Jul 5, 2017
In the venture capital world, looking out for founders’ collective mental health is nothing new. The most prominent example of this trend is the Investor Pledge for Mental Health. San Francisco based Kip created the pledge and many prominent funds like Slow Ventures stepped up to the plate and began sponsoring therapy sessions for their portfolio founders. Starting a company and dealing with the vicissitudes of that journey can be immensely stressful.
At MetaProp, we have begun working with sound therapist Jarrod Byrne Mayer from Brooklyn Healing Arts. In these sessions, Jarrod utilizes tools like tuning forks and Tibetan gongs to “re-tune” the bio rhythm of the human body. Founders exit these sessions experience a feeling of clear mindedness, stress relief, peacefulness, and balance. It is my experience that the greatest innovations occur when talented people enter this type of mental state. Sound therapy is only one of many potential gateways.
Interesting things seem to happen during these sonic sessions. Although I typically keep my eyes closed during these sessions, at one point while the vibrations from the gong filled the room, I opened my eyes, and the sound itself had appeared to “disrupt” the air around me, making it look different. The sound was almost palpable in the way that a solid object would be. It made me question whether sonic vibrations created by the proper combination of gongs and tuning forks can disrupt space as we know it.
As I continued to ruminate on the power of sound, I remembered a famous quote by Nikola Tesla, perhaps the most legendary inventor and startup founder of all time. He once said, “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” Tesla was well aware of the power of sound, vibrations, and ambient energy, and this belief system imbued many of his most famous inventions, including radio communications and alternating current. Tesla claimed that he could sense when his mother had died because they were both “tuned to the same frequency”.
Although he didn’t characterize it in this way, Tesla was hinting at the much-debated concept of a “collective consciousness” within a particular society or group. The idea of a collective consciousness was first presented in 1893 by French sociologist Émile Durkheim. Proponents of this theory provide examples of simultaneous invention and discovery as evidence for the existence of this collective consciousness. For example, is it just a coincidence that Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz both formulated modern calculus at the same time without having any traditional form of communication with each other? Was there something “in the air” in the 17th Century that led to these simultaneous discoveries, or more likely, were these two geniuses just tuning into the same frequency? On a lesser scale, we frequently see startups in the same exact space popping up in different parts of the world at the same exact time.
This leads us back to our portfolio sound therapy session. Is there a way, through sound therapy session, for me as a venture capitalist to influence the collective consciousness of our portfolio? If all 32 portfolio founders at MetaProp were tuned into the same frequency, what more could we accomplish? Many of our portfolio CEOs have become friends with each other and communicate via our Slack channel as well as in person to share ideas, experiences, and challenges. This communication often leads to things like partnerships, joint ventures, API integrations, and more. However, I often wonder what else we could accomplish together as a group through the power of sound? Can we collectively put our own dent in the universe? I don’t yet know, but I am sure going to do my best to find out…