Off Topic: What the Past Three Months Have Taught Me

It’s exactly three months to the day since I had my heart attack. What has followed has been a life-altering experience, forcing me to learn some hard lessons about life, myself and of course being a first-time entrepreneur.

I have had to institute numerous behavioral changes over the past 90 days. But what I found was that some of my worst and most deep-seated habits were among the easiest to overcome — smoking, for example, as well eating a meat-rich diet and avoiding exercise. It’s the little things that have proved to be a challenge.

Simplification Through Elimination

I was reading a review of the Macbook Air over on Macworld when I realized that the machine and post-recovery me have a lot in common. I have to be very careful as to how I use my mental and physical resources, for there is a high risk of relapse. Similarly, the Macbook Air comes with miniscule amount of storage space, so one needs to be careful about how to use it. The machine’s battery power limitations remind me of how much time I have to devote to work on a daily basis.

It has been hard to use the Macbook Air as my primary computer, just as it’s been hard to change all those pesky “little things.” Indeed, the Macbook Air is an acquired taste. It’s also an apt reflection of an effective “simplification through elimination” strategy.

Three months on, I am looking to eliminate a number of things from life: excessive public appearances, too much travel and many, many RSS feeds. I am going to cut down the effort I spend on certain projects and focus on making the most of what we have at hand. Stay tuned for more details.

Empower To Power Up

One of the upsides to my health setback was that I discovered the amazing abilities of my team. When faced with adversity, each one of them picked up whatever they felt comfortable with and ran with it. From editorial to sales to the company and everything in between — the team executed on our strategy. Batteries Om not included.

I think one of the biggest problems I had as a first-time entrepreneur was an inability to let go; I was always second-guessing every decision not made by myself and was obsessed with minutiae. Three months on, having seen the Giga Gang at work, I realized what a mistake that was. You empower people, and in turn they power you to do good things. Now I am finding more time to focus on writing, reporting and spending time on projects like our upcoming conference, Structure 08.

Anyway folks, thanks for reading — and please don’t forget to get your cardiac check-up. Many of us in Silicon Valley refuse to acknowledge that we live a high-stress existence and are prone to all sorts of problems that stem from an 18-hour-a-day, non-stop lifestyle. Cardiac disease is one of the deadliest silent killers of the modern age, and I urge you to learn from my mistakes. (More information on this @ the American Heart Association web site.) Please let me know if you want me to post information about symptoms of heart disease and other heart-related problems. And if you need help, I am just an email away.


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