Beats | September 16, 2016

SOCAP Blackout: Lights Out on Impact Investors

The team at


The VIP crowd gathered around the bar at 6:30 Wednesday evening, tired and saturated after the first day of SOCAP. Hiding our fatigue, we extended our patience with wine and beer.

The party was tucked in the far back of Festival Pavilion, behind the main stage, up a flight a stairs in a room on stilts above the Bay. We were wrapped-in with windows full of an orange sun setting behind the Golden Gate Bridge. A flock of pelicans swooped low on the water, startling sea lions bopping in the water.

People mingled and clocks advanced. The time was almost 7:16, sunset. We topped off our drinks and headed towards the windows, positioning for best view. When the fiery ball feel out of sight, we cheered and chimed our glasses.

Mingling resumed. Partygoers leaned in. Leaned in closer. Leaned in closer again. “Why are we standing so close?” “Is it just me or is it getting dark in here?”

Yes, it was. Not dim, not dark, pitch black.

Some of the smarter ones looked up to the ceiling and figured it out: we had been transported into another place and time. VIPs no longer, we were scouts on a camping trip. The forest rangers at Fort Mason forgot to turn on the lights and we realized that we were at the whim of our sun: lighting our day, entertaining our evening and forcing us to bed at night.

But we refused.

The boys and girls who had pushed their noses to the windows now stood in circles telling secrets in the dark. We used our iFlashlights to help the brave bartenders find us more beer.

The party stood still but did not stop. It carried on in the dark…impact investors lit up with ideas, perhaps relaxed by blindness, and talked about meaning, about money, about Stranger Things but collectively and spontaneously refused to acknowledge the dark.