Fatherhood, just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on Why I’ve decided my vote for President is to vote for no one at all

Why I’ve decided my vote for President is to vote for no one at all

I’m exhausted by our federal election process.

We have lots of problems locally. We don’t have public schools to which folks are excited to send their kids. We don’t have a public transport system of which anyone is proud. We can’t provide housing for our civil servants.

But I send over one-third of my income into a federal pot where it gets redistributed amongst rednecks and hicks whose elected officials deny climate change, attach women’s rights, and defend mass murderers right to mass murder. And there’s nothing I can do to change that. And so while we have problems locally, I feel as if there’s opportunity to get involved and be part of change. Federally I have no chance, and it’s tiring.

So for my vote for President in 2016 I’m going to leave all of the options empty. Here’s why:

Donald Trump is an idiot. No need to even discuss that point.

Gary Johnson has proven he doesn’t know his ass from his elbow.

Hilary Clinton will lead a compromise driven administration, and be rebuffed at every turn for at least two years until the Democratic Party’s ground game can attempt to flip the House in 2018. If they do, great, she’ll be in re-election mode already. If not, then great she’ll be out in two years for not being able to do anything.

If you’re equally frustrated then I invite you to join me in voting for no one. I would hope that if enough of us felt that way our representative in the electoral vote would equally choose to not vote for anyone in December when the formal counts are held. While I know that won’t happen, it would create an avenue for a true protest vote that our current system denies us.

Then, I’d like to take the banner for State’s Rights away from the racists spread out across Alabama, Mississippi, the Midwest, and Mountain West, and push the State of California to implement reform itself without the permission of the Federal Government. I have lost all faith in federalism. Instead, I’d prefer that:

  • California demand text books be written with a specific curriculum in mind exactly as Texas is doing, and create a center-left tidal wave in education
  • California write its own rules on immigration just like Arizona is doing, and establish immigration reform that has an amnesty option and opens the door for more highly skilled workers to come into our state
  • California adopt its own rules on gun ownership just like Florida is doing, and make responsible gun ownership a requirement and not an option

And if California won’t do it, then San Francisco should.

4 or 8 more years of compromise with people who think that the Federal government is evil while living off federally funded subsidies is idiotic. The only option I see is to vote no one at the top of my ballot, and hold the officials I’m electing locally responsible for building the future that I want for my children.

At least locally it feels like I have a chance.



just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 1 comment on Fixing the elephant chart is our generation’s imperative

Fixing the elephant chart is our generation’s imperative

First, go read this blog post.

Or if you’re not going to do that, then just refer to this chart here:

The Elephant Chart documenting the distribution of income due to globalization (Source: http://voxeu.org/article/greatest-reshuffle-individual-incomes-industrial-revolution)
The Elephant Chart documenting the distribution of income due to globalization (Source: http://voxeu.org/article/greatest-reshuffle-individual-incomes-industrial-revolution)

It’s called the “Elephant Chart” because of its shape. And there’s a big problem there that we need to fix. We need to start talking about how we can redistribute wealth into the “B” area. Solve that problem and the next Trump/Brexit/European fascist won’t rise in 20 years. Don’t, and – I fear – we walk into a class-based, xenophobic backlash of unstoppable proportion.

Real quick summary for folks who don’t want to read the article. If you’re in the “A” area, then you’re probably from China or India and a LOT wealthier than you were 25 years ago. If you’re in the “C” area, then you’re probably from the US, upper middle class, and a LOT wealthier than you were 25 years ago. If you’re in the “B” area, then you’re probably what’s left of America and Europe’s middle class, and globalization has left you no wealthier, if not somewhat poorer, in the last 25 years.

Trump/Brexit/European fascism is being powered by the groups who feel marginalized by being in group “B”.

The fear of free trade is being powered by the groups who feel marginalized by being in group “B”.

And we’re failing to have the hard conversations around:

  • The massive growth in “A” – it’s killing our planet, but does anyone have the right to say stop? By dumping free trade, we’ll slow that growth down. Then what happens with 2+ billion underemployed citizens across Asia and Africa?
  • The jobs we need to create to help the “B” group – they’re not going to come from our corporate economy which means we have to find ways to re-introduce a competitive economy. But the corporates are entrenched, have economies of scale, and won’t just roll over. And the consumer has already run the mom-and-pop shop out of business to replace it with the retail chain, to then replace the retail chain with the eCommerce giant. So how do we re-introduce employment as a priority when the consumer just wants inexpensive?
  • The gains in wealth for “C” – is there a fair opportunity for everyone to access those gains, and, assuming the answer is no, how can we fix that? Picketty tells us that if you don’t own sources of wealth, there’s no way to fix it. Redistributing land and wealth just for the sake of redistribution may be an option, but the how feels quite daunting.

I think what I really want is more to read and learn from about how folks are thinking about this. Especially from non-OECD points of view. And then to figure out how to be part of fixing this issue.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on Why the burkini ban isn’t far enough

Why the burkini ban isn’t far enough

In case you haven’t heard, there are people in the world who wear burkinis, and there are places in the world that think they’re evil.

If you’re in the anti-religion half of my family, then you think this is great.

If you’re me, then you think the French haven’t gone far enough.

You see, if we’re going to tell women what the rules are surrounding their expression of religion in a public place, why are we stopping at the burkini? We should also move to ban:

  • Make up
  • Plastic surgery
  • Hair cuts
  • Painted nails
  • Wigs
  • Any clothing outside of a pre-defined, government approved list including (but not limited to):
    • Bikinis
    • Hats
    • Skirts
    • Graphic t-shirts with expressions of opinion
  • And many more things I’m sure I’m forgetting

For all I know, the gods of Christianity, Judaism, eCommerce, and the anti-gods of atheism, capitalism, and personal expression are using these tools to manipulate women, and their role in society. Most of these products are created by companies run by men, and are produced to manipulate the freedom a woman has to express who she really is.

You see, freedom – as defined by this French mayor, and the people who think like him – is the right to believe what the majority believes. Being different, having a differing opinion, or being identified by a different group are not protected. Nor is being on the wrong side of history.

And the people who define freedom this way are wrong.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on The truth is too hard to write about

The truth is too hard to write about

I feel like I’ve started many blog posts these last few months, and published none.

The truth is hard to write about. It exposes people who I have no intention of hurting. And yet, my inability to both write and say some of these things may have been what led me to where I ended up.

It feels like a one-sided attack. What I want it to be is a conversation. But how is that possible in this format?

The more I process it though, the more it feels like a plea for help. A plea to change. Why couldn’t we move faster? Smarter? With more empowerment? With more trust?

I knew leaving TokBox was going to be tough in the moment, but I’m also now realizing how much what we had built there had weighed me down. Of course I was part of the problem. I built the problem. (I built some good things too, don’t get me wrong).

And so I’ve been silent because the truth is too hard.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 1 comment on When you’re young, you start revolutions

When you’re young, you start revolutions

You’re probably familiar with the kid who sits in class and makes comments like, “Java isn’t a real programming language, you can’t overload operators.”
Well that isn’t me.

You’re probably also familiar with the kid who answers all of the easy questions to make it look like they really know what they’re talking about, and then needs to sit in the TAs office to finish up simple programming assignments.
That’s not me either.

I’m the guy who finishes the mundane stuff early on so that I have more time to fiddle with my own projects. I have 3 or 4 start up ideas drawn on paper, and I’ve actually started building some of them, but what I’ve discovered is there’s really something lacking if you don’t have a group of like-minded individuals to share ideas and to tell you that something you’re doing is stupid or awesome equally. I think I’m searching for an environment like the one that you have created because I’m ready to figure out how to revolutionize an industry or an idea. I realize it’s just not something that you can do alone. I’m motivated by the reality that success isn’t random, and that it’s a combination of good people with good ideas. And I think my see it all, touch it all attitude makes me an asset to a small group who needs someone to do it all in the process of starting a revolution.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 3 comments on Can a year be 367 days?

Can a year be 367 days?

When I was 16 years old, I went to the DMV to get my license. I had received my permit on November 21, 1999 (one day after my birthday). The law said you had to wait 1 year. 2000 was a leap year, and so I went down to the DMV, and argued with the guy behind the counter that 365 days after November 21, 1999 was in fact November 20, 2000, and that he needed to let me take my driving test that day. His argument was that the computer system wouldn’t let him do that, and so the machines won that day. Damn the machines…

I haven’t really thought about that for years now. Other dumb decisions loom larger (crashing the car 1 month later; not focusing on soccer or school, but focusing too much on girls; etc.)

But on the flight back home Saturday, the family and I took off on January 2, 2016 at 9pm, and landed on January 2, 2016 at 11am. We then proceeded to relive January 2, 2016 for a second time – having another day’s worth of meals; naps; and the rest – before finally seeing January 3, 2016 (and we only saw that 1 time). On the way to Fiji, we never saw December 23. Well, technically we slept through it for a few hours.

So from that point of view, my 2015 was 364 1/3 days. And my 2016 will be 367 days.

Where does all of that time come from & go?

I haven’t been able to figure it out, but if I do, then I’ll definitely let you know 🙂

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on Yes John, there is something worse than Turkish time

Yes John, there is something worse than Turkish time

In high school, it drove my dear friend (and comrade in arms for all things sports) John Gottshall bat shit crazy how late I was to everything. 

Heading to the Ale House? At least 15 minutes late. 

Tailgating at 2pm? Show up at John’s house at 2:15. 

You wanna drive together to skiing senior year of high school? I don’t even remember if I was late or not… I’m just assuming I was.

Well, I’ve been beat. By “Island time” in Fiji. The guy coordinating everything has his watch set 30 minutes behind the actual time. On top of that, everyone is 15-30 minutes behind schedule anyway. 

John would have gone crazy. Luckily, I’m well adjusted 🙂

Pictures will land tomorrow. There are some amazing ones!

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 1 comment on Heading back from Fiji

Heading back from Fiji

We’re about to board a seaplane back to Nadi from which we’ll fly first to LAX, and then hopefully to SFO later. 

We leave 9:30pm Jan 2 in Fiji, and get home at 4pm Jan 2 in San Francisco. 

That – ladies and gentlemen – is the magic of the international date line. 

It was absolute magic, and a ton of photos and stories will follow in the days to come. But first some things I’ve learned:

  • If you pick up a sea cucumber from under the water, then it spits water at you
  • Don’t touch the coral. It will cut you. You will get infected. 
  • Always ask the questions you’re not sure about because the answers can be fascinating and wonderful. 
  • Get a return plan. It’s a paradise that needs to be revisited. 
  • It’s really, really weird to be a day ahead of everything you know. Especially when you try to send new year’s wishes. 
  • Don’t drink the kava
  • Smile. It fixes everything
  • A ridiculously good looking 6-month old boy will be kissed at least 25 times a day while in Fiji
  • She can be as beautiful five years later as you remember her being the first time you arrived
  • Eat the fish.
  • Grow old. Not for yourself, but for the others who get to enjoy your company. 
  • Be worthy of their company, and make sure they are worthy of yours

The trip was amazing. The friends we made laughed with us, and then made fun of us. I met a prominent US Senator and his family. I was inspired by an old man with a huge soul.

Good-bye Turtle Island. My heart stays with you. 

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on A Friday for thoughts

A Friday for thoughts

I feel like my day started feeling like this:

and now it feels like this:

“All men dream; but not equally.
Those who dream by night in the dusty
recesses of their minds
Awake to find that it was vanity;
But the dreamers of day are dangerous men.
That they may act their dreams with open
eyes to make it possible.”

T. E. Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia)

It’s just all about perspective.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 2 comments on A sense of being stuck

A sense of being stuck

I have this incredible sense of being stuck.

I don’t know the source, and I’m not convinced that it’s not of my own doing. Worse, I’m pretty convinced it is of my own doing.

It just feels like at every turn we’re this close to an answer; this close to progress; this close to finishing; but we just can’t get there. And I don’t feel like I have any control left. Any more levers or motivational speeches.

I took a run today with Theo, and it was wonderful. For the first time, in a long time, my mind was empty. My focus on my breathing. The road. The baby in the stroller. That silence between my ears was heavenly.

But then I got home again, and I couldn’t keep the volume down.

I hope the end of the year let’s me switch into 2016 in a different zone. But I don’t know… this one feels like it has roots that are starting to settle.