On Defiance and Questioning Authority

I’m a Texan. Born and raised.  

Growing up in Texas, my grandparents (3rd Generation Texans) were ranchers and didn’t even speak English, even after three generations of being in the US.

They were fiercely independent - living in a small town in South Texas where race was an issue - but not a defining trait. My grandfather and his brothers almost all fought in WWII and came back and started their own businesses (butcher shops, pizza parlors, ranches, farms, etc.). 

Its hard for a non-Texan to really understand how the independence is bred into us Texans. Its in the history they teach us at school, its in our leaders and its in our pop-culture. 

In contrast, I did a 25 year stint in California - a place known for being soft, communal and hippie - so I’ve lived on both sides - and can say that the two States have a lot in common.  


Yes - the same rebel spirit, the same independence and the same desire to defy authority is just as strong in California as it is in Texas.  

While Texas is known for its hearty farmers and independent ranchers, “come and take it” attitude and ‘don’t fence me in’ demeanor….. 

Similar defiance is evident across California startups, entertainment companies and of course in politics. Remember, it was the Hippies that taught us to question authority.

Startups, by their very nature, are created to defy the odds, to break thru the establishment and to create new markets. Uber BROKE thru an established taxi market, Airbnb BROKE thru hospitality, Paypal BROKE thru payments, all against the odds. 

Movies and film, by their artistic nature, are created to push the boundaries, to evoke a response and to force an emotional experience.

In politics, California has often led the nation in pushing legislation and overturning establishment perspectives on gay marriage, gun control and climate change. A defiance against Federal laws, voter referendums and conventional views that is celebrated.

The power dynamic of defiance and charting new territory is an important part of our lives.  That same South Texas independence is probably why I'm a repeat entrepreneur. I can't help it. Its in my blood.

Questioning authority and the status quo creates situations that challenge us personally and as a society. As humans, we thrive on conflict, stress and achievement.  

Its how we work out problems, create new opportunities and move forward. 

With this border issue here in Texas - its not going to trigger a civil war - not over barbed wire. 

But it is important to recognize that challenging the status quo….pushing the limits, questioning authority, civily disobeying and even openly defying the establishment is something very Texan….its very Californian and its very American. 

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