I Believe

I was inspired by this post that Manu Kumar wrote. Manu is an entrepreneur and an investor. One of the first investors in our company, Auth0. I admire his integrity, passion, and dedication. And just his extraordinary human qualities.

I could have written the exact same thing, so I took the liberty to copy and edit the most significant parts and added some personal context to also make it clear what I believe in. I have left in highlighted italics all the parts that I got from Manu’s original text.

I come from a family of immigrants, I’m a mix of many peoples: Mediterranean, Central European, and Native-American. I am an immigrant myself, a US citizen, a founder, and a builder. I came to the United States because I believe in the institutions and the principles this country was founded on. While an imperfect implementation, I see the United States’ core values of freedom, justice, courage, equality, and pursuit of your dreams as some of the most powerful forces for human advancement.

These last four years, our elected leaders have not lived up to these values. They have not moved the country forward, but thankfully, our democracy allows them to be replaced and allows for renewal. The wisdom of these founding principles protects us from mistakes like this administration. Four years is a very short time in the life of a nation, although it might seem a very long time in our own lives.

In this context, here’s what I believe in:

  • I believe in facts, in Science, and Scientists, and not in politicians who make up and spread lies and misinformation.
  • I believe in Global Warming and that human actions are destroying the delicate balance of our planet. If you haven’t already, please watch David Attenborough’s documentary on Netflix: A Life on our Planet
  • I believe in using renewable energy sources and eliminating fossil fuels — it is possible.
  • I believe in having healthcare for everyone — because as COVID-19 has shown in a way like we’ve never experienced before, that we’re all connected.
  • I believe that women should have equal rights and most importantly have the right to make their own decisions about their own bodies.
  • I believe that love is equal and any adult should have the right to marry whoever they want, and be afforded the same protections, benefits, and social contracts.
  • I believe that Black Lives Matter — and that the law enforcement system in the US has a clear and demonstrated issue of different treatment based on the color of your skin.
  • I believe that no civil society needs to have guns, and especially not assault weapons. And if we did that, then our local law enforcement would not need to be equipped as if they are going to war with a nation-state on every call. And if we did that my kids wouldn’t be practicing “Code Red” drills on how to hide quietly in their school closet.
  • I believe that diversity leads to creativity and I support and encourage people of all races, all genders, all ages, all origins, all cultures, all sexual orientations to coexist and not only tolerate each other, but learn from each other and thrive together.
  • I believe that the rule of law has to apply equally to everyone, from the person on a street to the President of the United States.
  • I believe in free speech, facts, and truth.
  • I believe that TV media and social media have broken business models that lead to the propagation of biased and misleading information in self-reinforcing echo chambers. If you haven’t already please watch The Social Dilemma, also available on Netflix.
  • I believe that it is important for us to realize that at the core of it all, most humans want the same things. So we need to live and let live, and as Sting said “We share the same biology, regardless of ideology.”
  • I believe that access to education is one of the most powerful methods to unleash human potential. And that education should be a right afforded to everyone.
  • I believe that anyone aligned with the nation’s values should be welcome.
  • I believe in the deep power of human potential regardless of disabilities, mental or physical. And that is it our responsibility and duty to find ways to realize that potential and improve our communities.
  • I believe silence makes you complicit.
  • I believe we can fix things. We can learn from mistakes and that technology, a uniquely human capability, plays an important role. 
  • I believe our country has risen to the occasion and has worked in unity before when confronted with big challenges. And prevailed.

I know my superpower. My superpower is to create something from nothing. To take an idea, to bring people and resources to it, and make it grow. And I believe that a startup is the most efficient agent of change. I believe that businesses’ success should be measured in their financial outcomes and their social responsibility actions simultaneously. And that businesses with outstanding economic success without social impact, are not truly successful.

Our elected leaders and representatives should be held accountable and measured to what we aspire to be. To be the “best of us.” They should lead by example. They will be human, and imperfect, but they should strive to improve themselves towards the ideals that as a country we set for ourselves. The ideals that resonate with us as American citizens.

We don’t aspire to be racists, misogynists, narcissists, liars, careless, irresponsibles, and incompetents. We need leaders that represent the opposite. That will work for an equal, inclusive, empathetic, rational, accountable, and humane society.

I earned my right to vote in this country the hard way—it took me years to earn that right. I am not a Democrat, and I am not a Republican. I like to see myself as fiercely independent. I am an American. 

We take the right to vote for granted. It is a very hard-earned right. It took us centuries of struggle to get it. It took generations and lives. Many on the surface of the earth still don’t enjoy the right. Use it!


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