Where It All Began: Silicon Valley and Positive Peace

Today, we can’t even begin to imagine the Peace Innovation Institute without Mark and Margarita at the helm of it all. 

But as difficult as it is to envision, there was a time when the two of them weren’t working together. And in the first episode of the Solve for X podcast, we thought it’d only be fair to take our listeners back in time and talk about how these two peace pioneers met!

Though he was born in Canada, Mark grew up in various parts of the global south. These global experiences and travels made him profoundly aware of the strong social, relational, and cultural capital in these areas, even in the absence of material wealth. So, from a financier’s perspective, he saw a clear opportunity to rebalance these wealth gradients and create positive change. 

On the other end, in 1995, Margarita remembers watching the ticker screen as computer services company Netscape made its IPO to great success. A self-confessed geek, she quickly got a license for Netscape, set up her company’s IDSM line, transitioned from coax wired intranets to Ethernet, and rewired the entire floor. 

ALL before the internet was even usable by the public. 

Through a series of events, she began building a new system for product development that was pioneering the system that later became known as agile methodology.

So, both Mark and Margarita were achieving great things separately. 

But what brought them together?

Well, both of them were finding their way through Silicon Valley at around the same times. Mark was working his way around the venture capital scene, where he was mostly reading 80-page business plans. Margarita started her undergraduate studies at Stanford University.

Mark first got to know Margarita through her many accolades and accomplishments via her LinkedIn. And then, in 2006, he messaged her with an idea for a startup.

And the rest, as they say, is history. 

BUT, there’s more to Mark and Margarita’s meeting than just that. Here’s more of what you can expect:

  • Mark’s first research project and how it informed his future work
  • One of Margarita’s valuable secrets to success
  • The evolution of social network platforms right from the 60s
  • How they discovered the principles of BJ Fogg
  • How a Hispanic-net workshop sparked their professional relationship

And MUCH more! 


Mark – LinkedIn

Margarita – LinkedIn

Global South

Piece detailing Netscape’s IPO in 1997

The Homebrew Computer Club

Hispanic – net

Other resources you might like