Life Updates, Uncategorized 0 comments on Doruk’s in town!

Doruk’s in town!

Even though their flight got canceled, and they were delayed for 4 hours, Doruk and Hanna have made it to town. The babies are sleeping, and missed seeing them, but I fully expect Amelia to catch up quickly in no time at all.

Over Thanksgiving, and then in January when he flew out for the weekend, I could already see the bonding between Doruk and Amelia. I think on this trip the bonding will be at a whole new level, and then of course Luka will get in on the action as well.

The game plan is mainly to stay low, have fun in the city by the Bay, and just hang out. It’s gonna be awesome

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on What normal sounds like

What normal sounds like

This morning I finally heard the sound of normal.

Genevieve was out sick Tuesday, and so we called in a back up nanny, and the hand off there was a bit harder than I would have liked.

Amelia was sick Wednesday, and couldn’t make it to school.

Luka has a bum left foot because his ankle is sprained, and he’s clearly in a lot of pain. The doctor said to not take him to school, and so he ended up at home with me too.

There was a turning point somewhere post last throw up, post Wednesday nap time, where I knew we had turned the corner. Amelia held down her dinner. Luka started putting weight on his left foot again. I had a good feeling we were going to get a good night’s sleep, and get back to normal.

But you’re not really back to normal until you hear the kids dancing about in the living room. Toast and eggs are made and waiting on the table. And you can take a breath, soak it all in, and lose yourself in that single moment.

The sound of normal, a sometimes very boring thing, was music to my ears.

Melih gets married, Uncategorized 0 comments on Oh I remember why we got married

Oh I remember why we got married

We went out on a date night tonight. It’s been a tough week. A lot of throw up (all Amelia’s), and a lot of long nights. At least Galatasaray tied Chelsea 1-1 🙂

We’ve been running like chickens with our heads cut off. Big projects. Not big enough teams to help execute. Trying to hire like crazy during the dead season (between Thanksgiving and March bonuses no one moves. Then in April the flood gates open). The 20 minute drive each way in the car is about the depth of conversation we get to have.

So tonight, when we headed back to the Pizza Place to have dinner it was really fantastic. Pouring with rain. Chill restaurant. Good pizza. And great conversation. We laughed with each other. We laughed at each other. And then we had ice cream before we came home to crash.

It was one of those nights where you get to remember why we got into this craziness together in the first place.

Fatherhood, Uncategorized 0 comments on Finding the swimming sweet spot

Finding the swimming sweet spot

We just got back from swimming. We’ve changed from our Saturday afternoon slot to a Tuesday evening slot, and it’s totally changed how the kids engage. I feel like we’ve finally found their swimming sweet spot.

Our Saturday teacher was a woman named Simone who is a fantastic swimming teacher. Amelia bloomed under her, and grew by leaps and bounds. Unfortunately, Luka just couldn’t get into it. Worse… we were always late, and they were always waking up early from their naps to go.

It was just way too hard to make it all happen, and so even though leaving Simone was a hard choice, we decided to try out a new night.

I think Jenny is going to be a good teacher as well, but, more than anything else, I think we’re finally not stressing out their sleep cycle, it’s much easier to get there (and so we get the full lesson), and the class size is slightly smaller. It’s meant that Luka is finally putting his head under water, and Amelia just keeps getting better and better.

It also gives us our Saturday afternoon’s back, and we don’t feel like we lose an entire day of the weekend to having to do kid’s activity.

I just don’t get why the pool would have their 1 – 2 year old classes at THE primo nap time for that age group. It just doesn’t make sense :-/

We’re really sad we’ve lost Simone, but we’re really excited about the kids being into swimming. We’ve found their swimming sweet spot 🙂

Fatherhood, just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on A father’s shadow

A father’s shadow

In case you missed it, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won this year’s Daytona 500.

My driver is Kasey Kahne (a choice I made by saying whoever won Rookie of the Year the first year I watched NASCAR would be my guy). It’s been a good choice (even though there have been some rough years), and while the Daytona 500 wasn’t good to him, I have a good feeling about this year… but I digress.

Junior has the fortune/misfortune of being the son of the greatest (or maybe #2) stock car driver of all time. He’s ridden that to some great highs (twice winning the Busch series driving for his dad’s team), and some incredibly lows (two multiple year winless streaks that have haunted him). I think personally though that he’s handled it all well, and this win is I think the beginning of him coming out of his father’s shadow.

The thing is, I really get what it’s like to be Junior.

My dad started and sold a company during the first bubble at first bubble valuations. My aunt got him a t-shirt that translated the price to Turkish lira, and given the ratio was $1:1mil TL at the time, it was a huge number.

All I knew growing up was science and technology were going to open the doors for me to do the same thing. I never considered anything else except computer science/electrical engineering as a profession. I loved economics, french, and the film class I used to sneak into with Jordan, but those were never going to be a profession. At most, they’d be a hobby.

And there has been a really long lull where I felt like this was an awful choice. I would never find a way out of that shadow. And I don’t know that I’m out yet, but it’s really starting to feel like the possibility is there. And it’s really uplifting. And it’s really terrifying. But mainly, it’s exciting.

It’s a long and lonely thing a father’s shadow. But the other side is a story of a journey well traveled, and a life well lived.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on This week in review

This week in review

I work too much 🙁 But we had a great week anyway.

Saturday after gym class the Green family came over. They are our co-conspirators in activities of parenting, start ups, travel, and SF living. It was out first true guest after moving in (Betsy gets the first true guest badge), and it was a blast. We were in the garden; the kids had fun; it was great.

Today I conned Micky into pizza for lunch. Luka was so tired he passed out in the car on the way back from the zoo. The new playground at the zoo is epic (and scary too). In his sleep state, the poor guy overfilled his diaper and ended up peeing through soaking me in the process (I was the make shift bed). I really do love The Pizza Place. And this story will live on in family lore

When all was said and done, it was a good week. Laughs. Sleepless nights. Ideas blooming.

Let’s see where it all takes us.

Fatherhood, Uncategorized 0 comments on That age where going out together is fun again

That age where going out together is fun again

Tonight we took the babies to the beach after their naps. This is my first new favorite thing about our location. We haven’t really had the chance to urban hike Golden Gate park, and that would be next I think. Biking as a family third, but I digress.

When we were in the UK winter of 2012, we ended up at this awesome hotel outside Bath whose name I forget. It was targeted at families, and had kids stuff, menus, a daycare area, and indoor pool. It was amazing.

The best part was that everyone else had kids. So when your kids were screaming at dinner, you were just one in a crowd. It was incredibly liberating.

After the beach, we went to the Park Chalet. Kids played outside as we waited. We sat down, ordered and ate. They were amazing. We all played silly games. They ate their dinner. We all had dessert. They were genuinely easy, and the evening was fantastically wonderful. Amelia even threw down a rendition of “Say Something” for all to enjoy.

From that hotel outside Bath to the Park Chalet we went from being in the screaming masses to a lovely family dinner for 4.

Becoming a PM, Uncategorized 0 comments on PM Dilemma: intuition vs data

PM Dilemma: intuition vs data

I had an absolutely superb meeting today with someone on the team about the tidal wave that has swept product development – data.

We talked a lot about how it has become a must have skill set in the Valley, and where we land on that scale (read: way behind). I kept the conversation going in my head tonight, and it really has forced me to ask where as a team we need intuition and where we need to be data driven.

So I did what any logical person would do, and I hopped on Quora to see what others have asked, and what answers have been given.

I think one of the benefits of Quora is also a bit of a downfall. Folks get requested to answer a question, which brings experts to the topic. BUT. It tends to bring a very specific answer set as well. In this regard, I got inundated by religious zealots swearing that there was only one way, that way was data, and Reis was his prophet (ok, I made the last piece up, but you get the idea). There are few folks who defend intuition because it has no tangible way to prove success. Much the opposite, there are way too many failure cases to the contrary.

So Quora failed me.

Instead, I dove deep into our platform, and came out the other side realizing that we need to be is an intuition based team where data acts as the final scorecard. Our intuition used to just come from gut, but today we have enough customers that we can soft test anything. Further, the leaps of faith are quickly becoming hops, and on the horizon will be even less contentious. Why? Because first customers will say they need it, and then we can prove they use it.

And yet the big ticket item of what and where is still a task for our imaginations. I like that. A lot.

This blog post is a ramble more than a thought, but nonetheless I’m really excited about our product development future. Numbers and prayers both have a big part to play.

Becoming a PM, Uncategorized 0 comments on Working on the “team” in product team

Working on the “team” in product team

We’ve just stated a new weekly lunch event on the product team where we pick a relevant topic and jam on it. We talked about a new strategy at one, and design process at the one today. It’s an attempt to cross pollinate across the team best practices, new ideas, road map pitches, and the like.

One challenge in the office is that we’re grouped into teams, but that doesn’t guarantee that we’re working together towards a common goal. Sometimes the issue is opaqueness, and sometimes poor communication. Not enough time to coordinate, a lack of context, or even an inability to relate all lead to an inability to align.

But I just don’t buy it. We have common customers, and a common end goal. Within that we’ve got to find a way to create a common language. And that’s the goal of these lunches.

I hope that in three months time our designers have a clear vision of the platform and how they’re shaping it.

I hope that the larger team has a better visual of what we’re building because we become better storytellers.

And I hope that these exchanges become a high point of everyone’s week.

Because the best part of being a team is winning together, and I think this will help get us there.

Life Updates, Uncategorized 0 comments on A big smile for today

A big smile for today

Today I got to go out with a really great person for lunch. He’s got a huge smile; he laughs all the time; and he’s a big reader of my blog. What more could you ask for in a person 🙂

I’ll hide his identity as he’s giving up some sense of Internet presence in 2014, but I’m going to make a point of every few weeks leaving the office, and meeting folks for lunch. If it goes as well as today, then that’s the exact energy I want to keep me going through the ups and downs of the day-to-day cycle.

I’ll share one quick story. It took us a few times to nail the date. He told the hostess (who he knows well) about my New Year’s resolution around french fries, and so she had a poster ready which read, “Free French Fries for Melih Onvural all day!”. I just laughed, and laughed. The hostess said to me, “Don’t worry. I have a genetic co-dependence. If you eat fries, then I’ll eat them with you”. I had to breathe out of my mouth because everyone had french fries. We’ve set a date for January 2nd, 2015 to head back, and eat at least one plate of fries. It’s going to be amazing!

Thanks for the hour of smiles. It was great for me. I hope it was great for you.