Uncharted Insider - May 2019

Uncharted Insider - May 2019

Hi everyone,

Welcome to the May edition of the Uncharted Insider.

Uncharted Update:

  • Partnership with Sephora: We’ve been working with Sephora for the last three years to manage a loan fund for the women-led social ventures in their accelerator. This month we participated in the most recent cohort in San Francisco, and I got a free charcoal face mask.
  • Affordable Housing Accelerator: We have partnered with The Terner Center for Housing Innovation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to support an accelerator they are launching that will target ventures reducing the costs of housing. Learn more here.
  • We just hired seven people, which is giving us the chance to rebuild both our hiring and onboarding processes. Big congratulations to our operations and program teams for leading the charge.

Idea on my mind:

Entry points: We’re working on an initiative with the National Western Center to use agriculture to bridge the rural/urban divide in the US, and it’s made me realize that some of the best chances at cultural reconnection happen through economic dependencies. The agriculture and food supply chain (from farm/ranch to table) is a series of relationships and economic transactions that present hundreds of entry points for cultural bridging and human interaction. By going to a farmer’s market and engaging in an economic exchange with a farmer, we are participating in the cultural act of bridging the rural/urban divide. It makes me wonder about the entry points hidden within our economic dependencies that create opportunities for cultural cohesion: where are there cultural divides in need of bridging and what economic dependencies make that bridging easier?

Monthly Rant:

Industry Navel-gazing: The non-profit/philanthropy sector is talented at attempting to re-convert those who are already converted. We find ourselves evangelizing to those who are already believers in the perils of climate change, convincing those already erudite in the merits of the social determinants of health, persuading those already conversant in the intersectionality of social issues. We write articles for ourselves, we speak to each other at industry conferences, we show each other TED talks that will only furnish our worldview with more evidence. It’s easier to get buy-in from people who are already bought in, but for a sector so committed to concepts like systems change and scale -- concepts that require broad adoption -- we need to push out into unfamiliar territory and work the edges. Why aren’t we funding non-traditional but far-reaching approaches like search engine optimization around key topics, or spending more time at other-industry conferences planting seeds, or pursuing a climate advocacy strategy that is indirect and non-politicized so that it lands with people who aren’t believers yet? Why isn’t advertising a key pillar of our theories of change? We need to replace our echo chambers with olive branches, we need to replace our “about us” webpages with “about you” approaches.

Can you help?

  • We’re looking for an introduction to a person at Omidyar Network who has expertise in impact investing intermediaries and field building.
  • We’re looking to receive some mentorship from financial advisors of high net-worth individuals about trends in philanthropic giving amongst their clients.

What I’m reading:

  • With the spotlight on Alabama’s abortion laws, there is less focus on the state’s restrictions on childbirth. The undercover movement on Alabama’s borders for women to give birth in campsites, Airbnbs, and RVs. Here.
  • The $100 billion fund by SoftBank with the investment thesis that computers will run the world more intelligently than humans. How Softbank is taking over Silicon Valley. Here.
  • How the study of primates on an island off the coast of Puerto Rico is leading to breakthrough insights in how primates (and humans) deal with trauma in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Here.
  • 60% of male managers say they are uncomfortable engaging in common workplace interactions with women. How #MeToo has impacted mentorship for women in the workplace. Here.
  • Shameless plug: Uncharted got published in Quartz last week, featuring the concept of the User Guide as a tool to manage up. Here.

Something personal:

I am an Airbnb host, and this French couple booked a room in my house in January for two nights. Within hours, I formed a friendship with Aude and Nico, and they extended their stay and have been living with me until just last week. In addition to their perfect hospitality, they brought all the charms of French cooking into my (mostly barren) kitchen. I would return from work and the enchanting aromas of the French cuisine would confront me with such delightful regularity that I sometimes wondered if I was entering the wrong house: pastries, roasted vegetables, souffles, quiches, homemade bread, crepes, etc. We celebrated birthdays, weathered snow storms, and discussed the flavor notes in a bottle of champagne. I introduced them to my parents and they borrowed my camping gear. Mostly, the whole experience was a daily reminder of the beauty of unexpected collisions and new friends.


With a deep breath,