There will be turbulence

There will be turbulence. Do not be alarmed.

I had to remind myself of that this week after an emotionally challenging day interrupted a growing momentum.

I’m proud to say I didn’t ignore this feeling. I didn’t let it sideline me. But I felt its effects.

That night my wife asked me to talk about it. I sat there for a very long time in silence. Then I said the truest thing I could.

“There will be turbulence.”

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Last week I linked to a negative story about the mattress company Casper. In the days since I’ve felt anxious about that. Why?

I’ve come to see that because of my job as CEO, I became a part of a club: tech founder/CEOs. As a member of this imaginary club, I feel an instinct to not be critical of other members.

It’s not a conscious thought. It’s more of a feeling. Part of it is that I don’t want people to be critical of me. Part of it is that maybe one day I’ll need something from one of these people. So I — like members of most clubs — toe the party line.

Though it may not serve the “public interest,” I think this kind of tribalism is a good thing. We all need security. Getting it from informal groups — rather than relying on institutions — seems the most desirable option.

But I’m not as much in that group anymore. My allegiances will change, and my instinct of what to feel protective of along with it.

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Andrew Sullivan’s New York Magazine column is the writing I’ve enjoyed the most over the past year. His positions are distinct and articulated. Sullivan sees the matrix.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that such clarity comes from someone who communicates on a weekly basis. Up close in the stream you can only see the chaos. Just as real, but useless for knowing the way forward.

That weekly rhythm feels ideal. Have a deadline each week by which to produce a thought. Spend the week leading up to that passively collecting, feeling the air. Power comes from stepping back. 

I enjoy the column’s format: three separate thoughts collected into one piece. Milan Kundera — my favorite writer — writes this way. A snapshot of a feeling, a line break, and onto the next picture.