Did you notice that I had gone missing for a few days? Exactly 10 days to be specific! In case you were wondering, I decided to take some downtime to work on a specific problem — a continuous sleep disorder related problems that were making me get up at ungodly hours and leaving me exhausted for much of the day. As a result, I was unable to think and walked through the day like a zombie.
As I might have mentioned before, I suffer from sleep apnea. The side effects of apnea can be pretty debilitating, especially if you have some pre-existing conditions. The disruption of the daily routine can be quite extreme at times. So, a big part of managing the apnea is that I have to use a face mask and a device that blows air in your nose and mouth. Sometimes when you change masks, your face doesn’t adjust to them fast enough, and you get into a spiral of bad sleep patterns. And then you are a zombie.
There is no point in writing when you are walking around with half-baked thoughts. So instead, I decided perhaps it is time to read — and that’s what I did. I read Elad Gil new book, High Growth Strategy. I re-read some interesting crime fiction by Lawrence Sanders. And I read Bad Blood by John Carreyrou. What a wonderful book, which is a rude reminder to all of us:
- Valuation isn’t a metric of startup success. In the end, you have to build an ethical, long-lasting business that justifies your valuation. And if you don’t, you end up committing ethically challenged decisions which lead to infamy and a steep fall. Are there more cases like this out there in the unicorn land?
- Business magazine covers don’t mean a thing. Real reporters do their job by digging and digging. And that tech media totally failed at nailing this fraud, and it took an outsider to rip the mask of deception from essentially a sociopath.
Anyway, as part of the apnea management, I decided to get rid of the beard. After almost seventeen months, it is great to be clean shaved, though I find it awkward to use a razor now. Talking about shaving, I absolutely love the basic Barbasol shaving cream – you can get it for six bucks — and is as good, if not better than any of the fancy names. Sometimes old is gold. With the face-fuzz gone, the mask fits better and thus I am getting better sleep, though not quite exactly out of the woods.
Walks, also help with sleep management and as a result, I have been taking long walks. Yesterday, I caught up with Thomas Hawk, who is an amazing photographer and also works in the financial services industry. He took me to his office and while walking through the corridor, I saw a series of Michael Kenna originals. Kenna is one of my favorite photographers and if anything, his work has been an inspiration.
I have all of Kenna’s books and am very familiar with his art, each print etched in my mind. However, none of those books prepared me for the real thing. His original prints are packed with more nuance, texture, and detail. I couldn’t image the shades of white and black that I saw in the original prints. Kenna’s genius is not just in his ability to make beautiful, captivating art, but also in his ability to master chemistry to give them a depth of emotion. And then render it all on the printed paper. Enough with the gushing!
The sheer serendipity of coming across Kenna’s work was a reminder that if you don’t leave the routine and spend time in non-routine situations, life can’t reward you with moments of joy. Still, this slow return to normal has given me the energy to start writing again.
August 16, 2018, San Francisco