au courant
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au courant

My late-night excursions: How I usually read and dig through?

It is a beautiful moment. Curiosity running wild… rabbit holes abound, and total flow. This nurtures serendipity… If I am on to something, I find it sooner or later. The internet is a powerful tool if you know how to read between the lines.

When multiple people have asked me how I know about something/someone — I have never been able to generate an audit trail through which I could demystify it for them. And sometimes, it’s for good. But today, it happened again and I thought of quickly recording the trail, post it happened…

A (startup) founder I was speaking to told me that a particular partner at Matrix US had committed to them. I looked at the Partner then, ok, moved on.

3–4 hours later, the tab was still one of the tabs open in the window. I went and quickly wanted to look at the US team (for some reasons like, Matrix US isn’t like really known known — Matrix IN is much more out there).

I was looking at several partner profiles….
(Side note: Something that stood out to me was one partner had mentioned he went to Harrow in his list of education, quite unusual but still quite the norm if you went to a prep school — I think to myself, yes I have seen this before. ‘Social scientist hat’).

Then looked at the Matrix founder profile. Paul Ferri. Surprisingly, I have never heard of him before, quickly Google, head to Wiki.

I read Hellman there. Question - is this related to Hellman & Friedman? Yes it is! They had founded Hellman Perri Associates post which they split and Perri started Matrix whereas Hellman started Hellman and Friedman.

I head to H&F Wiki by clicking the hyperlink and then looking at Wiki of Warren Hellman and Tully Friedman.

When I am reading through Hellman’s wiki, I learn he is the great grandson of Isais W Hellman (hearing the name for the first time, but founding father of USC, sounds interesting!). Open it in new tab and continue.

Isaias W Hellman’s sister was married to Mayer Lehman, one of the founding brothers of Lehman Brothers. (In the background — oh, that’s why his great grandson Warren Hellman became the youngest partner at Lehman in the firm’s history, and the Chairman of the IBD. Wow! Talk about meritocracy!?)

Isaias Hellman’s Wiki again. Quickly skim through, found the Lehman stuff mentioned. In the legacy section, find the name of his biography mentioned — Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California. Bestseller. Ok. Quickly Google it. Open Goodreads. Read reviews. One review stands out and ‘Jews’ and their evolution in the US has been an area of interest I have pursued very academically. Amy Chua and The Triple Package also pass through my mind for a fleeting second.

Check the book on Amazon to see if I can order it.

At the same time, I realize that the book is on the history of evolution of California as a state.

At the same time, one of the reviews also mentions that if you want to learn about the history of LA (I am about to travel there in a week)… read Otis Chandler (is this related to Otis ‘of elevator’ fame? Quickly Google and Wiki… No he’s isn’t. But quickly see LA Times, and suddenly there’s a thought that runs through my mind — what was that hedge fund that used to acquire newspapers all across the US? I Google to refresh my memory and find it’s Alden — I have read about it earlier.

This is how I have read (or explored everything) for the longest time I have known myself. It’s weird, it’s insane, and it’s led to some crazy discoveries, and incomprehensible pattern recognition. For me, it’s all about people and mapping their motivations, and then putting it in context of why they do, what they do. (It has also taken me ages to finish stuff because I really like to read and make complete sense about all the characters in the story.)

How did this start? Well, it all started when my rents got me a personal computer on my birthday when I was in second grade ca. 2001 (tech bubble, eh?). It changed my life because the amount of stuff I will go on to read and the pattern recognition I would build eventually over the years would dwarf every other form of reading compounding… This is how I also fell in love with computers and nurtured my curiosity on those 128kbps internet connections that were initially sold by the hour in India.

This piece is written in a free-flowing language. “Write like you speak”, they often said. If you also find the power of your brain to connect the dots intriguing, hmu.

September 2022

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