What is Romance in the Sense of Innovation and VC?

Romantic defined in the classical sense does not indicate lust or passionate revelries but rather any sense of overt display of emotion that transcends boundaries. Romance, when utilized in the context of romantic literature represents the confluence of Manichean boundaries, as nothing is ever black or white. It encompasses stories of the mysterious, the adventurous, and unreal- from the innovations of Shelley’s Frankenstein to William Blake’s tales of getting lost in London where he finds home.

Innovators serve as Byronic heroes challenging conventional norms of society each and every day. They write the larger than life stories than some can only dream of, as they sit back and read on their couches and utilize the technologies these heroes build. Legends such as Steve Jobs, Charles Flint, Mark Zuckerberg and innovators of finance themselves in VC and hedge funds are born here. 

Romantic literature permeates each and every one of these technological discoveries as they are predicated on pressing forward human innovation through the otherness– the alternative sense of consciousness in AI, computers, or community that is larger than self. It permeates through the financial lens that powers this valley, as it is only through questioning the boundaries of finance and returns that the impossible with currency can be achieved. The founder of the hedge fund himself, Alfred Winston Jones, the man no one can keep up with was a romantic sociologist that understood that the truth was in betting in the grey area of both wins and losses, and thus one can never lose.

The term hedge as in hedge fund is romantic in nature itself as derives and transcends its  Anglo Saxon origins. The word hedge utilized in 16th century England marked enclosures of land to indicate of property and ownership. At times it is questionable if when we hedge bets that it is the innovation produced will succeed, or the idea its model is built upon, as hedges are no longer enclosures of land but exchanges of investments and ideas.

The core of romantic thought is understanding that financial metrics is not the only evaluator of a business’s success- it is about the legacy that Frankenstein hopes to leave behind. May he be kind, passionate and inspirational in his speeches and not an adamant reader of Voltaire and spurned from the childhood he was deprived of. May innovators and capitalists utilize talent to foster a culture of kindness, free thought, and collaboration, to be leaders in breaking the mold of not only past businesses but find ideas that fuel critical thought and passion to come.

–K.S. Osone