Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Something to Be Thankful For: Brett Bullington’s Recovery Path Is Made by Walking (Video)

Late last week, I made my way down to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center to visit Brett Bullington, the always energetic and ebullient Silicon Valley exec and investor.

He had gotten into a serious accident last month while cycling across the country to raise money and awareness for a charity in Africa, and had been hospitalized with severe brain trauma.

And, indeed, it was severe, with initial reports about his prognosis — on a Tumblr blog about him — pretty depressing to read. As in most cases, progress is usually slow and sometimes discouraging.

Not in Brett’s case, as it has turned out. As Spanish poet Antonio Machado wrote: “Travelers, there is no path, paths are made by walking.”

And as you can see from the video below, Brett is now walking and doing a very good job of it, considering. Most of all, he is getting better at it day by day.

Indeed, when I visited, I was a bit nervous to see him in a less-than-high-energy state I was used to. But while the room was dark when I walked in, because he was napping, the minute he awoke, he was the Brett I had always known.

He peppered me with questions about tech news, including on how Yahoo’s new CEO Marissa Mayer was doing, and what did I think of Facebook now, and how my partner, Megan Smith, was liking working at Google X.

Brett also felt badly about the accident, especially the toll it had taken on his family, but said few things that were not forward-looking.

As his wonderful wife, Diana, noted to me in an email, Brett is now “truly present.”

Let’s not kid ourselves — it will still be a tough road to recovery. Brett has a triangular-shaped head, due to the large part of his skull that was removed, which needs to be fixed via complex surgery. And he has some moments of forgetfulness and confusion — although they seemed rare when I was there. Most of all, this work is exhausting for him, especially since he is making major strides every day.

But, after seeing him, I am extraordinarily hopeful — Brett might not have recovered at all, and so it was a trip to have him ask me to help him organize a mani-pedi party when he gets home sometime in the first week of December.


In fact, Brett is going to leave the hospital this week for a day to be with his family on Thanksgiving, which is just the kind of thing to be truly thankful for.

Until he is out and about, here’s a video taken last week of him walking — the helmet is to protect his exposed head in case of a fall:

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik