Bouncing down an unpaved road in a far western Kenya (1 2 3 4 5 6), in the Rift Valley, I had a profound thought…
There have been people living here for over four million years!
That is an incredibly long history. An unfathomable depth of experience living off that land.
In comparison, the Puget Sound region where I live wasn’t seen by human beings until about 6,000 years ago, when the last ice age glaciers finally departed and the forests grew back. Four million years ago spans not just multiple ice ages, but shifting of continents.
Of course, my ancestors four millions years ago were the people living in the Rift Valley of Africa. Same with yours. But as we drove down that dirt road, passing town after town, I realized that these people were descended from those common ancestors. Their mother’s father’s mother, etc. were living and eating off that same land since before we were human.
Yet somehow, my ancestors 100,000 years ago stepped off of Africa into the Middle East. 2,000 years ago their ancestors migrated to Europe. Four generations ago all my ancestors hopped ships to the United States. 24 years ago I migrated across North America. And then that day, the circle completed and I was back in the Rift Valley, zipping by my distant cousins.
Finally, moving my thoughts back to startups and investing, it made me stop and wonder why those of us who migrated away think we know better than those who stayed behind? Just because we could afford to fly around the world to visit their country instead of the other way around, do we truly know better about what their country needs and how to best make it happen?