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Photo by Noom Peerapong on Unsplash

In 2005, I decided to watch every best picture movie. I consumed the movies during my commute in 20–30 minute increments on a video iPod. It took about five years, but it was an great journey that I chronicled in a previous post.

One trepidation I had at the start was whether I possessed the stamina to get through older movies. I, like many others, dismissed most old movies as lousy. The craft evolved, visual effects got better, topics today are more relevant and relatable. But older movies have something over new ones: the passage of time. We can look back at a movie at its point in history and understand why the movie was important or interesting because we know how history played out. …

“How do you not know that movie?” my wife would routinely ask. Surely there are worse ways to emasculate a man. You see, my wife was the chief executive officer of the movie review site emoviecritic.com. While it did not become a dot com titan, it was an effective way for her to write off movie tickets as a business expense. It’s what you expect of a tax accountant. A natural consequence is that she’s seen a lot of movies.

Her regular astonishment at my movie illiteracy became increasingly hard to endure.

At a weak moment, I decided to shove all-in and watch every single movie that won the Academy Award for Best Picture. I was then confronted with a decidedly first-world problem: how to find the time with a newborn and a busy job. There just wasn’t any time, not even to go to Home Depot or Bed, Bath, & Beyond on weekends. …


In 2000, I went on a trip to Yosemite National Park to cleanse my mind before starting business school. It was a near-religious experience.

It would take me 19 years to return. When I did, I spent four days hiking the park, and although it seemed impossible, it was an even better experience than the first trip.

Yosemite is a special place. It inspired famed naturalist John Muir to start the Nature Conservancy. …


Jason Heltzer

Dad, venture capitalist at @OriginVentures, @chicagobooth professor, Chicagoan. I was a nerd before it was cool to be a nerd.

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