Brian Ma's Blog (@zealoustiger)

Weekly insights from an Entreprenuer: To spend one year as a tiger is better than to live forever as sheep

Tag Archives: 2008 depression

When it’s all over: Economy, Depression, and Roofs

It’s 2008.  We’re officially in a depression – my house price is dropping like an airplane that’s lost its engines, I lost so much money in my portfolio I’ve stopped caring, my friends are all losing their jobs, and every conversation I overhear revolves around doom and gloom.  But something different happened today, something I want to share:

I have a rental home (don’t get into landlording, many stories to tell here, but I’ll save it for another time), and recently I’ve had a pretty bad moisture problem.  Water is getting into the bedrooms, soaking the walls and carpets, and mold and shrooms have grown inside the house.  It’s any homeowner’s worst nightmare, and it costs an arm and a leg to fix.  Needless to say, it has not been a very pleasant few weeks.

But its fixed now, I’ve had at least 5 different people come inspect/fix things.  I’ve been informed that a majority of the problem is inadequate drainage of water from the roof, so today, I reluctantly decided to climb on the roof, rake the leaves, and unclog the drains.  It’s messy, it’s stinky, and it’s hard work.

I know this might sound cheesy, but as I was standing there on top of the roof, a weird feeling overwhelmed me – a feeling that anyone who’s been on top of a mountain looking across the vast landscape might know.  That after all the doom and gloom, all will be well with the world.  I saw all the little houses around me, the large trees that had been leaving their leaves on my roof looked less intimidating, the cars parked on the sidewalks looked like toys, and in the distant, I could see cars busily continuing their daily routine.


Standing on top of something big makes you see the world from a different perspective.  It mights you feel small, and it reminds you to stop worrying about all the tiny problems in your life.  What if your startup fails?  What if that round of financing doesn’t close?  What if your competitors are faster than you?  Just stop worrying.  Because in the end, the world will keep turning, and everything will be all right.

I suggest you try out your roof too.  It’s fun.  And it feels good.

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