason in the Middle East peace process and actively encourages technology as a bridge that transcends divisive religious identities. I personally witnessed how deeply respected he is by both Jews and Muslims throug[...]



A separate place to read about my ride.

2009-09-14T00:17:31-07:00

I will be blogging about my bicycle ride across the country over here: http://www.whatisleft.org/crosscountry/

I will be blogging about my bicycle ride across the country over here: http://www.whatisleft.org/crosscountry/

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I'm riding my bike across America, and hope to be helpful along the way.

2009-08-24T10:26:09-07:00

Starting September 13th, I am joining a small group of folks on a bicycle ride across the USA guided by Trek Travel. This has been a goal of mine since I was a kid. So, when the opportunity recently presented...Starting September 13th, I am joining a small group of folks on a bicycle ride across the USA guided by Trek Travel. This has been a goal of mine since I was a kid. So, when the opportunity recently presented itself, I knew I couldn't hesitate.The trip kicks off in Santa Barbara, CA and we arrive 40 days later in Charleston, SC. On each of the 35 days during which we will be pedaling, we aim to cover an average of 90 miles. As demanding as those sessions will be, I can't wait to have such time on the road in a country I love so much, awash in an evolving landscape that has inspired me on so many cross-country roadtrips. Though I will be out there doing the pedaling, I thought you and I could have some fun together on this trip, and hopefully, help a bunch of people in the process. Given that there are a hell of a lot of folks who read this blog and watch this Twitter account, let alone a lot of people who will surely drive by me on the side of the road, and meet me in America's towns here is what I propose...Let's feature your non-profit. Do you have a charity or public service organization that is working hard to make this world a better place? Does the world need to hear about them? Well, let's get your logo on a bicycle jersey (Size: Large) and I will wear it while on my trip and feature it, and a link to your group, in a Tweet to my followers. Don't have a bike jersey with your logo on it? The amazing folks at Hincapie Sportswear can make one for you. Check out their custom category here. If you have a favorite organization that you think should be featured, let them know to be in touch!Let's tell the world about your for-profit company.You have a great little for-profit venture that deserves some attention? Well, I have a deal for you too. You should also send me a jersey, and make a donation of $5,000 to one of these two inspiring groups:charity:water --  Bringing clean water to the over 1 billion people on the planet who do not have access to it. $5,000 builds a freshwater well for one entire village! (Donate here) LIVESTRONG -- Lance Armstrong's movement waging a global war on cancer and providing support and care for fighters and families along the way. (Donate here) (By the way, click here to put a LIVESTRONG bracelet on your Twitter profile picture.)In exchange for that donation, I will wear your jersey and feature your company in a couple of Tweets to all of my followers. Think about it, that is over 1 million viewers aggregated across my Twitter and blog following. That's a $2.50 CPM! Plus, the indescribable feeling you get from knowing you are permanently improving the lives of others. [UPDATE: charity:water says that, in exchange for the $5,000 donation, they will relay your message out to their 800,000 followers as well. Wow!] I'd like to meet you and your friends. Maybe you don't have a non-profit or a company. Well, do you have a bike? If so, it would be a hoot to spin the pedals with you a bit. Each day, I will Tweet about where I'll be starting my ride and it would be great to meet you. For each of you who shows up for just a couple of miles, I will donate $25 to charity:water and $25 to LIVESTRONG, with a daily max of $500. I will be riding for 35 days so that's $17,500 in donations from my own pocket that I will make in your name just for showing up and riding with me! Can't make it? Let your friends know to come hang with me!How to be in touch and small print.Have questions? Email me: crosscountry@lowercasellc.comHave jerseys (Size: Large) or anything else fun to send me? Shoot them to my office: Chris Sacca, 200 Townsen[...]



Every day, do something that won't compute.

2009-08-17T11:48:53-07:00

I spent this last week at the Aspen Institute in the final session of my three year commitment as a Henry Crown Fellow. I was captivated by one of the last readings we addressed as a group, a poem by...I spent this last week at the Aspen Institute in the final session of my three year commitment as a Henry Crown Fellow. I was captivated by one of the last readings we addressed as a group, a poem by Wendell Berry that poignantly nails themes of originality, action, presence, and resilience. So, on a blog where I usually type my own thoughts, this time, I'll point to those of another:Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Frontby Wendell Berry Love the quick profit, the annual raise, vacation with pay. Want more of everything ready-made. Be afraid to know your neighbors and to die. And you will have a window in your head. Not even your future will be a mystery any more. Your mind will be punched in a card and shut away in a little drawer. When they want you to buy something they will call you. When they want you to die for profit they will let you know. So, friends, every day do something that won't compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing. Take all that you have and be poor. Love someone who does not deserve it. Denounce the government and embrace the flag. Hope to live in that free republic for which it stands. Give your approval to all you cannot understand. Praise ignorance, for what man has not encountered he has not destroyed. Ask the questions that have no answers. Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias. Say that your main crop is the forest that you did not plant, that you will not live to harvest. Say that the leaves are harvested when they have rotted into the mold. Call that profit. Prophesy such returns. Put your faith in the two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years. Listen to carrion - put your ear close, and hear the faint chattering of the songs that are to come. Expect the end of the world. Laugh. Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts. So long as women do not go cheap for power, please women more than men. Ask yourself: Will this satisfy a woman satisfied to bear a child? Will this disturb the sleep of a woman near to giving birth? Go with your love to the fields. Lie down in the shade. Rest your head in her lap. Swear allegiance to what is nighest your thoughts. As soon as the generals and the politicos can predict the motions of your mind, lose it. Leave it as a sign to mark the false trail, the way you didn't go. Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction. Practice resurrection. [...]



I will take your Livestrong story directly to Lance Armstrong.

2009-07-16T00:15:14-07:00

Lance (@lancearmstrong) inspires me and likely all of you. His dedication to fighting cancer is unwavering and intense. Much like the way he rides his bike. Seeing his passion, his resilience, and his conviction, there is something each of us...Lance (@lancearmstrong) inspires me and likely all of you. His dedication to fighting cancer is unwavering and intense. Much like the way he rides his bike. Seeing his passion, his resilience, and his conviction, there is something each of us can learn from him and apply to our own lives. It has been a thrill to see him absolutely rocking the Tour this year. He and Team Astana are are in the driver's seat of one of the most exciting races in history. So, as Lance gears up for what will be the most important final stages of the race, I know he will be looking to many of you for your inspiration and strength. I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to head to France for the last few stages of this year's Tour. I feel very grateful for the chance to be there with so many amazing people from Livestrong (@livestrong) including the foundation's leader, Doug Ulman (@livestrongceo). In that light, I thought I would share part of this good fortune with all of you. Are you fighting cancer right now? Is someone close to you? Are you a survivor? Has Lance inspired you in some way? Well, write down your story! Put it in a letter and email or scan it and email it to me, and I will personally deliver it to Lance before the most important and grueling stage of the race -- Mount Ventoux. I have no doubt your thoughts, feelings, and good wishes will help push him along that ride. So, here are the details: Simply mail whatever you want me to share with him to: livestrong@lowercasellc.com In the meantime, show your support for all that Livestrong does by the following: 1) Follow @livestrong, @lancearmstrong, and @livestrongceo on Twitter for more info and daily inspiration 2) Sign the World Cancer Declaration over at Livestrong: Livestrong Cancer Declaration 3) Put a Livestrong bracelet on your Twitter picture: Livestrong Bracelet for Twitter 4) Tell some friends about all of this and get the word out. This is a winnable fight. Thanks, everyone, and good luck to Lance, Astana, and all of you! Chris [...]



Headed to Ethiopia and I Need Your Help!

2009-08-21T14:03:08-07:00

Just hours ago, my best friend Dick Hillenbrand (@rdhoosier) and I landed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and met up with Scott Harrison (@scottharrison) founder of Charity:Water (@charitywater) to dig clean water wells for the rural poor. It is a truly...Just hours ago, my best friend Dick Hillenbrand (@rdhoosier) and I landed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and met up with Scott Harrison (@scottharrison) founder of Charity:Water (@charitywater) to dig clean water wells for the rural poor. It is a truly humbling project and we need you to help us. Across the whole of Africa, 80% of all disease is due to a lack of clean, safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Even more shocking, 42,000 people will die this week because of unsafe water. Almost, 90% of these deaths will be children under 5 years old. It is a staggering and hardly conceivable number. Almost 40,000 kids per week losing their lives due to lack of clean water! Charity:Water takes donations from concerned folks like us, who realize how lucky we all truly are to have consistent access to pristine water, and channels them dollar for dollar into the construction of permanent water wells for villages in need. Just $4,000 can build a well for a village of up to 500 people and serve them with clean water for 20 years. That is where I want to team up with you. I have already donated wells this year, but I want to do another two. And this time, I want to work with my Twitter friends and see if we can't bring 1000 Ethiopian villagers clean water access for 20 years. My proposal: If my Twitter pals raise $4,000 for one well, I will match it dollar for dollar to build a second well. That's right. I will match every dollar you put up until we have two wells together. Plus, since Charity:Water's overhead is funded by a handful of private donors, every single dollar you contribute to the project will go directly toward building a specific well for which you will get GPS coordinates and pictures of its setting. This week, Dick and I will be traveling the countryside visiting villages and looking for the folks who most desperately need clean water. From among these communities, we will be choosing sites in which Charity:Water and their local partners can build wells, and, in particular, the sites for the two wells you and I will build together. With your help, we can be sure that two more villages, 1000 more people in total, will have clean water access for the next 20 years. Next step: Donate directly to Charity:Water through their site: http://bit.ly/JzAUk When you give, please send me an email (csacca AT gmail DOT com) and let me know so I can thank you! In the meantime, keep following my Twitter (www.twitter.com/sacca) and, to the extent possible, I will be providing updates from the field in Ethiopia. If times are tough, and you don't have any change to spare (totally understandable, I was laid off in 2001 and know what it is like), do us a favor and send this post along to someone who might be able to help. For now, huge thanks for your contributions and your efforts. I can't wait to introduce you firsthand to the people you are saving! Chris [...]