By Guest Author | Posted - Jul 18th, 2023

 

 

 

 

I AM NOW AN AMERICAN CITIZEN!

By Diogo Myrrha

As of today, July 18th, I am a citizen of the United States of America.

I imagine very few Americans give much thought to their citizenship. For most it’s a given, and for some, it might be an afterthought. I don’t think I would have thought so much about it if it hadn’t been such a journey to be one of the privileged few who call this country home.

The journey has been a long one - almost half of my life. I arrived in the USA on December 28th, 2010. I stepped off the plane naively not realizing I knew no one in the country. I was just another kid riding on a temporary visa. I hadn’t even reached the status of alien yet. That came two years later in 2012 when I first applied for a green card. I’ve lived here 11 years as an alien—a third of my life.

What’s the difference between a visa and a green card? With a visa, every time I left the US could be my last. Every re-entry was weighted with the anxiety of “admissibility.” Would this be the time they would decide I no longer was a fit? It was dictated by some process and an individual. My fate rested in the hands of an officer who didn’t know me, didn’t know my family, and had not an inkling of the things I wanted to accomplish. To them, I was just another outsider.

Even with the green card in hand, anxiety remained. Could there be a misunderstanding, poor paperwork, or a disgruntled individual that could separate me from my family and the life I’d now come to see as mine? Having Border Patrol send you to Secondary Inspection 27 times will put intense and scary thoughts in your head. Most times it was a quick process. Less often, I was detained for an hour or more. Now as a citizen of the United States, I can put those fears to rest. I can leave and come home.

Why America, though? This land of opportunity does not exist anywhere else. It is my belief that God created this land as the land of opportunity and entrepreneurship – and I am grateful to God for it. President Lincoln said, “My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.” His dream is fulfilled in me. And not just me, but in all the people who I’ve leaned on and learned from to make it here. Only in the American Experiment, a middle-class Brazilian kid could show up and in a little over ten years deploy over nine-figures and indirectly help create thousands of jobs. What I have built thus far, I built from values and opportunities that are uniquely American.

Along the way I’ve learned what it is to be American. To believe in God and to believe in yourself. To take risks, even when the risk means risking everything. It may be because I never had anything to lose, but I feel like in “playing to win” I am constantly risking everything. America balances perfectly the rule of law and the irreverence for bureaucracy. It is a land where your pedigree or social status matters much less than your dreams, aspirations, and work ethic. That might be the reason for my constant struggle to actively work on amazing things with amazing people.

I am grateful for my parents that had the foresight to send me to middle-of-nowhere-Idaho, to live with my aunt’s roommate’s parent’s friends (not kidding about that description) in 2004 for my Summer Break (November-February) and learn English. They then supported my crazy dream to come to BYU. They were also supportive when I told them I was not getting a “real job” after school, but that I was joining a startup and going all in while taking classes and trying to graduate. 

I am grateful for my dear wife, Camilla, who has put up with so much and has been so patient with me. You see, when you are born in second-base (frankly the only concept related to Baseball that I do understand) your family is not necessarily in distress when all that comes with being an Alien is ever-present or when you can’t make ends meet. Camilla and I went through various periods where we had less than $100 in our account—heck, less than $50 a few times. We also had kids during that time… and I was working literally at all hours of day and night. Daily calls with Chinese partners would have me up at 2am, then back to bed, then back at the office by 8am. She is the light of my life and believed, with me, in the promise of America.

I am grateful for Warren Osborn, who took a chance on me when I was still in school. Most of my great investor lessons I learned at his feet. He was the Jedi Master I needed, the young Padawan. Warren passed tragically last year, and his influence will be forever with me. With him, I had the chance to meet amazing people while doing deals in companies that have gone on to great outcomes such as Capshare, Workfront, FusionIO, and Venifi, and working with Alliance Health, Vidangel, and so many others that are now part of Utah’s history and folklore.

I am grateful to my partners, Sid and John. They are my strength. We have fought many battles together, cried together, laughed together, and won and conquered together. I could not hope for better partners, they are the best in the industry. A little-known fact is that when we stack our track records next to each other, we all stack about right the same. We all do it in incredibly different ways and complement each other where we individually fall short. That makes our partnership unique and extremely special, something now widely recognized in our industry. Our complimentary nature makes us better all around, and it was achieved through the fire that made us all unique. Going back to Peak Ventures days, I am grateful for Jeff Danley, JB, and those partners that took the incredible risk in what was Peak Ventures I: a fund that backed Podium, Weave, Andela, MX, Degreed, and so many other amazing companies and set the early foundation for what John, Sid, and I would build at Album. I joined them with the goal of making my mark in the Global Venture scene: I am happy to report that that is going to plan. John, Sid, and I did not set out to build the best fund in Utah but to be counted amongst the best funds in the world. I have been privileged to serve and work with amazing founders over the years, and they know I give them my heart and soul. I am grateful to work with such amazing people that inspire me every day with their passion and craftsmanship.

Through all of this, I feel like I have been very lucky. In the game I am playing, we have already won. What I want is to give people a chance, the same chance that was given to me. We should be more welcoming of immigrants, attracting and retaining the very best from all over the world, the ones that would like to have the chance that only America is able to provide. To quote De Tocqueville, “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” We will keep working and we will keep improving. And we will keep getting lucky.

Rock on!

 

TechBuzz encourages members of Utah's tech and investment community to share their unique ideas and insights. Today, we welcome Diogo Myrrha who provides a thoughtful post about his citizenship in the United States of America. We celebrate Diogo and Camilla in this momentous, happy occasion. Diogo Myrrha is a partner at Album VC, headquartered in Lehi, Utah. Diogo is a member of the Tech Buzz News Advisory Board. Read more about Diogo and Album VC here.

 
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About the Author

Guest Author - TechBuzz welcomes well-informed guest authors and talented writers from Utah's vibrant startup and tech community who share news items, insights and wisdom to the Utah business ecosystem.

 

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