On Opportunity vs. Happiness

Last night, I watched a quick scene of the Amazing Spiderman 2. Aunt May was looking around Peter’s room when Peter comes in. He asks if one of the scientists in Oscorp is his dad and demands from Aunt May to tell her the truth. Aunt May initially refuses to answer– she was the one there for Peter while he ran off as a mad scientist. She was the real parent (along with Uncle Ben of course) and Peter was her boy. This was when the tears started streaming down my face.

I’ve been having a spectacular time these past few weeks, especially when I’m hanging with the KPCB fellows. But I haven’t yet found a home or felt a semblance of a tightknit family. And for a very very familial and extroverted person, that gets tough. I’m meeting loads of amazing people but I still feel very scattered and overwhelmed and lonely at times (especially when I have to run back to a tinyass and very un-home-y apartment).

I miss Filipinos (and non-fusion, legit Filipino food!) I miss my family. I miss home. But I know I should be here, soaking in all the tech opportunity, learning as much as I can. And I am! A ton.

Only this (still rather delicious but totally not Filipino) “Filipino” fusion food at SF. I need legit unhealthy Filipino food, dyaknow?!?!?!
Only this (still rather delicious but totally not Filipino) “Filipino” fusion food at SF. I need legit unhealthy Filipino food, dyaknow?!?!?!

Last week was jampacked week, starting off with John Doerr, current head of KPCB and venture capitalist guru. His talk was both here and there – he had a list of topics and entertained questions from the fellows. He talked about how his friend Steve (Jobs) asked him for advice on whether to acquire Google. John told him to ask Larry, and so Steve walked Larry around their neighborhood (apparently they were nextdoor neighbors). Steve concluded Larry wouldn’t want to work with him (much less for him).

John Doerr is real!
John Doerr is real!

These mundane stories make these tech celebrities human again. This fellowship is bringing in so much opportunity and reinforcing the idea that these entrepreneurs are humans, too, meaning, hey, if they can do it, so can I! I am always in awe with how strong the KPCB network is and I am so grateful for this opportunity.

At the same time, I kept thinking of my dad. John Doerr reminded me of my father. You could feel his fatherliness with the way he moved and talked and gestured. He was like an extremely smart dad (not that my dad isn’t extremely smart. Hi dad!) with a real knack of venture capitalizing. And then I missed my family all over again.

The following talk was given. by Mary Meeker. This felt less like a talk and more like a presentation. She explained her recent Internet Trends, focusing a lot of online advertising and gaming. “Internet” trends already excludes a huge chunk of the developing world, given the lower quality in internet connection. My focus and nagging questions the entire time were how much data was received from developing countries (with the Philippines top in mind of course), whether that was significant, and what differences there were in the trends for developing countries vs. developed. I even deferred my dinnertime (and missed out on the apparently famous caterer’s tuna dish) just to ask my question, despite the swarm of other fellows already surrounding her. (Big difference in developing countries, by the way, was that targeted ads were not as great, and online revenues were not as high, as one may guess.)

This post is titled opportunity vs. happiness, because I’ve been thinking a lot about my decision to be here. I don’t regret it and I know I should be here. But it was at the cost of not being able to be with the people I love the most for an entire year (or more!). I’ve been given this great opportunity, and I am embracing it fully, but often times, I feel rather lonely. I’m optimistic, however, that down the line I’ll be marrying the two– I’ll find people I can call a family, whilst still soaking in all the opportunity the Bay Area has to offer. But for now, it will be a grind, and I guess that’s how the adult life rolls.

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