Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Junkie Takes Desperate Measures

I am a kite junkie. After a day or two without kiting I start to get pretty desperate. I need my kitesurfing fix to remain sane. I joke that I now understand drug addicts better. I can relate to the feeling of needing something to which you are addicted - and doing whatever it takes to get it.

Last week I injured my wrist. For a couple of days I wasn't sure how serious it was and how long I might need to stay out of the water. Needless to say I was VERY concerned. The idea of not being able to kite for weeks, or even months, (specially now in the middle of the kite racing season) was devastating. In short, I was desperate. And desperate people do desperate things. What did I do? Fortunately, nothing too radical ;-). A few weeks earlier my mother had been in town and brought some Peyote cream. She said it had done wonders for her knee. At the time I was pretty dismissive. Peyote? Isn't that what some native americans smoke (or chew?) to hallucinate? At least that is what I remembered from Carlos Castaneda... Yet when my ability to kite was at stake, I was willing to try anything. Where is that Peyote cream?

The incident got me thinking about the crazy things that people do when they are really desperate - and the many people that try to take advantage of them. Need to recover a loved one? Need to lose weight? Need a job? Any route that offers hope is worth exploring - even if under normal circumstances we know it would be silly.

What is the take-away? Be on the lookout for crazy things we (or our loved ones) might do in desperate situations. Pay attention to the downside. Most times there isn't much downside: the cream doesn't help, the psychic doesn't change things, we waste a bit of money. But other times we might make matters significantly worst...

As to my wrist, I am glad to report that immobilizing it with a brace is making it better. And I can even kite with the brace :-). The Peyote cream, on the other hand, didn't seem to help.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bait and Switch

A few days ago I got an email with the subject "Speaker Invitation". The organizer of a conference about start-ups and entrepreneurship was asking me if I would be interested in participating in the event. I enjoy speaking at these kinds of events - as I usually get great feedback from the participants - so I gave him a tentative yes, but asked for more details about my participation and the agenda. At this point someone else from the organization took over the conversation and suggested that I help judge a start-up competition. Looking into the details I realized though that, given the number of judges and start-ups, my contribution would be pretty minimal. The event was not going to be in San Francisco and I concluded that it would not be worthwhile for me to go to the event unless I could contribute more significantly. I told them as much at which point they apologized and said the speaking slots where all full. The whole things felt like a "bait and switch". Like a car dealership that showcases an amazing deal on the window only to tell prospective buyers that that car had been sold, but they had another one available... My message to the boys: don't engage in this kind of behavior and be on the lookout for those who try to pull a bait and switch on you.