“The feeling we know someone is the constant enemy of getting to know them properly.”

EA

Love is in the small

Nearly two and a half years ago, I had a call from my hometown. It said I should come home to my mum. It said she is very sick. It may be the last opportunity…

Last opportunities, lost possibilities, fears that we can never truly get back from without a scar.

I’m living in the farthest land to my hometown, Istanbul. New Zealand is far far away in the corner of the world. I held onto minutes. Minutes like hours. As I counted one by one; for a while, for whole a lot while; I went back home to my mum. That’s when I learned that the length of “for a while” can’t be measured. At least by the person who’s in the waiting.

My mum; her name is Elcin. It means cicada. Her singing never stops. She takes the darkest silence of the night and creates a symphony of it. She is full of life, loves to experience everything, to the very edges that sometimes she get lost in the moment to find herself again and again.

After her visit to Cuba, she got sick. First, she thought it was a common cold, turned out to be fungal pneumonia. Untreated for days, the sickness carried her to the ICU corner. The whole family, three of us, my brother and I at the hospital corridors and my mum behind doors; we fought.

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“Let us not be a society where 'honest in public' equals 'weird'.”

Stuff I’ve been reading recently – #5

The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath.

Death has never been busier and will become busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery.

So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up and closed down.

The Book Thief is a story about the power of words to make worlds. In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

Conversations with Friends
by Sally Rooney

Frances is twenty-one years old, cool-headed and darkly observant. A college student in Dublin and aspiring writer, she works at a literary agency by day. At night, she performs spoken word with her best friend Bobbi, who used to be her girlfriend. When they are profiled by Melissa, a well-known journalist, they enter an exotic orbit of beautiful houses, raucous dinner parties and holidays in Provence.

Initially unimpressed, Frances finds herself embroiled in a risky ménage a quatre when she begins an affair with Nick, Melissa’s actor husband. Desperate to reconcile herself to the desires and vulnerabilities of her body, Frances’s intellectual certainties begin to yield to something new – a painful and disorienting way of living from moment to moment. But as Frances tries to keep control, her relationships increasingly unspool: with Nick, with her difficult and unhappy father, and finally even with Bobbi.

Written with rare precision and probing intelligence, Conversations with Friends is exquisitely alive to the pleasures and inhibitions of youth.

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“Easy and simple are not synonyms. If anything, they're antonyms.”

EA

An Invocation for Beginnings

One of my all-time favourites. <3

Below is the script of the video. I highlighted the lines that resonate with me more.

What part you’re resonating the most? Go start that shit up!

***

Don’t call it a comb-back; I’ll have hair for years.

I’m scared.
I’m scared that my abilities are gone;
I’m scared that I’m going to fuck this up;
and I’m scared of you.

I don’t want to start, but I will.

This is an invocation for anyone who hasn’t begun;
who’s stuck in a terrible place between zero and one.

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“Here is to us, taking risks, leaving our comfort zone, open our minds and hearts to life and embracing all. #waytobe”

EA

Meditation journeys #1 – Intro

I love meditation. It has profoundly transformed my life in such a way I never thought it was possible. Without exception, I always learn something about myself after every session for many years now.

There are many ways to meditate, and I’d like to share how I see and practice it.

Meditation is not about stopping thoughts and clearing your mind, AND it is not about forcing yourself to think and feel in a certain way.

I don’t use meditation to infuse my mind with specific thoughts. I don’t use it simply to change my behaviours. I don’t like to listen to scripts or follow instructions because it doesn’t work that way. Because it doesn’t come from me, they are not my thoughts, not my feelings. I cannot genuinely act on them.

Think about repeating yourself for 10 minutes every day that you are the king. Say it “I’m the king. I’m the king. I’m the king…” Yes, maybe you can end up with a royal ego with a grand illusion. Alas, it doesn’t make you the king.

Behavioural therapies require more than thinking and listening; you need repetitive actions to improve and fix them. Thinking by itself doesn’t give you the ability. Thinking is not doing.

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“For the majority of people, happiness is a choice. The reality isn’t… However, choosing happiness ends up changing the reality that we keep track of.”

EA

Stuff I’ve been reading recently – #4

High Growth Handbook
by Elad Gil

Well-known technology executive and angel investor Elad Gil has worked with high growth tech companies like Airbnb, Twitter, Google, Instacart, Coinbase, Stripe, and Square as they’ve grown from small companies into global brands. Across all of these break-out companies, a set of common patterns has evolved into a repeatable playbook that Gil has codified in High Growth Handbook.

Covering key topics including the role of the CEO, managing your board, recruiting and managing an executive team, M&A, IPOs and late-stage funding rounds, and interspersed with over a dozen interviews with some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley including Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), Marc Andreessen (Andreessen Horowitz), and Aaron Levie (Box), High Growth Handbook presents crystal clear guidance for navigating the most complex challenges that confront leaders and operators in high-growth startups.

In what Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and co-author of the #1 NYT bestsellers The Alliance and The Startup of You calls “a trenchant guide,” High Growth Handbook is the playbook for turning a startup into a unicorn.

Subscribed: Why the Subscription Model Will Be Your Company’s Future – and What to Do About It
by Tien Tzuo & Gabe Weisert

Subscription companies are growing nine times faster than the S&P 500. Why? Because unlike product companies, subscription companies know their customers. A happy subscriber base is the ultimate economic moat.

Today’s consumers prefer the advantages of access over the hassles of maintenance, from transportation (Uber, Surf Air), to clothing (Stitch Fix, Eleven James), to razor blades and makeup (Dollar Shave Club, Birchbox). Companies are similarly demanding easier, long-term solutions, trading their server rooms for cloud storage solutions like Box. Simply put, the world is shifting from products to services.

But how do you turn customers into subscribers? As the CEO of the world’s largest subscription management platform, Tien Tzuo has helped hundreds of companies transition from relying on individual sales to building customer-centric, recurring-revenue businesses. His core message in Subscribed is simple: Ready or not, excited or terrified, you need to adapt to the Subscription Economy — or risk being left behind.

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