While everyone back home takes time out for Thanksgiving and shows gratitude towards one another, Shell and I are in Dharamsala, India doing much the same. We spent the morning meditating at Tushita Center, and later in the afternoon volunteered by speaking English with Tibetan refugees at Lha Charitable Trust. A humbling experience, fitting for Thanksgiving.
While we were in Nepal we thought it might be possible to arrange a trip to Tibet, somewhere I’ve always wanted to experience. The Chinese bureaucracy required some 18 days of lead time to do all the paperwork, making it not fit into our schedule. This ended up being a bit of a blessing in some way because the little research I had done in previous years wasn’t enough. When truly considering a flight to Lhasa I dug in more and was able to see and read accounts of just how much the Chinese have attempted to destroy the Tibetan culture there.
The number of self-immolations across Tibet is alarming, and not publicized. A very disturbing form of protest. Along with other forms of suppression such as arrest, lack of free speech and political thought, as well as removing as much of the Tibetan language as possible. Kill the language and religion, you can kill the culture and identity that both local Tibetans hold dear, as well as the diaspora. This bit of research, and finding most the well-regarded tour companies one is required to travel with happen to be largely staffed with Chinese and not Tibetans was a turn-off.
Enter Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama and his government-in-exile reside. If Tibetan culture was what I wanted to experience, what better place than here? Yesterday we explored the main temple, walked amongst the monks, experienced them debating, all while the 14th Dalai Lama was traveling in eastern India. I’m hoping we’ll be here when he returns.
When we finish here in Dharamsala we fly to Mumbai and then take a train to Igatpuri. In Igatpuri we’ll be taking a 10 day Vipassana course. This is a strict and silent course that I refuse to call a retreat. Everyone I’ve spoken with about these courses, and those I’ve read as well, all report one thing in common: it’s a lot of work. Thankfully, they also all seem to regard it as one of the best things they’ve ever done for themselves. We’re not expecting some transformation, but we are hoping for a boot camp like experience to help instill a daily practice moving forward. My on and off again practice in New York did not stick once we hit the road. It’s time to change that.
Our connectivity has been horrendous in Nepal and India. Enough so, I cannot seem to successfully upload many pictures to the blog. For that, I apologize and hope to catch up on this and other projects once we get to Kuala Lumpur after the meditation course come mid-December. We’ll be in Malaysia for Christmas, which we’re very excited about. It seems Malaysia goes all out for Christmas and we have a little room booked in some sort of complex that has a gym. I’m very ready for some physical activity that isn’t walking/trekking.
Until then check out Instagram for the latest, and I’ll leave you with a few things I’ve been reading and listening to. As the weather turns colder for most of you, you can curl up with a warm beverage, a blanket, and a crackling fire with some of these reads and listens. Feel free to tell me about it and make me jealous as we sweat out our existence in Malaysia. The trip has reminded me just how much I love autumn and a nice (not too harsh) winter. People always got confused when I told them summer in New York was my least favorite time of year. What I think I really meant was those few weeks when it’s above 85.
Leadership and Being Human
(Listen) Capital Allocator’s Podcast – Thomas DeLong: http://capitalallocatorspodcast.com/delong/
Ted’s guest on this episode is Thomas DeLong. He teaches Organizational Leadership at HBS and is a Purdue graduate. He worked for Morgan Stanley for many years and has thought deeply about human relationships, interactions, and success and happiness. He admits to his own failures and shows vulnerability in the episode. Something I think we all could use a bit more of to strengthen ourselves and our sense of community.
(Read) Morgan Housel – We’re All Out Of Touch: http://www.collaborativefund.com/blog/were-all-out-of-touch/
You can’t go wrong reading some of Morgan’s posts. Since he’s joined Collaborative Fund I think I’ve read every post of his on their blog along with many of his partners’ posts. As community ties have weakened and polarization has strengthened I can’t help but think about how these tides can be reversed. Self-awareness and respect for one another rank high for me, as well as walking in another’s shoes. Morgan brings a humbling perspective.
(Read) Melting Asphalt – Professional Growth: http://www.meltingasphalt.com/professional-growth/
Kevin Simler is a great thinker, another blog where if you explore you might lose days of your life but gain much more. Here he essays on professional growth. I’ll leave it there.
(Read) Meaningness – Purpose: https://meaningness.com/an-appetizer-purpose
Meaningness shows up twice on this list, and with good reason. Professor Wadhwa at CBS told us: “If you don’t know your purpose, your purpose is to find your purpose.” As Shell and I explore the world, we also explore questions like this. So I invite you to explore David Chapman’s writings.
(Read) Ben Thompson’s Stratechery – Defining Aggregators: https://stratechery.com/2017/defining-aggregators/
If you want to get an MBA (or whatever you want to call it) in the tech business, you might as well just sign up for Stratechery and start reading. Ben’s thinking is that good, in my opinion. If you want more, he has a great podcast, which is free, where he hashes out ideas. It’s call Exponent.
(Read) Meaningness – Geeks, MOPs, and sociopaths in subculture evolution: https://meaningness.com/geeks-mops-sociopaths
A fascinating examination of how businesses/ideas go from underground to mainstream and the types of players involved. It makes sense to me. While you’re there, you should spend some time exploring Meaningness.
(Listen) Invest Like The Best – Hashpower: http://investorfieldguide.com/hashpower/
This three-part series gets you from 0 to ~7 with blockchain and crypto assets. I cannot recommend this enough. Not only is is entertaining and listenable, you’ll learn a ton along the way. Check out every episode he’s produced for even more great material in multiple disciplines.
(Read) Chain Blog – Letter to Jamie Dimon: https://blog.chain.com/a-letter-to-jamie-dimon-de89d417cb80
I’ve passed this along to several friends who have also liked the write-up. There may be things wrong with parts of it, but in such a nascent stage how can’t there be?
(Read) The New Yorker – The Bouvier Affair: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/02/08/the-bouvier-affair
The art world only shows its head to me in one way: when a work of art sets a new record of some kind in terms of sale price. This brings you into the opaque world and marketplace through a riveting story.
Tech & Security
(Read) WSJ (Paywall) – Surveillance Cameras Made by China Are Hanging All Over the U.S.: https://www.wsj.com/articles/surveillance-cameras-made-by-china-are-hanging-all-over-the-u-s-1510513949
Chinese tech is hanging all over the United States. Embedded with tech such as facial recognition, listening devices, and so much more. Does that alone not scare you? What if this tech made it into sensitive locations or near sensitive locations of our own government?
(Read) Medium – How Netflix works: the (hugely simplified) complex stuff that happens every time you hit Play: https://medium.com/refraction-tech-everything/how-netflix-works-the-hugely-simplified-complex-stuff-that-happens-every-time-you-hit-play-3a40c9be254b
Who doesn’t want to know how Netflix works? Sometimes this is how I felt in my jobs, getting screamed at for something not working and it always is distilled down to “it should just work when I click the button!” My stuff wasn’t as complex as Netflix, so it’s a lot of fun to read about it. There’s always so much more to the backend. A testament to those working on it is just how clean and seamless the front end is.
Thanks for reading