The existential David Downs: Does a bear ask rhetorical questions in the woods?

End of week three, and that means it’s the mid-programme break. 3 days without lots of reading to do!

For me, it also means my family are up from NZ for a week – that was essentially my bribe to get them to let me be away for 6 weeks… “Hey kids, how would you like a holiday in the USA during the school holidays… only catch, I will be there a bit longer”. 

It’s great to see them; they’ve indulged in some shopping, sightseeing and other touristy behavior, and we also went to a baseball game on Friday night. They’ve also become Uber’s best customers. This area is the home of the company which has (buzzword alert) ‘disrupted’ the taxi industry. People love that word up here, along with a number of others. In fact, if you want to sound like a real Silicon Valley type, pick any of the below words and string them into a sentence. It doesn’t even need to make sense, the more mysterious and gobbledygook sounding the better:

Paradigm; Disrupt; Pivot; Chief Ambition Officer; Fearless; Asymptotic; Start-up; Dilemma; VC; Cloud; All-in; Quad-play; Series A; Monetize; Unicorn; – and just for fun, one I am trying to get off the ground, ‘Magic Pixie-dust’.

Appearing knowledgeable at all expense seems to be important here - our professor told us the other day that if you don’t know the answer to a question in Silicon Valley, Say ‘The Internet’. And if that doesn’t work, say ‘China’.

Anyway - for the long weekend, my family and I drove up to Yosemite National Park, where despite the extremely dry conditions (California is in a bad drought), the valley turned out a show of natural beauty that certainly made it credible that this is the ‘#4 wonder of the world, fact’, as one of the locals tried to tell us. I’ve never been to the Lighthouse at Alexandria, so I can’t debate with him, but it was pretty spectacular.

To be honest though, one of my main reasons for coming was to try to see a bear.  Mainly because I mistakenly thought Yogi Bear was from here (he wasn’t). I’ve always wanted to see one of these loveable killers in the flesh, but I was disappointed. There were signs of them everywhere – no, not droppings or paw marks ­– I mean literally signs, telling us not to leave food out (we didn’t), not to wander off the main path (we did), not to strip naked, daub yourself in honey and run around the woods singing ‘the bare necessities’ (…no comment).

I did see a coyote however, that was pretty spooky, right outside the door of where we were staying. Great to see the great American outdoors, which seems much more accessible than the great NZ outdoors, mainly due to the fact that there are roads right through the middle of it, complete with traffic jams.

Back to civilization today, and saying goodbye to the family who head back to NZ, leaving me alone here for another 3 weeks to study, and work on my new start up – it’s an internet disruptor with series A VC funding, going after the China cloud market for Magic Pixie-dust. It’s going to be a paradigm shifter.

PS – Check out the wine list from this tiny café in the middle of nowhere… go kiwi!