(My Annual Holiday Letter, Published Here Online)
Dear Friends and Family,
2011 has come and gone quite quickly It's been an eventful year. So, I've decided to send out an end of year update for the first time in years. (Forgive me and hit delete now if you find this distasteful.)
It's Been a Year of Transition
Less than a year ago last December, as I'm sure most of you know, my father passed away. In 2007, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer that had metastasized to his lungs. He went on to live 41 months, fighting a valiant battle. The silver lining is that, I think, he enjoyed much of that time (even though chemotherapy was so taxing) during those months. For me, I spent quality time with my dad and family that under other circumstances I probably would not have. In a strange way, I am blessed for that time. Here's my tribute to my dad: How the Cold War Was Won. Last, I'll never again complain about getting poked in the arm by a needle for a blood draw or immunization. Watching my dad endure getting stuck multiple times a day on top of all the chemo makes me realize what a wuss I was when I was a kid.
Earlier this year, my grandmother (Yamamoto) also passed away. She was 95. I know she enjoyed life, against the backdrop of trying yet colorful times. Even in the end, she brought happiness to those at Washington Care, with her positive disposition. It was a bit confusing with back-to-back deaths in the family, but a time of great reflection.
Motivated by the great care given to my father by his oncologist, Dr. Evan Yu, I decided to raise money for the Prostate Research Fund. Under this fund, Dr. Yu conducts much of his research in bladder cancer. I figured that there was no better way to honor my dad than supporting Dr. Yu through this fund. And, in turn, this effort was the seed of the ideas for my current company:
At Charity Blossom, we're bringing donors and donations to charities and nonprofits. I founded this company with Jason Culverhouse, a long time friend and colleague who I worked with at both BroadVision and MerchantCircle. Our goal is to transform the charitable giving industry by making donating easy, efficient, and fun -- all on-line. Here's my short plug for Charity Blossom. Can you:
- Please visit us at www.charityblossom.org (and like us on Facebook bit.ly/vKLuCp).
- If you are making charitable donations online, checkout Charity Blossom to do so. We are the easiest and most efficient way to make charitable donations, we hope you do.
- Fill out this survey on charitable giving at bit.ly/v7Xoz6. (Especially if you don't use Charity Blossom to make a donation!)
Speaking of MerchantCircle
While I had left the company in all official capacities (except as a shareholder) more than a year ago, I've remained keenly interested and proud of MerchantCircle, a company I co-founded in 2004. I'm happy to say that we sold the company to Reply in July of 2011. It was a good exit, and I hope the synergy between Reply and MerchantCircle yield even greater value to the local businesses that we serve. Here's what I had to say in a blog post: Like Peanut Butter and Chocolate. Kudos to Ben for getting this deal done.
In the light of all circumstances, 2011 has been a good year. I've re-connected with friends, family, and co-workers. I'm glad Mom and Jim are doing well. Charity Blossom is rocking. As for 2012, I'm looking forward to a banner year at Charity Blossom, hoping to see more of all of you, and starting to work of my film project about my grandfather (that's a story for another email).
Hope the end of 2011 is good for you and that 2012 is even better!
Take our Charitable Giving Survey: http://bit.ly/v7Xoz6 or
Make a charitable donation or give the gift of a donation: http://www.charityblossom.org