Be you, lift us
I believe that we all have an inner artist, yet the path to originality only looks clear in the rear view mirror. As a sixth generation Californian, I stand on the shoulders of pioneering ancestors. My great-great-great-grandfather, Jacob Gundlach, came to California in 1851 — out of love. His sweetheart’s parents told him that he had to prove himself in business before winning her hand in marriage. He did just that, eventually founding the Sonoma winery Gundlach Bundschu, now the oldest family-owned winery in California. (My cousins, unlike me, actually know a lot about wine.)
After starting out in venture capital in the US and London, I became an author very much by accident after business school, as the co-author of True North. The book became a best-seller and thanks largely to my co-author, it has sold nearly a million copies. After getting fired, I wandered a bit and struggled to find an authentic path until I stumbled into Stanford’s Institute of Design (the d.school). Learning how to think like a designer was transformative: at 31, I discovered that I was creative. Creativity is a human right, so I felt impassioned to write a second book, Little Bets, for all those with untapped creativity. The books opened my eyes to discover new worlds and became a platform to co-create new ventures. The ones you may have heard about include GivingTuesday, the global philanthropic movement that raised $2 billion for social good causes in 2019, as well as BLK SHP (black sheep), where our vision is to be at the epicenter of a new Renaissance. Spanning different worlds to see patterns comes naturally — from business to the arts to technology to social innovation. I have been an Adviser to the senior team at X, Alphabet’s Moonshot Factory (formerly GoogleX), and we support an artist-in-residence program at BLK SHP.
Always locking arms with great collaborators, I feel most at home as an artist of ideas, stories, and building new ventures — always seeking to contribute to a more human world.