Startups are hiring fewer workers, and paying out less in equity comp

Listen here or wherever you get your podcasts. Hello, and welcome back to Equity, the podcast about the business of startups, where we unpack the numbers and nuance behind the headlines. This is our Wednesday episode, in which we dig into critical startup news to stay abreast of what founders and venture capitalists are working on. Today […]

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Empathy closes $47M for AI to help with the practical and emotional bereavement process

Death, as the famous saying goes, is one of the inevitable certainties of life. But that doesn’t make coping with it any easier — not least because while loved ones are grieving, they must also handle a dizzying number of practical tasks, from organizing funerals through to settling finances for the deceased. A startup called […]

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Empathy’s new tool uses AI to generate obituaries, and it’s not half bad

Writing an obituary isn’t an easy task. That’s an understatement — it’s incredibly painful, usually expensive too. But someone has to do it.

Or perhaps not. Consider leaving it to AI.

That’s the pitch Empathy, a platform that provides support for families who’ve recently suffered a loss, is making with the launch of its new tool that uses AI to create obituary drafts. Called Finding Words, the tool generates obits from basic info provided by family members.

“With the overwhelming number of tasks and emotional strain grieving families face, Finding Words allows them to worry less about the task of drafting the text for an obituary and focus more on honoring the memory and legacy of their loved one,” the company wrote me in a pitch email.

But not everyone would agree. Offloading the work of writing an obituary to AI doesn’t sound particularly sensitive, at least to my ears. Wouldn’t family want to be more involved in writing a remembrance of a loved one’s life? Doesn’t letting AI handle the work cheapen it somehow, or feel less thoughtful?

I asked Empathy CEO Ron Gura.

“Many people who experience the loss of a family member struggle to write personal and thoughtful tributes for their loved ones, for a variety of reasons,” he told me in an email interview. “They may be too emotionally overwhelmed to know where to start or preoccupied by the enormous volume of administrative tasks that typically follow a loss. It’s a terrible feeling to be sitting at your computer staring at a blank screen and feeling like you are letting your family and your loved one down. Any support that can guide people through this process is beneficial, and it’s essential that access to such support is democratized and made available to as many people as possible; generative AI serves as an equalizer in this regard.”

Those are fair points. So — in the interest of giving Finding Words a shot — I plugged in some dummy info and had the tool write an obit for me. (Cause of death: Grease fire. Plausible enough in New York City, I thought.)

Empathy Finding Words

Feeding Finding Words data to fuel its algorithms.

The tool walks you through a questionnaire, serving prompts like the deceased’s name, date of birth, date of death, location of death and last city of residence. Some questions are more specific, like “Share any relevant details about the ceremony venue, date and time, or special guidelines,” and pertain to different aspects of the person’s life, like whether they served in the military, what people often said about them, their proudest accomplishments and your favorite memories together.

Many of the questions don’t have to be answered, and responses can range in length from a few words to several paragraphs. Gura says that the flow was modeled on the obituary writing services commonly offered by funeral homes and professional obituary writing companies.

“With Finding Words, Empathy empowers individuals by helping them work on this process themselves — and offers the service for free,” he added. “The tool helps people understand what is typically included in an obituary, and prompts users to consider the sort of details, memories, and anecdotes that are essential in drafting a personalized obituary, ultimately crafting the details inputted into cohesive text.”

Finding Words’ obits might not win awards, but they were better than I expected, frankly (certainly compared to ChatGPT’s attempts). While I kept answers to the prompts quite relatively and nonspecific in my test, the AI managed to craft them into something coherent — if a bit formulaic. (To be fair, most obits are formulaic — to the point that a cursory Google search yields dozens of templates.) If I hadn’t been told, I doubt I’d suspect AI had a hand in the writing process.

Generative AI, including the type of text-generating AI underpinning Finding Words, has a tendency to generate untrue or otherwise problematic text. I didn’t observe any in my testing. But in the interest of thoroughness, I asked Gura what preventative steps Empathy took, if any.

“Finding Words is powered by an AI algorithm trained and refined by Empathy’s team of developers, writers and grief professionals and is based on insights from thousands of sample obituaries … Our AI model has been trained to generate a cohesive outcome that accurately reflects whatever details users input,” Gura said. “We take care to inform users that the text generated by Finding Words is fully automated and advise them to review the text thoroughly in order to verify that all information is correct.”

Empathy Finding Words

The finished AI-generated obit.

Will Finding Words make obit-writing services obsolete? I doubt it — those services tend to be more bespoke. But while I was tempted to dismiss it out of hand, I can’t say it wasn’t serviceable in my brief test. (Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, career obit writers.) With some fine-tuning, the results could be quite good, in fact — and definitely on par with some of the templates out there (and Wired’s 2016 AI-written obituary for Marvin Minsky).

Given generative AI’s plagiaristic proclivities, I am wary, though, of how Empathy is training the language algorithm that powers Finding Words. Gura didn’t disclose where the aforementioned sample obits came from, and also didn’t say whether Empathy uses any user data to fine-tune them. (I’ve sent a follow-up email to clarify.) In any case, whether or not the creators of the training data are being fairly compensated (and properly informed), Empathy — which is venture-backed, with $43 million raised to date — is no doubt under pressure from investors to monetize. I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest to see a fee attached to Finding Words in the future, at which point the tool will warrant higher scrutiny.

“In terms of our plans for Finding Words, we are constantly collecting user feedback, reviewing every obituary generated and regularly tweaking our templates and prompts to improve the quality of our draft obituaries,” Gura said. 

Empathy’s new tool uses AI to generate obituaries, and it’s not half bad by Kyle Wiggers originally published on TechCrunch

Empathy raises $30M for a personal assistant that helps with the practical and emotional process of bereavement

Death is one of the hardest things to cope with in life, both from an emotional and organizational standpoint. And what’s worse is that the latter of these is inevitably compounded by the fact that those left behind are grieving and focused on that. Unsurprisingly, tech that is being built to help in these situations is seeing a lot of traction.

Empathy, a startup that emerged from stealth earlier this year with a digital assistant aimed at helping bereaving families navigate those choppy waters resulting from the death of someone close to them — with a diverse range of services, from providing links to counselling to helping plan estate paperwork and taxes — is capitalizing on that opportunity. It has now raised $30 million in funding on the back of some very strong interest in its services.

The Series A is coming just five months after Empathy announced a $13 million seed round. Entrée Capital led the latest investment, with previous backers General Catalyst and Aleph (which co-led the seed), LocalGlobePrimetime Partners, and prominent angel investors including Shai Wininger (CEO & Co-Founder of Lemonade), Sir Ronald Cohen, John Kim (ex-President of New York Life), and Micha Kaufman (CEO & Co-Founder of Fiverr) all investing.

The company is not disclosing its valuation.

Part of the reason for the swift arrival of the Series A is to help Empathy keep up with what has proven to be strong early demand. The company’s tech was built in Israel but it chose to launch in the U.S. first, where co-founder and CEO Ron Gura tells me that it’s already amassed a “nice, single digit percent” of the market, in the form of seeing some 250,000 bereaved executors visiting and using Empathy’s services each month. Those services range from practical estate planning and tax tools through to links for counseling and other support.

“Some visitors are practical, and some come to find meaning,” he said. It’s a tricky balance when you think about it — having one side by side with the other inevitably might offend those looking specifically for one service, only to be confronted by another, so that Empathy has managed to build and operate such a platform is an achievement in itself.

It’s also building out its business by partnering increasingly with other stakeholders in the end-of-life process, be they hospice centers or funeral homes. To date, it has some 300 cemeteries and 72 funeral homes referring customers to Empathy, Gura told me. The reason for this is simple: bereaving families often start to ask questions of the people who are connected to those final stages, but those people’s focus is the job at hand, as much as they’d like to help with other aspects and to provide comfort.

“When families come into the hospice, the truth is around the corner,” Gura said, “and they turn to the coordinator. And the coordinators all want to do is help: they are usually good people who work in a complex field, but they have limited resources and capabilities as they need to move on to the next family.

“The funeral director is the closest thing to a concierge in this situation,” he added a little bit of irony, but also just talking straight.

It is indeed not an easy job, and not a glamorous one, but it has to be done, and so to have a company building some help that takes some of the pain of figuring things out for yourself, in a way that’s not an invasive and expensive business in itself (some services are totally free; others are not) is not such a bad thing.

“We are proud to continue to support Empathy as it strengthens its position as a market leader in the end-of-life industry and provides a service that is incredibly necessary for families struggling with loss,” said Joel Cutler, MD of General Catalyst, in a statement. “Empathy has proven both its commitment and its determination to reach as many families as possible, partnering with companies across different sectors to connect with diverse audiences, as well as recruiting the best and the brightest to further their mission. We look forward to seeing Empathy continue to prove how technology can make a major difference for bereaved families.”

Empathy emerges from stealth with $13M for a digital assistant aimed at bereaved families

Death, despite being one of the most inevitable of life’s events, can also be one of the most complicated and problematic. Fraught with emotional and religious complexities, for many families it can also come with financial and organizational ones. Today, a startup called Empathy is coming out of stealth with the aim of taking some of the stigma out of working on some of those challenges head-on, with an AI-based platform for families to help organize affairs (and thus indirectly help assist in those families attending to themselves) after a death.

“On average, a family can spend 500 hours dealing with the different aspects related to the death of a loved one,” said CEO Ron Gura, who co-founded the company with Yonatan Bergman. “We provide a digital companion in the form of native apps that are built to empower bereaved families.” He said he likens Empathy to a “GPS for the recently bereaved.”

The Israeli startup is launching first in the U.S. market, and it’s doing so with $13 million in funding co-led by VCs General Catalyst and Aleph.

Some 3 million people on average die in the U.S. each year — a number that has seen some spikes more recently due to Covid-19. And despite it being one of the more natural and predictable of things that we will all go through sooner or later, it’s not something that many people prepare for, whether it’s due to fear or religion or simply not wanting to dwell on morbid subjects. Ironically, that hasn’t been helped by the fact that it has in turn created a pretty significant stigma around building services to help people deal with it, either for themselves, or on behalf of others.

In very typical startup fashion, this spells opportunity, of course.

“I’ve been obsessed with this narrative for a few years,” said Gura, who previously worked with Berman at The Gifts Project and then later at eBay in Israel after it acquired the social gifting startup. “Death is one of the last consumer sectors that is untouched by innovation. It’s not because of technology or even a regulatory barrier. It seems it’s mainly because of the inherent optimism in us and our human nature that causes us to avoid talking about the inevitable truth of death and dying. So there is an unspoken sector that is not seeing transformation that pretty much every other sector is seeing these days.”

It’s also, I suspect, because death makes people incredibly vulnerable, and any enterprise based around vulnerability feels off.

Empathy’s approach is to make its help, and the building of a business around that idea, as transparent as possible. The company offers services for free for the first 30 days, and after that you pay a one-off fee of $65, which does not go up the longer you use the service, which could be five months or five years (or yes, longer).

After you fill in a few details about your particular circumstance, you are then guided through a step-by-step process of all of the different things one needs to deal with after a person dies.

These include things like the first, immediate arrangements you might need to make, how to inform others (and informing them), organising a funeral or other ceremony, procuring the right documents, dealing with the will, securing the deceased’s identity, dealing with his/her property, organising a probate, settling benefits and accounts, and bills, and other assets, taxes and perhaps bereavement counseling for ourselves. For many of us, not only are we upset, but we may have never had to go through these processes before, and it’s a surreal learning curve to be experiencing when you are already on a potential emotional rollercoaster.

The idea with Empathy is that while some of these will require some lifting from you, the platform will play the part of a “digital assistant” by helping prompt what you need to do next, and give you guidance for how to get through that. It doesn’t refer you to others; it doesn’t advertise other services and never plans to. The data that does go into the platform, Gura said, will not be used anywhere other than where you are channelling it for the purposes of settling affairs.

Empathy is not the first but the next in an interesting and slowly growing cluster of startups tackling this area. Others include Farewill in the UK, helping people write wills for themselves; Lantern to help open up the conversation about death and planning for it; and estate planning startup Trust & Will. Competition, perhaps, but at least for now showing that there can be helpful tech build even for the more difficult areas of life.

“The end-of-life industry is a large sector that has been untouched by the wave of digital transformation occurring in every other industry,” said Joel Cutler, MD and co-founder of General Catalyst, in a statement. “Empathy is unique in that it addresses both the emotional and logistical anguish of loss.  We believe this is the technology and experience that can greatly benefit every family.”

“The Empathy team is directing their vast experience in consumer software to significantly improve how people handle the burdens that come with death,” added Michael Eisenberg, partner and co-founder at Aleph. “When grieving, many families do not have the bandwidth to deal with tasks and bureaucracy. By combining financial technology and emotional understanding, Empathy has built a product for the next-of kin with compassion at its core.”

Longer term, Gura said that Empathy may look to tackle other aspects of the process, such as organizing affairs before the death of a loved one, or perhaps looking at other problematic life events, like divorce, that also spur a lot of obligations in their aftermath.

Product Manager’s Secret 2020 Weapon: Remote Workshops

As product managers we are, at our core, facilitators. It is ultimately up to us to get all interested parties to align and collaborate on building the right thing for our business and making sure we understand our users so it’s the right thing for the market. As such, we spend a lot of our [...]


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Soft Skills for Product Managers by Brant Cooper

In this ProductTank London talk, Brant Cooper, CEO and Founder of Moves the Needle gives some guidelines for dealing with uncertainty, no matter the size of a company, and reveals what soft skills can help product managers. Watch the video to see Brant’s talk in full. Or read on for an overview of his key points: [...]


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How to Grow and Scale a High-Functioning Team by Richard Cadman

In this talk, Richard Cadman, Principal Product Manager at Monzo, helps us think through practical steps we need to take to grow and scale a high-functioning team.

Using examples from his experience at Monzo, where he built his team up from 10 to 40 people, he covered:

  • How to get teams engaged
  • How to set teams up for success
  • What to do when you get it wrong (which you will)

Get Teams Engaged

Richard joined Monzo’s lending team where he discovered that “in many scenarios, lending can hinder rather than help people”. This, he says, is because most people would rather build products that are designed to help rather than hurt others. The idea of a lending product can, therefore, be a significant de-motivating factor.

To address this, Richard worked hard to remind people of Monzo’s motivations – the why behind the product they were building. This focus, he says, is critical for the team dynamics but also because every choice they make in the development process will bake in context and assumptions. Put simply, the more they know, and the more they care about the problem they’re trying to solve, the better the result will be.

So in practice, how do you do this? Richard outlined four key activities:

  1. Set clear team business goals – without this, it’s very difficult to properly prioritise work, or decide where to focus as a team.
  2. Build customer-centric principles – a Monzo example is ‘putting the lender in control’ which can be seen in features such as delayed overdraft charges.
  3. Bring visibility to the customer – we all know the teams that build the best products are the ones who obsess over customers (most people can tell when a product has been carefully crafted with their needs in mind). Scaling this customer visibility creates a deep understanding and empathy across the team and can be incredibly impactful. At Monzo, sharing links to customer conversations – in real-time – with the team was a very effective way to build rapid understanding and empathy.
  4. Accountability and Repetition – If you have the best motivations, goals and objectives and never refer back to them, you lose all the magic they can help to create. Accountability and repetition will help you turn all your good intentions into real impact.

Set Teams up for Success

As Richard’s team grew, he admits it became challenging to make sure everyone was working on the highest leverage thing, and moving as fast as they could. This, if left unchecked, could significantly diminish the team’s impact.

To address this, they worked to reduce the complexity of what we were trying to achieve. They did this by breaking the team down into independent levers using a split tree. And, by assigning different teams with the responsibility for specific parts of the whole product set. This meant, for example, that one team would focus on take-up (the percentage of people eligible for a loan that choose to borrow with Monzo), whilst another focused on FinDiffs – helping people with financial difficulties to get back on track.

He warns, however, that having this level of clarity on purpose and organisation, is only effective when those teams are truly empowered to create and drive change in their respective areas. So, giving each squad as much autonomy as possible was critical for success here. As Richard explained, “by giving people autonomy, they know that no one else will make decisions or do the work for them. This is empowering, probably mildly intimidating, and it also limits the opportunity for blockers”.

Learn to say Sorry

This is so simple, but it’s too often overlooked. Some of the best leader’s say sorry when they get things wrong, both to their customers and staff.

Richard gives three top tips for saying sorry well:

  1. Give warning: Let people know that you’re still in the early stages and things may break. This tells people what to expect, and reflects proactivity on your part.
  2. Be human and be open: Have a continuous open dialogue with your customers, as yourself, not as the company. The impact of this is that people are more ‘bought in’ and will likely contribute more because they feel they’re shaping the product. They’re also likely to be more forgiving because they realise they’re dealing with an actual person instead of a faceless organisation.
  3. Apologise well: This goes without saying and yet it’ something that needs to be said. People are forgiving when we own up to our mistakes, so put down your defences and say sorry. As Richard explains, “people are surprisingly understanding if you give a proper apology, and the transparency can often buy you a lot of trust and loyalty”.

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Christina Wodtke: Working with Mindfulness and Compassion

Christina WodtkeChristina Wodtke’s path to her current standing as an established authority on the attributes of high-performing teams and the use of OKRs has been a roundabout one. As she puts it: “I took the scenic route.”

Today she’s a lecturer in the computer science department at Stanford University, teaching a range of classes in HCI (Human-Computer Interaction), as well as being a best-selling author and an international speaker. But she originally went to art school with the intention of becoming a painter, and only became involved in tech when someone showed her what was then called computer-altered photography. “It was before photoshop was invented, and the disk we’d save to was the size of Julia Child’s cookbook.”

Over the course of her long tech career she has worked at Yahoo!, LinkedIn, Zynga and MySpace among others and has founded three startups. She’s had some extraordinary work experiences along the way. She says: “I often tell the story of my career to my students so that they can understand that their first job out of college doesn’t matter as much as they think it does.”

To product people, of course, she’s best known for her views on high-performing teams, having given a keynote at #mtpcon San Francisco in 2018, as well as contributing to the MTP blog. She’s also due to deliver a workshop on how to design product teams with intention at MTP Engage Hamburg.

Experience and Reflection

So what about high-performing teams? Christina has started some and worked in some, so her authority comes from extensive experience as well as research and reflection.

She was the first designer assigned to work on search at Yahoo!, and got to build a team which transformed, as Christina put it, “a bunch of browse-based properties into search-based properties, things like travel and autos”. And she worked on web search, “We were the first ones to give people answers instead of websites. Because Yahoo was a portal, we were able to do a lot of things that other search engines couldn’t do for another five years – like tell you what time the movie started and how to get to the cinema.”

Later on, she sold a small startup to LinkedIn. She then worked at the company for a couple of years, working out how to deliver a meaningful newsfeed to people with only a few connections and delivering a useful inbox experience. At MySpace, she had one of the craziest times of her life, working at the San Francisco office two days a week and then spending the rest of the week working at MySpace’s LA headquarters, while being put up at the Beverly Wilshire. It wasn’t all about eating at fashionable restaurants, and having the hotel Bentley take her there. “I was there just over a year and I had three CEOs,” she comments. When the first of her CEO’s went to Zynga, he invited her to join.

Christina wodtke QuoteChristina says she learned more from her single year at Zynga than she did at any other company. “The first six months were good – a lot of the best game designers in the industry were there. But it was such a competitive money-based culture, creative people were being incentivised to make hits.” She saw that if you turn the intrinsic motivation of creative people into extrinsic motivation then they shut down and they stop being creative. She adds: “The second six months as we prepped for our IPO were brutal. It was all about squeezing a few more dollars from the whales— the people who spent a lot of money on games. But I had some interesting insights: I remember watching usability testing for Farmville, a game I’d never respected. There were people saying it was their safe place, somewhere to be creative and have control. It made me appreciate that those games can have a really important part in people’s lives.”

Using OKRs for Structure

One other gift of Zynga was an introduction to OKRs. When she left Zynga, she used OKRs to provide some structure to her own life. And it was OKRs that  eventually led her to teaching. “When I left Zynga, I tried a bunch of things: travel writing, culinary school, advising food startups… none suited me. But I had a hypothesis around teaching,” she says. “I’m a Lean girl, so I taught one evening class as the smallest test I could do, teaching a couple nights a week at GA. And I loved it. ”

She then started teaching a class called “Designer as Entrepreneur” at CCA (California College for the Arts), because she “wanted to teach designers about business”, because, “it felt like designers who didn’t know about business would never get to be part of the important conversations”. As we know, it was an initiative that has taken Christina to lecturing at Stanford  “an extraordinary place”.

High-Performing Teams

There are many attributes to a high-performing team, says Christina, and many ways you can keep a team performing well under difficult conditions, such as those that so many of us are experiencing at the moment. She counsels against using OKRs for command and control – this is a common problem, she says, and adds that OKRs are only really valuable for empowered teams.

She refers to talks she’s given about how to set goals, roles and norms for a team. We all need a shared goal, a common purpose, she says, “ it’s one of the critical things that makes a team high-performing”. “Everyone must be clear what the goal is. OKRs can protect people against shifting priorities, and questions of priorities.”

Setting Norms

Setting norms is also critical. Christina explains: “Everybody thinks their normal is everyone else’s normal, but this can cause problems in so many ways. If you’ve got a team where everything has been working well and then it starts to break down, it could be that you’re running into a norm where there’s a conflict for the first time and you have no place to talk about it.” She gives the example of an interdisciplinary team where there’s someone from Central America and a northern European. Their ideas of time may be different  – for a northern European 3pm is 3pm, but for someone in Belize, where she spends her summers and vacations, it could also mean 3.15 or 3.30. “The northern European is seething when a meeting is 15 minutes late and the Central American thinks this is normal!”

Christina says you must talk about your worst experiences in teams when you’re setting norms, and then set rules to help you decide how to navigate them. “I recommend going through Erin Meyer’s culture map,” she says. “It has eight points of conflict and if you build your norms around them you should hit most of them.”

Once they’re set, you should check on your norms every week, says Christina. It only needs to be a quick retro. “We can just ask ‘how did our experiment go and what’s our experiment next week?’ An experiment could be let’s try standing up in a meeting,  or let’s have a meeting while we walk outside, or let’s make sure we all have a Zoom window. Because it’s so lightweight it also creates a moment where you can say – can we just start on time next week for example, and you can start having a conversation about the tension in these conflicts. It’s no big deal, but it’s out there and you can move on.” Then, at the end of every quarter you should examine your list of norms and questions whether any are missing or if there are any that should be removed.

Examining Roles

In general, we don’t spend enough effort on working out job descriptions, says Christina. We tend to “just go online and grab something we think will be good enough” and this can make for lots of problems in hiring because the team hasn’t thought through what the role requires, and then they interview terribly.

By why would we throw away a document we worked hard on? Christina advises using it throughout the employee’s career. Go back to the job description, and ask, is the employee living up to it? Are they going beyond? “I always recommend that you look at the job description regularly. Has it changed, has the employee changed, is there a gap we want to talk about?”

You need to develop a rhythm to this process, Christina says. Perhaps at the end of every quarter, you assimilate the information you have from these regular discussions and have a formal conversation about it, and then at the end of the year you have four quarters of information that can be used for an annual review.

What Could Possibly go Wrong?

While these processes might sound straightforward enough in theory, there are lots of pitfalls when you put them into practice. We talk about building a high-performing team, but we don’t always walk the walk. What does she find are the most common team problems and points of failure?

One-on-ones: People skip one-on-ones all the time, says Christina. “They don’t always seem important, and people use them for status. Your boss will say something like ‘you got anything for me?’, and you’ll  just say ‘it’s business as usual’. But I recommend you see them as coaching opportunities.” And cadence counts: “If you only need to meet every other week, don’t meet every week.”

Giving advice: Christina thinks it’s very important to get consent before you give advice. “Sometimes people become emotionally flooded. But people don’t ask for consent, they throw advice at you like softballs.”

Giving feedback: People are very poor at delivering critical feedback, says Christina, and it tends to be the first thing that falls down. “There are things you have to say to people and you have to be sure they can hear it. People often can’t imagine how someone else feels, so they say something in the way that they would like to hear themselves. But the moment I say things in a way you don’t like, you shut off and your resentment starts to grow.”Christina Wodtke quote

It’s hard to say whether team problems become amplified when people aren’t in the same building. Says Christina: “When we have the social pressure of being in the same building we have a problem with saying hard things to each other. When we’re remote it’s a bit too easy to say hard things to each other.” In her experience those companies that are most successful remotely also have regular in-person meetings. She adds: “You have to transform names into people. At WordPress for example, I know they have regular get-togethers, enough to bring a higher level of humanity.”

One of Christina’s favourite mantras comes from the pen of Victorian writer John Watson: be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. She summarises: “The more I’m kind to you, the easier it is for you to be kind back to me, and then we’re better together. It always comes back to mindfulness and compassion. It’s a habit that has to be practised and cultivated. It is harder for some people than for others. That’s why we call it ‘a practice.”

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