just thinking out loud 0 comments on 2017: A Year in Review – The Bad

2017: A Year in Review – The Bad

I was honestly really pleasantly surprised by how many good things I could come up with for this year because it’s honestly been a year dominated by the bad.

I’ve learned this year that the people who I grew up around never wanted me to be in their lives in the first place. My teachers, my coaches, my neighbors – they despised my background, my future, and who knows maybe even my presence.

I’ve been so bi-coastal this year that I feel like I’m constantly missing out on the most important thing in both places. Critical events happening in real time while I’m video or dialed in. Parent-teacher conferences or fun school events when I’m crossing the country the other way. I never knew getting status with an airline would be such a taxing and exhausting process.

I’ve been so lonely being in a new city, not being able to find the time to establish new friendships, and just constantly being stuck with my own thoughts. It took me a while to make friends in SF too, and I think I just forgot how hard it was. And I didn’t have kids in tow back then.

I’ve been bad to my physical self. I’ve gained 20 pounds. I don’t exercise, do yoga, or play soccer. I eat badly because I’m constantly stress eating.

But ultimately, I just haven’t been the father or the husband that I want to be. I haven’t been the person I want to be. My calendar has run my life instead of me feeling like I have a clear destination in mind and checking in with myself to make sure I’m getting there.

In 2017, I lost sight of where I’m going, and who I want to be when I get there. It’s been a bad year. One of the ones we’ll put in the forget jar when history writes our stories.

So good-bye 2017… on to the next one.

just thinking out loud 0 comments on 2017: A Year in Review – The Good

2017: A Year in Review – The Good

What a year… to say the least. Dominated so much by what happened around me, that I really spent almost no time thinking about looking inward, and keeping score on myself. There was a lot of bad… but let’s start with the good.

  • Exploring a new city
    It’s been so much fun getting to know New York. We moved December 17th, and spent the year becoming citizens of the world’s capital. It’s a fascinating city with so much to offer – Chinese New Year, museums, subway, Coney Island, going Upstate, and so much more. Learning the city and everything New York has to offer has been nothing short of extraordinary.
  • Being closer to Doruk (and Hanna)
    I think though the best part of all of this has been being closer to Doruk. The kids getting to know him better. Getting to know Hanna better. Defining who our family is in this generation as we redefine our unit post living in our parent’s home. My favorite – of so many adventures – was a text message call out for Sunday night dinner where we all descended from all parts of both NY and the US to get together. A clear sign that we’re building something special.
  • My aunt visited us
    I think a lot of the folks I grew up with would be hard pressed to put family on any good list. But I never really saw anyone growing up. Once every few years for a few days at a time is really hard to build a rapport. But this year, my aunt came to us, and stayed for a while. It was really lovely. Both in that she got to be here, and in that we got to be tourists together as well. It was definitely a highlight for me to say the least. 
  • Superb times with friends
    I had so many fantastic adventures this year with friends – NASCAR race with James and the boys, horse racing with John at the Belmont, a night out with Sam that will live in infamy, and dinners out in SF with the people I love. Being in a new place can be incredibly lonely, and having these moments to hold onto has been wonderful.
  • Vacation in the Turks & Caicos
    I’m quite bad at taking vacations, but Micky planned for us to go to the Turks & Caicos Islands, and disconnect for a week or so… and it was AWESOME. SCUBA diving, fishing, snorkeling, making friends, swimming in the pool, doing lots of nothing… it was exactly what the doctor ordered. I absolutely loved it. We got really lucky too because we beat Hurricane Irma by literally 36 hours.
  • My dad’s induction into the NC State Computer Science Hall of Fame
    I think it’s quite obvious to anyone who knows me well how much I measure myself against my dad, and his successes. My dad, and my grandfathers, are my gold standard. And it’s amazing to me how no matter what my dad is constantly pushing the bar forward. This year, he was part of the inaugural Hall of Fame class at NC State’s Computer Science deprtment. Out of 9000 alumni, he was chosen as one of the top 25. It’s nothing short of awesome and inspiring. That we also got to go to the State Fair that weekend only put icing on the cake for what was a momentous few days for our family.
  • Working with Ibai and Matt again
    Having now moved to a new company for the first time in my life, I’m really happy to be working with some of the folks who I was the most excited to work with in previous lives. While things at Hearsay have been nothing short of crazy, being able to take on the adventure together has made it that much more fun. Coupled with a great team that I’ve proudly built, and I think 2018 will be an amazing year.

To top it all off, taking this adventure on with Micky and watching my babies grow on their own journies has been nothing short of amazing. I know this whole thing would be so empty without them. Theo’s love for the Natural History museum. Luka’s love for the Cosmos. Amelia becoming an urbanite almost over night.

So while there’s been much chaos, there has also been much good. Yet, and I’ll write more on this tomorrow, I’m happy to say good-bye to 2017.

just thinking out loud 0 comments on Last night the world become a little bit more empty

Last night the world become a little bit more empty

My dear friend Payam,

I thought in 10 days time we’d get together for breakfast. I wanted to talk about sending Dylan to New York, and not letting me know. And how soccer was going. What a great job you’re doing at TokBox, and how happy I am at Hearsay. How our dads are getting older, and the world is getting angrier.

But instead, as I sit here tonight, I’m thinking instead about how cruel life is.

For your mother and father, who have to bury a second child.
For your boys.
For your wife.
For all of the people you took care of while never letting any of us take care of you

The world is a little bit more empty, and so is my heart.

Good-bye dear friend. I hope you’re at peace.

We miss you too much already

just thinking out loud 0 comments on Two days later – My processed thoughts on the Executive Order banning refugees

Two days later – My processed thoughts on the Executive Order banning refugees

Ok – I’ve processed a bit more, and read a bit more, and thought a bit more, and come to this conclusion:
 
This Executive Order isn’t anti-Muslim. It’s anti-Axis of Evil. Yup, we’re back to the Axis of Evil. It’s actually much worse in my opinion. My primary complaint with the Left across the world today is that it doesn’t provide solutions. It only points out the problems with the Right. So instead of just complaining, here’s my set of proposals for what I would do instead:
 
(1) We need to divest from Oil. We need to invest in American energy. We are less than one generation away from being able to run our electric grid nearly completely on renewable energy. This creates jobs in America that are impossible to export. The delta should be filled with American sources of energy. This allows us to invest in those communities as a matter of national security with the balance being that we would want to do so in both an ecologically and economically sustainable way.
 
(2) If we pull off (1), then we need to divest from the Saudis. The primary reason to stay involved with Middle Eastern affairs is to maintain open channels into the Saudis. This allows us to make sure that their influence on OPEC is balanced with our economic needs. We can then arm them against Iran (more to come on this below). And play puppet master . If we can reduce our attachment to OPEC, then we can also diminish the wealth and power that we give to Saudi Arabia today. This in turn diminishes the need for the US to be involved in the Middle East allowing the region to return to a status as a local one instead of a global one.
(2a) The Wahhabi School of Islam, as preached and protected by the leaders of Saudi Arabia, is the primary source of Islamic Terrorism. If what we’re really doing is fighting Islamic Terrorism, this is yet another reason to divest ourselves from the Saudis.
(3) The other primary source of Islamic Terrorism is the blind support of Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians. To solve this, we need to drop the two-state solution rhetoric, focus on a single Israel where Arabs, Palestinians, and Israelis can live side-by-side successfully, and the religious views of all are protected. This means that Israel has to change its constitution. It also means that Palestinians need to be willing to trade statehood for prosperity. I don’t know if it’s possible, but it’s a much better outcome than what’s on the cards today.
(4) America needs to get over its infatuation with Iran. Yes, there was a revolution in 1979. Yes, there was an embassy hostage situation. We need to move on. Just like Reagan’s economic policies drove the Soviet Union to the ground, so can an open door policy bring down the extremism inside of the Iranian government. It may not mean a return to democracy for Iran. But let’s not focus on democracy everywhere. Instead let’s just reduce the hostility against us in as many places as possible.
If we do the above, then here’s what we’ve done:
(1) Moved away from non-renewable resources in our energy supply chain
(2) Created jobs in the US that cannot be exported while preserving the economic and ecological solvency of the communities most impacted
(3) Disconnected from our perverse relationship with Saudi Arabia
(4) Solved a human rights controversy in Israel
(5) Dropped our unhealthy obsession with getting back at Iran
just thinking out loud 0 comments on The year of the autonomous car

The year of the autonomous car


The picture above is the Ford entry in the 2016 24h Le Mans race. Ford famously won the race in 1966 – if I’m not mistaken – on the back of work done by Mr Shelby whose fame comes from the car carrying his name. They came back at the 50th anniversary, and won it again. 

Outside of this car, however, this was the year of the future of automobiles – not the past. And the brands at the show would have had you believe that right around the corner, we’re all going to be in self-driving cars that we rent, and that parking, car accidents, and fuel consumption are things of the past. 

But, even as a technologist, the last thing I want is for this revolution to come too quickly. 

Autonomous cars represent for me the next major economic shift we’re going to take as a society. 

We won’t need – truck drivers, taxi drivers, or parking attendants. 
We will need – systems engineers, merchandise unloaders, and a whole new breed of mechanics. 

We won’t have trucks competing with daily commuters at peak hours to get places. 

We will have roadside motels shut down as their clientele becomes unemployed. 

We don’t know what insurance looks like in this new world, and we do know that taxes, licensing, regulations, and standards will all have to be reconsidered. 

And so while I want the technology to be built, and the regulations and licensing conversations to start, the bigger opportunity I want to challenge us to take is to build a framework in which we look for a win-win (Pareto Efficient) outcome for everyone who will be impacted by autonomous cars. 

We have a chance to have the conversations that we didn’t when we built the interstate system and exported our manufacturing infrastructure.

How can we ensure that there is protection for those who will lose paid for by the economic gains and efficiencies of those who win?

How can we look at the industries impacted by this revolution – trucking, parking, construction, gas stations- and make sure that in preserving themselves they don’t stifle innovation? 

And equally – that the technologists who will win in this new world don’t irrationally pull us into the future without being able to ensure our safety, our communities, and the new culture we will build on these capabilities?

After this election cycle, and this year’s CES, I’m realizing that policy is just as important of a deliverable for a disrupting business as the product that is doing the disrupting. 

My key takeaway – we all want to get to the future knowing our dignity will be intact when we get there. 

We should make sure we have the conversations to help as many of us achieve that goal as possible. 

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on Racial profiling is a trade-off, not a bug

Racial profiling is a trade-off, not a bug

When developing software, a Product Manager (that’s the job that I do) has to choose between whether to do the Cadillac version of a product (or feature) or the Accord version. Picking between one or the other is called making a tradeoff. Do you tradeoff completeness (which takes more time) or polish (which allows you to more quickly validate that the product has value to customers)?

When a feature that you’ve built doesn’t work the way you expect it to work, that’s called a bug. You’ve designed something a certain way to accomplish a specific task, but – in certain conditions – it can’t complete that task.

I’ve always thought racial profiling was a bug in the American justice system. I now realize that it’s actually a trade-off.

Let me tell you why:

In designing our justice system, we’ve decided that instead of having the hard conversations that we need to have as a society (building the Cadillac version of our justice system) around:

  1. The War on Drugs and its disproportionate effect on inner city, black and Hispanic men
  2. Our foreign policy as it relates to apartheid in Israel and the impact of that on Islamist aggression
  3. Our immigration policy and how it relates to an open border and the ideologies that come with that

that we would rather racially profile (the Accord version of our justice system), and then ask for forgiveness when it turns out we’ve reached too far.

If this were a bug, then we’d just say stop doing that police/TSA/FBI/ICE/etc. That isn’t nice. But the thing is – we can’t. Because if we stop doing it, then the wheels fall off our ability to avoid those conversations.

As a result, we’ve chosen racial profiling over humaneness. It helps us feel safer. It gives us an enemy against which to build our police state. And it blinds us to the human right abuses running rampant in some of our closest allies. We have too many hard conversations, and so this is one we’re happy to push into the future.

When you see that Arabs voted for Trump – it is because Hilary Clinton would have continued a blindly pro-Israel foreign policy that would leave Syrian and Palestinian children constantly looking over their shoulders for the next attack on their lives.

We see the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement, and yet have seen no real movement to end the War on Drugs in 8 years of an Obama presidency (and we’ve just started to see a movement against the for-profit prison system that profits off of this policy).

And the inability to pass comprehensive immigration reform because both sides are afraid of losing future votes to the other is leaving the lives of millions in limbo, stalling our economic growth, and continuing to fan the xenophobic flames of nativism.

If we’re serious about this country being a melting pot, and if we’re serious about this country being a place of opportunity, then we need to have these hard conversations instead of settling for the trade-off.

Because the worst decision you can make when developing a product is the decision to do nothing at all.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on Media and knowledge aren’t the same thing

Media and knowledge aren’t the same thing

One of the favorite refrains of the Tea Party element of the Right is that the only way presented with the facts that I could ever hold liberal positions is to be brainwashed by the mainstream media (MSM is how it’s abbreviated – I guess for more efficient Twitter character counts).

To this, I just need to say a few things:

(1) I know how to read. And because I believe in being an educated voter, I often read (or watch) the transcripts (or speeches) that the candidates make. I’m not watching any media’s version of the speech. I’m actually reading or watching what the candidate is saying themselves.

(2) I know how to research. I can follow the trail of who writes a bill. I can follow the trail of what an organization with a friendly name may or may not stand for. And so just because it comes from a group with a nice name like the American Family Organization, I know that it’s not a group that would accept me because I’m not Christian.

(3) I can find opposing views. And I actively look out for them. I really enjoy reading the TAC blog – not because I always agree with Rod Dreher, but because it helps me understand the first principles from which he builds his arguments.

Here’s another point to be very wary of. You’re getting your information from the mainstream media as well. The Mainstream Media includes – but is not limited to – the NY Times, Washington Post, CNN, Huffington Post, Fox News, the New York Daily, Rush Limbaugh.

These are all for-profit organizations whose goal is to make people look at advertisements, listen to advertisements, and click on advertisements. Their goal is not to educate. If anything, it is to entertain. Sometimes entertaining requires informing, but informing is different than educating.

Please don’t take as gospel what you read in your mainstream media any more than I do in mine. Educate yourself. It’s the only way we’re going to be able to have the conversations we need to have to put this country back together again.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 34 comments on Dear Ms. Mary…

Dear Ms. Mary…

Dear Ms. Mary,

I want to reintroduce myself. My name is Melih Onvural, and we met almost 25 years ago in a small town called Cary, NC. I even remember how you introduced yourself – “My name is Mary. My husband’s name is Terry. And we live in Cary”. I was 9. And I don’t think you hated me then. Why do you hate me now?

If you remember, we were neighbors for 10 years. I grew up playing Monopoly and doing math homework at your kitchen table. The one time I remember my parents taking some time off for themselves, I stayed at your house. You might remember my parents. Muslim immigrants from Turkey who came to America and built their own American Dream.

Raif Onvural at ODTU Graduation 1983
Raif Onvural at ODTU Graduation 1983

You see, I feel the need to re-introduce myself because over the last year or so, you’ve filled my Facebook feed with alt-right political rhetoric as if you’ve never known an immigrant; or a Muslim; or someone who scraped, crawled, and fought their way from the bottom to the top of the hill known as America.

But you have – me.

Melih Onvural - Senior Prom 2003
Melih Onvural – Senior Prom 2003

And – very consistently – over the last year you’ve posted your political rhetoric, and I’ve stayed silent. I figured that your candidate couldn’t win, and that I shouldn’t soil our relationship with political bickering. I was wrong about the former. And you didn’t give me the courtesy of the latter, and so I have to remind you of a few things tonight.

(1) Your candidate said that he wants me and my parents to not be a part of the American fabric. Either he actually means it, which makes him and you bigots, or he said it only to rally up the crowd which makes him a liar.

If it’s the former, then your years of speaking down at me for not being Christian are a farce. Christ isn’t a bigot. And as a follower of Christ you must love all of His children, and leave judgement to our Creator on the Day of Judgement. These are the words He spoke in the Sermon on the Mount. These are things you taught me. In your kitchen. In the life we shared together. As neighbors.

If it’s the latter, then you’ve been conned. And you’ve allowed a con man to become your false prophet – once again betraying the very values you claim to live by.

(2) Your candidate has encouraged white supremacists to come out of the shadows in which they were hiding, and refused to repudiate them.

By supporting this man, you’ve made the world less safe for my children. Here’s a picture of my mixed-race children. They’re 5, 4, and 1.5 years old. They have a British mom, and a Turkish dad. Their last name is one that no one can pronounce. Instead of looking into my feed, and wondering about the world looks like for these kids when hate is allowed out of the shadows, you openly invited hate, and pushed us into the shadows.

Onvural Family at bedtime
Onvural Family at bedtime

How can I possibly bring them to North Carolina now knowing that the KKK has been empowered to stand back up? How can I send them to their grandmother’s house for the summer not knowing if they’ll be safe or not? You have grandchildren. Why would you create a world that is less safe for them than the one in which your own children grew up?

(3) Your candidate has firmly laid down a layer of concrete over the glass ceiling of equal opportunity that every woman in my family has fought for.

Nur Onvural - Women of Western Wake 2016
Nur Onvural – Women of Western Wake 2016
Micky Onvural
Micky Onvural

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why should these women have opportunities closed to them? Why as a grandmother and a mother of an incredible young girl should they think that her opportunities will be less than those of the boys in their lives? Your candidate – and the masses who voted him in – make them believe that. Should your granddaughter have fewer opportunities just because she doesn’t have a penis?

I think somewhere along the line you forgot that the names and labels that you were raging against were people. People with lives, destinies, hopes, and dreams. My family. Your neighbors.

Your vote – and the votes of millions of other Americans – told these people – my people – that we don’t matter.

As much as I thought the best solution was to turn you off, I’ve realized that that’s wrong. I’m not going to unfriend you. I’m going to fill your news feed with the pictures, stories, accomplishments, and journeys of these people.

Because we’re not a faceless mass. We’re not Skittles in a fucking bowl. We are America – the best parts of it. And we want you to be part of our story too.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on Ballot for 2016 Election

Ballot for 2016 Election

Things I’ve learned this year:

(1) Direct democracy is an AWFUL idea. If you don’t have 2 hours, and access to the right resources, then you have no idea what you’re voting for. It’s just awful.

(2) Our current two party system is broken, and there’s really no solution in sight

(3) California is obsessed with implementing liberal policies with conservative tax plans. It just can’t be sustainable, and is really worrisome.

And with all of that… my votes for the 2016 election up and down the ballot:

President & Vice President – Hilary Clinton & Tim Kaine

I really don’t like Hilary Clinton. Her foreign policy is too hawkish. She’s too old school for me on economics and taxation. But I don’t actually care. This is actually a protest vote against Donald Trump, and a world who would have him elected President. And so I’ve switched from leaving this blank, to voting for Hilary as a way to say that I can’t imagine a worse future for my children than one after 4 years of Donald Trump.

Senate -  Kamala D. Harris

I think both women are strong candidates here. I think that Kamala Harris has put together a better vision of how she would fix the economy, and deal with immigration. Loretta Sanchez’s campaign seems to mainly be about her history and her experience, and less so about what she wants to do.

House of Representatives - None

Preston Picus isn’t a real alternative. He seems to just be an angry citizen who got enough votes to get on the ballot. And I don’t think that Nancy Pelosi should go back. I just see her as part of a past generation who keeps trying to fix this country in the image of their parents and grandparents (same with Hilary I guess). I wish we could provide a real challenger here, but alas no luck.

State Senator – Jane Kim

If I were going to go by the inverse of the number of flyers I received this would easily go to Jane Kim. All Scott Weiner did it seems during this campaign is trash her. And he kept trashing her for policies she stood up for that when I read into them I also supported. So he in fact did most of my research for me here. What really tipped me in her direction though was as I was reading through her policies she spoke about how she wanted to fund her progressive programs. This is a theme I constantly see missing for Democrats. Sure they want to be progressive, but who’s paying for these progressive policies. Jane Kim seems to have that plan in place

State Assembly – None

The current Assembly Member – Phil Ting – doesn’t seem to have any ideas of his own. The challenger – Carlos “Chuck” Taylor – is too Tea Party for my liking.

School Board – Mark Sanchez, Rachel Norton, Stevon Cook, Phil Kim

The folks I knocked off of the list were either there too long (I think SFUSD is broken – so bragging about 24 years on the Board was a major turnoff), didn’t have plans for how to fund their ideas, or had never before been involved in creating an education program.

These four seem to be focused on technology (including working in non-profits who have had to fund their ideas), teacher retention (with ideas about how to fix it), and curriculum (with clear ideas of where to focus).

Prop 51 – No

In reading the text, this is yet another excuse by California legislators to not take a hard look at Prop 13, and find a sustainable way to fund schools. We’re effectively saying that because we don’t have the political will to challenge Prop 13 we have to keep borrowing against the future to fund schools.

Prop 52 - Yes

This seems to be a program that’s working, and one that we should continue to let work. I think the lack of regular check-in by making the date indefinite is a bit sketch, but not so much as to vote No.

Prop 53 – No

The last thing California needs is more direct democracy. Definitely voting No here.

Prop 54 – No

This one looked great to me at first. But the more I read, the more I didn’t like it. So I asked the one person I know who has worked in the State Legislature, and he said vote No. Sometimes you just need to know who to trust 🙂

Prop 55 – Yes

This is an extension to an income tax that will help fund schools. Unlike the construction proposition which I think will mainly help construction companies, this one puts the money into the education fund, distributes it locally, and then it gets spent locally. So on this one I’m voting yes.

Prop 56 – Yes

I’m anti-all things smoking.

Prop 57 – Yes

For this one, I think dismantling the Prison Industrial Complex is important. I also think that we need to take away from prosecutors the need to appear tough which incentivizes them to push for juveniles to be tried as adults. However, the case of Brock Turner demonstrates that giving this power to judges won’t necessarily turn out the way we expect it to. At the least, judges aren’t incentivized (I hope) the same way.

Prop 58 – No

I’m not sure what the long term outcome of this is, and the bi-lingual programs I know of in SFUSD are working for the folks who are in them. Just not convinced why we need this change.

Prop 59 – Yes

This is what my rant was all about, and so I definitely have to vote Yes here. Yes, I do want my state government which has the 8th largest economy in the world to use as much influence as it can to impact the federal government.

Prop 60 – No

This is regulation because someone wants to regulate. If you want to fix pornography, the issue isn’t condoms.

Prop 61 – Yes

I’m voting Yes here because I think the pharmaceutical industry has demonstrated in a few extreme cases (Martin Shekel and Epi-pen) that the system protects it enough without needing unfair pricing power. So if we can create a directive to drive costs down for pharmaceuticals, then let’s do it.

Prop 62 – Yes

Fabienne Gerard (my high school advisor) took me to an anti-death penalty panel when we were in high school. I’ve been anti-death penalty ever since. Yes, we should repeal the death penalty.

Prop 63 - Yes

I actually have no idea how this kind of move impacts the gun lobby across the nation, but at least in this corner of the country we can push back and create some sense of responsibility with gun ownership. Prop 63 is a definite yes for me.

Prop 64 – Yes

I think Prop 64 is another example of using the might of California to push change at the federal level. With most of the Western US legalizing the drug, we can create some momentum at the federal level to have a real conversation about the War on Drugs (also known as the War on Black America), and whether it’s time to end it.

Prop 65 – No

This is big industry protecting itself with a well worded proposition. No to more products made by oil.

Prop 66 – No

We don’t need to reduce the cost of the death penalty. We need to end the death penalty. No on 66.

Prop 67 – Yes

One of the simplest worded propositions I’ve seen in my time in California. We need to get rid of plastic bags. The less of our lives that is made by oil, the easier it will be to unentangle from the global obligations that come with an oil driven economy.

SF A – No
SF B – Yes
SF C – Yes
SF D – No
SF E – Yes
SF F – No - 
16 year old shouldn’t vote. Come on.
SF G – Yes
SF H – Yes
SF I – No
SF J – No
SF K – No
– Instead can we ask the technology industry to pay its fair share of taxes instead of giving Twitter a massive tax free zone?
SF L – No
SF M – Yes
SF N – No
SF O – No
SF P – No
SF Q – No
SF R – No
SF S – No
SF T – Yes
SF U – No
SF V- Yes
– Take that soda companies :-p
SF W – Yes
SF X – No

BART RR – No – I just don’t trust the folks who run BART after the way the BART strike situation was handled.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on Transfer of Power in America – A violent tradition

Transfer of Power in America – A violent tradition

They tell us that one of the marvels of the American system is that every few years power is peacefully transferred from one group to another. And that we should look at this in awe, and be impressed.

This is a lie.

There have been two transfers of power in American history, and we are living through the third. The first two were violent. My fear is that the third will be as well.

But first – some context.

The first transfer of power was the American Revolution. It was violent. It set up an incredible system – the US Constitution. This transfer of power was from a colonial system where the rules were set by someone else to a federal system (eventually) where the states (with the federal government as tie breaker) set the rules themselves.

Every four to eight years, the US Constitution supports a transfer of power from one group to another. This transfer of power that they tell us about in school is specifically the transfer of government leadership. This feels like a big deal because historically it would have been. That is because, historically, this has been one-to-one tied with economic power. But the magic of the system in the US is that we separated government leadership from economic power.

Oh sure, the only people who could be government leaders at first were the rich white men who had economic power. But within 75 years, Andrew Jackson fixed that for us (even though he was a massive racist). Shortly thereafter though there started to be a fork in the road for wealth generation.

The previously agrarian economy was slowly being replaced by an industrial revolution. Where before the only way to generate more wealth (in the agrarian society) was more land at a near zero labor cost (slavery), there was now an ability to generate wealth by building a factory, and then even more wealth by making it more efficient, opening more factories, or expanding into other opportunities (either horizontally across new industries or vertically into a single industry). And with this new found industrial revolution came a new found desire to change the old models. Because this new model transferred economic wealth from the old model into the new, there was blood. A lot of it.

And with the end of the Civil War, the second transfer of power – as expressed in economic force – in American history was complete. The old agrarian system was neutered. The new industrial system was firmly in place.

It took another 150 years or so – and the foundations were laid 50 years ago with the Civil Rights movement, 40 years ago with the Stonewall Riots, 30 years ago with the launch of DARPANet, 20 years ago with the rise of China’s manufacturing juggernaut, and so it goes – for the next transfer of power to start. As we move from an industrial economy to a service economy, we are again seeing a true transfer of power.

Where before one had to own the means of production – land, access to resources, access to cheap capital – we’re transitioning to a system where the cost of production is dropping rapidly, the need to own the production no longer exists, and capital is so cheap everywhere that everyone has access to lots of it (well, not really, and that’s where the problem is going to come, but let’s go with it for a second).

The interesting thing is to really play in the service economy all you really need is the knowledge that it exists, and an understanding of the rules for how to play it. And it turns out that that makes wealth more meritocratic, but also makes lots of existing professions indefensible. It means more people can be part of the pie, but not everyone is seeing their share of the pie grow.

And if you came from the professions that are disappearing or if you don’t like that wealth is now meritocratic to individuals who were previously marginalized, then you’re really not excited about this latest transfer of power.

So when Trump says “Let’s Make America Great Again” what he really means is, “Let’s preserve the current status quo, and not transfer power to a new economy, a new culture, and a new America”.

Given all of that – I’m left wondering two things:

(1) Can this transfer of power be bloodless?

(2) Assuming not, are we willing to fight the fights necessary to make sure it happens?