Monthly Archives: April 2019

Village Global: Hiring, Network Catalyst, Founder Retreat

A few Village Global updates:

– We’re hiring a full time GM of Network based in San Francisco. Job description here. Wonderful opportunity for someone looking to break into VC in a non-investing role. A good fit for supreme operators who also understand the startup/venture game. Former bankers, consultants, startup CEOs/COOs, or VC ops people could all be a good fit.

– We run an accelerator program called Network Catalyst. Think Y Combinator, but more personalized, more intimate, more about connections than content. Application deadline was  couple days ago but if you’d like to be considered, email me.

– We hosted an awesome retreat for 80 of our founders near Yosemite last summer. Here’s a video recap of what went down. It highlights some of what makes the Village community special:

How I Officiated a Wedding

I was honored to officiate a wedding recently for some friends.

As I prepared for the duties, I reflected on the number of weddings I’ve attended where, by the end of all the festivities, I couldn’t answer two basic questions:

  1. Who is the other person in the marriage? I know one person in the partnership really well, presumably. What’s the life story of the guy/gal who’s marrying my friend?
  2. Why are these two people getting married to each other? What’s the essence of their dynamic?

Based on this, I structured my remarks to make sure everyone in attendance could at least nominally answer both questions by the end of it. The three-part structure was:

  1. Describe the bride and groom each as individuals: their childhood, basic attributes/personality, professional activities. [This required interviewing the bride and groom beforehand and collecting stories/anecdotes/nuggets.]
  2. Describe who they are as a unit: why they’re marrying each other, how they’re similar (the hallmark of friendship), how they complement each other (the hallmark of partnerships).
  3. Look toward the future and offer some general perspectives on marriage, love, and life.

There were no other speakers or readings during the ceremony, so I ended up speaking for about 18-20 mins and could cover all these points. It worked pretty well.

Of course, no matter what you plan to say, if the audience can’t hear you — literally — it doesn’t matter. I’ve witnessed my fair share of wedding ceremonies where the house A/V doesn’t work, or more commonly, the people speaking don’t know how to use or hold a microphone. With handheld mics, 99% of people hold the mic like an ice cream cone instead of a toothbrush, and so the audio quality oscillates. (Hold it like a toothbrush very close to your lips!) A lav mic is almost always better for this reason but even still it can poorly positioned on the shirt such that as people turn their head when they speak, you start missing words. Anyway, in this ceremony, the mic situation worked fine, thank the Lord!

Below is an excerpt of my closing remarks from my officiating.


We know there will be moments of joy for you both, we just don’t know what, when, or how. Will they occur at predictable intervals, such as at the birth of a child or the realization of a huge professional goal? Or will joy sneak up on you, will it happen when the two of you are going on one of your regular walks around New York, and for whatever reason you see something that reminds you both of an inside joke and you both laugh uncontrollably?

A spiritual teacher once taught me: Don’t miss the joy when it comes! Stay present with the joy as you experience it, he said. He said to tell yourself, “Oh, this is what joy feels like.” “This is what it’s like when I feel happy.” “This is what it feels like to see a beautiful bouquet of flowers.” “This is what it feels like to experience a beautiful sunset.”  We might even look around the room right now, at all our friends and family, and take a second to think to ourselves: This is what love feels like.

In addition to the joy, we also know there will be moments of serious hardship ahead, we just don’t know what, when, or how. Will there be a wave of expected grief at the death of a good friend? Or will malaise sneak up on you guys in a less expected moment, perhaps a pang of doubt on a cloudy day in late fall, doubt about whether you’re doing the right thing in your career or whether – god forbid – you married the right person.

Marriage, in my experience, brings more joy, and sometimes more pain, than if you were living life on your own. It adds dynamism and love and struggle. Amazing highs and sometimes really challenging lows.

The natural human thing to do is to try to hold onto the joyful moments, and avoid the unhappy moments.

But that’s impossible, because everything changes. In fact, someone once summarized the entire cannon of Buddhism in those two words: everything changes. The Buddha argued that everything in life is impermanent.

There have been so many joyful moments in your relationship so far. [Personal details]

So there have been some amazing moments. They’re now in the past. Marriage will be filled with millions more of these impermanent moments. The Buddha taught: Stay awake to the moments of joy that arise from being married to each other, and feel them.  Know that they will pass.

Also be aware of the moments of dissatisfaction that arise from being married to each other. Know that they will pass.

And do what you can to have more good moments than bad ones. That is what I wish for the two of you.


Photo Source: A Perfect Match Photography

Book Review: An American Marriage

“Everyone who reads novels has read An American Marriage,” she told me. I guess I’m behind, I thought.

So I downloaded the book on my Kindle, and got hooked. When I finished the book a couple weeks later, I stared off into the distance for about a full minute. Which I guess in the sign that something really sunk in.

It’s a wonderful story, compellingly told from different viewpoints. The primary theme is marriage and its discontents (and contents). Other themes include criminal justice and wrongful imprisonment (the main character Roy, wrongfully accused of rape) and the colors of the American South. The writing is straightforward but often beautiful.

A good chunk of the book is told via letters, sent from prison, between husband and wife. It’s an incredibly effective technique for conveying the intimacy of love — and doubt.

The final letter contains my favorite line: “My prayer for you is for peace, which is something you have to make. You can’t just have it.”

Other highlighted sentences below. Highly recommended.


Still, the truth is that there was nothing extra. If my childhood were a sandwich, there would be no meat hanging off the bread. We had what we needed and nothing more.

It was a wonderful feeling to be grown and yet young. To be married but not settled. To be tied down yet free.

“November 17,” I said before she could complete her thought. Other couples use safe words to call a time-out from rough sex, but we used it as a time-out from rough words. If either of us says “November 17,” the anniversary of our first date, then all conversation must cease for fifteen minutes. I pulled the trigger because I knew that if she said one more word about my mama, one of us would say something that we couldn’t come back from. Celestial threw up her hands. “Fine. Fifteen minutes.”

One of the hurdles of adulthood is when holidays become measuring sticks against which you always fall short. For children, Thanksgiving is about turkey and Christmas is about presents. Grown up, you learn that all holidays are about family, and few can win there.

But a man who is a father to a daughter is different from one who is a father to a son. One is the left shoe and the other is the right. They are the same but not interchangeable.

As I watched her walk away, I made note of everything about her that I didn’t admire. I ignored the devotion that she wore like a cape, I paid no heed of her strength or hardworking beauty. I sat there thinking of all I didn’t love about her, too angry to even say good-bye.