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Gigaom founder Om Malik: My heart attack ‘was the best thing that happened to me’

“It forced me to prioritize what was important.”

Courtesy Om Malik

Om Malik knew from an early age that he wanted to write — and, after reading an article in Forbes magazine about ARPANET, he knew he wanted to write about technology and the internet.

Starting at in the late ‘90s, he got his wish, later joining the (now-defunct) magazine Red Herring and then starting his own site, Gigaom, after his personal blog gained traction. On the latest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka, Malik said he was always "running hard."

"I was a daily journalist. If I don’t write every day, I lose my mind," he recalled. "For me, stories are like Lego blocks. If I don’t put one down, I can’t put the next one down."

But in late 2007, less than two years into Gigaom, Malik suffered a heart attack that the New York Times linked to the stress of being a 24/7 blogger.

"That’s the popular narrative," he said. "But everybody conveniently forgot that I was smoking and I was drinking and I was eating unhealthy foods and I was not exercising. Those four, plus the stress of the job, combined to a short circuit."

"I look back and just say, maybe that was the best thing that happened to me," he added. "It forced me to prioritize: 'I don’t think breaking news is that important.' It put everything in perspective for me."

On the new podcast, Malik also discussed why Apple should buy Netflix, his six-month stint as a venture capitalist in the late ‘90s and why Gigaom shut down in March 2015. And he explained how he evaluates the startup landscape now that he is a VC once again, specifically a partner at True Ventures.

"The macro trend is, we are putting our digital heartbeat in everything that is inanimate," Malik said. "Your TVs were not a connected device. Your phone was just a phone. The kitchen needs to be reinvented ... That's what technology is: 95 percent of the time, it’s exploring new opportunity. Five percent is solving existing problems."

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