A note from our editor, Elizabeth MacBride:
Twice in the past week, the mayor of Alexandria has announced days with no new COVID-19 cases. My family is entirely vaccinated, except for the final shot for my 14-year-old. I have a half-dozen trips planned for the rest of the year. Even as I acknowledge that there is a chance I will need to cancel, it feels like a slim chance. My weekends are filled with gatherings of friends, mostly outside, as we all celebrate our vaccinations.
It’s a time of celebration. And yet, I have a strange set of mixed feelings.
Part of this, of course, is my worry and grief over the headlines from elsewhere. (Here’s a list of places to donate to nonprofits helping in India).
But I know it’s more than unease at the uncertain future. It’s also a complicated set of emotions around this time of profound adaptation. “I miss waking up and doing my meditation in the morning,” one friend told me. Another remembered what it’s like to lay in a hotel room bed, having eaten and drunk too much at a work conference, high heels kicked off swollen feet, flipping through the channels.
“I didn’t miss that,” she said.
Me, neither. I do miss, now, the sense of closeness I felt with my daughters last spring, and the discovery that people seemed more human when all you could see was their eyes. And the discovery of the hummingbird that lives in my neighborhood.
But I welcome this new phase, too, and the unexpected moments of joy or near-euphoria. Like when my coach at Orangetheory flipped on the fans in the gym, which a corporate dictum had turned off more than a year ago. “I think we’re past this now,” he said.
And the first hugs with my friends!
Mixed feelings bring on an opportunity to know yourself better, as you experience so many unexpected and sometimes powerful emotions in a short time frame. I see signs of movement all around me. One of my friends is going back to finish a long-delayed dissertation; another is applying for a fellowship to help African entrepreneurship. I’m going to use the energy and awareness generated by this time to allow myself to change — with one place to start being public speaking. I’m the most comfortable on the page, but it’s time to step off it, into opportunities created by The New Builders, which I released with Seth Levine three weeks ago.
Ten years after 9/11, I wrote a story for Crain’s New York about how that day changed people. Some people took up new careers; some found their faith renewed or destroyed; some fled the city in the following years for different lives entirely. Most of the time, the pivotal moments in people’s lives are individual. Sometimes, the pivots are shared. 9/11 was one. The pandemic is another, albeit a slow-motion pivot. My sense is that many of us will be changed, most often as we explore new ways to connect to other people.
Times of Entrepreneurship Stories of the Week
The Quantum Boom Moves Closer With The Launch Of Two Accelerators (The Startup Kind)
Quantum innovation has the potential to disrupt nearly every industry. And the race to lead the way is starting, with the University of Chicago and University of Maryland each putting a stake in the ground.
White Men Are Now The Minority Of Business Owners In The United States
White men now make up the minority of business owners in the United States, a shift driven by fast growth in women- and LatinX-owned businesses, and one that has profound implications for the country’s finance and innovation infrastructure.
The HUB: MENA MEN, Gen Z’s Search for Purpose, And A Boost For Minority-Run Contractors
A buy-now, pay-later startup bags the biggest funding round in MENA, Gen Z breaks with older generations when it comes to their “why” for starting up and a new fund will support under-represented property developers in Philadelphia. Plus: Social Venture Circle is on the hunt for a manager of impact investor services.
You may have missed: A New Auto Insurance Company Aims At The Underserved LatinX Market.
When Nestor Solari noticed his aunt, an immigrant from Uruguay, had trouble buying affordable car insurance, he saw an opportunity to make it more accessible to immigrants and Latinx Americans.
Living the Dream
Best practices: The Toronto E-commerce company Knix Wear raised $53 million after the CEO said no to the involvement of any potential investor who questioned her ability to lead the company because she was pregnant with twins. Talk about a great way to save time. Call it one small step for Knix Wear, one giant step for woman-kind–and for the species in general
Buzzworthy: If you’ve ever uttered “What does not kill me makes me stronger” while facing a devastating business setback, you have Friedrich Nietzsche to thank for that strangely inspiring soundbite. In The Entrepreneurs Weekly Nietszche, serial entrepreneurs David Jilk and Brad Feld deliver their take on how to apply the philosopher’s lessons 52 weeks a year.
The 4.5 hour workweek: A productivity hack
If working from home now means tapping away on your laptop from your patio or terrace, setting the stage (and stocking up on citronella candles) can make all the difference in how much you get done. USA Today offers a host of ideas in “Working from outdoors is the new WFH—here’s how to get yourself set up.” One tip: Skip your lawn chairs and invest in a high-quality folding chair instead. Better for the posture.
Made in the U.S.A.
Sprout Pencil, developed by a group of MIT students and made in Minnesota, is said to be the world’s only biodegradable plantable pencil. When the pencils are no longer useful as writing instruments, simply plant them in the dirt and you can grow vegetables, herbs, flowers and trees. A five-pack will run you $11.80. Coming next: Sproutable makeup pencils.
Wanderlust : a restaurant or activity from our Top Ecosystems list
If you’re in Boise to check out the startup scene, Guru Donuts on Eagle Road, just north of Chinden, is a cult breakfast and dessert favorite. The handcrafted treats come in decadent varieties such as Lavender White Chocolate and include (gluten-free) Idaho Potato donuts, available in Cinnamon Sugar, Sea Salt Chocolate and other flavors.
This story and others on New Builders Dispatch are made possible by a sponsorship from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that provides access to opportunities that help people achieve financial stability, upward mobility, and economic prosperity – regardless of race, gender, or geography. The Kansas City, Mo.-based foundation uses its grantmaking, research, programs, and initiatives to support the start and growth of new businesses, a more prepared workforce, and stronger communities. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org and connect with www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.