A Message from Meg McLaughlin. September 2015

Hello. I’m Andrew’s sister, Meg. Some of you might remember me from such speeches as “Wedding Toast” and “Andrew Turns 40.”

For the rest of you: Yes. Andrew has a sister. I point this out because, oddly, the most common thing I hear upon meeting Andrew’s friends is, “Oh, I didn’t know Andrew had a sister.” I’m never sure what to do with that. I suspect it might be some sort of Whitey Bulger/Billy Bulger thing in case Andrew ever runs for office. But I’m never sure. (Guess which one I am?)

Now before I wish Andrew an official “Happy Birthday,” let me take a minute to address those of you in the room:


Hello to family. Hello to friends. And a very special hello to the elites, the oligarchs, the plutocrats, the titans of industry, and the entertainment moguls. Hi. I’m looking for a job. Preferably in the Bay Area. And I’m 100% not kidding. If anybody has any ideas, please let me know. Thank you.

So what does this have to do with Andrew? Well, I learned from him a long time ago that there is always room for self-promotion. Whether it’s subtle or overt, no time is the wrong time.

For example, if you ask Andrew about our age gap, he’ll explain that it’s 6 years, but 7 grades. This is subtle self-promotion. And it may be also a micro-aggression.

Andrew will also say he went to school in New Haven. That is overt. And gross. Just say “Yale.”

They say you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. In Andrew’s case, you can do neither. The easiest way to get him onboard with something is to let him “discover” it on his own. For example, several years ago, we were chatting about TVs and movies, and Andrew asked if I’d been watching anything good lately. I started to tell him about this new show called “30 Rock”, and then quoted an Alec Baldwin joke. Andrew’s response to the joke was something like this: “Mmmmmhhhh. Well. We don’t, um, watch broadcast television. We certainly don’t watch sitcoms.” Of course, fast forward to a few years later, when he asked if I had heard about this “30 Rock.” And then quoted the same Jack Donaghy line back to me. (It was also quoted incorrectly).

My point here is that Andrew’s a little bit like a deer. Don’t spook him, and he’ll come around. But if you try to force it, he’ll bolt — but very dismissively.

Before I go, since this is a birthday party and not a full-on roast, I did just want to say this: Last year at about this time, my mom, Andrew, Cindy, their kids, and I got an inkling that something was wrong with my dad. Little did we know that eight short weeks later, he’d be gone. And in those eight weeks, we went through a surreal and devastating experience. I can’t imagine having gone through that without Andrew there with me. We were able to find moments of pure grace — usually through laughter, often inappropriately — in the midst of profound heartbreak. I will never forget that, and I will always be grateful.

Happy birthday, big brother. I love you. You may always be more successful than me, but I will definitely always be cooler.

[PS: You are a jerkburger who never responds to my texts, calls, or emails.]


Partner/co-founder: Higher Ground Labs. Venture fellow: betaworks. Board: Access Now, Public Knowledge. Nerd, really. <http://andrew.mclaughl.in>

Partner/co-founder: Higher Ground Labs. Venture fellow: betaworks. Board: Access Now, Public Knowledge. Nerd, really. <http://andrew.mclaughl.in>