CC#4: A virtual dinner party to remember: If mayors ruled the world

What happens when you get the mayors of Miami, Austin & San Francisco in the same room... and add Terry Crews, MC Hammer, Gayle King, the founder of SalesForce and the founder of Twilio to the mix.

Last night, Felicia Horowitz hosted her weekly “Virtual Dinner Party” and I decided to jump in the room simply cause I saw Marc Andreessen was in the room. To my surprise, they had Mayor Francis Suarez (Miami), Mayor Steve Adler (Austin) and Mayor London Breed in the room, along with many other icons, celebrities and highly successful entrepreneurs.

Many of our panelists congratulated Mayor Suarez on his success in attracting top tech companies to move to Miami (17 and counting). They also had questions for Mayor Suarez about how he was able to make this happen. One investor in particular asked about how he was able to position Miami as a hub for blockchain tech. Suarez replied that they looked at the technology, saw the potential and couldn’t ignore it. He said that as the Mayor it would be negligence to not do everything in his power to attract these tech companies to his region. He mentioned one tweet in particular that went viral, see below:

Delian Asparouhov, a Principal at Founder’s Fund tweeted this and shortly after Mayor Suarez replied “How can I help?” - this went viral and lead to many others talking about moving to Miami on Twitter. Suarez went on to mention that he has since replied to over 1000 tweets since then. In addition, he did not hesitate to mention all of the other amazing things that Miami has to offer:

Artist Fab 5 Freddy who was in the room, asked Mayor Suarez about gentrification and how he plans to protect the African American communities, specifically in the Wynwood and Little Haiti regions. The Mayor gave a very detailed answer about initiatives they have in place currently to continue to develop more affordable housing and protect the residents in these communities.

The attention then shifted to two successful founders how have chosen to stay in the San Francisco region, Marc Benioff of SalesForce and Jeff Lawson of Twilio. Marc started by saying that he respects anyone’s decision to leave, whether it be for the high cost of living, taxes or any other reason, but that his issue is with founders who started in San Francisco, benefitting from the startup ecosystem, built up successful billion dollar+ companies and then simply decide to dip out without hesitation when things get rough. He talked about how SalesForce is the largest company in the San Francisco city limits, with over 50,000 employees across the globe, and that they’ve donated over $1B to the region to help with things such as affordable housing, schools and the hospitals in the region. He mentioned he has no intention of leaving and will continue his work to improve the region. He also shared this on Twitter (which was retweeted by Jeff Lawson):

Jeff Lawson fully agreed with Marc Benioff’s comments and one of the panelists interrupted to thank Jeff for everything he had done for the city, including donating $8m of his personal wealth to the HelpKitchen just last year! This was published on Twitter earlier in the day before the clubhouse conversation took place:

Following this, Terry Crews spoke briefly, followed by MC Hammer and a few of the others on the virtual stage. Unfortunately, it was brief and as clubhouse does not have a recording feature yet, I am writing this all from memory and a few scattered notes I have. However, one of the last exchanges I do recall was this:

One of the panelists recommended that Mayor Suarez run for governor, and the another suggested he run for president. To which he replied: “My wife would have something to say about that.” Then some wise words from Ime Archibong, Head of New Product Experimentation at Facebook - he brought up this book called If Mayors Ruled the World by Benjamin Barber:

He went on to share some of the concepts from the book, and why if Mayors collaborated on a global scale that the world would be a better place. Most of the mayors replied briefly, thanking Archibong and agreeing with some of the remarks he had made.

Looking back on this entire conversation, I’m very inspired by clubhouse and I’m excited about its ability to help make social change happen on a global scale as the platform continues to grow. I would like to personally thank Felicia Horowitz and all other individuals involved in making this Virtual Dinner Party happen, if they ever happen to read this.