About a year ago I was in an early-stage startup with a friend. One day, as we ate lunch, he told me of his days working in a slaughter house. He had been cruel to the animals – cruel even by slaughter house standards. He seemed remorseful.
The revelation hit me hard, but I stayed cool. He knew I was a vegetarian for humane reasons, but wanted to be square with me.
We continued working on the startup, having lunch together, being friendly, but in my heart we were no longer friends. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t get past his past.
I began to see shadows of his previous life. In his backyard was a dead mouse he smashed with a cinder block. At night when I tried to sleep his descriptions conjured sounds and images that haunted and angered me.
Several months later the startup suffered a significant financial setback. I seized the opportunity to buy him out. It was to protect him in case the business failed, I said. That was partly the reason. He believed in me more than he believed in the business. I’d never want to fail him.
The other reason, the main reason, was because I didn’t like him any more.
We came to agreement. I paid him in full – cash, although I could barely afford to. We shook hands, smiling. He thought we’d continue to socialise, but that didn’t happen. I wouldn’t even answer his calls. If I saw him on the street I ducked out of view.
That was until a few weeks ago. With my heart sufficiently softened, I called him on the phone and asked if he would help me test a prototype product I was developing. It was the upcoming Critical Stimulus deck.
The photo above is the result of the analysis.