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The Monk And The Mad Man Making Mindfulness For The Masses

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24:  (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Andy Puddicombe speaks on stage during THRIVE: A Third Metric Live Event at Ne
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Andy Puddicombe speaks on stage during THRIVE: A Third Metric Live Event at New York City Center on April 24, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images)

I’m meeting Andy Puddicombe for the first time at his airy offices just off the beach in Venice, California. And it’s weird. Not because the cofounder of the meditation platform Headspace is forbidding. Just the opposite: Puddicombe, from Bristol in the U.K., gives off a cheery, affable vibe, like a guy you’d amiably argue football with over a couple of pints. No, the weirdness is because he’s been inside my head for three years, murmuring through my headphones and desktop speakers, calmly leading me through the daily exercises that are the heart of Headspace, Puddicombe's startup devoted to creating a larger platform for mindfulness principles. Ours has been a relationship mediated by technology, sure. But it’s also been an oddly intimate one. And here he is in the flesh. It’s a little jarring. "You must get this a lot," I tell him. "Quite a lot," he says sheepishly.

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