Categories
Emotional Work Travel

Day 523 and Logistics of Appearing Professional As A Woman

I’ve never liked packing. It brings back childhood memories of moving which I did once every two years until college. And even then it was only a three year reprieve. I’ve moved thirty eight times in my life and I’m about to do my thirty-ninth to Montana soon.

I’m headed to Texas for Coindesk’s Consensus conference. I’m giving a talk called InDAOstrial Revolution about the history of corporate governance and recent large scale macroeconomic innovation cycles. I swear it will have some memes and it’s a pretty degen talk overall (why how do you do my fellow kids). But no seriously one of the arguments I make is that American government arose out of fascism so it’s pretty lit.

Unfortunately Austin is literally pretty lit. The predicted high for the entire week is over 100 with a couple days over 105. I’m moving from Colorado to Montana as I find the weather to be too hot in Colorado with global warming. So that gives you some idea of how I tolerate heat. I really don’t have a wardrobe for this kind of shit. I have a couple items I bought for Miami for the last crypto conference I went too but it feels a bit flashy for Austin.

I spent a couple hours in my closet trying to figure out what the fuck might be tolerable and basically ended up with exactly what I packed for Miami. I brought a more professional navy wrap dress for my talk as I figured I should look the part. Though I did seriously just consider wearing an Obi gown just for fun. If my body cooperates maybe I’ll wear it out to a party.

Then I had to contend with what kind of skincare and makeup was going to work on the surface of the fucking sun. I rummaged through quite a bit of sunscreens. Then I pulled out all my favorite skin oils and replaced them water creams and essences. Because I’ll be on a stage I also had to find my power foundations. I rarely used powder anything on my face. I’m totally a cream woman. But being under lights meant I needed to consider some melt-proof polished options. I typically wear very little makeup these days as I’ve got great skin so I may as well show it off. But that reads poorly on a stage and on camera so it requires a bit of planning.

Honestly the logistics of being a professional woman in public are extensive and it’s a set of obligations no formal education ever covers. It’s not like there is a class in 10th grade about applying professional looking makeup. But there should be! I say bring back home economics and add in the feminine arts. I want manners and grooming and styling so everyone has the chance to do the right social signaling that puts you on a track for upward mobility. It’s every bit as a crucial a skill as being numerate. If I ran a school I’d include it in my curriculum and I’d be sure to pass it in to my daughters. If only because you need to know the rules to break them well.

Categories
Preparedness

Day 518 and Liminal Housing

The appraisal walkthrough for our Montana homestead was yesterday. We’ve never bought a house before so the process still has a lot of new twists and turns that seem to stretch our forever. Every time I think we are closer to having the deal be actually done there seems to be another step to consider. The next two months are going to be liminal housing space for Alex and I.

It’s an uncomfortable feeling being in between homes. Our townhouse in Boulder will be rented out once we’ve confirmed we have purchased the Montana homestead. The Boulder rent is going up quite a bit which figures. But we can’t move into the Montana house until August. Instead we’ve got this two month period where our old home isn’t really home any longer but our new home isn’t ready for us to move in either.

I don’t exactly know how I’ll spend my time during those two months. Alex has some travel and I’m considering doing some of my own. I’ve got Europe on my mind. The Mediterranean seems popular during the summer months.

I’d like to be preparing for when we arrive in Montana so we can hit the ground running but there isn’t that much to do here as the packing can’t be done too much ahead of time. Couple that with finance being in a messy panicky and I doubt I’ll get much actual work done.

Many LPs aren’t allocating, startups are holding back from fundraising if they don’t have to, and even my own plans for how I structure our investment vehicle looks a bit up for debate until certain things get wrapped up. Ironically I’ve been told they need about six to eight weeks.

So maybe my best move is to just get in an airplane and go. Take the summer. Enjoy the in between and simply stop worrying so damn much.

Categories
Politics Travel

Day 491 and Uncanny Valley

If you’ve been following along this week you might have noticed I’m in Bozeman Montana with some friends. I’m hoping to find a homestead. My father loves to call Montana the last best place. He moved up to Whitefish a few years ago for retirement from Boulder Colorado. Our boomers know the score. He knows the last best places are dwindling as the frontier turns into subdivisions.

Growing up in Colorado was about as close to paradise as it gets. We had clean air, plenty of open space and a laid back uncrowded atmosphere. My brother was born there but my parents made a brief detour to Silicon Valley where I was born in the eighties. But Chief Niwot’s curse must have called to my family as we moved back to Colorado when I was still young. My dad thought Boulder was a better place to live than San Francisco or Palo Alto. No one who has been to Boulder escapes the curse.

People seeing the beauty of this valley will want to stay, and their staying will be the undoing of the beauty.”

What is Chief Niwot’s curse?

I call myself a Boulder native even if it’s not technically true. If you count the sojourn in the Bay Area, I’m one of those Californians that ruined Colorado even if my family had arrived long before I did. But we certainly didn’t arrive before the Arapaho. Perhaps I wasn’t in the wave of Californians that turned Colorado, and Boulder Valley in particular, into a boom town in the aughts and teens, but I’m still part of the undoing of the beauty of this valley. Anyone who is descended from immigrants has contributed to the curse.

The reason I chuckle at my father calling Montana the last best place is because the state is following the path that Colorado took. Bozeman feels exactly like Boulder did during my childhood. It’s no surprise to me Colorado folks are moving here to recapture what we’ve lost. If you came of age in the mountain west before urban sprawl and yuppie gentrification you yearn for a return. Boulder Valley has been undone by those that loved it’s beauty. And so we seek new frontiers.

In twenty or thirty years will the Gallatin valley and Bozeman face a similar fate? Almost assuredly. If anything, it makes me confident in putting down roots here. Maybe then my kids can call themselves Bozeman natives the way I do with Boulder. Maybe they can complain about the high housing prices and the arrival of tech workers and tell tales about how their family got here in the roaring twenties before all the Coloradans ruined the place.

Categories
Startups

Day 490 and Startup People

One of the more transformative experiences of my young life was attending a founders only conference in 2010. I’d never been around that many other people who did the same thing as me before. I felt so seen.

The most unexpected thing was how relaxing it was to be among other people who understand the context of my life and my work. All of the weird and idiosyncratic elements of being the CEO of an early stage company are hard to translate to someone who has never had to live it. Startups are lonely work and being the CEO is the loneliest job in the company.

Obviously the last twelve years of bull market have greatly expanded the pool of people who have worked in startups. It’s gone from a niche to the driving force of American industry. Everyone grew up. Some of us made money. We’ve professionalized. We’ve developed best practices. What was once a scrappy singular experience is now a repeatable innovation.

And like that conference it is transformative to be seen. don’t feel so alone anymore. There are more people who can share in the context and specifics. I’m in Montana this week with friends who have a similar life path to myself and my husband. Our friends completely understand the context of our lives and we understand their context. We are all founders and executive team members and angel investors and LPs. And yes it’s relaxing. I highly recommend it.

Categories
Politics

Day 486 and Open Road

I’d love to thank Eisenhower for having the foresight to build the interstate highway system. It’s one of the most crucial pieces of infrastructure that America has ever built. And it’s also absolutely gorgeous. Truly shameful we’ve not embarked on anything so ambitious since the Highway Act of 1956. Did you know it cost $114 billion dollars to make the interstate system? That’s $535 billion in 2020 dollars and who knows how much more know in 2022 with current inflation. But sure Biden can have 2 trillion for infrastructure as long as it keeps the interstate open.

I spent most of my day on the interstate. I traveled north on I-25 and then headed west on I-90. I’ve done several cross country road trips in my life including, California to Colorado, Colorado to Illinois, Colorado to Texas, and of course New York to Colorado. I’ve done I-70 as well as 80. It’s my hope to do many more trips in all possible directions.

The romance of the road is so foundational to American culture that I’d recommend everyone enjoy an interstate highway trip to a national park. There’s simply no joy quite like speeding along a wide open road with vistas as far as the eye can see.

The only sour note of the trip is the high cost of gas. The lowest I saw was $3.90 and the highest was $4.19. Diesel was substantially more expensive at $5.59 a gallon. I didn’t see a lot of trucks on my trip but my route isn’t particularly crucial as far as supply chains go. I mostly saw Amazon and Fed Ex trucks. Most goods are coming into Seattle so this stretch of land appeared to be given over e-commerce deliveries. I’ve been worrying over rising gas and it’s impact on well everything. Empty interstates seem an ominous sign

Categories
Biohacking Medical

Day 483 and Medical Logistics

As you probably know, everything about the American medical system is a pain in the ass. I was expecting a delivery last night of a medicine that needs to be refrigerated. I went to bed assuming it never came. I woke up this morning to find it has been left out outside all night.

A $5000 dollar dose biologics injection (that’s only $150 in Europe) got left at door I don’t use without a knock. Thank god it didn’t get porch pirated as I cannot afford to replace it. I discovered the medicine this morning when going out for an espresso as it was left in dry ice by the basement door. Just a little chaos for the start of a day filled with other medical logistics.

Today is the day I pick up my prescription refills for the month. I have to do it once a month instead of a convenient quarterly by post situation as I take several controlled substances of which I’m not allowed to have more than a 30 day supply. It’s a real pain in the ass to travel for this reason as it has to be organized around when my insurance and the government will allow me to do so. If I want to be on the road for six weeks or go to Europe for more than a month I’m shit out of luck.

I take a lot of prescriptions to manage my chronic illness. I wish I didn’t need any of them. If I’m honest I put a lot of effort into wellness and lifestyle as part of a long term effort to ween off the pharmaceuticals like my biologic anti-inflammatory injections. I don’t want to be left for dead in a crisis as I’ve got no illusions that we will protect the sick and vulnerable. I protect myself.

I have to do the pharmacy dance now whether I like it or not. I have to take half a day to make sure everything comes in on the same day and in time for any mitigating factors like travel. I maintain a spreadsheet to keep it all organized. I have to use up valuable energy and focus on something that your average Canadian or German would find comically foreign. And that’s just the way it is and probably will be for sometime.

Categories
Internet Culture Preparedness Travel

Day 464 and Miami

Miami is a real American city. You know those criticisms lobbed by conservatives against New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles? It’s not a real American city. It’s bullshit in plenty of ways as our urban populations define America as much as rural, but it’s also true. Places like Miami maintain an essence, a kind of “here-ness” that reveals a thriving ecosystem of all classes, backgrounds and beliefs living in the same place.

It’s a thriving cosmopolitan city with an extremely wealth ruling class. It has welcomed it’s new leadership in the form of startup expats from “fake cities” moving in. The irony is that those are fake places and no one lives there. It’s transient wealth moving in and out for opportunities. Which is exactly what they are doing to Miami. The churn comes for us all. Before it was tech it was drug money and mortgages. It’s a free enterprise kind of place.

But it’s a relief to see mix of people. To see the shitty neighborhoods and the anxiety about crime, reminds you we have to do better for each other. To see the luxury houses and the amenity industry pop up to service everyone rich from yuppie to billionaire. It’s a vibrancy of hustle that isn’t everywhere. It’s a positive thing. For me it smells like America. A belief in the future where things could be better. A sense that capitalism is working.

As I write this my Uber driver is complaining about the local cops. How unfair their targeting is of everyone going too fast. A real class solidarity moment against the fuzz. Lambo owners and ride share drivers. I feel like that doesn’t happen in striated societies where the top use the police to torture their plebeian neighbors.

I didn’t really enjoy my time here. It’s way too hot. It’s facing intense pressures from climate change so I’d like to come more often before it’s too late. It it’s already too late maybe.

There really are issues related to inequality and the challenges it manifests via societal issues. It’s got crime and infrastructure issues and intense political culture war currents.

If I’m honest I’d rather be in a colder less populated state where some of the existential risks of the future are better mitigated. But I admire the optimism of people who do. They are the optimistic people we need for a better future.

Categories
Travel

Day 459 and Humiliated

I am inviting a friend with a “bad visa” to spend a vacation with my family over the summer. We’ve got a road trip to national parks as well as a family reunion with full on Boston lobster boating as options for a great trip. It’s a big to do and a pretty quintessential American summer vacation. After the pandemic those kind of tourist dollars are clearly much needed.

However the American government doesn’t seem as keen as I am to show off the majesty of our nation. It’s really hard to get a tourist visa granted if you are not from a desirable nation like Sweden or the United Kingdom. Basically as the American if you invite someone who requires a tourist visa it involves something called a Form I-134. And it is extremely noisy. The goal of the form is to show the Feds your guest won’t become a ward of the state.

They want to know the balance of all my savings and checking accounts, the value of my personal property, my annual income, a list of stocks and bonds, my life insurance policy and it’s cash surrender policy, and any mortgage or real estate. The immigration lawyer said they look for about 10K in assets as a safety net in case something happens so maybe this is easier for people with normal jobs and salaries. I haven’t taken a salary in quite sometime.

But no joke they make you swear on perjury you have these assets and put in a number of scary paragraphs about how the Feds will garnish your wages if your guest applies for any kind of benefit program like food stamps or Medicare. I find it a little comical as it’s practically impossible to qualify for anything but sure guys let’s scare people into reconsidering inviting tourists to spend money here.

It all has the effect of being a bit humiliating. I’m ashamed I can’t figure out the paperwork without hep. The federal bureaucracy has easily felled better minds than mine but also shit I’m pretty smart. How does an average person manage? I feel ashamed that American is so unwelcoming. I’m ashamed my friend is being treated like some kind of potential mooching criminal.

If America is to even pretend it’s making an effort at being a shining city on a hill, we should start by being more welcoming. Treating guests as welcome seems like a good first step.

Categories
Travel

Day 458 and Jet-Set

I forgot what a pain in the ass it is to be on the road. I had three days back in Colorado after my trip to Frankfurt before I found myself repacking my suitcases to head to Miami. I probably shouldn’t have bothered unpacking in the first place.

I had a whirlwind of doctor appointments, injections, pharmacy runs and visits to various health care practitioners in the three days. Any kind of chronic health condition is a bit of a bad bed fellow with travel. Especially if you have medications that are controlled or require refrigeration. I’ve got both. So I timed my sojourn in Colorado to align with those pick ups and injections.

But that left me precious little time for other daily life type activities. I managed to sneak in a pedicure yesterday and it felt practically revelatory. But I’ve got so many other things to catch up that I’ve got no choice but to find a way to maintain normal life while on the road.

I have a round of blood work I need to get done before my next round of doctor appointments next week. Maybe I can get them down in Miami? They probably have quest labs. Doing a fasting lipid panel in the land of retirees seems kind of appropriate.

And while this may sound kind of stupid I really need a haircut. I just a point where it just can’t be put off any longer. It just started to look rough. So why not get it done in South Beach? It isn’t as if I’ve got a stylist in Boulder I love.

The muscles that come with life on the road are surely coming back if I’m considering things like blood work and haircuts. It isn’t the most glamorous part of being “jet set” but it sure as fuck is the most realistic. Travel has its own glamour and romance but you are never as far from the reality of your own life as you think. And maybe that’s a good thing.

Categories
Biohacking Travel

Day 455 and Jet Lag

I rolled into Denver around 420pm yesterday and I felt excellent about my timing. My ten hour flight from Frankfurt was quite pleasurable. There is something about long haul flights that are existentially quite satisfying, especially if the onboard wifi isn’t working, as one feels free from the outside world for the duration.

It was midnight in Germany when I landed so I made sure to have a coffee an hour or so before touchdown to keep me up for my time zone adjustment. My goal was to make it to 9pm Mountain Time so I could immediately adjust to my new time zone.

A slightly silly goal as I’ll be moving back two time zones in just a couple days as I’m headed to Miami. But I’m a day bird not a lark or an owl so I need my days to be productive. So staying up “all night” was on the agenda.

I managed to stay awake till about 845pm by keeping busy with unpacking and dinner and catching up on all the “couples shows” that I can only watch with Alex. Ironically about half of what I unpacked is going to get repacked shortly but I needed to do some sorting and replenishment. So I did my best to keep the adrenaline pushing me to activity. And it seems to have worked.

I was up this morning at 5:30am feeling rested and basically functional. The only issue I noticed was hunger. I was starving. I immediately got in the car and went to the good bagel place. I got a second bagel with plans to eat it tomorrow and then ended up having a second breakfast around 10am. And yes I still ate lunch at 1pm. And I’m starving now. Just absolutely ravenous all day.

My tracking apps seem to think my body is experiencing jet lag. Gyroscope said it was contributing to a lower health score and “shortening my lifespan” so that was anxiety inducing. I went for an hour long walk and my Whoop buzzed twenty minutes in. Apparently to indicate I’d hit my target strain. A leisurely stroll netted new a 8.8 score when I typically barely break a 4. Their system maxes out at 20 I think but I rarely get higher than a 10-12. And then Welltory gave me reds across stress, health and energy.

I suspect some of this is due to being back at altitude as a month is long enough to lose your acclimation. But in general I seem to be perfectly fine on my time zone and I felt mostly functional all day. I kept it light. Tomorrow when I plan to work longer hours will be the rest test.