I presented my thesis project to ITP, my mom, and the world on Monday evening, two days following the semi-final round of the Stern Business Plan Competition, where we learned that, while we have a kick-ass business plan, an excellent presentation, and a damn good team of very capable founders who know what they’re doing, we just don’t make rich white colonialist VCs’ hearts long for hip, sustainable consumerism the way they do for poor, exploitable rural Indian villagers. I’m not bitter, just increasingly disturbed at the way that people measure Social Impact without any concept of the difference between “helping” and exploiting. There’s just something about going into other peoples’ countries and telling them how to solve their problems (especially if the solution involves delivering targeted ads from Unilever to a “new market”, or creating low-level data entry jobs in opressive office complexes) that really gives me the creeps. “How is this business supposed to solve poverty?” Red leaned over and asked me during one of the winning teams’ presentations. “It’s technology,” I said, “It solves everything.” I made her laugh a little, which made me happy. That woman is scarily clairvoyant, and just pretty amazing. She’s sat through every thesis presentation so far, and has said very little. I can’t imagine what it must be like to go through 20+ years of that. I’m going to miss ITP.
Anyway, in the post thesis, post competition lull, I’ve managed to reorganize my desktop, install some new software, eat a lot of fried foods and red meat products, catch up on my blog reading, and rack up about 6 hours of Rabid Rabbits on the Wii. I still have a paper to write, a final project to finish, and two submissions in the Spring show in various stages of brokenness, but I’m not worried. The break has been really nice, and much needed.