Are You Present?

Last week, I was chatting with an old friend who after I told her how busy and ragged I sometimes felt, she asked me, “Are you present?”

To which I immediately replied, “At work?”

And she laughed, and said, “I meant at home, but I have my answer!”

The conversation reminded me of a man at Google named Chade-Meng Tan. In Building 42 of the Mountain View Campus, which is the main building in the center of the headquarters, there used to be a poster on the wall of Chade-Meng with many world leaders including several presidents and the Dalai Lama among others.

Chade-Meng distinguished himself by developing a mindfulness class at Google that has become massively oversubscribed with an endless waiting list. The demand for his class proves two things. First Chade-Meng is a wonderful teacher. Second, many of us are searching for calmness and mindfulness.

The end of a year is a good time to reflect on being present. Chade-Meng has a wonderful video with an opening Buddhist parable about emotions:

A man rides on a horse, when he comes along a peasant. The peasant asks the rider, “Rider, where are you going?” And the rider says, “I don’t know. Ask the horse.”

I hope to be more mindful in 2016.

Published 2015-12-10 in


I am partner at Redpoint. I write daily, data-driven blog posts about key questions facing startups. I co-authored the book, Winning with Data. Join more than 20,000 others receiving these blog posts by email.

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