Conversations with members of the Harvard and Radcliffe Class of 1992.
Hosted by Will Bachman.

Episode: 64

Chris Cowell, Philosopher and Computer Scientist

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Show notes

Chris Cowell, a computer science major, shares an anecdote about his college experience. He mentioned that the computer science major concentration at Harvard was different from today, and how he worked with paper and pencil more than computers. Chris talks about the multiple paths taken in life after graduating from Harvard, including working for a public service program called Vista, which was started during the Vietnam War as a way for conscientious objectors to provide service to the country.

Chris was assigned to an adult literacy group in Lansing, Michigan, where he was in charge of matching tutors and literacy tutors with students who needed to learn how to read. This experience was unpleasant and lonely, but it was also a good antidote to the occasional preciousness of Harvard.

Through this experience, he was able to understand the struggles of a large portion of the population, including students who struggled with brain problems, mental health issues, and other struggles. This experience helped him understand that life doesn’t come easy for many people. Chris shares a few anecdotes from his time in the program, including how the term dyslexia is used, how his experience taught him that there are many reasons an adult may have difficulty learning how to read, and how he would match teachers to students.


Pursuing a Philosophy Degree and Moving into Consulting

Chris initially had a side interest in philosophy and decided to pursue a philosophy degree. He took two years at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, taking more undergraduate philosophy classes and decided to pursue a PhD in philosophy. He went on to Berkeley for grad school and spent six years there, but felt like he was barely hanging on and didn’t have much to contribute. He finished the program in 2001 but decided he wouldn’t pursue a career in the academic field and decided to go back into computer science. Chris was recruited by Anderson Consulting, a company that had just spun off from Arthur Andersen, which had been involved in the Enron scandal.

Chris’ experience with Anderson Consulting was not what he expected. He was assigned to an eight-year in-town project in Sacramento, which was a contract with the government of California to set up a child welfare website, which was unfortunate because, although he had learned theory of computer science, he didn’t have the practical coding skills  to complete the project. He was given the opportunity to learn programming but later transitioned to Accenture and moved into their research and development lab in Palo Alto during the height of the innovation era in the San Francisco Bay area. 


Starting a Technical Training Company

Chris moved to Portland, where he worked for Oracle as a computer programmer. He worked for different companies in the Portland area, specializing in testing programs that test other programs. However, he realized that he had only been promoted once over the course of his 20-year career. This realization led him to change their focus from tech to doing technical training. Chris started a one-person technical training company, teaching people how to use software. He sold classes and in-person training to local companies and had fun building the curriculum. He also enjoyed public speaking. However, the COVID pandemic hit, but he had no marketing savvy and his company was failing.  After a few years, he got a job with a real software company, teaching people how to use their software. He recently shifted to another company, and their career now focuses on technical training, building materials, and giving presentations on software usage.


Influential Harvard Courses and Professors

Chris remembers a few courses from college, but he found the core science courses the most interesting. David Lazarus’ Space, Time and Motion, the Recent History of Iran course, and Diana Eck’s Comparative Religion course. 

He loved the music appreciation course taught by Louise vos Gershon, who was described as the only faculty member at Harvard without a PhD. The skills learned in music appreciation have been useful in his singing and guitar playing ever since. Chris also values learning basic music theory, which is essential for musicians who want to understand how music theory works. He also joined the Harvard Speech in Parliament and Debate society where he may have debated Ted Cruz. 



03:23 Adult Literacy group in Lansing, Michigan

08:51 How to pick the right student

11:19 How Chris decided to pursue a Phd

15:25 How Chris started his career in tech

22:39 On starting his own technical training company

25:41 Courses and professors that have stayed with him



Facebook: Cowell-shah


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Chris Cowell


Will Bachman, Chris Cowell


Will Bachman  00:01

Hello, and welcome to the 90 T report conversations with members of the Harvard and Radcliffe class of 1992. I’m your host, will Bachman and I’m here today with Chris Cowell, who majored in computer science. And I want to start with an anecdote, Chris, before we started recording, you told me what


Chris Cowell  00:23

I told you that the week the computer science major concentration worked back in 92 is I think, very different than it is today. It was very, not computer related. So freshman year, I used the computer for my programming courses. And then sophomore, junior senior year never touched a computer again, it was all paper and pencil is all math and theory, which I don’t think is how a typical computer science curriculum works today. 30 years later, but maybe I’m wrong.


Will Bachman  00:55

I can’t it’s like, you know, majoring in physics, but not getting to do any physics or majoring in English. But you’re not going to read any books in English. It’s just so strange. And I know that blows me away. So I Okay, I will go back. I will start with our normal question then. But I mean, we need to explore that a little bit more at some point. Okay. So tell us about your journey since graduating from Harvard.


Chris Cowell  01:20

Oh, man, it’s it’s a it’s a big question. There’s this phrase when I was growing up, maybe this is a regionalism, I don’t know if other people use it called a graveyard, which is when you’re at a fast food restaurant. And you’ve got your empty drink cup, and you go down the line of soda dispensers, and you get a little bit of coke and a little bit of Sprite and a little bit of orange Fanta. And you keep mixing them all together. And you end up with the graveyard. And it’s satisfying in one sense, because there’s a lot of sugar, but it doesn’t really add up too much. That’s kind of how I think of my path. After college. I’ve done a little bit of this and a little bit of that. And, you know, it hasn’t added up to me being CEO of a company or anything, but it’s been satisfying in some way. So I don’t know the best way to explain all the different flavors. But maybe I’ll just give you an overview of some some of the weird things I’ve been up to. And


Will Bachman  02:17

let’s hear about the weird things. Let’s go for it, by the way, by the way, so a linear career that leads up to CEO or movie star is is not necessarily the best the best life. So So let’s, let’s hear about the weird stuff.


Chris Cowell  02:36

Yeah. Well, okay, so Right, right after college, I, I wanted to do something public service related. And at the time, there’s this program called Vista, which was actually a US government program that was started during the Vietnam War as a way of essentially of conscientious objectors being able to provide service to the country in a way that wasn’t fighting in Vietnam War. And then the program stuck around for decades after that, and we’re still around at 92. And you can kind of think of it as a domestic form of the Peace Corps. That’s how I think of it. So I did that for right after graduation. And they assigned me to a to an adult literacy group in Lansing, Michigan. So I was I was in charge of matching up tutors, literacy tutors, with students, adults, students who need to learn how to read. And turns out there are a lot of them in Lansing, Michigan. So it was it was one of those years that was unpleasant. I didn’t like Lansing, didn’t have a lot of friends. It’s kind of lonely. It was living in the Rust Belt was interesting. But again, not the kind of thing you choose. And I was glad when it was over. But I’m I was even more glad to have done it. It really was a good experience. It was a good antidote to the occasional preciousness of a place like Harvard, you got to get exposed to some other stuff. So you don’t think that that’s being a Harvard student is the only way to be. There are a lot aspects in life that don’t have the comfort or the wealth or all the other the prestige all the things that we associate with 15 Harvard students. So what it was useful to have done


Will Bachman  04:33

so what did you understand about the world at the end of that program that you did not when you graduated from Harvard?


Chris Cowell  04:41

Oh, man, you’re very good at this great question. It was really useful to get a look at the struggles of big swaths of the country or of the populace, I guess, I should say. I mean, the students I was working with If the adult literacy students were were just grappling with so many problems in their lives, if you get to be 35, and you can’t read, maybe you’re in rare cases, you basically have a normal brain and you had weird circumstances growing up, you had to work on the farm or you were homeschooled in a terrible way or something happened that prevented you from learning how to read. But that was the minority of our students, most of our students were 35. And they didn’t know how to read because they had brain problems one way or the other. They had mental health problems, they had so many other struggles in their lives, that the idea of launching a multi year focused effort to learn how to read was just hilariously impossible. And many of those students, frankly, never got very far, no matter how motivated they were. And these were not folks that we ran across in livered house. And it was very useful for me to be reminded that big chunks of America operate that way. It’s it life doesn’t come easy to them.


Will Bachman  06:13

Now, the youngest of my three kids has dyslexia. And we’ve been very blessed that we were able to diagnose it early, and get the appropriate schooling for her. So she’s actually, you know, catching up to her peers. Now, she’s maybe a year behind, but she’s on a trajectory to kind of, you know, and she reads fine now, right. But I wonder, I’m thinking back to my childhood, and peers who, you know, maybe had struggle in school. And I’m wondering now, how many of them might have just been dyslexic? Like one out of five kids? Were there are many dyslexic folks in the thing, or was it? And I’m curious to hear if you had any interactions with with those folks who maybe needed special specialized training on to learn to read.


Chris Cowell  07:06

Yeah, there were, although it’s, it’s interesting that you bring up the term dyslexia, the Michigan State University professor, who was the figurehead in charge of my my little literacy group, she had strong opinions that that as a society, we massively overused the term dyslexia. And that I don’t know the state of your kid, obviously. But her opinion was that dyslexia is a rather narrow brain disorder. It’s a you know, Miss wiring of the brain that can be diagnosed with very concrete tests. But that as a society, we use the term much more broadly than that, just to mean loosely, anyone who has trouble reading, and what I think what I learned, or one of the things I learned in this program was that there’s just there’s so many reasons that you might have trouble reading, only some of which are due to dyslexia. Some of the just life challenges I mentioned before, are some of the things that can cause you to not learn how to read and, you know, it’s unpleasant to talk about some people just they struggle with daily tasks, tasks due to, you know, they’re just a little slow. And they just don’t have the brainpower to learn how to read. So there’s no good way to fix that. I mean, it’s important to remember that half of all Americans have IQ below 100. And some people have an IQ radically below that. And I know that IQ is a controversial term means different things to different people. There are lots of different kinds of intelligence, so on and so forth. But some people are just quicker to pick things up and others and some people are never able to pick up things like reading. Wow, I can’t remember what your question was anymore. No,


Will Bachman  08:53

that’s powerful. So well, okay. And I’m curious, because I, you know, I sort of do a matching kind of business. How was it just scheduling? You know, okay, this person is available at 3pm. Or when you’re matching? Was there other other sorts of qualities that you looked at to make a really good match between the tutor and the student?


Chris Cowell  09:17

Yeah, it was mostly the 3pm thing you mentioned, but with some wrinkles thrown in. So occasionally, you get students who are just maybe a little too macho for their own good, and they wouldn’t, they would react better to a male teacher than a female teacher. Or sometimes you had the reverse, you might have a timid female student who would feel intimidated by you know, big, burly male teacher. So you had to worry about that kind of thing. You had to worry about just basic logistics, like a lot of these students weren’t able to get around very easily. I remember one student who rode this big tricycle everywhere that was that was your only means of transportation. So you had to figure out well, let’s match A student was someone who lives approximately in their, their part of town. And then we had some really nutso teachers, like one teacher decided after teaching a class, you know, I should be a student, I should not be a teacher, my reading is not good enough to teach it. So she became a student with our group, which was odd. And another teacher had just immigrated from I want to say, Somalia, but that might not be right. And she had this religious obligation, as she described it to help as many people as she possibly could. She also had no full time job. So she volunteered to teach 10 students now one student is what we know, we normally match someone up with, and you meet once a week with these students, but she’s like, No, give me 10. Well, we started at one worked up from there, I think we got up to three, and then she decided that was enough. But every teacher is different and has their own constraints. And boy, every student is different has their own constraints as well.


Will Bachman  10:56

Wow. Okay, what an introduction to the real world. Right after, after Harvard. Okay, so what happened next?


Chris Cowell  11:02

So then I thought, all right, I ended up not really being super enthusiastic about computer science, despite you know, having that as my concentration


Will Bachman  11:13

I all that paper and pencil that you didn’t come on. Yeah, after all the paper and pencil,


Chris Cowell  11:17

you’re right. I felt like it was not. My fellow students were perfectly nice. They, they were just a little too weird. And I didn’t really imagine a career with them. There were a few too many cloaks being worn to the Science Center and the aromas that wafted off of them were maybe a little too pungent. And I thought, let’s, let’s look at something else. And I had, I’d always had a side interest in philosophy, I’d taken a bunch of philosophy classes with Nozick and Hilary Putnam and people that you know, you only get at a place like Harvard, I didn’t do spectacularly well at philosophy, but it was always a side. And so I thought, well, let’s let’s pursue a philosophy PhD. So because I had been a computer science major, I couldn’t just apply to philosophy programs. So what I did instead was take two years at University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, taking more undergraduate philosophy classes, in preparation for grad school. And that was great boy and Arbor is everything that Lansing isn’t, and I don’t mean to insult the good people from from Lansing, but it’s a pretty grim place. And Ann Arbor is just Shangri La. It’s, it’s wonderful. So to two years of undergrad classes in philosophy, and an arbor and got much better at it, and thought, yep, this is a PhD in philosophy is what I want to do. So I can become a philosophy press professor, went off to Berkeley for grad school, and spent six years there. And it was kind of a fleeting experience, honestly, I felt like I kind of never quite got it, where the it is philosophy. You know, the undergrad classes were great. But once we got into really intense grad seminars, I always felt like I was just barely hanging on, and didn’t have much to contribute. And was never quite sure if other people were making sense when they were making philosophical arguments. So I decided most of the way through the program that I wanted to finish, but I probably would not go on the academic job market. There were just too many people ahead of me in the program, who were either smarter than me or love philosophy more than I did, or both, who ended up getting teaching jobs that they really weren’t happy with, they might have been in parts of the world, they parts of the country they weren’t interested in living in or there’s the so called two body problem where your your partner is in one city due to work and you’re stuck in another city to your academic job. This is very common with academic couples. Or they were teaching at schools where the students just couldn’t have cared less about philosophy, which is dispiriting as a teacher. So there are a lot of potential problems. And I thought, you know, I’ve got this computer science background, maybe I should look at that more seriously. And so that’s what I ended up doing. I did finish the program in 2001. And I’m glad I did, although, in retrospect, maybe I should have just left with a terminal master’s, and then went back into computers after that.


Will Bachman  14:28

Okay, so tell us about that as a long time to get back into computer computers. So how did you make that transition? And tell us about your roles in the world of technology?


Chris Cowell  14:41

Yeah. Well, I know you were a McKinsey guy for awhile. And when I was finishing up grad school, the startup boom was really going crazy. And the consulting companies like the Mackenzies and veins and BCG of the world were losing People left and right to go off and work for startups or start their own startups and think in many cases. So they started recruiting all sorts of advanced degree holders, MDS, and JD ‘s and PhDs and everyone they could think of to fill the roles that normally we’re filled by MBAs. And I’d be curious if, if this matches your experience, too, because I only know what I was told by the recruiters than you were on the inside. And you might be like, No, that’s not how it happened at all. But that was the story I heard. So I was swept up in this this management consulting, massive recruiting effort. And when they you know, even if you’re not interested in business at all, I wish I basically wasn’t. It’s, it’s seductive when they say, Hey, eat this expensive meal, which costs more than all your entire food budget for the last semester, and wine and dine you and fly you around for interviews, and so forth. So I did all those interviews, I got pretty close to getting a job. McKinsey got to the last round, but ended up not getting offers from from any of the big consulting companies. But in retrospect, I think that’s probably good given my complete lack of interest in or knowledge about business. And I did get a job finally with what was then Anderson Consulting, which had fortunately just spun off from Arthur Andersen, which you may remember went down with the the Enron scandal, right in 2001. Yeah, so So I was working for Anderson Consulting, which started off sounding glamorous you, I mean, again, you were in consulting, you know how this works. You fly around and meet with different customers every six months, different clients every six months and learn a lot in each engagement. At least that’s the theory. What ended up happening was, they assigned me to a long term project project. No, it was in Lansing. It was in the the Bay Area as they put it, which I thought we’ll find San Francisco or Palo Alto, that’ll be fine. But no, for them, the Bay Area met Sacramento. So I was in an eight year in town project in Sacramento. So gently, eight years. Yeah, it was an eight year contract with the government of California to set up a, like a child welfare website. Yeah, so that’s, I know, I know. So that was not at all what I was expecting. But the reason this was fortunate is, as I mentioned before, you know, if you if your computer science background consists of paper and pencil stuff, you don’t learn the skills that you need to earn money as a as a programmer. So I showed up at this job, and everyone’s like, whoa, this guy’s this guy’s got a PhD. And he went to Harvard and studied computer science, which just put them in charge of the whole thing. And they expected amazing things out of man, I couldn’t deliver


Will Bachman  17:53

anything here. Like, where’s the on button? Yeah,


Chris Cowell  17:57

it was really, honestly, it was embarrassing. I’m really not exaggerating. When I spent when I say I spent my first six months, they’re just in a state of constant fear and embarrassment. But the one of the things that, that Anderson Consulting, which at that point, change his name to Accenture, which people probably know more now, one of the things that companies like Accenture do pretty well is train you and what you need to know to do the role. So I kind of acted like someone who had never programmed before, because in some senses that did accurately describe me and started from the ground up and learned programming there on the job. And so I was in Sacramento for a couple years. And then I really didn’t like Sacramento well enough to stick around. And I found the job just kind of unsatisfying. So transferred within Accenture to their research and development lab in Palo Alto. And this was great, because it actually was, let me use my PhD in a way that I didn’t expect I would ever be able to use it. The people at the Research and Development Lab, mostly were PhDs. I don’t think I would have gotten the transfer without it, even though my PhD was in a completely unrelated field. So did some r&d stuff for three years, which is a much better job living in San Francisco and working in the Bay Area at the, you know, the height of the innovation era was really kind of fascinating. At some point in here, I got married, and we had our first kid. And eventually San Francisco just got to be too much. I remember there was a time when we were taking the kid to a pediatrician appointment. And there was no place to park and it was not an emergency. So it didn’t matter that we couldn’t park but we were just driving around and around around thinking this is This is idiotic to be living in a place where you can’t take your kid to the doctor because it’s so crowded. And the logistics of getting around are so impossible. So we moved to to Portland, which is where I had grown up, and I was anxious to get back to Sunday. And stop me at any point. I’m just kind of freewheeling here. But moved to Portland started working for Oracle as a computer programmer. Oracle is a terrible company. I don’t mean to insult anyone who’s happy, happily working for Oracle today. But I would never work for them again, but worked for them for years. And then just started a series of working for different companies in the Portland area all as a computer programmer specializing in testing in writing programs that test other programs, which is an underappreciated field and bounce from company to company to company in tech, you never see anywhere from more than four years it. I mean, this is not a hard and fast rule. But But four years is kind of where most people start getting itchy and looking around. And there’s absolutely no shame in having a resume that consists of a whole bunch of four years since there might actually be more shame in having a resume that’s got 20 years of working for one company, because it might indicate a lack of ambition or something. But anyway, I’ve bounced around every four years worked for a whole bunch of different companies, which I won’t go into now, because it’s boring. And then the next big change happened maybe five years ago, when I realized, I realized that I had been promoted once in 2003. When I just started with Accenture as the standard, you know, we promote everyone after they’ve been here for a year kind of thing. And then had never been promoted. After that, you know, over my 20 or so years, you get the occasional cost of living increases, or you change companies, you might get a different title. But the fact that no boss had ever come to me and said, Chris, we think you’re doing a great job, here’s more responsibility and more money in a different title. The fact that that had never happened, suddenly just hit me like a bolt out of the blue, this realization that maybe this is the wrong field for you. Maybe this is not a good match with your skills and goals. So I changed again, and kept one foot in tech, but kind of pivoted, as they say, to doing technical training. So that’s where I am today. I tried to start my own one person technical training company where I teach people how to use software. And it kind of worked, I sold some classes, some some in person training to local companies and had a lot of fun building the curriculum, which is just a whole bunch of PowerPoint decks and hands on activities that people follow, and how to even more fun presenting them. Turns out, I really like public speaking, which is something I hadn’t realized. And then your COVID hit. And it’d be easy to say that COVID did in my my one person company. But that wasn’t it was just lack of marketing savvy on my part, I had no idea how to how to run a business. I like doing the training part, I didn’t know how to do any of the other business stuff. So after a couple of years of kind of flailing around with that, and I got a job, an actual job with a real software company, doing training for their customers. So I was just teaching people how to use their software. And then, recently, about a year ago shifted to another company. So there’s been lots of bouncing around. My career right now seems to be technical training. So building materials, and giving presentations on how to use software. Career wise, that takes us up to today.


Will Bachman  24:04

Do you still sing?


Chris Cowell  24:08

Funny you should mention that. It’s funny because I just started voice lessons about seven months ago. I had a bizarre experience in college where I was a campfire singer at best. I had no idea what I was doing. And I kept getting accepted by groups that I had no right being in. So I sing in the Glee Club for awhile. shouldn’t really have been in the Glee Club. I don’t know why they let me in saying with a crocodile close my senior year. I have no idea what happened there. Just streak roll of the dice, I think. And ever since then, I felt like how did that happened? And I’ve got I’ve got to learn how to sing at some point just to justify the fact that I was in these groups. So I did start voice lessons after 30 years of mostly doing guitar and nursing. at all, and it is really hard singing is so hard progress is so slow. I have enormous respect now for for anyone who’s even a halfway competent singer now that I realize how much effort goes into getting better at it, how many things you have to think about, and how slow progress really is. So that’s the long answer to a short question.


Will Bachman  25:24

Because I think, before we started recording you, and I determined that we had at least met once, and I recognize your name and so forth. We at least met once when I took some photos of the crocodile. And I think maybe you might have been the one to hire me to get in college. Let’s turn back to school. Are there any courses or professors that you had at Harvard that continue to resonate with you? Maybe some of those paper and pencil computer science courses, but could be any anything else that you took? That has sort of stayed with you, whether professional or not?


Chris Cowell  26:02

Ah, you know, this is this is more of an indictment of my own intellectual abilities than it is an indictment of Harvard. But I remember so little from college. As far as facts go, I remember lots of people, I remember lots of activities. I remember being beaten by Ted Cruz at a debate tournament in Seaver Hall. I remember that kind of stuff. But I, I remember one fact, from college, I believe Johann Sebastian Bach lived from 1685 to 1750. And that’s pretty much where my knowledge ends. And I don’t know if it’s typical, like, I don’t know if most people retain more facts than I did. But I’ve retained essentially nothing. So were there courses that made an impression? Definitely not my computer science courses. I think the core courses were the most interesting ones. I don’t remember any facts. But I remember being excited by them. David lasers, space, time and motion was one of the core science classes that was great. There was a course on the recent history of Iran, and how they kind of went crazy. And that was fantastic. Diana, ex comparative religion courses, were really wonderful. Again, you’re you’re getting a sense of that, that graveyard soda drink here, where I tipped into all sorts of different fields and didn’t stick with anything very long. There’s a music appreciation course that actually I loved. I think at the time, it was taught by Louise vos Gershon, who was, she was described as the only faculty, the only tenured faculty member at Harvard without a PhD. I don’t know if that’s true. But that was kind of the rumor. She was wonderful. And boy, the skills that I learned in that music appreciation course, have stuck with me and been useful in my my singing and guitar playing ever since. So


Will Bachman  27:54

same on that say more about that. What? What was it that you learned there that stuck with you?


Chris Cowell  27:59

basic music theory, there are plenty of musicians who just don’t have the first idea how music theory works. I mean, Paul McCartney is a famous example, can’t read music at all, has no idea how to write music down these big complex classical compositions that McCartney has done, he does by whistling and humming to a composer in the room who then basically transcribes whatever he’s doing. So you can be a successful musician and do it all by instinct. But that’s, that’s, that’s not most musicians, it really helps a lot to have a basic understanding of music theory. And that’s suddenly covered in music appreciation, if I hadn’t gone into wanting to that’s the wrong way of putting it. If I hadn’t stayed active in listening to music and trying to struggle with a guitar and singing off and on, then probably all those music theory, concepts would have would have left my mind, but because I did use them, they stuck around.


Will Bachman  29:01

Okay, I got to ask you about this debate with Ted Cruz. He was, he was not a member of our class. But what was this debate about? Was he like a year ahead of us are behind us or something?


Chris Cowell  29:14

No, neither. He was Princeton undergrad. So the full story is I joined this. I followed my parents advice to try everything. And I went off to college. And so there’s this thing, the Harvard speech in Parliament and debate society, where you pair up with a partner, it’s to two person teams, and they give you a loose topic. And then you have to improvise an argument for or against that topic. And then the other team takes the other side. And so the first tournament we did was on campus, and there’s a team from Princeton, who we were randomly paired up with, and I can’t in all honesty, I can’t 100% say it was Ted Cruz, but it was a skinny guy in my singing class. But at Princeton And with the Hispanic last name, and time that just wasn’t all that common. And he was an incredibly good debater and just mopped the floor with me and my partner. So I’m thinking it’s likely it was Ted Cruz was, yeah, it’s become famous for his abilities.


Will Bachman  30:17

What? Do you remember the topic of the debate?


Chris Cowell  30:21

I don’t, I don’t, but I do remember that his partner was his girlfriend. And he used the phrase erstwhile, he said, My erstwhile girlfriend, and that was not a term that was not a word I knew. So I had to go look it up because his girlfriend looked at Paul, he said my erstwhile girlfriend because she knew that my former girlfriend, but he didn’t know that. So he misused it and inadvertently, I think broke up with his girlfriend in the middle of the debate.


Will Bachman  30:49

My girlfriend right here, wait right here. Yeah. Yeah. He’s like, wait.


Chris Cowell  30:59

I don’t know about you, I’ve got to say that I’m learning that only about half of my memories from that era are like completely true. The other half are like garbled or twisted or exaggerated or whatever. So I wouldn’t place all that much faith in any of these things. I’m saying, but they this seems true to me.


Will Bachman  31:16

I’m gonna lock that one as a true anecdote that one. Breaking up with your girlfriend during a debate? Yep. Wow. Okay. It’s amazing. So, Chris, this has been a wonderful conversation, you are extremely, you, you, you express an extreme degree of humility, I believe that you are far, far, far more amazing than you give yourself credit for. And it’s, it’s incredible. The story that the stories that you’ve shared here, Chris, where can classmates find you online? If they wanted to follow up and say, hey, you know, we haven’t spoken for 30 years, or 10 or 20 years and want to reach out to you? Where should people find you?


Chris Cowell  32:06

Yeah, well, so. Twitter scares me Instagram. I don’t even know what Instagram is. But I do use Facebook so you can find me on Facebook. Like, sometimes I show up with my last name is cowl Shaw Cal hyphen, sh Ah, that was my married name for a while but I’m back to cowl now. And Facebook or hate Googled email Somehow I snagged the Chris name there. So Facebook and email are the two best ways to get me probably man, you


Will Bachman  32:39

were early to the real estate on post the computer science degree that that did it. Chris at post on So Chris, this has been a great conversation. Thank you so much for joining.


Chris Cowell  32:55

Hey, you bet. Thanks for inviting me.


Will Bachman  32:57

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