My son stole my Kindle the other day and ordered a bunch of books because the button looked good. Not much more to add to that story, aside from he’s a digital maniac and I still like to read. So, I went back and looked at what I have read in the past decade and what stuck. As many of you know, I’m still not quite done with my college degree… but I’m still an enthusiastic learner and read a book or two a month. That’s a must-do for any leader who is looking to keep his mind fresh and his thoughts topical.
But there are also some books that I constantly refer to, reread, and recommend. Some of them are great learning on outright effectiveness, others highlight specific processes, a few deal with venturing, others on triumph… and death. Anyways, I think the body of work is indicative of where my values lie. And perhaps my un-nerving ability to make anything into an analogy. So here’s my top list, and why.
Who for Hiring: Great book and a good 30 minute read on spotting, attracting, motivating, and retaining A Players. I currently source a least 5 candidates per month for our business by using his techniques, which boil down to simply listening to what people’s goals are and talking about their strengths and weaknesses. It has helped me attract, retain and motivate hi skilled employees in a brutally tight market.
7 Habits of Highly Effective People:Great book and process on being which was originally the senior thesis of Steven Covey. I had an EO retreat on this last week and reconnected with these powerful techniques for listening, problem solving, goal setting, and self-discipline. It has helped me to craft a mission statement, honor commitments across all roles, and focus on what is most important.
Ownership Thinking: A new one on the scene, and a good read on how people in a business think: like employees or like owners. Obviously, the leverage comes when people focus on the latter. It is just beginning to help me focus the team on what the true company priorities are and why building value in the enterprise creates a positive effect across the whole base.
Flow: The Science of Optimal Experience: A simple yet effective way to find happiness through a combination of challenge and skills acquisition. It has helped me reframe the debate on what we are doing and how we feel about it, making everything a quest for “the way” and a game that never stops. It’s fun, it’s exciting, and it never gets old. It is the definition of happiness, for me at least.
Into Thin Air: Another epic adventure that played out as several teams attempted Everest, and a few dozen almost got killed. A lot of lessons to be learned about provisioning, planning, and the effects of elevation on human capacity and performance. There are so many similarities to start-ups, except perhaps frostbite and death. It has helped me to express the entrepreneur’s journey as one in which people join the expedition at different times, but very few actually ascend the peak, safely. It also teaches the lesson it is better to own a part of the expedition than to force your way above an altitude you can effectively handle.
Seven Pillars of Wisdom An epic by any stretch of the imagination, and required reading for every US Army grunt assigned to the MEA theatre in the past two wars. T.E.Lawrence has a lot to say about strategy, preservation of resources, and use of the mighty pen. The fact that it is going on 100 years in print, and was rewritten from memory when his notes were left on a train… says something. This book has helped me to imagine events in great scale and over longer periods than most people think. It also has inspired me to live with minimal drag, and a few very big objectives.
The Art of Racing in the Rain. A touching book, and actually not one you’d expect to see here. But there is something to be learned. Things are not always as they seem, you can effect change in seemingly locked in lives, and good guys do get second chances. It has helped me persevere in situations where I just could not imagine how to exit, and then imagine the perfect exit.
Krish, Miles, Dan (who is in a rare moment of overdressed) in 2008
This past month marked the fifth year of working together with my two co-founders at Mojiva: Dan and Krish. If I were a DJ spinning vinyl to sum up those days, I would drop the needle with Bob Seger’s Against the Wind. With a few edits…
It seems like yesterday But it was long ago [Mobile] was lovely, she was the queen of our nights There in the darkness with the radio playing low And the secrets that we shared The mountains that we moved Caught like a wildfire out of control Till there was nothing left to burn and nothing left to prove
Call it founder bias, nostalgic, or just plain sappy but it is amazing what’s has actually gone down in sixty short months. No one has been in mobile very long- old timers can claim ten years, most likely five is when the early scouts hit the beach. Apple was just about to launch the iPhone and end the carrier’s dominance of the “deck”. Premium publishers that took down minimum guarantees were not getting repeat business. Android didn’t exist. There were no apps, and no tablets either. No one knew the difference between online ad-tech and mobile, and how soon they might converge. Wow, that world was simple! It’s now Flintstones vs. Jetsons!
First thing we did, of course, was to name the damn thing. It may sound like a whim, but we actually worked hard to craft a name that had meaning- at least to us three. MoJiva was a mash up of jivan, which is a Hindi god (we favored the elephant Ganesh) and Mo for mobile of course. The good thing about crazy names is they are always available at register.com. And everyone has remembered us since.
We gave Krish $300k and 3 months to build the mOcean platform (he’s had a bit more budget lately!). In light of what developed, that amount just seems ridiculous. But that’s how it went down, and build it he did. We served 3M ads a day by month 3, and we felt like we were on fire. Three months later, we raised Series A from a strategic VC and hired a rock star CEO. Dan got going on Biz dev, and we went on a run. I can’t even begin to list the milestones along the way: often it seemed like we were on a runaway train, fixing the front wheels even as we were shoveling coal, painting the cabins and losing luggage out the caboose. Such is the world of start ups and technology. It takes a strong stomach and a keen eye for the rewards at the end.
And I remember what she said to me How she swore that it never would end I remember how she held me oh so tight Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then
Against the wind We were runnin’ against the wind We were young and strong, we were runnin’against the wind
Amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t know any better. Everything we did was against the odds, let alone the wind. And now its five years on and we just completed another monster milestone year. We are now part of one of the best teams in Mobile ad-tech, over 100 strong. We’ve booked 100% growth for four straight years, and we now serve over 1,000,000,000 ads a day. Yes, that’s a billion ads a day. I had to write that out. In the December rush, we were serving 35,000 ads per second in virtually every country in the world.
But what makes me most proud is the team that we have built and what THEY have accomplished, sometimes by adding people, sometimes by subtracting. From day one, folks walk into our office and universally say Wow! This place is cool- I’d love to work here. Yeah, it’s packed now and someone needs to do the dishes. But we have a wonderful HR effort that backs it up with training, 401k, healthy Mojiva, Core values we live by, peer awards, leave bonuses, flex time, A Player recruiting… and a very open environment where every suggestion to make it better is heard (ok, not all are actionable), and we truly believe in the value of their equity, cause we all own it.
It’s flattering and humbling to consider this came from our DNA, and that vision we cobbled together 5 years ago is still going strong today. There’s more to the song of course, and there’s more to the story to be told. But I want to stop here and tip my hat to my two co-founders and say wow: we helped build that!
There is a yawning gap emerging in the world and I think this gap will define the advancement of societies, the creation of jobs, and even the happiness of populations in the decades to come: it is access to mobile data and I call it Flintstones vs. Jetsons. (shout out to April Rudin for the headline).
Generation segue: Some of us remember Fred Flintstone. Worked in a quarry, drove a foot pedal car. Loved to bowl and eat steaks. Life was simple, and there was not a lot of reason to innovate. Pebbles and BamBam didn’t seem to be a big generational culture gap. A loveable guy in the Jackie Gleason vein.
And his cartoon counterpart, George Jetson. Worked are Spacely, drove an automated space scooter. Astro walked himself, Rosie the Robot did the chores. Skyped with the office, used the tele-puter on his wrist. Loveable knucklehead is in a fast-moving world, but he kept adapting and he kept pace.
So my point, my belief, is that we have arrived at a crucial inflection point in our history, where people, countries, leaders (and entire industries) are choosing to go Flintsone or Jetson. And the catalyst for this decision is, clearly, the smart phone and the data it generates. The Flintstone are content with how things are. They have found ways to live until now without technology, and they resolved they would coast from here on in, whether in their carreers or their lives. Financial planners are on the list. So is much of the financial services (non retail) industry. Traditional media has hated the transition. KONY is no fan. Nor is Assad, or Mubarak. People of a certain age (but not all!). There are lots more.
Meanwhile, the Jetsons accelerate. The gap has not even yet begun to present itself.
mOcean at Mobile World Congress
If you have any doubt of how quickly this industry has grown, check out the Mojiva/Mocean (I am an investor) booth at The Mobile World Congress. MWC was, five years ago, just a bunch of suits from Nordic and Asian countries wielding flip phones for voice and text. Today, MWC is heralded as the biggest and the best mobile technology event in the world. According to conference organizer the GSMA, this year’s event played host to a record number of attendees, topping out at 67,000 visitors from 205 countries; an 11% increase over the 2011 show. The four-day conference and exhibition attracted mobile operators, software companies, equipment providers, Internet companies and media and entertainment organizations, as well as government delegations from across the globe. More than 50 percent of this year’s attendees hold C-level positions, including more than 3,500 CEOs.
Most telling perhaps, CEO’s were wearing jeans, T’s and blazers…
So here’s the shocker datapoint from cisco: 40% of the worlds smartphone data is consumed by… 1% of the world population. That means a small group of people are gaining an unfair (perhaps) advantage because of their access to information
The subways are down: take the bus.
This new place is overcrowded: here’s another local option.
Gas prices are skyrocketing, but discounted in NJ this weekend.
This client has spent xxx seconds on the site and is ready to take the next buying step
Yo Twitter! The rally to unseat the government has been moved to the following sidestreet!
The examples go on and on. A few minutes saved. A better solution for the moment. A bit more background before the interview. A better way, on the way. Compound that millions of times over billions of people and guess what: you have a new gap between the haves and the have-nots. Food for thought before you make your choice between Flintstone or Jetson!
People that witnessed my hoarse performance at this week’s Young Start Up Panel learned I had spent the previous night at U2 show. And believe it or not, U2 can teach entrepreneurs an awful lot about success, because they live a few of its basic principles:
They have meaning and relevance
They understand timeliness
They have local impact with a global reach
They live with respect, gratitude and humility
Five years ago, a lifelong friend Mark (MvK) and I caught U2 at Croke Park in Dublin. We were so impressed, we spent the rest of the night in Temple Bar debating their ranking in “The Most Influential Bands of All Time,” along with perhaps the Stones and The Beatles. I cover that and more in this blog from way back when.
This week, Bono, Edge, Mark and I all reunited in the Meadowlands with a few others (!) and we conceded the Most Influential Band of our Lifetime to U2. The group’s tours ranked them second in total concert grosses for the decade after The Rolling Stones, although U2 had a significantly higher attendance figure than the Stones. They were the only band in the top 25 touring acts of the 2000s to sell out every show they played. In April 2011, the U2 360° Tour became the highest-grossing tour in history, surpassing earnings of $558 million and breaking The Stones’ previous record.
Any entrepreneur with this level of success does not need my advice. But numbers alone are not the reason for our award to U2. In order to transcend a niche, sustain your existence, leave a legacy, and essentially change the world for the better, a band –or even an entrepreneur – needs to consider these big four points:
Point #1) Meaning and relevance
How well are you listening and knowing your audience? Of all the millions of fans that U2 has performed in front of, they have always forfeited 20% of their audience to “backstage blindness.” Though their audience grew up on video mashups (MTV), it now also digests facts in tweet size doses.
Enter the Vid-Squid: a Willie Williams-designed four-legged contraption—which cost around $25 million, weighs 400 tons and is responsible for a harrowing carbon footprint—while offering a 360-degree vantage of U2 with its cylinder-shaped expandable screen and circular catwalk. It was a technical workhorse that solved the 360 problem and served the digital and audio needs of everyone in the house.
How willing are you to Pivot and Reinvent? U2′s most beloved line in my book is “we are reapplying for the job of best rock band of all time.” In three decades, the band has continually morphed, synthesizing punk, glam rock, stadium anthem and mashups, without betraying their core audience. They’ve taken huge chances (Zoo Tour being a big one) that failed, and as I pointed out in a previous post, had the courage to keep reinventing.
A great example of this balls-out kind of courage came when MvK and I were discussing whether Bono indeed had a great voice or just a “people’s voice,” best-suited for sing-alongs or gospel choirs. Moments later, the band began a superb mashing up of an operatic aria into the greatly-meaningful song, “Miss Sarajevo.” With Luciano Pavarotti long since departed, we both wondered who would sing his part. No need; Bono literally channeled Pavarotti and hit every note with chilling brilliance – and in Italian. Not your average rockstar trick there. And extremely courageous.
Burma's msg, via Vid Squid
Point #2) Timeliness
How well do you use your leverage, when you have it? This means not wasting your moment in the spotlight, but using it to extend the franchise and transcend what just good product alone can’t deliver.
Arguably, U2’s moment has lasted quite longer than their two and a half hour concert mastery. For thirty years, the members of U2—as a band and individually—have collaborated with other musicians, artists, celebrities, and politicians to address issues concerning poverty, disease, and social injustice. (This list from Wiki)
U2 and Bono’s social activism have not been without its critics. Several authors and activists who publish in politically-left journals such as CounterPunch have decried Bono’s support of political figures as well as his “essential paternalism.” I think recipients of their largesse would say “paternal me all you want.” Other news sources have generally questioned the efficacy of Bono’s campaign to relieve debt and provide assistance to Africa. Tax and development campaigners have also criticized the band’s move from Ireland to the Netherlands to reduce its tax bill. To which I — and they — say, ‘Yeah, and?”
Point #3) Local impact/ Global reach
KNOW your audience
It has to work first at home. Ask Starbucks. They spent YEARS in Seattle before taking their perfection on the road. So ask yourself… How well is your product received, adored, and used by the locals?
Bono started the evening by saying “We just want to thank Mr. Springsteen for letting us the hall tonight.” It was witty, humble, and got a roar from the crowd because it proved he was totally in tune with a bit of the locals. He thanked people from Conn-ect-i-cut, Penn-syl-vania, Jersey and New York for coming out on such a hot night, by Irish standards. And when he spied a sign in the crowd that said “For Clarence,” he stopped the show to let it be passed up onstage. He owned the locals.
And then he took it global like only U2 can.
He conjured up Commander Mark Kelly on the big screen via space satellite (OK, pre-recorded I later learned) to flip through poster boards of “Beautiful Day’s” lyrics.
His presence gave new meaning to the “Space Oddity” lyric, “Tell my wife, I love her very much, she knows,” which he quoted at the end of the song.
“Walk On” closed out the set with an emotional presentation by Amnesty International, as U2 fans piled onto the catwalk carrying large candles to remember the conflict taking place in Burma and the plight of the recently freed Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi, who also addressed the crowd from the expandable screen (above).
It’s a hard act for any little entrepreneur to follow, but this breadth and depth of action can certainly inspire some good work. U2’s efforts have effected change in Famine, Aids, War, National Debt, Political imprisonment, Pro Democracy, and preservation of music around the world. In my own samall way, I try to do what I love, and believe I have a better chance to make an impact as well.
Point #4) Respect, gratitude and humility
If it all works, don’t think it’s just because you’re good. I’ve had the honor to work with and hang around an awful lot of entrepreneurs that have met with some spectacular success.
The best of them recognize that, while they were good (like many others), they were also not strangers to luck and timing. Too many react by saying “that was fun, I want to do it again and again” … and then meet a hard fail. “Once in a lifetime” often means just that.
But U2 was none of that. I was struck by these sincere comments throughout the night:
“Thank you for giving us this wonderful life.” (For an entrepreneur that would be: thanks for letting me be an entrepreneur: it’s is hard, but great)
“Thank you for paying for this monstrosity.” (Entrepreneurs might thank investors for funding their new product launch)
“Thank you to our warm up band.” (Thanks to those that came before us in the innovation chain)
“Thank you Mr. Springsteen for letting us this hall.” (Thanks to the local expert that let us dabble in his warehouse)
So for everyone who thought I was just hanging out with MvK at a concert, taking pictures of mobs of people watching four men and a crazy stage production I say this: I was thinking!
For an entrepreneur, attempting to separate Work from the Rest is not only impossible, it’s a waste of kinetics and karma. As U2 have proven, we are One, with every ounce of our experience contributing to our creative output, bad or good.
Miles to go. Walk on.
PS: How to translate U2 in Entrepreneur
Meaning/Relevance: LISTEN to your damn market. Solve problems that really cause pain. Provide solutions that really are game changers.
Timeliness: Too late or too early is a loser. Being in the trend as it comes ashore is the only thing that works.
Local impact/ Global reach: Make it perfect for a small core group (or locals), but have the scalability to roll it out global.
Respect, gratitude and humility: When it works, it doesn’t just mean you’re hot sh*t and could repeat it. Act accordingly.
When Fast Company covered the concept recently, they called it “The Sharing Economy”. Now more light and more capital has begun to flow toward companies that are enabling the peer to peer trading that the web promised long ago. (Isn’t it funny how the web delivers, if you can afford to wait long enough)!
So what, if anything, is holding this movement back from breakout growth? Why can a neighbor lean over the fence and ask for something, but the online equivalent results in apprehension? When you hand the housekeys to a couchsurfer, leave the kids with the new sitter, or hitch a ride with three total unknowns, it’s not a natural feeling. I’ve written about it in my MadMen post, as well as the downside in my Catfish story. CollCons could be sooooo good if we could only enjoy the benefits of peer to peer –without that dollop of angst in the pit of our stomachs.
The antidote? Trust. It’s kind of the reverse of the behavior I blogged about in Race to the Bottom. And it’s closer to becoming a reality in the CollCons space. I’ve determined six qualities that can be measured and portable (to a variety of sites) and will help achieve the comfort levels needed to scale users and usage.
I’m Helpful: I contribute online; so I’ll be considerate and prepared as your host.
I’m Local: I grew up or lived here for a while, so I know the best places & activities around.
I’m a Connector: I’ve got many local friends, so I can introduce you to interesting folks.
I’m Worldly: I’ve travelled a lot, so I know what makes a good host in a variety of cultures.
I’m Authentic: I’m open about myself online, so the description about my product (self) is also genuine.
I’m Consistent: I’ve got an established history with school & work, so I’m a more responsible.
While some companies in the CollCons community are thinking of ways to develop this algorithm themselves, TrustCloud has begun to test its beta “Trust Indicator” integration in three CollCons leaders. The advantage to using the TrustCloud API is that CollCons brands will have a trust indicator with no development costs, the scores leverage the power of the entire CollCons network, and the scores are portable. [Unlike eBay Power Scores, with TrustCloud, good behavior on a shared room makes for good ratings in a ride share, etc.]
I’m deeply committed to “trust” in the real world, and I’m excited about its prospects to enable more peer to peer sharing online. But I’m also aware of how online behavior can be gamed and trust abused or never created. So I’m excited about the day when this artificial drag is finally removed from the CollCons market. Meanwhile, I’m jazzed to help all members work more effectively toward this goal.
That ouchie brought to you by Michael Arrington at a recent Tech Crunch Disrupt Conference.
It’s not as bad as it seems.
I find myself initially defensive at this comment, made by the headline grabbing (headline making!) founder of TechCrunch. I fall on the other side of thirty. If you check out this graph, which represents 300 responses from startups financed by Ron Conway, repeat founders under the age of 30 get more $500M+ exits.
So if this is true, are old(er) founders more cautious, prudent, and take earlier, cheaper exits for security? Possibly. Whereas a younger founder will let their company brew for a while, gaining value, or be more tolerant of the risk along the way.
Older founders have also likely seen the game played before, and know how to judge incremental success, while a younger buck is more likely to bet the farm. But what is most interesting to me is which of these personalities match best with todays “2 & 20″ VC dynamic, where small hits don’t clear their preference hurdles. If you need a moonshot to make a buck for your portfolio, by all means go find a kid.
Media mogul and best buddy Scott Carlin was in town this week and we went for all things Asian- dinner and discussion. I’ve been working on a JV in China for some time now, and as it winds its way near completion, my friends keep pointing out the cultural differences I’ll have to deal with. I’ve written about them before, but this week’s news certainly makes it worth level setting again.
So, for those that didn’t know it, one of Yahoo’s biggest assets on its book is AliPay. Which isn’t so interesting until someone from AliBaba says “by the way, you don’t own this anymore, and it happened a long time ago, but we can talk about it if you want… ok”?.
Looks like that just happened…
Yahoo, owner of the biggest U.S. Web portal, this week said it wasn’t informed until March 31 about an August 2010 transfer of Alipay equity to a vehicle outside of Alibaba in order to comply with restrictions on foreign ownership of payment services in China, which prompted the reorganization of Alipay, the nation’s biggest online payment service. For his part, Chairman Ma (seriously) said “the spinoff of the Alipay online payment business is “lawful” and “transparent,” after biggest shareholder Yahoo! Inc. claimed it wasn’t consulted on the transfer. “We are always committed to ensure our operations are 100 percent lawful,” Ma said today in Hong Kong. “The matter of Alipay is not settled yet” amid ongoing negotiations with Yahoo and Softbank Corp, Alibaba’s second-biggest shareholder, on the post-transfer commercial arrangements, Ma said. (Source: Bloomberg)
Yeah, I hope not.
Gone are the days of gunboat mercantilism, when British ships rings the harbors in defense of Jardine’s Opium trading. But Silicon Valley has weapons of their own now, not the least of which are direct flights to Hong Kong. I’m surprised Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz was not on a rocket to China the moment she heard the news. Rule of law in the US would have the transaction rescinded in an instant, and shareholder’s pallor cured shortly after. This one is going to play out a little longer, but the leverage is with Chairman Ma for the moment. CEO Bartz doesn’t look so good.
So what’s it mean. Well, China has some interesting ownership laws for one. And China has some fresh new perspectives on business leverage, ethics, and rule of law. But the economy is booming and the price of entry is to figure out ways to deal with a different culture. Really different. The dot.com bubble was similar in some ways. Hey, at least we’re fighting over technology these days, rather than water pipes.
I was in Deer Valley recently for a Pelion LP meeting and the topic turned to high- altitude climbing. Entrepreneurs that I work with know that I constantly use the experience as an analogly for building companies. (I have analogies for everything, some more crazy than others. At least, that’s what I’m told).
The basic premise is that, as you get to higher altitudes, your mind and body play tricks on you. Cognitive powers are altered. Moving carefully and deliberately is important, but so is having a guide to help you move quicker and avoid mis-steps. For a look into real-world mountain climbs, there’s a great book called Into Thin Air by Krakuer that covers it well. (and the rebuttal by Anatoly Bukareev is just as good). As for entrepreneurship, there are very few books about a company’s pending danger and death; most focus on reaching the top. I wrote a bit about that aspect in a prior post called Let ‘em Crash. I personally have been to what I define as” high altitude,” both in climbing and entrepreneurship. (Over 10,000 and over $100M+ in valuation, respectively.) Here’s a hairy story from one climb: entrepreneurs, see if you can pick out the analogie(s).
A trip to Peru brought me to the Machu Picchu lodge and my altitude adjustment was fully set, having begun the trip in Cusco at 11,000 feet. I had climbed Huana Picchu earlier that day, at dawn. I saw the most spectacular sunrise, as many Inca priests had before me (hint, these would be VC’s), and marveled at the symmetry of the Sun Gate and the other temples in the complex. I returned to the lodge for late breakfast. It was there we began talking about Cerro, the peak I had seen obscured by mist from Huana, with a giant flag fluttering at the top. I did some quick calculations and decided I could make it by sundown.
Cerro is the highest immediate peak above Macchu Pichu, but there’s nothing technical about it. Like most of the Inca trail, .ost of the path is carved rock. A little slippery at times, and occasionally requiring pull-ups, but mostly the climb is a mental one. I say this because the Urabumba River roars on three sides of the peak, and the drop is about 1,000m, sometimes straight. After a few thousand feet, the mist socked me in. All there was in front of me were stones, laid by Incas many hundreds of years ago, and vines. And the sound of the river. It became my navigation. As I heard it down and to my left, I knew I was on the west face; at it switched to my right, I knew I the path had traversed to the west. Half way up, I met two Japanese who were on descent. You alone?, they asked. Yup. Even that small exchange heartened me, not for the guidance, but for the fact someone else would know where I was on the mountain if things got bad. As it was, their estimate was a bit off.
Ninety minutes later, I came through a skree field of snakestone (awesome green stuff that looks like malachite, but softer) and arrived at a gate of carved rock. It was the first clue I was entering a holy place. From there, I experienced my closest-to-divine moment. The path became flat, and the mist enveloped my feet, such that only my footfall revealed the path in front of me. I was on the spine of the peak, so the sun, or what was left of it, made the way brighter. I noticed orchids, which grow wild at that altitude. And hummingbirds which fluttered around like some Natural History Museum display. Summit euphoria was taking over, as I heard the flag flapping in the wind in front of me. As I reached it I sat still for twenty minutes, precious time given the daylight. It was total peace. (Have you guessed? This is an exit!)
When I turned to go, I notice the river roaring about me not on my left or right, but on three sides. With the dimming sun, the mist, the flowers and birds it was truly heaven. The euphoria lasts through the first fifteen minutes of descent, as I passed markings I had made in my mind during the ascent. I allowed myself to gain momentum, feeling free, and frankly as good as a teenager in springtime. Then I mis-stepped. In an instant, I was hurtling down one side of the face, when I instinctively grabbed on of the vines hanging from the face. It caught me, and I quickly recovered, with not a small amount of briars — and a pulse suddenly 2x. I kept rolling, and reached the main Inca village by dusk.
Llamas get around without Merrils
At dinner that night back in Macchu Pichu, one of our guides, Juan —- asked if I had walked or crawled on the spine of Cerro. I told him, and he was surprised. Most people crawl, he said. The spine is only 2m wide, and the drop to the river there is about 800m on the right side, and 1,200m (4,000 feet) on the left. Well, I walked the whole thing… maybe leaning a bit to the right to compensate for the difference…
But the most interesting thing about that climb was what it taught me about the entrepreneurial climb: the height of the ascent is an optional objective… but the return is mandatory!