I found myself nominated to be one of the five judges at the Startup Vic Rampersand blind pitching contest “The Secret Pitch”.
On announcing this at the dinner table, what my 13 year old daughter saw was her ethnic father filling the proverbial equal opportunities quota. Not because she is nasty, but because what she sees is just her dad, there is no diversity of perspective. I have always been and will always be just her dad, not an upcoming clog in the venture ecosystem.
But that gave me the opportunity to validate my credentials to her (and myself honestly).
My merit was crystal clear and resonated with the program organisers, in as much as I have to admit that I’m not as accomplished as my fellow judges within VC in Australia (in the Kingdom of Wakanda I am!!).
I saw that it was not my past, it was the presence and passion I bring to the diversity agenda in the present and the undoubted momentum that will drive my contribution into the future. Which brings me to my first “sighting”; what I saw about diversity of perspective is that it is more than what means the eye or generally accepted. I saw diversity of contribution; it’s not only the accomplished, the achieved, the wealthy, the veterans that can contribute to change, but exponential transformation comes from diversity of other types of contribution, other types of achievement, other types of input to an agenda.
I also walked in the shoes of Justin Bieber, being that guy who’s at that party where you know nobody. But what I appreciated about these accomplished fellow judges of mine is that they brought it down to a human level. We had uniquely human level interactions. We talked about our families, we talked about our backgrounds, travels, sport and even trade-wars. We were just human for a moment. When you allow it, diversity of connection sees the differences in our journeys and maps a connection that bring us together. Bringing us to a place where we relate, understand, sympathise and connect. I saw a diversity that comes from recognising one of the most basic things which is that we are all humans, we all have passion, we all have love, we all have interests we’re all built for connection.
While these can all be different, we are still at the core we are all just human. And that’s one thing we can always appreciate about each other. So diversity is about appreciating that very basic fact that we’re all deserving humans and we shine brighter when we connect.
Given that we were facing the audience, the third thing I saw was a packed room. I saw a heightened passion for Venture Capital, for pitching, for startups and for new beginnings. I saw positive energy and momentum like never before.
The colosseum was packed and the one thing that remains is that; it’s now time for the feature event. The audience is gathered, the curtains have been raised. The tailwind is behind us, now everyone is waiting for this big launch, this big shift within Venture in Australia. The stage is surely set and the time is now for a big play potentially by one of our big players.
I’ll close with a tongue twister from Kobe Bryant in one of his NBA championships; “in big games with big stakes, it’s the big players that make the big plays and power moves that win big”.
We need the Venture Capital big players to make a big play, a power move… that will bring a big win and crack open the transformation!