“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I was born premature at 24 weeks, weighing little more than a can of Coke, with chronic and lifelong challenges in speech, breathing, and vision. For twenty years, I couldn't say my own name, order a meal, talk on the phone, or make a joke. A month before starting HBS, I nearly lost my vision altogether.

I don't have the answers. I cannot tell you why I survived and millions of other babies didn't, why speech therapy helped me more than it did others, why the eye surgeries held and left so many others blind. The joy and wonder at having a chance is tempered every day by the guilt and humility for those who don't.

There are two options: forge ahead, or pause and rest. Life is a fragile balance of both, managing energy as well as time, drawing inward in order to dispense outward. I wish for myself equanimity and peace alongside the drive and restlessness to do justice to my own luck of being alive.

And for the times we choose to forge ahead, we make the rules. The structures we are empowered and constrained by are designed only by people, and thus can be improved by other people. I choose to spend my life where these norms and institutions are still forming: the interface of digital and physical. For it is in solving deep-set human needs at scale, heightening others' delight, and ameliorating their pain that I can begin to tackle my own.

— Aman Kumar