Uncharted Insider - September 2020

Uncharted Insider - September 2020

Hi everyone,

Welcome to the September edition of the Uncharted Insider.

Uncharted Update

  • 4-Day Workweek: We are making the 4-day workweek Uncharted company policy. You can read our series of posts and updates on Medium here.
  • New Addition to the Uncharted Team: Xaira Ferrara has joined our team as our VP of Growth and Development. She will be establishing Uncharted’s New York presence. She comes to us from the Acumen Fund.
  • Current Programs: We’re actively running accelerators with Chipotle and Facebook, and we’re in the process of selecting our next cohort of Visible Connect 3.0 ventures.
  • Wealth Gaps: We’ve raised anchor funding for our major new initiative focused on closing four interrelated wealth gaps (racial, gender, generational, and class) in the US.

On Wealth Gaps

Uncharted is launching a three-year initiative focused on finding, accelerating, and funding early-stage ventures with bold solutions to advancing economic justice in the US by closing wealth gaps (race, gender, generation, and class). From highly scalable social ventures to policy experiments to universal basic income models to racial reparations pilots to new technologies, we are targeting very early for-profit and nonprofit ventures steered by BIPOC- and women-led teams that are building wealth, growing wages, increasing economic mobility, and leveraging systems. We’re raising $13M of philanthropic capital to support 90 ventures over the next three years via our accelerator/fund/network, and we’ve already secured anchor funding to launch in 2021. We’re seeking a small handful of audacious funders (individuals, foundations, and corporations) who are looking to partner with us. If you know of people we should be talking to, I’d be grateful, and I can share more context and materials.

On Peers and Mentors

When I lived in Sydney, Australia, I had a mentor who told me once that humans know how to relate “up” to our mentors and teachers, and we know how to relate “down” to people we consider as protégés, but we’re not good at relating across: few of us know how to be true peers to each other. Comparison tempts us to situate ourselves on a vertical ladder of relationships, where we instinctively play the role of either teacher or student based on the unspoken dynamics embedded in interpersonal psychology. Uncharted’s model espouses this andragogical framework: we’ve witnessed the transformative power of mentors to shape entrepreneurs and companies. But personally, I’ve found that it is not the sage mentors I am most drawn to, but rather the people who are still in the trenches searching and stumbling and finding and conquering and falling once more. In a world awash in insight and best practice, maybe we’re starved for the kind of locked-elbows solidarity from peers who exhale empathetically and then say: “oh yeah...I’m going through that too, and I don't have any quick answers.”

On Grasping for Control

I’ve recently been wondering if the pandemic (a world-changing event that was 1) unexpected, 2) invisible, and 3) lethal) influences how we collectively recognize our sense of control, our ideas about what is certain, and our beliefs about our own physical and intellectual vulnerability. If we consider 2020 a lesson in all the things we can’t control or be certain about, the pandemic might lead to an ideological softening and an expansion of intellectual humility. We’ll accept that there are forces we can’t understand and therefore must show up with a posture of openness and vulnerability. But, on the other hand, if we regard the pandemic as something that disrupted the narratives of control and certainty we've built our lives around, then we might find ourselves attempting to overcompensate elsewhere, asserting any remaining sense of control by being more dogmatic, ideologically righteous, and uncompromising. Of course, our political polarization predated the pandemic, but is it possible that our divisiveness is itself a symptom of our need to control something in a world that seems to be increasingly out of control? Will the pandemic make us believe we are more right than ever or less certain than ever?

Can you help?

We are looking for connections to the following organizations. Do you know of anyone?

What I am reading

  • A love story: the story of Ruth and Marty Ginsburg and what true partnership can look like. Vogue.
  • Over the course of seven years, the average person loses touch with 50% of their closest friends. The salubrious power of friendships and how to make and keep them as an adult. Psyche.
  • The launch of the Long Term Stock Exchange, one of three new stock exchanges hatched recently. Perhaps one of the least-talked about big stories of 2020. Quartz.
  • Camping while Black. The racism against Black people in national parks, on hiking trails, and throughout the great outdoors. Outside Magazine.
  • Podcast: “If you can act your way out of it, it’s class. If you can’t act your way out of it, it’s caste.” A podcast featuring Elizabeth Wilkerson, the author of Caste, a book chronicling America's unspoken caste system, interviewed by Ezra Klein. Vox.
  • Uncharted in the news: We were featured in the Financial Times on the 4-day workweek (they sent a photographer to my house). Financial Times.

Something personal

I am midway into a 5-week working road trip through Utah, California, and Arizona. I’ve planned a backcountry adventure for most weekends, and I’ve found the best places to work during the weeks: a tiny home near Zion National Park in Utah, a restored farmhouse just south of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, and my dear friend Nicholas’s minimalist-modern beach house in Orange County. While I have a very relational role at Uncharted, I’m by nature an introvert, and I’ve been escaping into the vast expanse of the desert to draw nourishment from wide skies pinned with stars and luxurious afternoons spent with pen and journal watching the sun ignite the sandstone cliffs in resplendent red and navy hues. Staring at a rock formation 150,000,000 years in the making has a way of easing anxieties about Q4 OKRs.


All the feels,