I flipped through the heavily marked Articles, listening the to technical arguments wash back and forth on the telephone. The answer is never clear when the sides are isolated on morally justified high ground. We only want protection in worst-case conditions, justifying veto rights over asset transfers and IP licensing. We should be able to run the company without constant arguments, pointing to review clauses for contracts and remuneration. I remember another investor who commented that strong rights and protections are necessary because he was the only one contributing something that could be lost. I bit my tongue – time, opportunity, reputation, and wages could be lost by any of us, no less real.
It’s a complex negotiation, resolution shimmering just beyond the thicket of legal language. And the way through is always to listen, be patient, look for common ground, and always to simplify.
Then a friend called to ask if I’d like to join him and his wife for a Bar-B-Q and jazz. I almost said no: I couldn’t see how to get my head out of four hours of calls and back into some sociable form for the evening. But it turned out to be just what I needed – two ways.
First, they are having an explosion of kittens at his home, and it’s charmingly simple to just watch them tumble through the late afternoon. Then there’s something about stroking a purring feline that makes troubles seem very distant.
Then off to Jazz a Liege, an annual festival where bands, soloists, and combo groups fill the convention center until 1 am. There’ something to sitting back and enjoying talented improvisational music in many forms for many hours, relaxing into complexity rather than wrestling with it. Excellent music by the Igor Gehenot trio, the Belgium Jazz Big Band, Thorbjorn Risager (I do love that name). Sample music and links are all over the festival web site: I’ve attached some photos and a video of the Big Band and their lead sax player, below, to give some flavor of the event.