1. Shit_To_Remember.txt

    The oldest file on my computer is called “Shit_To_Remember.txt.” This file is over 15 years old and even survived my move from PC to Mac in 2008. Over the years, as I learned from my experiences building a business or a product, I’d add a simple note to remind myself of it later.

    Here are ten of the “truths” that I’ve learned over the years that I think are might be relevant today:

    1. No job is beneath you. Clean the bathroom, handle support issues. Some of the best ideas good leaders have come from “doing the work,” and rarely come during expensive retreats.
    2. Build a business that lasts. Stop glorifying serial entrepreneurs; they are tourists.
    3. Humility is a skill. You have to develop it through constant practice.
    4. Stop calling your customers “users.” It dehumanizes people and makes it easy to abuse them.
    5. Bootstrap your ideas. Worthwhile ideas don’t require a VC’s money.
    6. Growth hackers and salespeople do not dictate product decisions.
    7. Don’t be a dick. Don’t be a dick. Don’t be a dick…
    8. The best people on your team will almost always fail whiteboard coding tests and almost certainly won’t look like you.
    9. Say “no” more, sometimes, even when you aren’t sure why.
    10. Go home at the end of the day. Not only physically, but also with your mind and spirit. You will destroy everything you care about if you don’t.

    Years later I still struggle with these at different times, but I’ve found that in most sticky situations, one of these will provide a clear answer.

  2. 2017

    This was a difficult year.

    There have been very few situations throughout the year where I did not feel that something was being taken from me, and it started to take a toll.

    I don’t mind the gray hairs, but I did begin to wonder if the feelings of stress and depression were going to be my new normal.

    After years of thriving on stress, I believe that I hit my limit and I decided I would make some changes in the areas of my life where I had some control.

    I abandoned the political hamster wheel of doom.

    I began practicing mindfulness, both at work and in my personal life.

    I chose to invest in friends that invested in me.

    I said thank you more often.

    I slept in until 7 am on a Monday.

    I learned that it was ok to sleep in until 7 am on a Monday.

    I forgave myself for my mistakes.

    Suddenly it’s December, and I’m sitting here scrolling back through the camera roll on my phone, and I see a year that has continually gotten brighter and more filled with happiness.

    This was a difficult year, and that’s ok.

  3. A thoughtful review of #NewTwitter

    I am always disappointed when Twitter makes a design change (large or small), and the design community provides an endless stream of hot takes, with very little constructive feedback.

    Dann Petty posted an excellent review of the 2017 Q2 refresh of Twitter’s website and apps.

    I’d love if other designers could learn from this style of feedback — it might remove some of the toxicity from the industry.

  4. Last Minutes with Zeus


    A few months ago, I lost one of my best friends and daily companion, Zeus. It’s taken me awhile to strike up the courage to put my thoughts together, but I did want to honor him by chronicling that experience.

    Gastric torsion occurs when a dog is too active immediately after eating their food. The stomach flips over, twisting both ends shut, causing horrendous bloating.

    We had no warning that this would happen. I was out for the night at a Sounders game with friends, and received a text from my wife telling me that Zeus looked bloated.

    By the time I was home thirty minutes later, it was clear Zeus was suffering from bloat. We immediately loaded him into the car and drove to the nearby animal hospital.

    Everything from that point on is almost a blur. They rolled Zeus in for an X-ray, and then the vet came in to confirm our fears. After discussing the cost and effectiveness of surgery it became clear that the best choice was to put Zeus to sleep.

    It was the hardest decision I have ever made in my life. Even knowing that it was the right choice, I still feel a great sense of guilt that I did not push for the surgery.

    After my wife and our other dog Stanley said their goodbyes, they left me alone with Zeus.

    When it settles on you that you’re about to lose someone who is important to you, you lose all sense of bravado. I remember the door shutting and then I just sat there holding his head and crying for a good twenty minutes.

    After awhile, the vet came in to administer the drugs to put Zeus to sleep. I didn’t want to stay, but I knew I had to. I sat and held him on my lap, talking to him and playing with his ears.

    The vet gave him the first shot to take away any pain.

    The second shot stopped his heart.

    I felt as the life left his body, and he went limp. It was one of the most intimate and crushing moments of my life.

    There isn’t a clever wrap-up to this story. It’s been five months since Zeus passed and I still miss him, but I’m grateful for the time that I had with him, even in those last minutes.


  5. Mastering the Art of Living

    “The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.” – James Michener

    It used to annoy me when people would tell me that I work too much, kindly reminding me that “life is short, and I need to make the best of it”. Many of those people where well-intentioned, but it was frustrating to hear those comments because it made me second guess myself.

    Successful entrepreneurs learn to filter those comments, putting more value on the opinions of those they trust and who share their vision. Many don’t learn that skill and instead fall prey to the crash-diet approach to finding balance in their life.

    I have never regretted the paths I’ve taken in life and for me, work was just part of a bigger vision that I had for my life.

    I’m still figuring it all out and who knows, in two years I’ll probably write a post contradicting all of this; but I have found that trying to perfectly balance your work and personal life will keep you from experiencing life itself.

    Instead, it is much more rewarding to focus on finding the most value in whatever you doing at that moment — and leave it up to others to figure out if you’re working or playing.