It’s 2:15 AM on a Wednesday. Back in London. Awake from a combination of jet lag and frantic mind I can’t turn off sometimes.
Back from another amazing Coachella. Probably the best music weekend I have ever had. Stacked lineup from morning until night. Always great to get home and see the people i care the most about, but also painful because of how fleeting the time is, and how the music festival can overshadow quality time.
So last post I promised I had some news. You might know I am on a 9 month rotation in London. That ends at the end of May. The plan was then to head back and do my final rotation in Mountain View. Then life happened and the plan changed. So.. drumroll….. Starting in late June, I will be heading to Tel Aviv, Israel for 8 months building for the Mint Team. Intuit Mint is a personal financial management application that does budgeting, shows your credit score, and pays your bills. Obviously this was an agonizing decision, so a few weeks ago I wrote down the pros and cons. Today I updated them and posted them below. I am still not sure if I made the right call, but I thought I would lay down my thinking…
Why it could be the right move:
Ive been desperate to work on an product that I actually use. I couldn’t say enough good things about my current role, but the best PMs are the ones who can empathize best with users because they are users themselves. It makes it more real, and dramatically improves decision making. I have always dreamed of working on something I love outside of work, and I get excited just thinking about it. Builder Kyle is uber pumped.
Figuring life out. I’ve alluded to it in previous posts, but a big part of my Brexit motivation was a dissatisfaction with how things were going in SF. Something always felt off and I have spent a fair amount of time here trying to unpack that and figure out what was wrong. Some of it became clear immediately upon my move, while most has taken me time to really figure out. Trust me when I say my notes file is full of jumbled and often contradictory thoughts/beliefs/decisions that I have been sorting through. In this time most of what has been troubling me has become crystal clear, but I still am not quite there. With answers often comes more questions, but I can tell I am getting close to a place of understanding. I can’t know for sure, but I think Tel Aviv will be exactly what I need to get there.
It’s just an unreal opportunity. I know that life doesn’t give everyone these sorts of chances, and I am grateful to be in a place in life where I can take this chance. One of the guiding principles for my decision making until I am thirty is to go where I can learn the most. This checks that box times a million.
Israel itself. While I have visited once on birthright, I am thrilled by the idea of trying to figure out the most complex region on the planet and understand all the history and perspectives that have made this land such a global flashpoint in human history. Plus, I think i will gain a much better understanding and appreciation of my own Jewish heritage by exploring the holy land of the Jewish people.
The Middle East. FUNDaFIELD is looking seriously at what small work we can do to help children impacted by the inconceivably devastating Syrian crisis. Being close to the impacted areas will unquestionably help push this work ahead.
Why it could be the wrong move:
People.. If you read all of those pros above, they basically all revolve around Kyle Weiss. One of the things that has become obvious to me recently (see point 2 above), is that I haven’t really thought about everyone else when making these decisions. In the confusing time that is life immediately after Camp Claremont, it becomes easy to focus on just figuring your own shit out, but that can be dangerous. Tel Aviv means I can’t be there for friends and family if they need, missing birthdays, and all the big and small moments that give things meaning. Having already been gone for a while, this is hard. Really hard. While some relationships are obviously resilient, some rely on proximity and shared experience, and I hate that I am putting those at risk. This is something I am working on in life overall, and is definitely the biggest reason I still have doubts about this.
Really different. London is the perfect city for me. It’s a music haven. I get to interact with so many different types of people from so many different places. I can relate to new friends enough to have common ground, but it still feels new and exciting. Art is everywhere. People have nailed work-life balance. The time change isn’t THAT bad, and there is always more to see. While Tel Aviv has some of this, it is definitely a significant degree more foreign. Intense culture forged in a land surround by hostility, a completely different language that I know almost none of, differently values, different entertainment and priorities etc.. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. I am.
Leaving London. See above but I really love London. I have made some great friends here and leaving them is going to be painful. It has taken time to build up a life here, and now that things feel normal, the idea of walking right back into another life where I don’t know anyone and live alone is tough.
There is a lot more to it, but thats where I ended up as I thought about the decision. In the end I decided to go for it, while being acutely aware of the cons and prioritizing working extra hard to minimize the negative impacts. I am scared, no doubt, but I comfort myself with the thought that I will be able to visit, have visitors, and be back in the homeland in early next year. Seems manageable. Stay tuned. I suspect I will be writing a lot in the next few months.
con muchisimo amor
Kyle David Weiss.
P.S. Check out Mint in the App store. It is free! I will be working on helping users with their bills, but any thoughts on the app overall are incredibly helpful for us.
In a perplexing twist of events, it is currently Sunny in London. The last few weeks have warmed up and it is fantastic. The parks are full of people, rooftop bars are opening, and Kyle’s Vitamin D levels are normalizing. Anyways, it has been a crazy and wonderful few months, and I wanted to share some of the highlights with my six loyal readers.
Windsor Castle: One of the most spontaneously fun days I have had in London. Went with the lads to explore the Queen’s current residence (royals don’t live… that’s for mortals.. they “reside”) and the surrounding area. Getting out of London is always a breath of fresh air (literally http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/01/24/air-pollution-london-passes-levels-beijingand-wood-burners-making/) ), and a day of mucking about in Windsor was just what the doctor ordered. Best part was that Queen Lizzy herself was in the castle that day, and while we didn’t see her, her standard flew above for all to see.
After exploring the castle, we did what is known as the long walk.. Basically the trail that is a few miles long leading to the front of the castle. Very fairytale-esque to walk up to the castle through nature and see it get bigger and bigger in front of you. We eventually took our worn out selves to a gastropub for lunch, and then headed to a local shop for tea time. In the words of one of our British friends, “This was the most British day of my entire life.”
The biggest adventure I have been on in a while, we rented a huge house in the French Alps. <— sentence I thought I would never say.. Chamonix is a town surrounded by a bunch of the most beautiful mountains I have seen in my life. The town is small enough that you can walk to any of the gondolas up to the Mountain’s from your doorstep. Very chill. This trip introduced me to the wonder that is apres ski; basically after you finish on the slopes (during for some), everyone congregates before dinner for a drink or twelve. Crowds are huge, live music, and a ton of fun.
Then at night, the town turns wild (and Chamonix is one of the more conservative alps towns), with bars and clubs galore. Being France, the food was painfully delicious and rich. Even on the slopes, one of our lunches was a fully seated, French feast. The snowboarding was amazing, and the crew was a blast. From wearing wigs about half the trip to having snowball fights during runs, I couldn’t have asked for a better long weekend.
I visited Oxford. See: Cambridge. Amazing place that would be incredible to study at. At some point I will likely be headed back to school, so visiting different schools and seeing the programs they offer is a good time.
5v5 footy… basically indoor soccer outdoors.. Intuit F.C. was off to a hot start with 3 straight wins to open the season. As of this week we have now been promoted to the first division, and while we lost our first game 9-7, the energy is amazing. Feels great to work these muscles again. I love this game. The Brits get way too intense about it, and near-fights and actual fights are surprisingly common, but that makes it even more intense. Sidenote: one of my favorite bands, ‘The XX’ played 7 nights straight in Brixton. I got a last minute ticket to one sold out show and went straight from a match, all by myself.. Worth it. Amazing show.
Other than that, life has been pretty amazing lately. Work is engaging and fun, friendships are what I would assume to be lasting, and running on the river in the mornings is more pleasant than ever.
Weekends are spent exploring new areas, eating good food, having wild nights out, drawing, and having Hygge time at Sunday BBQ, one of my favorite weekly traditions.
Really appreciate all the homies here who have welcomed me, and shown me the ropes. I am beyond stoked to head home for my favorite weekend of the year on Tuesday, and am already sad thinking about the end of my rotation. As of 12 hours ago I know where my next role will be, and spoiler alert, it won’t be London. Stay tuned world.