In 2013, when Google announced that Kansas City would be the first city in the country to have Google Fiber, I bought a house in the first neighborhood that was being wired up with Google's gigabit Internet.
When I was in my mid-20s, running a successful company and clinically depressed, I was afraid to talk to anyone other than my psychiatrist about it. I was ashamed that I was even seeing a psychiatrist.
While we should certainly be investing in our own STEM education, we should take advantage of the thousands of international students who come here to study and are ready to fill these gaps immediately upon graduation.
The first thing that any city that's trying to create a startup community or an entrepreneurial ecosystem that's vibrant should do is get rid of the idea that they're trying to be like Silicon Valley.
Think about it for a brief moment. Suspend disbelief. Wind the clock forward 100 years. Do you think, as a species, we will still be struggling with the things that vex us today? Will we still be arguing about the same stuff? We will still be eating Cocoa Puffs? We are at the end of the beginning.
I believe that all men and women are created equal, but it took our country until 1920 to acknowledge this for women. And then it took until 1964, the year before I was born, to outlaw discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. And same-sex marriage became the law of the land in 2015.
I'm a strong believer that you can build great companies in time of both greed and fear. But you have to be paying attention and operating under the right assumptions. You don't have to believe history repeats itself, but you should accept that history rhymes.
I have no idea what the economics of the movie business is, especially with all the new Amazon, Netflix, Showtime, AMC, SyFy, and HBO series. But I am intrigued with what feels like a new type of show - the six-to-eight-hour movie. It's a little too long to watch in one setting, but you can watch it over a three- to five-day period.
I think one of the brilliant parts of our democracy is how resilient it is. We are each allowed to have our own beliefs and, as long as we follow the rule of law, we can express them however we'd like. This is a unique characteristic of the best democracies and one I value tremendously.
While I'd like to be able to simply do all of my financings with a handshake or, possibly, on a napkin written in crayon, I also wish I had a herd of unicorns surrounded by rainbows, a balanced U.S. government budget, and agreement on how to address the debt ceiling issue.
I have several close friends who are insomniacs. Over the years, I've heard their stories about being up in the middle of the night, completely awake. I see them yawn at 11 A.M. and know that, regardless of what they are doing, they'd probably rather be in bed sleeping. I've always had sympathy for them, but I've never really understood it.
Part of the power of having startup communities is it continues to challenge the status quo. So for many of these cities that were once very important and powerful that today are struggling, startup communities are a way for them to rejuvenate themselves.
This is something I've struggled with a lot: how to relate to the fear in a constructive way. It's not that you eliminate the fear. We have all the fears. That's natural; that's human beings. But how do you deal with the fears, how do you engage with your fears in a way that's productive?
There are two great fictional TV series about technology and the computer industry that each have now had three seasons. The one everyone knows about is 'Silicon Valley.' The lesser-known one is 'Halt and Catch Fire.'
December used to be very difficult for me. For many years, I fought the transition to the new year, was generally exhausted at the end of the year, and just wanted to hide. I described myself as a 'cranky Jewish kid who felt left out by Christmas.'
'Sunspring,' the first known screenplay written by an AI, was produced recently. It is awesome. Awesomely awful. But it's worth watching all ten minutes of it to get a taste of the gap between a great screenplay and something an AI can currently produce.
I was afraid people wouldn't take me seriously, or would stop respecting me, if I talked about how bad I was feeling. The only people I talked openly about it with was my business partner, Dave Jilk, and my girlfriend - now wife - Amy Batchelor. They were amazingly supportive, but even then, I was deeply ashamed about my weaknesses.
I would say my whole universe is probably categorized as guerilla marketing. For a long time, I had a line which was, 'Whenever I hear the word 'marketing,' it makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth.'
If you are feeling some December blues, or even depression, don't fight it. Instead, do something for yourself. Be reflective. Let the emotions exist. And be encouraged that, like me, you can get to a better place, but it can take time.
Both SOPA and PIPA are toxic. My view is that anyone who supports these bills either doesn't understand what they are supporting or is simply no friend of innovation. And, if you are no friend of innovation, I can't support you in any way, as innovation is the lifeblood of our economy, our country, and what I've dedicated my life to.
In entrepreneurial circles, it's clear to me that violence, hatred, and discrimination - or whatever you want to label it - is another category where we need to pay attention to disruption before it changes the world in ways we don't want it to.