August and That HBS Way

August for me used to be a time for relaxation and languidness. In VC, when a percentage of the partners are out on summer holidays, it just naturally slowed down the investment pace. Do you really want to make a new investment without all of your partners buying into it?

As a young family, we used to take a week off in late August to rent a house up near Lake Winnipesaukee or Cape Cod. August was a great time to get away. That was then.

August 2020 and 2021 have been pretty crazy, now that I teach part-time at HBS (I teach a course on VC and Private equity; details here). When I joined the faculty last year, everyone told me that the key to teaching the Socratic-style case method was to prep and to prep well. As a result, August is now one of my busiest months.

My family decided to take a last-minute trip to visit relatives. I’m already locked in for five days of fishing in Montana and just felt I couldn’t take more time off without short-changing my students. I have just enough time to prep one case each day in August, and do my VC job, when I won’t be in Montana. So, I am home alone for the next two weeks.

A friend of mine told me that he used to fantasize about renting an apartment to get away occasionally from his family and get some peace. I’m in my own apartment now in a way. It sucks.

It’s just really weird to be in a very clean and silent house. As a result, I keep the radio on most of the day to fill the void. With this Covid variant buzzing around, I’m avoiding restaurants. I make a point to be out of the house at least once a day for an errand to be around people. I went to my new on-campus office for a change of pace and was psyched to have such a great view. I have a lot going on with the VC job with one of our companies. So, there’s plenty of work to do. But, as an extrovert, this dynamic feels pretty un-natural.

As I now head into my second year of teaching, I’m starting to get a feel for That HBS Way. It’s insanely gratifying to be around so many interesting students and faculty, and it’s a privilege to be there. But the new seasonality is definitely an adjustment.

I hope everyone is having a good August. Looking forward to seeing my family again!

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