“You can’t outrun a Balrog!”/ Nerds are cool

Yesterday after work I went and visited Fletcher and Andy at their house and we were sitting around discussing movies based on books, books based on movies, planned trilogies and that sort of thing, when Fletcher said, “I think the cheesiest part of Lord of the Rings was that Gandolf, supposedly the second most powerful wizard in the world, didn’t help the protagonists more.”

To which I replied, “Fletch, he fought that monster Balrog, what do you expect?”

He just shrugged and said, “They could’ve easily outrun it.”

I exclaimed, “You can’t outrun a Balrog!”

Now you may be wondering what does this have to do with nerds being cool? It has everything to do with it. These types of conversations are where many truly brilliant ideas see their birth. The above talk was silly, but it reminded me how much I enjoy chatting with smart people about anything and everything. I love having passionate discussions with intelligent people about anything from where life is going to movies and books to culture to international finance to religion to relationships to exercise to the purpose of life to any other subject under the sun. During these conversations, which sometimes last many hours into the night, my brainy friends and I lay out new ideas and their structures and potential applications. We laugh and joke and have a lot of fun, but we also sometimes hit on some awesome ideas in serious fields. It may be nerdy, but I love to have a fiery discussion that lasts for six or seven hours and lays out our opinion of the ideal framework for maximizing our influence in interpersonal interactions (a conversation Jeremy and I had) or the best balance between earning income and living your life (Fletch and I) or any number of other incredible conversations I’ve had. I even have enjoyed deep conversations with my new boss, with whom I don’t have much in common other than our job. He and I have had some brainstorming sessions on how best to reverse engineer the search engines (my job) that have been exciting.

When I woke up this morning, I lay there thinking about these great conversations and realized that I have been having somewhat less of them lately. Life has just been pushing and pulling me in so many directions that I have not had as much opportunity to sit down and just talk for hours on end. Part of the problem is that many of the smartest people I know have moved away: Jeremy to LA, Mark to Tacoma with his new wife, Shannon transferred to a Cali school, Kenny to Beverly Hills and many others have followed their individual life paths. Every so often, we run into one another but it isn’t enough. Basically I think I need to expand my circles and meet new people who can hold their own in a philosophical discussion.

I started to write down a few of the ideas we’ve discussed, but quickly discovered there’s far too much to be written here. Perhaps I’ll write about some of the ideas I have once in a while. I also don’t want some of the profitable ideas stolen ;).

The point of this whole post is that I want to have more of these conversations, so whether your an old friend or a new one, please call me and we’ll talk the days and nights away.

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Joel Gross

Joel Gross is the CEO of Coalition Technologies.

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