Sorry, but this one requires a bit of a foray into the weird workings of my brain and how the blender-ification of my daily experience leads to blog posts!
This weekend I saw a Broadway musical called Something Rotten, which is absolutely hilarious and is currently playing in San Francisco. There are multiple subplots but the biggest are these:
- William Shakespeare, who is portrayed as a sort of Mick Jagger type, has had wild success and is now under pressure to produce his next big idea, which he cannot seem to come up with on his own;
- A no-name producer is envious of Shakespeare and wants to be as famous as the Bard, so he and goes to ridiculous lengths to predict what the next big Shakespeare thing could be so he can copy it or scoop it and make a ton of money before Shakespeare can make it his own
- A no-name playwright, brother of the producer, has a great idea for a new play but can’t get anyone to hear him out about it so it can be produced
As I watched this I could see the parallels between the characters and certain Silicon Valley archetypes with whom I come into contact. I could visualize the Shakespeare character as numerous serial entrepreneurs under pressure to create out their next big unicorn before they lose the market’s attention. I could see the nobody producer as one of an army of me-too entrepreneurs who come close but whose stars don’t burn quite brightly enough to allow him to play among the big boys. And I could easily visualize the nobody playwright with the great idea and no attention as any number of young first time female entrepreneurs.
I saw all this having read earlier that the very same day that Juicero, the recent venture capital darling, had declared itself dead, having raised and spent $120 million to over-complicate the squeezing of juice.
And of course, being me, the synthesis of these thoughts culminated in this one: I should write a Shakespearean sonnet about Juicero. I am guessing I am the only person alive who has ever had that particular thought.
Now I really like Shakespearean sonnets because I am a total word/language geek. I love me some iambic pentameter augmented by rhyming couplets. And the plot of Something Rotten emboldened me to try it, whipping out my old school literature cred. But equally importantly, it was well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit at my house, a very rare occurrence. So when I started thinking about which sonnet to rip off, the only one I could think of was Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day, aka Shakespeare Sonnet 18.
Frankly, given the weather, if I compared anything to a summer’s day it would be tantamount to comparing it to the hottest reaches of Hell, as that was pretty much what Marin County felt like all weekend. But the theater to which we escaped was air conditioned and thus the inspiration began to flow. So here it is, my sideways nod to Juicero and things like it:
Shall I Compare Thee to a Series A? Sonnet 1 by Lisa
Shall I compare thee to a Series A?
Thou art more early and far more risky.
And while your market may show up some day,
Waiting for it makes one drink much whiskey.
Sometimes too hot the trends they brightly shine,
And not so clear that there is want or need;
And even that which once did seem divine,
May show its flaws way after Series Seed.
On fleek one day then oh so yesterday,
Favor fades from one tech to another,
And so much capital can disappear,
When poor judgement plays invention’s mother.
So long as entrepreneurs stay in play
So long will investors pay, hope and pray
And for those of you seeking the original to which to compare….
Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day? (Sonnet 18)
William Shakespeare, 1564 – 1616
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.