Monday, November 21, 2016

Immigrant quits dream job to work for compassion and openness

Dex Torricke-Barton
ONE OF THE bright stars of Silicon Valley has quit his dream job and will devote his time in bridging the gaps that has divided the country as a result of Donald Trump's campaign and election victory.

Like many Californians, Dex Torricke-Barton was surprised by the outcome of Nov. 8. Unlike many people complaining about Trump's election as POTUS, the Burmese/American techie wanted to go beyond the protests that have been held every day since Nov. 8. He wants to do something about it. He quit his job at Elon Musk's SpaceX, to form Onwards, to bridge the "growing gulf... between coastal elites and communities left behind by globalization."

"The only reason to leave my dream job was to go and fight a nightmare -- a future where the world is less open, less compassionate, more closed," he said in an interview. "Going to focus on grassroots change is how I feel I can make the biggest difference right now."

Torricke-Barton, whose father is from Burma, said he'll begin his new challenge with a "listening tour" to better understand why communities across America voted for Trump, how new technologies are impacting them and what they think needs to be changed.

He then hopes to pull together what he heard and come up with recommendations "that can be fed into the social movement" that opposes Trump, Torricke-Barton told CNNMoney. 

"As an immigrant and the son of a refugee, and as someone dedicated to advancing the interests of humanity, I don’t want to watch while the world slips backwards… From what I see, the world is becoming a less open and less compassionate place," he said.

"There is a need for all leaders across the industry to be more engaged with issues of social concern," said Torricke-Barton. "Staying silent or on the sidelines ... is not responsible."