Creativity + Tech with Gary Chou of Union Square Ventures

Last Saturday I had the chance to walk down the block from The Box Jelly to R&D, the new creative space by Interisland Terminal in Kakaako. R&D is a small and well-put-together space, and while it still has the feeling of being unfinished, the vibe is very “design-y,” if that is a word. They have a wall of very interesting books, most, if not all, art related, and are expecting their espresso machine this week!

While there, I attended a meetup featuring Gary Chou, a cool guy. His day job is General Manager of Union Square Ventures, whose list of portfolio companies includes foursquare, etsy, twitter, tumblr, zynga, and kickstarter, to name a few. But the real reason he was in Hawaii was to promote his movie Surrogate Valentine, which he produced “by accident” and which is being screened at HIFF.

A friend of Wei Fang, one of the R&D founders, Gary’s topic was “Creativity+Tech.” The talk was good: short, sweet, and to the point. Gary focused on how he looks for the “soul” of a startup, the thing that really sets one startup apart from another. The best example given was David Karp and his vision for Tumblr. David really, really thought about what he wanted in his community: a positive place to express one’s self. Everything he has done has been with that in mind, and this is Gary’s idea of soul.

To sum it all up, Gary said this: “You’re creating your universe. You pick the laws in your universe.”

I look forward to more talks like this at R&D in the future. Thanks to both the R&D team and Gary!