Really great to see @julien51 today. I strongly agree with his ideas around open following: https:/
2 min read
On my way home tonight, an elderly homeless man stopped me in the street and asked if he could sleep on my floor because it was cold and rainy. To my shame, I said I couldn't help him, although I could offer him some money, which he declined.
He told me that he had been an actor, and had been in a movie with Lucille Ball. He said that he had been in a version of the Threepenny Opera directed by Jack Nicholson. And he said that nobody would give him the time of day, let alone a roof over his head, because they don't want to say they know a homeless man.
Here, by which I mean in America, homelessness is particularly pronounced. I've read that it's 1000% what it is in the UK. The real 10X. At least in the San Francisco Bay Area they're allowed to exist; in some other cities they're routinely arrested and deposited elsewhere. Out of sight, out of mind.
There is a strain of particularly harmful thought that says it's their fault. Because received wisdom says that anyone can make it here if they try hard enough, they must be lazy, or broken, or sick, and they deserve at least a little bit of what they get. Bullshit. There should be a safety net. This shouldn't be allowed to happen. There but for the grace of God go all of us.
I'm a startup founder. I don't think I have it in me to be Travis Kalanick: society matters. People matter. Ruthless individualism pales in comparison to the power of people who work together. I want to find ways to throw my support behind the experts and great secular organizations who are already fighting homelessness. I want to find ways to motivate other people to do it. We talk about disruption; I wish we could disrupt the culture of greed and individuality above all else. In a part of the world with so much wealth, nobody should have to beg for shelter.
As I walked to my front steps, I saw an older woman use a flashlight to hunt in the bushes for empty cans and bottles that she could redeem for pennies.
I hope the gentleman I spoke to tonight will be okay.