Hope dies last

“La esperanza es lo último que se pierde”

In January 2015, my father passed away as a result of cancer.

A professor emeritus at the University of Washington, my father had a well-lived life. He worked on the first lunar samples from the Apollo missions and made scientific discoveries such as the new mineral Ghoseite. He established the Ghose Foundation to support women and children in developing markets. And fluent in ten languages, he traveled to over 50 countries across seven continents.

In his final days, my father was confined to a hospital bed at our home in Northern California. For a peripatetic scientist who made five international trips annually, this confinement was more difficult than the pain from cancer.

In response, he demonstrated an unparalleled degree of mental strength. Far from conceding to his semi-paraplegic state, he continued his research with scientists at Stanford University as well as universities in Canada and Russia. This research persisted in the face of recurring confusion and disorientation resulting from opioid pain medications. Often, I would awaken at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning to hear my father resolutely typing away on his iPad, conducting research despite his terminal condition. I still have his emails in a Gmail folder.

Now looking back in reflection, I’m reminded of the Russian proverb:

“надежда умирает последней”

A rough translation is “hope dies last,” meaning that hope springs eternal.

In our view, starting a new venture is an expression of hope. A founder hopes a customer will value her solution. She perseveres because she hopes she will prevail, in defiance of all odds.

Whenever our kernel team encounters a challenge, I remember my father’s resoluteness in the face of cancer. Beyond inspiration, his example represents a source of strength for me. Not once did he allow desperation or fear overcome his will and determination.

So for entrepreneurs struggling with a challenge, consider your own source of strength — for example, an inspirational saying, book or person — whatever is personally meaningful for you. This strength will help you persevere in the face of obstacles.

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