"I like to talk about things that I learn and that I think are applicable to other people."
Justin Kan was talk about the systems in his life. The serial entrepreneur / founder, who recently announced a pivot and significant layoffs at Atrium, his latest company, spoke at the TechCrunch Disrupt last fall about fashionable black sweatshirts and an extremely colorful pair of Nikes.
After Kan finished his panel, we sat down for a comprehensive and philosophical interview. And when we stopped in part one of our conversation, Kan explained his self-described Buddhist philosophy of life.
But in the second part of our interview, I wanted to focus more on Kan’s thoughts about systems in society as a whole. After all, the difference is that you work carefully on changes oneself and change that Society. As we saw with Adam Neumann, among other things, there is a certain class of "spiritual" Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who use their technical platform to alleviate their own inner suffering – and perhaps gain influence by helping similarly influential people to alleviate their own. For example, WeWork had associations with everything from Kabbalah to Deepak Chopra to mindful eating before the company came to a standstill under the heat of its own ethical challenges.
I don't know if there is any evidence that Kan falls into the above category. Perhaps he is better understood as a legitimate, if unconventional, big thinker. In any case, it would be important to ask: What good is it if technology leaders such as Kan seek Buddhist relief from suffering, when the industries that support them are currently creating enormous and very palpable suffering for countless millions of less happy people?