KPCB Fellows Application

This year, I decided to apply for the KPCB Engineering Fellows Program, and I while I became a finalist and had the option to join the program, I’ve opted not to. If you’re looking for an internship next summer, I highly encourage you apply, especially if you’re outside of the bay area! I’ve been asked to share my application essay (below) and my implementation of the challenge

I’ve got a problem with “making the world a better place.” The status quo of that statement revolves around an almost self-entitled belief that you, as an individual, were meant to somehow be better than everyone else. The truth is, the tenable qualities in people aren’t balanced, but the problem stems from the culture of believing that you, a single individual, somehow have unequivocal power over everything and everyone around you.

It’s not an easy problem to address. Just by the manner we’ve been raised and everything leads us to believe that we’re the hero in our own stories. It leads us to lose empathy for any outside of our immediate periphery. This makes it hard to truly leave a meaningful impact on our world, because how are we supposed to understand what people want the world to look like if we don’t understand others. Specifically, in technology, people are too consumed on serving those who can bring them financial success and fame. This leaves us blind to the needs of the people who really need their worlds to change, and hundreds of different social media applications created by people with tools to make real change.

So what do I want to leave our world? I’d like to change business as usual. I’d like to see entrepreneurship be a facet of everyday life, from helping start new initiatives in our communities to building a new park bench on a lazy Sunday. I’d like people to keep believing that they’re meant to change the world, but have a better understanding of the world they live in, and go about making real change from the perspective of making a direct impact on the lives of others rather than an idealized and misconstrued image we constructed ourselves.

I’m not sure how I plan on achieving anything on the lines of what I’ve stated. A fairly good manner might be sticking to my comfort zone and creating or helping sustainable tech businesses that embody that sort of culture. The hope there is that people can start to see what business should look like. A sphere of interest there might be politics. Many political systems across the world are extremely broken, and people should have access to the same crazy data pipelining that companies like Palantir and Addepar are providing to large private organizations to make more informed and meaningful decisions. I might want to run for office (US Senate) one day, and lead by example.

Amongst all this uncertainty, I’m sure of this: nothing I set out to achieve I’ll accomplish on my own. The only way real change will happen is if I believe in motivating others to help each other achieve their collective ambitions. Being able to leverage each other instead of competing for meaningless scraps is the biggest hurdle we as a species need to overcome. Once we communally realize we’re all insignificant in the grand scheme of our universe, we can focus on improving and empowering each other’s existence.