Are you willing to pay the price of systemic racism by using a closed platform like Clubhouse? As a leader of communities, your answer should be “no”.

Over the last few months, Clubhouse — an audio-only social network — is gathering more and more speed. Good for them, and the more Facebook competitors we have out there, the better. The issue is that, as of right now, Clubhouse is only available in the Apple ecosystem. This is a problem. In broad lines. there’s a socio-economic split between people on Apple and Android devices. For example, in India, Android has a 95% market share. In Mexico, 94%. In China, it’s around 90%.

Within the US, these divides have been known for a long time, too — there’s a…


Tuesday. My phone screams bloody murder to announce the arrival of seven o clock on this early-spring-has-sprung Valentine’s day. The third V-day I’ve spent alone in a row. I grumpily tell my phone to cool its little electronic horses. As I wrap up my groggy negotiation with the sleep-interruptor, a new noise. A notification. A lucky break. A text from the friend who is at least 80% to blame for the hang-over I’m currently indulging.

“If you can dress as if for a date and be here in 30 minutes, we need some extras for this indie film we’re shooting.”

What if it were impossible to receive wealth from your parents and illegal to give money to your children?

We are all born naked. From that point onwards, paths diverge pretty damn quickly. Some of us are born into an ocean of privilege, which can come in all sorts of shapes, forms, and colors.

As far as demographics go, I am ‘boring’ — I am able-bodied (74%), English-speaking (78%), I have beyond-basic literacy (79%), I’m cis-gendered (99.5%), heterosexual(ish) (96.5%), white (76%), and I finished high school (90%). All of those things come with significant privileges; if I’d fallen into the minority side of those percentages, my life would be significantly harder. I fall into a number of minorities, too…

Wearing a robe that could do with doing cartwheels inside a washing machine for an hour, I’m standing in the middle of my kitchen, one foot wearing a slipper. “Huh,” I softly grunt to myself as my eye slips off one foot and onto the other. Will you look at that. There’s my other foot, also wearing a slipper. They match. I feel a sense of accomplishment.

There’s flour on the floor from an abandoned baking project. It turns out you have to add liquids to the bread maker for it to make bread. I mentally beat myself up for…

When my previous therapist invited me to imagine murdering someone, I knew I needed another therapist.

My previous therapist’s visualization exercise to help me deal with my history of being bullied involved imagining holding the main bully underwater.

Drowning, he said, because people can’t speak when they are drowning

Drowning him with my foot on his neck. Drowning him, he said, because people can’t speak when they are inhaling water. Drowning him, he said, because it was a good visualization. Drowning him, he said, because he deserved it. Drowning him because getting rid of him would feel good. It would bring healing. …

It turns out that shooting Polaroids in the studio isn’t impossible — it just takes a little bit of engineering and ingenuity. Here’s how I turned a $200 toy into a studio camera.

Image for post
Image for post
Being able to use studio lights with the Polaroid camera was a ton of fun.

I’ve done a lot of portraiture in my time (ahem), and I’ve never shied away from building my own photography equipment. I’m also intrigued by the tactile nature of instant photography. There’s something about the ability to immediately destroy a negative that makes portraiture a lot more fun. And with Polaroids, you can give your models the photos before they’ve even developed. Nobody has to see the photo except them — and then they can share it from there… If they wish.

I know that consistent light sources (like video lights) would have been easier to use with a Polaroid…

Measured in dollars, the US is the wealthiest country in the world by quite some considerable margin. If only it knew the value of empathy and true freedom as well.

I grew up in Europe (the Netherlands, Norway, and the UK) — but I’ve spent a lot of time in the US. A year as an exchange student in the 1990s and six years or so here in California. In my time here, I’ve been struck by some profound differences between Europe and the US: Empathy and Freedom.

Image for post
Image for post

Intergenerational Empathy

Life is hard. Life has always been hard. And “Life was so much harder when I was young” is a phrase that is not without fault. The difference between the US and Europe is what you do with that information. I like…

In building such a well-appointed stage, the news media is daring fringes of US society to commit acts of domestic terrorism.

Turn on a mainstream media outlet, and you’ll find pundits debate the peaceful transfer of power after the election later this week. I fear that this, itself, is part of the problem: Even just asking someone ‘will there be a peaceful transition of power’ leaves the door open to the answer being ‘no’. It isn’t that this isn’t worthy of debate — but the dogged focus on this very specific question may, in fact, turn out to be the reason why some people choose to give it more thought than it really deserves.

The media coverage of ‘risk of civil…

We don’t have all the answers, but we owe it to ourselves — as a species — to buy ourselves enough time to figure it out. As a company, we need to be part of that.

Many of us at some point pause from our busy lives to think “What is life for?” Some of us take the question pretty seriously and end up committing chunks of our lives to philosophy — in between the comings and goings of life itself. Don’t worry, this is not going to be one of those ‘what is the meaning of life’ posts (I haven’t figured that one out yet — but I’m working on it. Occasionally I get closer than usual).

Image for post
Image for post
I don’t know what the future holds, but unless we are able to think beyond the next profit and loss report, nor will anybody else.

This post is about why a company exists. Just like humans, companies have different roles to play —…

Haje Jan Kamps

CEO of Konf, pitch coach for startups, enthusiastic dabbler in photography.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store