Recent Things

The Era of Entrepreneurial Can-Kicking

I’ve seen Facebook’s recent mea-culpa television advertisement several times lately, which is actually pretty weird because I watch very little live TV. I guess it’s just on a lot. The gist of the ad is basically this — Facebook was meant to be a cute wonderful thing for making people happy, and it did that, and everyone loved it, but then a bunch of people started using it to do terrible things, and now Facebook is going to “do more” to try to keep these terrible things from happening. Reasonable people can disagree, but I found the whole thing to

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Debates vs. Discussions

While I wouldn’t say I “avoid” writing about politics on this site, it’s definitely true that I try to focus on other things. This is mostly because there’s already so much good political writing from so many interesting perspectives, and there’s not a ton of value I can add. It’s also because I care a lot about civics and political thinking, and went to school for it, so just spouting off without putting in sufficient time to read and analyze the things I’m reacting to seems unproductive. Still, for a lot of different reasons (splits in popular culture, fewer mass-experiences,

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As Long As I’ve Got My Suit and Tie, I’m Going to Leave It Out On The Floor Tonight

I’ve never been very good at dressing up. My roots are in technical tinkering and the creative arts, with a healthy dose of New England punk rock (and think New Hampshire, not New York), so maintaining appearances was never interesting or natural to me. As a kid, I agonized over even basic, semi-formal requirements for things like school dances, performances, or graduations — never mind things like weddings. This remained fine as I grew up, primarily because I went into tech instead of my other potential destination, journalism (or, God forbid, law). I interned as a clueless D.C. journalist in

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My Saw Man Argument (WOMP, WOMP)

One of the best parts of working at a relatively early stage — or at least growth stage — company is that there’s a general bias towards doing things quickly. This is great, because I’ve found that working with other people on just about anything tends to slow things down for a variety of reasons. More people means more opinions, more views to consolidate, and more fears about failure (both personal and organizational). In mature companies, this basically eliminates the ability to quickly try interesting things unless you set up some kind of specific environment to do so, which is

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Depth & Breadth

the most annoying people on LinkedIn For me, LinkedIn has turned into a sort of career-focused version of WebMD. I almost never start poking around in there for an emotionally healthy reason — I’m either frustrated by something at work and looking to wallow in self-pity for a minute or two, or reading about whatever happened to that incompetent product manager I used to work with. And, as with WebMD, all I really get out of the experience are pangs of insecurity and a fair amount of eye-rolling horseshit. Now, I have a decent amount of patience for the amount

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Insecurity 101

I was going to start this off with a really bold, all-encompassing statement like “the root of all problems is insecurity”, but then I thought about it for a minute, and realized that’s nonsense. Some of the worst problems I’ve ever dealt with professionally have come from people who were utterly and hopelessly secure about what they were doing, and in fact, those problems were in all likelihood largely a result of that confidence. Big surprise — most of these people were incompetent. So anyways, like everything else, professional insecurity isn’t compatible with a snappy, Seth Godin-esque bumper sticker of

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Operational Lessons From My Mom

garbage apologies In honor of Mother’s Day (that’s when I started to write this, so who knows when I’ll finish it or when you’ll read it), I’ve been thinking about some of the things she taught me, both expressly and by example. In my household, my Mom was most directly responsible for teaching me how to deal with my many screw-ups. (No knock on my Dad, here — he was first responder to a couple of doozies, like getting thrown out of Little League, but my Mom has him beat on raw volume.) For some background, my Mom got stuck

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Incentives & Rules

One thing I’ve noticed over the last year or so is that I spend most of my time trying to get people to do things. I’ve been in marketing for a while now, and while I’d like my efforts to be focused on getting people to do things that make sense for them, at the end of the day I work for a business and the business is happy when our market does what I want them to do, and sad when they do not. So there’s that. The other thing I’m increasingly involved in is management and organization or process

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Management & Me

A lot of crazy things happened to me in 2016, but the biggest two had to have been the birth of my first kid back in February, and a pretty dramatic change in my job where the number of people I was responsible for went from one to ten. That’s a 1000% increase! Unsurprisingly, this changed a lot about what I needed to get done on a day to day basis, and forced me to deal with a lot of things I’ve never had to be especially good at. Still, since I started my management adventure back in June (after

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Why I Remember Accuracy & Precision

I don’t actually remember when we learned this, but for some reason one of the random school things I distinctly remember learning was the difference between accuracy and precision. Now, as it turns out, I don’t remember it 100% correctly (yes, I see the irony there given the subject), but I looked it up again and for the most part the difference stuck with me pretty well over the years. Here are the basics — essentially, accuracy is the distance of a measurement from a reference sample (a.k.a., the objective truth), and precision is the variability of the measurements you

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