The ‘shiny things’ trap

What are the traits of great founders? A 2006 study by Zhao, H. & Seibert, S.E. meta-analyzed 23 studies and mapped the findings onto the Big Five personality model. The paper reveals entrepreneurs tend to exhibit higher conscientiousness and openness when compared to non-entrepreneurial managers. While interesting, the study failed to correlate these traits with the financial outcomes for the founders in the study. My theory … Read More

The preconditions of thoughtful debate in meritocratic hierarchies

“Holding wrong opinions in one’s head and making bad decisions based on them instead of having thoughtful disagreements is one of the greatest tragedies of mankind.” — Ray Dalio The evidence shows humans are wired to organize people, objects, and ideas into stacks prioritized from ‘top’ to ‘bottom.’ In the context of human organizations, this biologically wired human behavior gives rise to the … Read More

Hey kid — It’s Cool To Be Smart

Last month I was helping to facilitate a Betabox experience in upstate South Carolina. The day’s topic was self-driving cars, and I was responsible for managing the Networking and Computer Science station within the experience. In this station, we challenge middle school students to enter a sequence of commands into command prompt to establish a local connection to a small robotic car. … Read More

When to make Ugly Moves

Imagine you are a lizard. Now get over the shock that you are a scaly skinned cold-blooded reptile who also owns a computer and can browse the internet. Okay with that behind us, welcome to being a lizard. As a cute little lizard you will be spending the day making choices about where to walk and jump. Having recently been … Read More

The communication habit you’re missing

Saying hard things to people that matter Once upon a time Seneca said: ‘We suffer more in imagination than reality.’ — Seneca He’s dead on. Especially when it comes to having hard conversations with people that matter in life. Many people would rather consume themselves with fear than have a hard conversation. Super sensible right? But why are we so fearful of bringing … Read More

Dear Noise

You’re the buzz in my pocket. You’re the errant LinkedIn request. You’re the little red push notification. You’re the embodied entirety of Twitter. You’re the thing that breaks my flowstate. The blimp on the map that throws me off the journey. I hate what you are. Worse, I hate what you’ve made me become. I can’t resist you. I’ve allowed … Read More

How to grow in the right direction

We’re about to hit Thanksgiving, which for many of us means heading home to see family. Inevitably, that means we are going to run into little cousins, nieces and nephews we’ve not seen in a while. They always seem to grow so fast. But that’s only true from your frame of reference. To the parents and teachers embedded in the … Read More

Jump off the problem solving treadmill

The life of a startup founder is unglamorous. My day is mostly filled with the fixing of issues. Cool stuff like discussing strategy, closing major deals, & designing products are a pretty low percentage of actual time expended. Issues that fill days include: Tracking down pieces of paper the government requires of me Getting customers to actually pay invoices Taking out … Read More

You ≠ Your Startup

This is the type of post I wish someone shared with me two years ago. In corporate America I was a number. Make no mistake — you are too. The truth of corporate life is that your worth to the company is 100% tied to your usefulness. Somewhere a manager has you as an expense in an excel spreadsheet. If you can’t … Read More