Why do these geniuses keep dying?

A flash reflection on the loss of Robin Williams, suicide at 63-years-old


My aunt had a lot of VHS tapes. I would fly down to stay with her and my cousin in Sonoma, CA and I would get to watch movies. The first one grabbed each time was either Robin Hood with Kevin Costner or Hook with Robin Williams.

I saw Jumanji in the theaters, and Patch Adams made me cry. Mrs. Doubtfire was another favorite of mine. I saw Good Will Hunting once and I don’t remember it, but Good Morning Vietnam made me feel sophisticated and educated.

I now realize that all of these movies touched me because Robin Williams was revealing himself to the world as a most magnificent and magical human. I suppose that is what struck me most was that he was so unabashedly, hilariously human. It takes courage to be that vulnerable off the screen, and to showcase it for an entire culture is unfathomable.

The first thought I had upon hearing about his death is the title of this post: why do all these geniuses keep dying?

I am referring to the recent death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I understand addiction and depression, and I know where those things can lead. 63 is such a strange age to kill yourself. I understand 63 as the twilight years of your life, when you’ve worked through or accepted most of your character defects and assets and you reach the point where you say, “you know what, this is who I am and I’m pretty ok with that.”

That means I have no idea what it must be like to be 63. Maybe my dad can help me with that.

Am I in for a big surprise? I guess feeling broken can never be fixed. Broken is beautiful, I believe that with all my heart. Seeing pain, suffering and awkwardness helps me to accept the same in myself. Watching Robin Williams act made me feel hopeful, as a child and an adult.

I guess I’m saying thank you. Goodnight, sweet prince, and flights of angles sing thee to thy rest.

Investors Finally Equate Doing Good With Doing Well

MSK responds to an article by Sarah Max in the the NYTimes about how the new venture fund Binary Capital is looking for more than metrics.


Photo for the NYTimes by Peter DaSilva.

It should be a no brainer that having a vision for your company that is intertwined with the good of the world should attract investors. Unfortunately, as one ad-tech company explained at the end of their presentation, “And this is our obligatory slide on how we donate to charity.”

The Times article digresses (unsurprisingly) after quoting Tinder co-founder Sean Rad, but the nugget is there. Investors are seeing a connection between compassion for the human experience and innovative, profitable companies.

I am not involved in the Silicon Valley community, in fact this is my first entrepreneurial focused post. However, I have long known that here is an inextricable connection between the our intellectual and spiritual thirst for community, the loving bonds that form that community and the brightness of the mind.

A bright mind will build a successful company; a bright mind that nourishes its community will become cumulatively energized and build a 10x company. Duh.