The Glorious Walks

Below is one of my favorite passages from Roald Dahl’s “Boy” about his father:

He harboured a curious theory about how to develop a sense of beauty in the minds of his children. Every time my mother became pregnant, he would wait until the last three months of her pregnancy and then he would announce to her that ‘the glorious walks’ must begin. These glorious walks consisted of him taking her to places of great beauty in the countryside and walking with her for about an hour each day so that she could absorb the splendour of the surroundings.

His theory was that if the eye of a pregnant woman was constantly observing the beauty of nature, this beauty would somehow become transmitted to the mind of the unborn baby within her womb and that baby would grow up to be a lover of beautiful things.

Call me an optimist, but I’ve always believed that these ‘glorious walks’ were a perfect parallel to undergoing any kind of experience in this world (good or bad) as they provide the necessary empathy and inspiration for bringing your ideas to life.

Great designers often started their journeys by viewing and recreating as many existing designs as possible. A common thread amongst honest designers states that “All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.”

One of the first things I was taught as a young budding product manager was to take apps or products that I admired and deconstruct them: breaking down each business model, user flow, visual design, and piece of the technology stack.

Understanding how these great products were built from the ground up gave me even more context and reference material to draw upon when it came time to build my own products.

In venture capital, I spend most of my days observing the beauty of new companies by speaking with 8-15 startup founders per week.

Increasing my reps of meeting with each of these companies is imperative towards building my mental repertoire towards understanding what makes great teams and companies tick.

This mode of thinking has provided a specific mindset that allows me to never regret or be intimidated by any kind of human experience. And that makes life so much more enjoyable.