It was an unusual week. Unusual in part because of how normal it felt, like the days before the pandemic. And yet, by the time the weekend rolled around, it was clearly anything but ordinary.
My schedule was packed to an extent it hasn’t been in quite a while. I had a couple of board meetings (still completely on Zoom). I did quite a few everyday pre-pandemic things, like getting a haircut and a straight razor shave. I even visited my local tailor, because I lost enough weight in the pandemic to get my pants taken in. I have had enough of living in easy pants at home. I want to wear grown-up trousers, proper leather shoes, and shirts with collars.
I popped over to have lunch with Brad Stone of Bloomberg Businessweek and talk about his book, Amazon Unbound. I am halfway through the book, and I find it much more interesting than his previous effort, The Everything Store. I am finding it more revealing and informative, mostly because I lived (and covered) the world of Amazon in the early phase of the company’s history. As a civilian, I find the new book to be chock-a-block with new details, stories, and insights about a man who has surpassed success. I am sure I will eventually write a full review.
We talked about billionaires in planes — sorry, in rockets — and how many people from far-off places recently pinged me about the “space economy” and space stocks. Nothing like hype from the king of hype to get the normals betting their dollars on rockets — which, by the way, come down as fast as they go up. We will be talking about Bezos in a couple of days when his rocket takes to the skies.
Speaking of books, it took me less than two days to finish The Ugly Truth, Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination by Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang. I will be posting my review shortly (though, now that I’ve alluded to two upcoming reviews, I should admit that I am not very good with the book review format). Generally speaking, at this point, I am getting a little tired of technology books. They all seem to stick to variations on the same theme: tech is evil. I happen to disagree with this premise, but perhaps it is what sells. On Twitter, Eric Newcomer highlighted his ever-growing list of forthcoming books, and they all seem to be grasping at opportunities to spotlight the bad apples. I mean, do we really need a book about WeWork?
Next on my reading list for this summer will be a real work of fiction: The Vanishing Point by Elizabeth Brundage. This should provide a good break from the heavy diet of technology-centric nonfiction books.
As I sit here in my apartment on a relatively warm Sunday, I wonder if this past week will come to feel like the beginning of my return to normalcy or — more likely, I fear — an oddly pleasant blip. Despite leaving my apartment multiple times, I feel the anxiety triggered by thoughts of yet another wave of the deadly virus. Local governments in parts of California (including San Francisco) sent out health advisories. The virus is starting to infect even those who are already vaccinated, an unwelcome development.
A handful of friends and acquaintances have recently been infected by the new Delta variant. It is not as commonplace in my closest circles — most of us are still wearing masks and avoiding indoor gatherings. Nevertheless, the uneasiness still lingers. And if you believe the experts, there isn’t going to be a clear, easy end to this pandemic. It really is a permademic!
July 18, 2021. San Francisco