Funding Friday: Hurricane Harvey

The monthly match gang has been discussing doing a match campaign to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.

We are particularly interested in helping recent immigrants who are in need of relief.

We have not yet identified the right organization to support given where we want to focus but we hope to have one shortly.

In the interim, I donated to the GoFundMe Official Hurricane Harvey Relief Campaign.

If you would like to do the same, go here and make a donation.

#hacking philanthropy

Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    Harvey is a branding fail. It looks like Hell to me.

  2. creative group

    jason wright:Branding fail correction…Houston Strong!

  3. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:Anyone living in areas below sea level and yeah natural disaster areas move….. No excuses. When you are responsible for children it isn’t about you anymore. The children’s interest come first.You continue to take the yearly risks Caveat emptor.

    1. Walker

      Maybe I am not sure what your point/perspective is but many (most) people do not have options to live elsewhere because it is costly to move especially for anyone with scant resources who is established in place. Moreover, to move because of the possibility of a “once in a hundred year” natural disaster is unlikely. If it turns out that these events are not once in a hundred year events (for whatever reason) then perhaps people will over time relocate or (as has happened in New Orleans, the infrastructure will be upgraded (if possible) to be equal to the new climate normal).

      1. creative group

        Walker:The post gives preference to those with means to move. Unrealistic to refer to those without means to move. Those who experienced Katrina (We employ a Katrina evacuee) had nothing were able to move around the entire country and the majority have not returned. People in the Houston area were warned for two weeks. We even viewed the Weather Channel on the expected severity of Harvey.And we have no idea how people are overlooking the current POTUS withdrawal funding for infrastructure upgrades for the areas in the Gulf States effected by the hoax science Climate change (Sarcasm). And we definitely are not blaming the current POTUS for natural disasters during his term.Because of the emotional charged effects and loss created by Harvey’s disaster we expected the usual characters seeking up votes to bypass a valid point on relocation from areas in the United States that experience yearly disasters. (Tornado and Hurricane areas)Unrealistic for everyone to move. Is it?If California sinks in the Ocean do you actually think everyone would drown opposed to relocating?Absurd.

        1. JamesHRH

          You live in New York, no?You get that Houston is a major port, right? A vast amount of America’s GDP has travelled through Houston in the last 150 years.Oh, and Harris County has not had a Hurricane event since Ike in 2005.Get informed. Do better.

          1. creative group

            JamesHRH:to all those who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey our sincere well wishes go out to them.We are informed and you have only lived in Houston a month is that correct?We have no desire to reeducate you on natural disasters in the Houston Metropolian area.You need to get informed and do much better at reporting actual events.–December 6–9, 1935 – A massive flood inundates Houston, killing eight people; the Harris County Flood Control District is created in the aftermath.September 11, 1961 – Hurricane Carla struck the Texas Coast to the east of Port Lavaca, Texas, bringing heavy rainfall and wind damage to the Houston area.August 18, 1983 – Hurricane Alicia hits Houston and Galveston.October 15-19, 1994 – The Great Flood of ’94 Hurricane Rosa leaves a stalled tropical depression over north Houston for a week. With over 30 inches of rain recorded in some places of Harris County, 20 inches in a number of hours, and maximum recorded stream flow volume at all recorded stations in the history of the San Jacinto River. The result was the highest flood levels of the San Jacinto basin to the present day, devastating the north side of Houston and killing 22 people in Texas. Petroleum lines bursting and setting aflame injured another 540 people.June 5 – June 9, 2001 – Tropical Storm Allison devastates the Houston area flooding much of the city including the Central Business District, several cultural institutions and major hospitals and research facilities in the Texas Medical Center. The storm is called a 500-year event.June 19, 2006 – Major flooding in Southeast Houston causes homes and roads to fill up with water. This was the most rain since Tropical Storm Allison in 2001September 13, 2008 – Hurricane Ike passes through city causing flooding, wind damage and widespread power failures.May 25 – May 26, 2015 – Historic Houston Flood Devastating storms floods most of the city.April 18, 2016 – The 2016 Houston floods took place in nine counties near the city.[17]August 2017 – Hurricane Harvey devastates the city, flooding homes and roads.

          2. JamesHRH

            You live in NYC, yes Hoss?I have spent far more time getting informed – in the last year – than it took you to google up ‘floods Houston’. Fully aware of the history here.You said ‘annual’ & ‘hurricane’. My response holds, your history lesson does not match your prior argument.To an objective observer, it would look like you were arguing on the fly, with no real prior consideration of the issue. Just a random jackass looking to prove he’s smart to himself.I’ve got better things to do. I value my time and the opinions / time of others.Maybe one day you will respect yourself enough to respect the time of others.And, one other thing – this isn’t a progressive cimmounith blog, it’s a blog about progress, with a focus on technology, financing innovation and Fred’s personal interests.Find another venue for your games.

        2. Walker

          If California falls into the ocean I agree people will move. Is your point that more people should have temporarily relocated until the storm and flooding subsided? I find it hard to follow what u r saying. Sorry probably my fault but I still do not understand your point. If your u want to keep trying I will listen but if not that’s fine. Probably just me and I may not get it.

    2. JamesHRH

      Two or three days ago this post would have gotten a curt ‘Fuck off.’ And, clearly, it’s still a temptation.Time and place – you have neither right.Why don’t you come on down and volunteer for a week, then say this stuff?We have a guest here at our house. I popped out to pick up some supplies for her – the Memorial City Mall parking lot is the staging point for over 40 ( by my count ) water rescue teams from everywhere: Native American Nations, KY, LA, OK, TN and of course, every small town in TX.They are pulling people out of lakes that formed in west Houston – subdivisions that have never flooded, ever.The folks who now have homes with 8′ of water in them could use a hand and would be most appreciative. And, to be straight w you, I doubt they would appreciate the seering logic in your Caveat Emptor comment.As a local sports radio host said when they were discussing online comments about evacuation, ‘That’s like some guy from NYC talking BBQ.’ Swear to God Fred, true story..It’s a shame that some regular AVC commenters won’t see this post, as they prioritize a selfish need to ‘curate their online experience’ over their commitment to the broader AVC community.

      1. LE

        It’s a shame that some regular AVC commenters won’t see this post, as they prioritize a selfish need to ‘curate their online experience’ over their commitment to the broader AVC community.You can just screen shot it and drop the image or you can simply quote it.That said I don’t think that people in Houston area are the same as people deciding to live with 2nd homes in beach areas that are flood prone. Plus nobody is disputing this was an unusual storm that hit in areas that are typically not flood prone. Also and honestly it’s simply not possible for most people to get up and move unless someone with money paid to relocate them. (And that has happened in areas of natural disasters).Lastly it seemed that all of the video that I have seen on CNN, NBC and so on shows almost what appears to be exclusively poor people that are being lifted from roofs. This leads me to believe that people with some means know of the risk and choose to live in better areas. Or that they don’t build middle class housing in these easy to flood zones (ditto for New Orleans from memory).

        1. JamesHRH

          That’s selective national network bias.My kids go to a British private school. I bet 1/3 of our families live in the Lakes on Eldridge. Its completely underwater. As is the very middle to upper middle class Kingswood sub NE of Humble – just 2 examples.Yes, I agree that low income people take the brunt of it in most cases and I have a lot less empathy for folks living on the beach in Galveston.People outside Houston are missing that 65% of the city is flooded. Super high end homes along Buffalo Bayou that never flood, upper and middle class areas that have never flooded AND the areas that all the locals just say ‘that always floods.’It’s a shame that some regular AVC commenters won’t see this post, as they prioritize a selfish need to ‘curate their online experience’ over their commitment to the broader AVC community.

          1. creative group

            JamesHRH:”It’s a shame that some regular AVC commenters won’t see this post, as they prioritize a selfish need to ‘curate their online experience’ over their commitment to the broader AVC community..”Any AVC member who intentionally posts lies, essays that combined with untruths, talking points from Hannity, Limbaugh, Ingraham and Nationalistic propaganda needs no platform on a Progressive leaning blog. Period.If you lend your support to that demagoguery that is your right. It is also the right of the broader AVC community to shun it.We clearly recognized the business operational experience of one poster. But that is his farce to include the essay opinion points that include intentional lies which have been challenged countless times. That is the end of his life line in audience It appears the majority continues to speak by ignoring those who intentionally lie. That is their right you appear not to agree with.

          2. sigmaalgebra

            Don’t be shy! If you’ve found a lie, don’t hold back! Pick your most serious example and cough it up! I know; I know; discretion is the better part of valor, but the truth is more important than fiction!

      2. DJL

        BTW – I blocked this person many months ago. All I see above your post is “User Blocked” So I can only imagine.

        1. JamesHRH

          I am philosophically opposed to the practise, short of outright personal abuse. Unblock them and keep at it.

          1. LE

            I don’t get the point of blocking in almost all cases (as you note). Part of coming here is most definitely entertainment. Even the NYT has an entertainment section. And if you don’t need that you just skip it. If someone says something that is ridiculous (to you) you can either laugh to your self, correct them, or just move on.This is not a particular opinion of anyone posting just a general comment.The particular point in the grandparent’s thoughts certainly has a grain of truth. That is there are many people that choose to live somewhere without regards to danger and then want someone else or the government to bail them out. This is almost certainly not the case for the majority of people that got flooded in Houston by 50″ of rain. But it is frequently the case in other situations. Even where jobs are short. Back in the ‘old days’ if there was no work people got up and moved (even coming to the USA). They left their families and friends and so on. Did what they had to do.The way it is today? My wife won’t move to another state because the kids don’t want to leave their friends. Good thing we don’t need to do that.

          2. JamesHRH

            To be clear LE, people who block are putting their need to feel good in front of the best interests of the AVC community.I bet that these people also pump their own tires about their involvement in AVC.Its self serving and selfish ,which is always sad.I guess, if you do not have the fortitude to withstand a little friction, you have to build a bubble for yourself. Just don’t tell me you are community minded.It’s a shame that some regular AVC commenters won’t see your post, as they prioritize a selfish need to ‘curate their online experience’ over their commitment to the broader AVC community.

          3. LE

            putting their need to feel good in front of the best interests of the AVC communityI would probably ‘pitch’ that the behavior is wrong in the following way: Simply recognize that this is clearly a case of bullying.Making someone feel stupid or belittling them for voicing their opinions which may differ from your own is wrong. Or because they don’t appear (by what they say) to be as smart as you are.Even if those opinions are factually not correct this is not the way to deal with it. It’s lazy. And I hate lazy. That is actually what bothers me about it a great deal.

          4. DJL

            It’s a free country. (And you are overstating our individual importance in the “Community”.) If I have engaged a specific person multiple times and all they do is insult – I am perfectly fine blocking them. That is what the feature is for. In fact, my AVC experience has gotten 50% better. You should try it.

          5. LE

            @jameshrh made the comment about the community, not me.He said:To be clear LE, people who block are putting their need to feel good in front of the best interests of the AVC community.Agree if someone insults you then it might make sense to block little disagreement on that.I think a saying I made up years ago (general saying not about AVC but will use that as the example) applies to this community and other situations:”AVC needs nobody but yet they need everybody”.This goes for celebrities, businesses and in so many other situations.

          6. DJL

            Yes. I meant to reply to him and got lost in the nesting. ;>)I have pretty thick skin. And I believe that nobody should go into online comments without being prepared to be offended at some point. As you know, myself and some others have been strongly encouraged to leave at various points. To me the integrity of any “community” requires different view points.I’m sure 99% of this community are great people and would be fun to hang out with in person. So much meaning is lost (or wrongly interpreted) with text only.

          7. JLM

            .Let’s be clear — the blockers are not saying anything about the blocked. They are revealing who they are.Without exception, at a genteel gathering like, they are pussies who cannot stand the heat of debate.They are cupcakes who are unable to articulate a position with winning logic and they and their marbles are taken home to their safe places.They are persons who cannot engage in an intellectual combat because they are neither smart enough nor tough enough.A real person likes to engage with those whose ideas do not sound like theirs because in that debate there is the possibility to learn something. I cannot learn from what I already know.In that discussion, there is the ability to throw one’s own ideas into the pit, let them wrestle with others, and allow better ideas to exit — to fight their way to the surface.I have contempt for the silly, squishies whose vanity doesn’t allow bruises and who are so sensitive they cannot engage in — LIFE.Grow up. Grow a pair.Why would I ever be interested in anyone’s ideas on subjects they cannot defend?If we are to be a country worthy of our great destiny and the spawn of our Founding Fathers, then we better be ready to engage. What this country is is the winners amongst the intellectual debates of that time.How can someone disrupt the prevailing order in the marketplace if words can bring them down? A bit of toughness, even in debate, is a laudable thing.Of course, I could be wrong.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          8. sigmaalgebra

            Don’t worry, you are safe: If you are wrong, I will let you know!

          9. JamesHRH

            Your grandparent story is bang on – that is absoluutely not the case for the majority of flooded homes.

      3. creative group

        JamesHRH:Usually Contributors time their posts for up votes, me too and we are part of being special.Our comment actually is based upon logic. Your emotional reply you provided no solution but up vote candy. The pissing match you expect will not occur. The our genitals is bigger than yours doesn’t apply or isn’t applicable.We acknowledge the human hurt, deaths and loss developed by this natural disaster and the future ones that will occur. You definitely didn’t understand our post.Again the questions and statements deposited were legitimate. How many times do adults with the means to move from locations (Below sea level, etc.) that have yearly death tolls, property loss covered by tax payers (Federal Flood Insurance) Adults have a responsibility to their children to keep them safe and out of harms way.We volunteer yearly. Not when it is convenient. We are in our community given back. A high profile disaster recovery requires people in the field who are not in the way. Those who donate to help others do it selflessly. It isn’t about being recognized, Republican, Democrat, Independent or Libertarians. It is about being human.Reread before seeking up votes.Captain Obvious

        1. JamesHRH

          Your mind reading skills are very weak.I find most people who make accusations online merely project their own shortcomings on to others – it’s the easiest way to be nasty, as you are well versed in the details of your own lousy internal lives.You may note that when someone pulls a verbal knife on me, they tend to get a clip of specific, detailed personalized verbal bullets in return – ask @awaldstein .That you hide behind an anonymous avatar provides you cover from that – which I am sure makes you feel clever but actually just reveals your cowardice, lack of belief in yourself / your beliefs / your behaviour.Thinking you are better than others is fine, just make sure that someone other than you provides you with data points that support that view.The vast majority of flooded homes in Harris County do not meet the criteria you have laid out. Get informed. Do better.The offer to come down and help stands – bring the whole coven.

          1. creative group

            JamesHRH:we are not in elementary or High School. Whatever lunch money someone took from you we are not responsible.You haven’t even begun to reach us intellectually.If you are in Harris County and effected by Harvey’s devastation we are the last Contributors you need to concentrate or engage in a pissing match. How do you have any time to engage with all the outplacement occurring. Doesn’t make sense you are spending value time with useless back and forth. Very suspect to write the least.Concentrate on what is important. Your family and love ones.Your useless negative engagement doesn’t add up. Like grade school banter.We will not respond to your banter during your time of conflict and pain.You can do better and need to do better.

          2. JamesHRH

            Your post circles upon itself and eats its own tail.You start with baseless accusations of juvenile behaviour on my part and then you go Gr 8 101 at the end – you say my words back to me without any basis.Those words have no basis because you imply that I don’t care for my family or community because I have time to post here on AVC. Suffice it to say my family is safe and healthy. We have opened our home to evacuees and are contributing far more than you.I come here to refresh my mind with intelligent argument (getting rarer here, though, and you surely don’t qualify) and discussions of technical innovations ( you don’t contribute much to these, constantly posting off topic posts that gain no traction with the community ), their future and their potential.That I can do this and still fulfil my responsibilities in life isn’t that hard, for me. Perhaps, because you have no one willing to entrust you with important, trust based relationships, you have not mastered this ability.

    3. sigmaalgebra

      People are, in a word, humans. Yes, they have some hard bones, but they are covered with soft, vulnerable flesh. Yes, they have rational brains, but they are mostly working with intuition driven by emotions, such as fear, hunger, loneliness, lust, fatigue, happiness, security, love. For better or worse, they are that word I mentioned, humans.No sense at all criticizing a kitty cat because she can’t fly or a bird because she can’t swim or dog because it doesn’t hunt mice as well as a kitty cat, or humans because they are not, what, robots? No sense? Because nothing can be done about those criticisms. No real changes are possible.Yes, we can encourage, teach, train humans to have discipline and be responsible, and that can change them and do some good, but still they are humans.People, humans, even the best of them, will get into trouble, maybe from unpredictable exogenous forces, maybe from trouble a fully rational robot would have avoided, etc. Maybe.When I was 15, I had a girlfriend. I was fully in love with her. She had some fears and misunderstandings and made a mistake. I didn’t understand nearly enough about humans; with what I know now, sure, I could have calmed the fears, avoided the misunderstandings, and the mistake would never have happened. But I handled the situation just “rationally,” that is, poorly, and we broke up. Bummer. I never saw or communicated with her again after I was 16, but I’m still in love with her. She was no robot, but I still loved her. Not a robot, she was, in a word, a human. I was in love with a human. Sure, some of the best things about her also let in some of what broke us up, but no way would I have wanted a robot.For just one human we might borrow from a movie: “Just now I need to hear five words from you: ‘I’ll never do that again.'” Okay.But with several million people in Houston, talking discipline, rationality, and responsibility after 50″ of rain is beyond pointless to just disconnected from reality and destructive.Heck, “There but for the grace of God go I.”: So, right, when I was at FedEx, I saw some important problems in optimization — three problems, (i) combinatorial, (ii) deterministic optimal control, and (iii) stochastic optimal control. So, later in my Ph.D., part of what I studied was optimization.Well, suppose you have an oil refinery. Today you know what you can feed into the refinery, everything from goo from the tar sands of Canada or goop from Venezuela to oil from fracking, high sulfur oil, light, sweet crude, etc., with prices, detailed analyses, and availabilities of each. Then on the output side you have what you might sell, methane, naptha, several grades of gasoline, Diesel oil, home heating oil, several grades of motor oil, asphalt, etc., with prices for each and maybe constraints on storage space, contract requirements, etc.Now your mission, and you have to accept it, is what do you buy, how do you operate the refinery, and what do you produce and sell? That’s an optimization problem. No one now outside of some third world sewage pit would be dumb enough to try to operate an oil refinery ignoring that optimization problem. Yes, they take that problem quite seriously in places in Houston.There was long a Chem E prof at Princeton concentrating on that problem; I could look up his name if you like.So, yup, once I got recruited for that problem, with a plane ticket to fly to Houston. I almost accepted the interview but backed out at the last moment. Houston? Yup, there are oil refineries in Houston!But I didn’t back out because Houston was prone to flooding! I didn’t know; I didn’t even know where Houston was; I didn’t even know it was next to the Gulf. I might have gone to Houston and been there today.In fact, in life, the life of humans on this planet, commonly there but for the grace of God go us all.Discipline, rationality, responsibility, knowledge, etc. are all still highly desirable and much better than the alternatives. Fine. Fine especially for an individual. But that still won’t guarantee to keep one from a disaster. And, again, no way will those admonitions save a major city before or after 50″ of rain.Instead, sorry ’bout that, what Trump said and did was just the right things: (1) Get FEMA on the ground in Houston with essentially a checkbook full of blank checks before the first drop of rain. (2) Get FEMA and everyone else really relevant in DC all around a table in the White House and going full speed. (3) Monitor the situation and tell Houston and Texas, “Whatever you need, you’ve got.” (4) ASAP, without causing disruption, go and see first hand. (5) Say, “We will be here for you today, tomorrow, and every day until you are back to normal and better than ever before”, IIRC. (6) Get the Coast Guard, HUD, VA, National Guard, etc. all doing their best.And not a word of shame that too much of Houston built too much on land that was too low. Would have done NO GOOD.Look, no one on the US Gulf or East Coast can object, because they are vulnerable to hurricanes, too. On the West Coast? Tsunamis? Cyclones? Droughts? Floods from too much winter snow? Forest fires? Earthquakes? They can’t object. Oklahoma? They had the Dust Bowl, and they and Arkansas and Missouri are vulnerable to earthquakes and flooding of the Mississippi River. Montana? IIRC, Yellowstone is there, and it might at any moment wake up and put 10′ of rock ash, enough to crush nearly any roof, 1000 miles down wind. I omitted Africanized bees, Zika virus, Lyme disease, the 1918 flu, the 1903 Typhoid fever, the late 1940s polio, and more. I omitted the Great Depression from 1929 to 1942 and the Great Recession from 2008 to the present. I omitted 9/11 in NYC. It goes on this way.Oh, I forgot: Dung Dong Pong Ill Uno III in Ping Pong Yang and his Long Dung Dong Song Pong missiles with nuke warheads is promising to level the US. And that wack-o wants to sell his stuff to Iran who screams “Death to America”. Then ISIS wants everyone else in the world either to convert or die. ISIS no doubt would love to float a loose nuke in a freighter into a US harbor and blow it up. Did I mention we are all vulnerable?Houston is vulnerable. We ALL are vulnerable. We need to keep that clearly in mind.

  4. Rob Underwood

    You can donate your time too.Some of us who did NYTechReaponds, which helped mobilize NY Tech, esp. startup tech, after Sandy to donate tech chops have been in touch with and are working with a couple similar groups of startup tech folks that have emerged in the last 6 days. With some Gdocs, open APIs, mapping software, social media and a lot of hard work it has been incredible what they have accomplished.I hope you’ll seriously consider getting involved with your expertise. This tweet, which I encourage you to RT, tells how to get engaged:…In the mean time I am reaching out re suggestions of worthy causes for financial donations. Would love to find a hyperlocal group akin to the Gray Beards who did incredible work in the the Rockaways. Of the large national groups I would put a good word in for Team Rubicon who are veterans who put their skills to use in disaster areas.

    1. Rob Underwood

      Example of one the projects – site and set of maps they built: http://harveyrelief.handiwo…This is all crowdsourced, volunteer, decentralized, “everyone is a leader”, work being done in Houston akin to what startup tech folks did in Sandy. The rate of innovation and pace to “shippable product” is incredible. The map these folks built was/is being used by both the USCG and Cajun Navy to do rescues, especially in Port Arthur.

  5. mencsh magnet

    AVC , after reading this mornings post about relief donations for the recent storm victims , my reaction was nearly to hurl a verbal storm back to you re: your preference to seek out immigrants .. is there place that identity politics is not imbedded in the discourse .. PEOPLE NEED HELP NOT CATEGORIZATION …. Your words matter and the narrative is littered with false positives .. please stop the segmentation and use your power to build communities not division !

    1. JamesHRH

      Well I generally agree with your point here, I really don’t care if Fred puts some politics in front of his money.SE TX had Harvey drive over them, stop, back up over us, stop again and then take another run to make sure he got everybody.Like a bad guy in a bad movie.

    2. DJL

      I agree 100%. If you want to help immigrants, help everyone who helps immigrants (existing citizens.)

  6. Blair Garrou

    Fred – thanks for seeking out for ways to help. A few days ago, a number of us in the Houston entrepreneurship community came together to help those hit hardest from Hurricane Harvey. Many of us at Mercury Fund and other startup development organizations have received hundreds of txts/emails/calls from the entrepreneur and venture community outside of Houston, asking how they can help. This week we formed an organization, Entrepreneurs for Houston, in order to do a few things:First, drive everyone to give financially, to one organization. Knowing that many non-profits have huge admin budgets, we wanted to direct giving to a Houston relief fund that would give 100% of donations to those affected. Less than 15% of Houstonians have flood insurance. The Mayor’s Relief Fund will go towards those that need it most, and can be accessed through:http://entrepreneursforhous…Second, bring together entrepreneurs, coders, hackers, etc. to help Houston solve its immediate problems during and post-Harvey. This has happened with our tech and entrepreneurship hub, Station Houston (, joining forces with Sketch City (, Houston’s largest organization focused on civic tech, open data, and public- sector innovation.Third, we need to make sure we support our entrepreneurs. We just can’t lose them in Houston. They need to know they are part of the community, and are supported by the community. Station has been sending its staff and members to entrepreneur’s homes affected by the storm. It’s a small community, but an important one to the future of Houston, and the future of Houston’s job force. Many of our city’s entrepreneurs are single with no ties to the city. We have to ensure that they stay.So far the response has been tremendous. We’ve reached out to numerous entrepreneur and venture groups to get the word out. Axios covered our efforts yesterday (… and we’ll hopefully see more today. The donations have been pouring in, but people have also asked to give directly to the entrepreneurial efforts. In fact, many tech organizations have reached out to see if they can send employees to Houston to help hack and code. The Mayor’s office sent its chief of staff to Station yesterday to outline the city’s top 10 needs post-Harvey. Station has become the command post for the rebuild (re: tech), with Sketch City’s 2,000 meetup members working near and far. You’ll see from some of the posts below that developers in other communities have already lent their skills to the effort with great results. In addition, we are talking about having a reverse pitch over the next few weeks, when we can marshal these resources from the coasts.We’ll be detailing more in the coming days at http://entrepreneursforhous… and Please feel free to reach out through either site with questions. Our city needs all the help it can get.Blair GarrouMercury Fund#HoustonStrong

    1. DJL

      Blair – we should work with the Mayor and create individual “crowd raises” for smaller groups that donate time, money and effort. Running money through the government isn’t always a good idea. (Just watch the coverage from NRG stadium.)Agree: Entrepreneurs are best suited to act quickly to solve problems.

      1. Blair Garrou

        Totally agree @DJL. We are working on that right now with the City/GHP and we’ll have something to announce by Monday. Individual raises for individual tech projects and organizations.

        1. DJL

          Awesome. Per my post above, a lot of work is done on the ground – both before and after. Thanks for taking a lead in this.

    2. JamesHRH

      Blair – please ping me at jharradence(at) Moved to Houston a month ago.AVC regular since 2009 or ’10 I think.

      1. DJL

        Cool. Didn’t know there were any other Houston folks on AVC. Sorry you had such a crappy welcome to the Gulf Coast! What timing.

      2. JLM

        .You know, Jimmie, I have heard a lot of people saying you might be the Jonah, the guy who invited that SOB Harvey to the dance.Not me, cause I lured you here and I vouched for you, but other folks.Glad you made it through the storm.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    3. Rob Underwood

      Hi All,I wanted to +1 Blair’s 2nd point above.Donate your time to support the “entrepreneurs, coders, hackers, etc.” on the ground in Texas leading recovery related tech and civic hacking projects.When Sandy happened no one anticipated the large role that volunteer tech teams, composed largely of ppl from the startup world who were used to do very much with very little in a very short team, would end up playing in both immediate response and long term recovery. This is all work people do for days, weeks, and even months with no pay and often having to pay for technology (e.g. AWS, etc.) on their own dime. It’s done only because it’s the right thing to do and the combination of startup tech and startup culture is well suited for disaster relief.I have alluded in both my comment below and my comment Wednesday to the volunteer tech groups that have come together to help with Harvey recovery. The Station Houston / Sketch City group Blair alludes to is the one I’ve been in primary contact with. They are doing incredible work.I think it’s a safe assumption that pretty much everyone here, and certainly the regulars, have directly applicable skills, talents, and professional networks that could be a huge help. I know we’re going into Labor Day but please – consider donating your time too. If you can mobilize teams you manage or suggest the ideas to teams at companies in which you’ve invested, please do that.As described in the tweet below you can get started right now by adding your name and skills here –…If it feels like I’m laying it on thick it’s because I am — I really want to encourage everyone to pitch in with their money and time/skills. In the time it will take the large lumbering giants with large salaries to grab coffee and build a PowerPoint deck discussing an upcoming meeting to consider how to maybe assist, startup folks, for free, will have an API and app written. They just move at different pace that is needed in times like this. Again, we saw this at Sandy.Here’s the tweet again with some guidance on how to get going. Please RT this too – and please volunteer your time to these folks. We can and should all pull together to help Houston.

  7. JamesHRH

    As an AVCer inside the Harvey zone, everything helps and is appreciated.I would strongly suggest the JJ Watt Campaign. That may seem odd, but he has pledged that every dime will go directly to aid and the more high profile people that join in, the more momentum his campaign gets.Plus, it’s a great startup story – he wanted to raise $200,000. They were actually in Dallas for a pre-season game when he stared the campaign. It took him 3 days to crack $1M.He cracked $12M yesterday.His campaign will be accretive- people who may not donate will donate because it’s going to be a thing. Fred / Brad group (‘maybe lean in some Folks you know w even higher Q scores?) splashing the pot could get JJ a huge PR bump.It’s too bad some regulars won’t see this post and get inspired.

    1. JLM

      .The JJ Watt Fund is the way to go, if you’re uncertain.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. JamesHRH

        Cracked $13M today.

        1. JLM

          .Put a little skin in that game, did I.Michael and Susan Dell are kicking in $36MM, not to the JJ Watt Fund.Makes me love my Dell 34″ curved monitor and my Dell 27″ high res sidebys even more.God, Texas is a great place.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. JamesHRH

            You know, in the month I have lived here, I have at least 15 anecdotes of Texas Pride.Guy that came yesterday to reseal the flashing on our roof, of Hispanic decent, talking of how proud he is of his 2 sons being in JROTC and wanting to defend America’s values…..he talked about how Texas is different.Cashier @ HEB who overhead me chatting w another customer about moving here – ‘Well, welcome to Texas!’ – that only happens if you really feel like Texas is a thing, not a place.Houston is so diverse (voted Dem FWIW) but still so Texas. Its palpable.@fredwilson:disqus and @bfeld:disqus should move here for a month this winter, spend some $$$ to help the city and get a feel for it. Happy to show them around and I bet you would even bomb in from NC to assist.It’s a shame that some regular AVC commenters won’t see this post, as they prioritize a selfish need to ‘curate their online experience’ over their commitment to the broader AVC community.

          2. PhilipSugar

            You know when you were born in the 1960’s in Fort Worth when they still had the stockyards….you understand,My wife’s great aunt who rescues animals houses my kids in Houston every summer. Look at the only 40 acre holdout in the Woodlands. That is her.

          3. JamesHRH

            That is sooooo Texas – being the only 40 acre holdout.

          4. JLM

            .A nice day is the stockyards, Billy Bob’s and some Q.I love when they herd the Longhorns in the evening.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          5. DJL

            I moved here in 1986. I walked into a Kentucky Fried Chicken. There were two ladies (African American) behind the counter. One looked me in the eye and said “How are you doing today?” – and they actually meant it. (I had just come from 7 years is Boston where you don’t make eye contact in stores.) When I was leaving they said “Have a great day!” and they seemed to mean it. It was palpable. I will never forget it.If you can get Fred and Brad down here for even one day – I’ll buy the Bar-B-Q. Both great guys. I think they would get it.

          6. PhilipSugar

            Brad and I went to the same Elementary School. Spring Creek Elementary.

          7. creative group

            DJL:”I moved here in 1986. I walked into a Kentucky Fried Chicken. There were two ladies (African American) behind the counter. One looked me in the eye and said “How are you doing today?” – and they actually meant it. (I had just come from 7 years is Boston where you don’t make eye contact in stores.) When I was leaving they said “Have a great day!” and they seemed to mean it. It was palpable. I will never forget it.”The statement speaks volumes of how DJL views African Americans. It appears he has had limited interaction with normal African Americans. They are human and to the surprise of DJL and people who think like him human beings have similar traits of compassion, empathy, respect and kindness. Doesn’t even have to be African American. Humans!That post only confirmed what we already knew. They are who we thought they were.Progressives so apprehensive to call the Neanderthal thinking people out.UNEQUIVOCALLYUNAPOLOGETICALLYINDEPENDENT—–

          8. sigmaalgebra

            I was in Texas only once: For big parts of the Internet, backbone, etc., there’s in theory, and maybe important in practice, a nasty problem in combinatorial optimization — what parts and pieces go where and connect to what to carry the loads and have the desired reliability?[Yup. T. Magnanti, Dean of Science at MIT, gave an A. Goldman Lecture on that. At one time I knew Goldman. Actually, the P = NP question book by Garey and Johnson was from that problem for Bell from Bell Labs.]So, I got interested in that, as a startup. [Bad startup problem selection!] Then a startup, doing that, in Dallas flew me down for a job interview.That was my first time in Texas. I took the opportunity to get some Texas beef BBQ, ah, just for scientific comparison purposes you understand since I grew up on Memphis chopped pork shoulder BBQ!But riding on the bus from the plane to the airport terminal, I mentioned that this was my first time in Texas. Then, right, right away, I was really surprised, I got a big Texas “Welcome to Texas” from a guy complete with what looked like traditional cowboy boots for riding horses or some such. I was surprised, but apparently he was fully in the Texas social norms and sincere!Ah, that Dallas startup was VC funded, and the VCs met me. They, both the startup and the VCs, were in trouble because their main expert in combinatorial optimization from SMU had just left, likely unhappy. So, since once I’d saved FedEx by writing software to schedule their fleet, the VCs were eager to meet me. Apparently the CEO, a former IBM guy, was also since I’d been at IBM’s Watson lab in an AI project. Alas, I didn’t shake his hand just right, and he gave up on me right away. Look, buddy, I wasn’t an IBM branch office guy selling big printers, and those guys can’t solve problems in combinatorial optimization either! Uh, as CEO of that startup, he needed to get his head around four simple facts: (1) There are some, they pop up occasionally, darned important, real problems in such optimization. (2) Commonly the problems are darned challenging as in nearly everyone who tries will just get their head bloody running into stone walls. (3) A good solution can be darned valuable, enough to mean some big bucks, e.g., ballpark 10% of capex on a big build out. (4) The main competition is just manual, intuitive methods, and those can be easy enough to beat, in total capex for the project. In a $200 million build out, even 1% of capex can be worth going for! 10%’s better! The Bell Labs experience was 15%. Of $200 million? Right, $30 million. Worth paying close attention to! Ah, (1)-(4) would’ve been too tough for that CEO guy!The startup was in deep trouble. E.g., in a back room they had a high end Dell computer with a copy CPLEX, a good start. CPLEX, right, was from R. Bixby, a prof at Rice. But the startup had no one working with that computer or CPLEX. Bummer. They did have a guy trying total enumeration! Guess he wanted a long lasting job, say, to the end of the universe! Gee if he used two computers in parallel, then it would take him only halfway to the end of the universe!IIRC, the startup folded soon after.No wonder: When I was there, they just were not communicating well. They were frozen solid, wouldn’t talk. E.g., I talked to their team, and they were mostly interested in what programming languages I’d written in where the correct answer had to be C. Well, I’d written some C, but that was very much not the right question for a challenging problem in combinatorial optimization! I assure you, Magnanti didn’t give the Goldman Lecture on C!Talking to their worker bees, I explained my last combinatorial optimization problem was 40,000 constraints, and 600,000 0-1 variables, and I’d been nicely successful. At SMU they’d heard only enough about NP-complete to be confused and didn’t believe me!I would’a, could’a explained, but they were not communicating.Ah, that’s, not communicating, gotta be a symptom of a startup about to be a start-down to the bottom.Sad story. Their boat is going the way of the Titanic, and no one’s even looking at how to stop the leaks, bail out the water, and get back on course! Their situation wasn’t hopeless except for their not communicating!The guy on the airport bus was a good sign for Texas. So was the BBQ! But the startup, well, I’ve heard much better about business in Texas!

          9. DJL

            BTW – Where are all our AVC brethren on the Coasts (save for our leader, of course) with best wishes and “we matched” donations? Strange that most of the comments are from Texans to Texans. Very different when we are funding abortions.

          10. creative group

            DJL:”BTW – Where are all our AVC brethren on the Coasts (save for our leader, of course) with best wishes and “we matched” donations? Strange that most of the comments are from Texans to Texans. Very different when we are funding abortions.” – DJL__________The response, donations and supporting of Houston Strong is about being human. We don’t support abortion but realize a person’s individual rights to control their own bodies. The reason you decided to politicize this disaster is indicative of your swallow views. The Progressives are above calling you out on it but we are not.Those of us who have supported those in need effected by the Harvey disaster don’t feel a need cheerlead look at us. It should be a selfless act to assist those in need. We are proud Independents and this shouldn’t be turned into a political stand which your post is being called out. You have no idea who is contributing or supporting.Typical DJL.UNEQUIVOCALLYUNAPOLOGETICALLYINDEPENDENT

    2. PhilipSugar

      How much did the Dallas Cowboys charge the Houston Texans to play at their stadium and ask for their cut? One Dollar. One Dollar.

  8. DJL

    A lot of the local help for needy families (including immigrants) comes from local churches. That is why you cannot find them. They have opened their doors and their members wallets and help on a very tactical basis.Even before the storm hit, my wife (who is Christian) donated hundreds of hours providing counseling to Syrian refugee families (who are all Muslin). There are over 200 families in one area of Houston. She is one of the few licensed counselors in Houston who also speaks Arabic. This effort was not on anyone’s radar. But these families and their children were grateful and got lots of help from other middle-eastern families.My point is this: While it is temping to want to throw a large chunk of money at one organization, a vast amount of the effort is done by church communities and individuals.I bring this up for two reasons: First, this is a reality that rarely gets covered in the news. Second, “organized religion” often gets criticized here and other places. But these houses of worship – Christian, Muslim, Jews, Hindu, etc always come to the forefront in a disaster. They should be recognized.

    1. JamesHRH

      DJ – agree, see suggestion of JJWatt campaign. He is very vocal -Every dime is aid.

      1. Richard

        Texas is home to 50 people whose each have Net Worths greater than 1Billion. Raising a few hundred milllion will happen.

        1. JamesHRH

          See @JLM:disqus post re: The Dells.

      2. JamesHRH

        Update – JJWatt GoFundMe campaign crossed $15M today, has set $20M target.

    2. sigmaalgebra

      > First, this is a reality that rarely gets covered in the news.Ah, as Max Zorn (Zorn’s lemma, popular version of the axiom of choice in deep foundations of pure math) said, “Be wise, generalize.”.Well the more general statement is:First, reality rarely gets covered in the news!

      1. DJL

        True. The news is trying to create an alternate reality that fits their liking. They must be teaching Zorn at the Columbia School of Liberalism. (I mean “Journalism”)

        1. JamesHRH

          It’s an eyeball business now, not a public trust.They need emotional impact and they do not care what perception of the actual story is created.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            They’ve been having, really, had, an “emotional impact” with me, but they can’t take any comfort in just what that impact is. Of course, they don’t care about me, anyway! But in the end, they will still need an audience and will have to care about that or go out of business, and I’m betting mostly on the second.My guess is, they have some leaders who really want what the MSM is doing, there are some special interests adding a lot of sugar, and so far they do have an audience, say, from the dyed in the wool Hillary voter.Some Sharyl Attkisson remarks seem to suggest that the whole MSM thingy is from only about 10 people high in the news divisions and/or organizations in Manhattan.But my take is that the MSM is quickly bleeding credibility (if any is left), audience, and revenue and is on the way to big changes, big layoffs, or just out of business.A biggie example was the MSM screaming about Melania’s heels as she walked from the White House to Marine One on the way to Texas, screaming that she was an idiot or some such to be wearing heels to a flood. Screaming. They were fast on the draw that time; too fast! “Measure twice, saw once?” But, right, when Melania got off Air Force One in Texas, presto, bingo, she was wearing nice, clean, white, low heel, sports walking or running shoes, fine for wet weather. Poor, poor MSM. They tried so hard. They so thought that they really had a big scoop!Of course, the flip side is great for Melania, Trump, etc.: Since that nonsense about Melania’s shoes is the worst criticism they could come up with, they are providing high praise from their failed damnation!Heck, in the whole 2 2/3rds or so years the MSM has been looking for dirt on Trump, the worst they have found with any credibility is the thingy about two scoops of ice cream! All the rest they have, e.g., Russia, is just what anyone could get from smoking funny stuff, drinking wack-o Kool-Aid, popping acid (LSD), or just being stupid at the first grade level.Heck, the MSM attacks are gang-up and pile-on, with, gotta be, a leader and coordination somewhere! Proof: Yesterday all as one the MSM was attacking Trump for not being “empathetic” enough! Same attack, same word, all at the same time, all across the MSM. Heck, he doesn’t need this job, is giving up a lot for this, is risking his life and that of Melania and his family, essentially all for his empathy just for the millions of US citizens like the people who come to his rallies. Empathy is close to what it’s all about for him.It really is possible for a big business to go out of business by being really dumb enough long enough, and the MSM is rushing to be a leading example.More to the central point, apparently there are some very powerful people who really, really don’t like what Trump is trying to do. What they wanted was an A+ graduate of puppy obedience school, and maybe that’s what they’ve long had. But, Trump, he doesn’t need the job; for his primary campaign, he didn’t need the money; for the general campaign, he flew in his 757 to crowds of 10,000+ at a time eager to come to his rallies and then vote for him. So, Trump didn’t need the very powerful people (VPP) holding puppet strings.So, we have to conjecture: The VPP stand to lose a lot. No way do I believe this is about liberalism — not a chance. And it sure as heck isn’t about empathy, Melania’s shoes, or Russia. It’s not from the Occupy people or the Antifi people — they are at best the traditional “convenient idiots”.What the VPP stand to lose are big bucks, enough to amount to real power.So, let’s look at the sources of big bucks, e.g., in the economy. Don’t sweat the small stuff; count up the money in 1, 2, 3, …, $10 billion at a pop.So, where’s that much money? (A) Bonds if interest rates go up. (B) Cheap labor from illegal immigration. (C) Slowing cheap imports. (D) Putting most of health care financing back to free enterprise, including across state lines, that is, reducing the subsidies. (E) Setting aside the neocon dreams of a “New American Century” that will plow and police fertile ground around the world for US big business. (F) Throttling the Climate Change scam industry, supposedly now picking up $1.5 T a year and slowing the subsidies for “carbon free” energy.Generally, when laws, subsidies, regulations, etc. are in place for some years, some people are hurt and others get fat. Well, then, the fat people just want to continue the status quo that got them fat. That is, one way and another, there was a lot about the last 24 years or so of the White House that created a lot of fat people, and they don’t want their diet to change. But the MSM are dirty business, whatever the forces.

      1. DJL

        Nice. We are hoping that the big campaigns funnel down to these local ones.Imagine this effort without the internet? Incredible.

        1. Rob Underwood

          So the question at hand – lots of little vs. one big – I think I’m a moderate. I think from what I saw at Sandy a good idea is to give a basket of charities, some big, some small.Choose 1-3 “big” ones (maybe JWatts, Houston Mayors Fund, and the Red Cross), maybe 15% each of a $1,000 donation (i.e., $150), and then spread the rest around the best hyperlocal ones you can find – maybe 6-7.I feel like doing this – a fund of funds or ETF approach – presents the best chance that most of your money will be good to good use.

  9. LE

    donated to the GoFundMe Official Hurricane Harvey Relief Campaign.I am a bit puzzled about the following.Gofundme says this is the official HH Relief fund.…On that page it says:Your tax-deductible donation will go directly to support individuals with verified campaigns on GoFundMe. This page describes what a ‘verified’ campaign is:…It says this:The best way to verify your campaign—and make sure your donors feel comfortable giving—is to connect your campaign to your Facebook account.Which has a link to this:…Which essentially details how to link to your FB page.Is that it? Is that all they do to ‘verify’ a campaign? So all they are doing is taking money given on the page that you have linked to and spread it among organizations that have been verified, which is only essentially linking to a FB page. The wording seems to make it appear to be way more legit than it really is.Also, this page calls it the “Official Hurricane Harvey Relief”…That implies some sort of oversight that simply doesn’t exist. This isn’t the Red Cross or similar. It’s more like Susan Komen claiming to be the “official cancer charity”.Also the Direct Impact Fund is a part of Gofundme, not an independent organization.

    1. Grace Rodriguez

      The official Harvey Relief Fund for the City of Houston is the one that Mayor Sylvester Turner set up at…. Many thanks to all of you for your concern, generosity and support for our community as we deal with Harvey and rebuild!

  10. awaldstein

    Thanks Fred.Community matters and this is a great thing.I’ve been drawn to and donating to animal rescue and boarding a lot over the last week. A pet (excuse the pun) passion of mine.

  11. JLM

    https://uploads.disquscdn.c…This is what’s going on in Houston. Safe bet this guy isn’t an immigrant with those crossed rifles on his chest and that flag on his arm. Might even be a little toxic white man in him. Who knows?But, it’s his hand holding that terrified lady’s hand which touches me. That is real.I have never been so proud to be an adopted Texan (since the 1970s) and I have never been so proud of Texas and our neighbors, including y’all who are contributing to the recovery.The Feds did a great job. FEMA showing up before the first rain drop, the National Guard from several states (thank you, Colorado) showing up. But, then, it was the Cajun Navy and the Texas Navy — guys like this with a well used fishing boat — who rescued the vulnerable.Look at that pic and ask yourself, “What happens to that lady if this guy doesn’t show up?”They came to Houston because that’s what these kind of guys do.Houston will come roaring back and they will rebuild stronger than ever.Today is not a day for bullshit politics or small thinking. Today is a day to hold hands and to get on with adult work. To run in a single direction and support one race — the human race.Be proud that our nation includes a state like Texas. Be proud that our community is lending a hand. Write a check. Say a prayer. Shed a tear.When you get 50” of rain, it drowns a lot of things. Politics is one of them.Viva Texas! Thank you.JLM Austin, By God Texaswww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. JamesHRH

      That dude looks like a good dude to know, when the shit is hitting the fan.It’s a shame that some regular AVC commenters won’t see your post, as they prioritize a selfish need to ‘curate their online experience’ over their commitment to the broader AVC community.

    2. PhilipSugar

      He is a Texan.

    3. DJL

      Hell yes. Fred, I hope you read this and change your perspective. Others follow you.(I’m gonna guess that this guy probably voted for Trump.)

      1. PhilipSugar

        Are his calloused hands bloodied and bruised from moving people in wheelchairs to his boat? Yes.Does he have body odor at this point? Bad.But look at her face. She knows he has love. And it doesn’t matter, young, old, white, black, latino. He doesn’t care.This is what some people don’t understand.

        1. DJL

          It’s too bad it takes tragedy to expose the unity that is always there – but never makes it above the news cycle.

          1. PhilipSugar

            Unfortunately the news cycle is set on red or blue. You are red or you are blue. That is why we need a third party and another set of news.I won’t read the NYT now. I can’t watch Fox News That is sad.Yes the people on this board and in the cities have incredible intellect and creativity.But there are people that have tremendous ingenuity and grit in the country.Diversity is our strength and we need to celebrate it.I am a Texan. I live in the country. I always represent that view, and the view of the entrepreneur.I try to do it respectfully.We have become too polarized.If you look at that guy you can see he specifically supports the second amendment and that flag is in support of the men and women in blue.But he doesn’t care who he picks up.I wish more people were like Texans. People were shocked when the most popular sportscaster in Dallas came out in support of Michael Sam. They don’t understand Dallas has a larger gay population than San Francisco and people just don’t care.Don’t bother me. I won’t bother you. But now both sides think that rule should be put on it’s head. Let me bother you and get upset when you bother me back.

          2. DJL

            I cannot believe some entrepreneur doesn’t see the opportunity to create a REAL news network. One that deals in facts instead of propaganda. But even those lines are blurred.But looking carefully at the history of media – all the way back to Pulitzer and Hearst – it was all about influencing opinion. Ted Turner may have had it right for a while – but has baby has gone badly off course. Per earlier comments, the MSM should be going bankrupt. But when you have Jeff Bezos and other deep-pocketed Leftists running the show – this could go on for decades.

  12. JLM

    .This is Houston. No drainage scheme in the history of the world drains 50″ of water. The worst thing is that the rest of Texas to the north drains through Houston. https://uploads.disquscdn.c…JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  13. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS :Has any Contributor in the science field ever heard of HARP and what are you thoughts. No conspiracy theory responses.