Malala's Big Waste

[Today we're very lucky to have a guest feature from Jayceon Catarastis, an investor, innovator, and all around legend in the eyes of those who live on the circuitboard]

It’s been a year since Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her support of children and oppressed people’s right to education. In that time, she’s opened up a school for Syrian refugees in Lebanon and continued to “speak out”. Let me translate that into English for you: she’s done nothing since getting her special prize.

Malala’s missed opportunity will be seen a historic tragedy on par with destruction of the Library of Alexandria, Dunkirk, and the day a bunch of dirty people blocked the Google bus. Malala received $1.2 million (essentially for being a Pakistani woman, I might add. Yes, let’s keep talking about how easy guys like me have it). While that’s a pittance for me and many I know, that’s enough for an angel investment.

Imagine if Malala had taken that money and invested in an app on par with MinorityMapr, StreetGump, or Felchster. From the dividends alone, she could have opened up a network of charter schools in Lebanon, where they teach that God is a woman or whatever. She’d have the money to fight vicious Salafi gangs in her homeland with SEO-enhanced social media campaigns, creative flash mobs, and competitive pricing. She could even start her own app called EducateHER, where girls in countries without Uber could connect with interns in San Francisco in New York and receive training on buzzwords and disruption.

The truth is, you can’t change history without a thick wallet and an even thicker skin for what the doubters are going to say about your ideas. I would like to believe she didn’t know better, but if she didn’t, it’s truly sad someone as young as her is already too jaded to believe in the transformative powers of investment. People say magic isn’t real. That’s funny, because in my very own backyard of Silicon Valley, I’ve seen a couple hundred thousand dollars turn into biannual eight figure dividend checks, nerds turn into alpha masters of markets, and single women turn into the wives of some of the most successful men in the world. It could have turned a naive girl from Pakistan into an entrepreneur, but alas, she turned her back on a world of endless possibilities and decided to sharpen pencils in the country my racquetball court cleaner is probably from.

Malala, if you’re reading this, it’s not too late. If you haven’t blown through all that money yet, gimme a call. Call me an idealist, but I don’t think this story is told yet.