September 14, 2018

Driving in Laos

This is what the main highway between Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng looks like.

Part of it is paved. Part of it is gravel. Part is mud. The potholes don’t discriminate between any of the three.

The infrastructure seems to be the biggest difference between Laos and Cambodia thus far. I’d love to learn why there are such big differences.

September 14, 2018

For The Gram”

Pictures cut across cultures At the top of the main temple in Luang Prabang.

September 14, 2018


Luang Prabang hospital bed

This is the bed where Elizabeth got three stitches put in her right hand. This bed’s in the Luang Prabang Regional Hospital ER.

When we woke up earlier that morning, we decided to go to the Kuang Si waterfall, just outside of Luang Prabang. It’s supposed to be a picturesque blue color, with gently flowing water and swimming pools.

There are three ways to get there: a shared minivan, a private tuk tuk, and by motorbike. We opted for the motorbike.

After getting our brand new Scoopy and filling it up with gas, we started to make our way to the falls. We didn’t make it far.

As we rounded a left turn, we lost balance of the bike. It’s hard to move two people in one direction, especially as novice motorbike riders. So while we were supposed to be going left, our bike toppled to the right.

At first, we thought we were okay. Then Elizabeth looked down and noticed her hand was bleeding.

The local Lao people came out with cleaning solution and gauze. She wrapped her hand, and a nice man told her to hop on his bike, he would take us to the hospital.

I followed in our now dent-up Scoopy.

About 1 hour, 200,000 kip ($23), and one bandaged hand later, we were back to square one. Still in Luang Prabang, with a bike, and without pictures of Kuang Si.

We did finally make it to the falls. We hiked around the top, which was a nice loop. But the minivan group we rode with left early, stranding us at the falls. Luckily another tuk tuk driver was nice enough to take us home.

The water was brown.

It has rained a lot this year.

The top of Kuang Si, hiking around

The beat-up motorbike

September 8, 2018

Great leaders speak plainly

The best leaders are direct. They trim conjunctions and four-syllable words from their sentences.

Conversely, those fluent in corporate-speak are so concerned with saying everything that they end up saying nothing.

I saw both of these snippets from different press releases within the last 24 hours:

From a business standpoint, we can strengthen our investment in and development of our people, our most valuable asset, as we scale our operations globally. We’re well positioned to make the lives of digital workers better by elevating work to the outcomes that matter.” From the PagerDuty press release announcing their newest VC round.

Kevin led the construction and development of our Gigafactory in Nevada, turning what was a pile of rocks in the Sierra Nevada mountains into a factory employing 12 thousand people with greater output than the entire rest of the world’s battery factories combined, in roughly three years. That is insanely badass.” From an email Elon Musk sent to all of Tesla this morning.

Elon paints you a clear picture. PagerDuty is stuck in the clouds.

Communicating concisely and with details is a skill that Bezos, Munger, Musk, and other fantastic leaders have clearly cultivated.

September 7, 2018

Consistency Is Underrated

Fred Wilson has written a blog post every single day since 2003.1

That’s at least 5,000 posts. Without skipping a beat.

Doing stuff (n) < Doing stuff well (2n) < Doing stuff well, consistently (2n)^2

  1. AVC

September 4, 2018

How, Cambodia?

Cambodia is the most impressive country I can remember traveling to.

Just one and a half generations ago, the Cambodian people were suffering under the regressive communist government of Pol Pot. Within four years, Pol Pot’s regime systematically murdered nearly 3 million people. Better to kill an innocent by mistake than spare an enemy by mistake,” he said.

As if genocide wasn’t enough, his government sought to reset the economy to its pure” state of farmers working the land.

He destroyed the textile machines, abolished the currency, torched buildings, and murdered anybody living in cities.

It’s hard to imagine how, forty years later, Cambodia is able to boast such beautiful architecture, cuisine, and infrastructure. There are cranes dotting the cities. Roads are newly paved. The markets are vibrant.

How have the people managed to remain so energetic, so positive, so able to forgive and move beyond the past?

En route to the Killing Fields In a Tuk Tuk en route to the Killing Fields” outside of Phnom Penh

Siem Reap A Jeep parked outside a cafe in Siem Reap

Siem Reap A side alley in Siem Reap

Siem Reap Kandal Village in Siem Reap