Monday, January 7, 2008

My First Time

I've always been a little scared of blogging. I've figured authors walk a potentially deadly fine line. The boring and irrelevant on one side. The incriminating on the other.

I'm ready to start walking that line. Maybe I'll incriminate, and maybe I'll bore. But I'll take the risk: I have at least three good reasons to write...

1. I'm working on a dot com startup project, and I want to write about being a rookie entrepreneur and catalog the crazy thoughts that run through my mind as I try to get this thing going.

2. I want to broaden the discussions I'm having about the project. We are building a website that we hope will make it easy for people to consume more responsibly. We want to change the world by helping to create an economy in which we choose to buy the things we buy based on which businesses we want to support. We want to let people know if there's a meaningful difference between buying Crest toothpaste and Colgate toothpaste. We have plans; we have ideas; and we should, by the middle February, have our system ready enough for our first trickle of users. We know we have a lot to learn, however, and I think we'll be able to learn faster if I start asking a lot more people a lot more questions.

3. Very simply, I need to start writing.

My uncle Jamie works for the Rural Fire Service in North Queensland, Australia. A couple of years ago, he and I were in a car together for 12 straight hours. We were on our way to an indigenous community on the eastern banks of the Gulf of Carpenteria. The drive started in Cairns, a small but booming tropical city; it passed through rainforest, desolate cattlelands, and dusty swaths of bloodwoods and ghost gums; and it ended on the edge of a mangrove swamp along a gray, brackish coastal creek. We covered a nearly incomprehensible amount that day: telling stories, observing inland Australia, and putting words to thoughts we hadn't ever before. And at one point in the middle of it all, Jamie told me I should start writing. He said he didn't think people realized how different their minds were year to year and even week to week. I'd be smart to keep track of my thoughts and ideas and observations, he reckoned: you never know when forgotten moments from the not so distant past might suddenly become useful.

I am amazingly lucky in that I get to talk to lots of fascinating people about lots of fascinating things, both related to the startup project and otherwise. I want those conversations to continue, and I want to open them up to a bigger group of people. So I'm going to write. Sometimes it'll be about starting up. Sometimes it'll be about incentivising responsible corporate behavior. Sometimes it'll be about dinosaurs or something. Who knows...

I hope you enjoy.


Dibital said...

i'm down to expand the conversation on tropical fruit any time. even though i can't eat very much of it anymore, right, so if you have any blood sugar management advice go ahead and post that in these pages too. also i was wondering about the wild turkey federation and what ever happened to it. i was talking to herbert (ween) the other day and he said he got a bill from them and he didn't know why. i said i'd ask you.

Jake de Grazia said...

Not sure what to tell you about the Federation, but I did have a run in with a turkey a few days ago.

There's a guy named Greg that lives right down the hill from my grandparents, and Greg has a pet turkey. He mysteriously acquired it years ago (unclear if it's wild or of domestic origins), planned to eat it at Thanksgiving, named it Thomas, couldn't bring himself to kill it, and then built it a cage and let it move in with him.

My sister, cousin, and I took our grandparents' dog for a walk, and as we were passing Greg's house, it didn't occur to us that Thomas might not be in his cage.

Well it did occur to Rollie the dog, and as soon as he confirmed that there was a turkey on the loose, he took off full speed after it.

Thomas is old. Greg had planned on eating him in the late 90s, and I don't think turkeys have a particularly impressive life expectancy. While Thomas can fly, it takes him quite the slow motion running start get off the ground, and he gets tired after about 100m.

Anyway, the chase was on, but there was no question Rollie was going to catch him. I thought Thomas's only hope was me getting to Rollie before Rollie figured out how to eat a live turkey, so I joined the excitement.

Just as Thomas and Rollie had disappeared into some pretty thick woods and underbrush, and just as I had started to go in after them, Greg's truck came roaring up and screeched to a halt. He realized immediately what was going on, came sprinting toward me, and started screaming "Where's my fucking turkey?!? Where's my fucking turkey?!?"

I thought I was about to die.

Suddenly Rollie came wagging out of the brush. No feathers in his mouth. Good sign.

Greg crashed in where the dog came out: "Thomas! Thomas! Where are you? Thomas!"

I heard a gobble. Then another.

Greg emerged. He was carrying Thomas. The turkey seemed totally relaxed.

I apologized and apologized. We were so stupid; we didn't realize; we'll never do it again; etc, etc.

Greg was totally mellow. "Dogs will be dogs," he said. Then he paused and looked at Thomas. "And turkeys will be turkeys."

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