Release 0.9: What I Am Grateful For

05/25/2011 12:20 pm ET

I am grateful for all the usual things - health, family, enough money and access to do what I like (including weightless flights, a trip to meet election monitors in Kyrgyzstan courtesy of the National Endowment for Democracy, watching Zulu dancers shielded from the rain with a tent and heat lamps in South Africa). I get to work with exciting start-ups (most recently launched: 23andMe; and launching a new service soon: Meetup) and in this past week I am seeing both my mother and my stepmother as well as my brother...

I keep writing about the Internet and the benefits of transparency (e.g. the Sunlight Foundation) and accessible markets, even for philanthropy (, but sometimes when I read the news I wonder....

So the thing I want to call out that we can all be grateful for is a new trend in protest against wicked governments. In the old days, it was mostly the peasants and the intellectuals who led the revolutions. Now it's the lawyers and the monks...and in Russia, a former chess champion. How great is that?

[And of course I'm grateful - and proud - that I have to disclose that I have an investment or fiduciary relationship with every entity linked to above except for Garry Kasparov, whom I am grateful to have met a few times.... Each of them is doing its bit to make the world a better-informed, more transparent and better place. And, as I look at the list I must add: If you don't think that's true of Zero-G, ask the guy with muscular dystrophy who flew last week and experienced eight minutes free of pain, floating and standing on his own two feet. Yes, there's a lot to be grateful for!]