Becoming a PM, Life Updates, Uncategorized 0 comments on It’s official…

It’s official…

My promotion to Director of Product Management has been announced to the team.

I set as a goal for 30 to be promoted. I’ve wanted this for two reasons:

1) External validation that I’ve contributed to the story of TokBox. I’ve been here for almost 6 years now. I’ve had two careers. One in engineering. One in product. The arc throughout has been platform, platform, platform (even when it wasn’t). And now I’m excited to be able to tell this story to the world.

2) Personal satisfaction that I’ve grown and passed through a significant professional milestone.

And now I’m there. And it feels amazing.

Fatherhood, Uncategorized 0 comments on Another first: Babies’ first movie theater experience

Another first: Babies’ first movie theater experience

We went to go see Frozen today with the babies.

They’ve both been learning the songs on YouTube, and they recognize the various characters. So after gym (given it was raining like crazy), we decided to book tickets, and make a go of it. The Greens came with us.

They both loved it!

Amelia sang along to the songs. She kept asking about where her favorite characters were, and why they were sad, or happy, or scared. Luka sat in Micky’s lap, and just watched the whole thing. He was so focused. I don’t know if he blinked once in the 90 minutes.

I’m so glad that this was their first movie theater experience.

A wonderful movie. A wonderful time. I even saved the ticket stubs so that they can throw it into a memento book one day. Really, we should start it for them… that’s a cool idea.

Amelia’s favorite was Anna and “Let it go”.

Luka was unable to articulate 🙂

I hope Disney keeps cranking them out at this level because it was really great, and I’m really excited to see more like it.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on Making time to laugh with friends

Making time to laugh with friends

Tonight, after work, I headed over to Justine & Vander’s place for drinks with the gang. I inherited a group of gals from Micky who over time have expanded to be a group of gals and guys. Marriages, babies, and time have come and gone. Getting together is really tough to do, and so when we get to do it (and hell, we’re going to do it twice this weekend) it’s a really great chance to just let loose and relax.

I finally saw the McClain’s place. The remodel was gorgeously done. There are mounts of animal heads all over the place. I guess you can take a boy out of Oklahoma, but you can’t take the Oklahoma out of the boy 🙂

Then a small sub-crew headed over to Zazie’s where we ate too much, and laughed too hard.

It was a good start to a much needed weekend.

Becoming a PM, Uncategorized 1 comment on Process isn’t a bad word

Process isn’t a bad word

The goal of this experiment is whether we can be smarter about building product because we pay more attention to how we do it.

Everyone I know out in the Valley is quite process averse. Folks write against it, preach against it, and fight against it as much as possible. We’re not big enough to need it or there’s nothing broken with our product development cycles are the main excuses I’ve heard though there are others.

I’ve been trying to figure out why this is a ruse.

I’ve seen where the small team fails without a process. I’ve seen where the perception of success is simply a lack of visibility into what’s possible.

And so I’m putting my money where my mouth is.

We’ve talked about this a lot amongst the product team. Betsy started it off by putting a more visible design process on the table. The design team has picked it up by putting a work board onto a wall in the office. On the product management side, we’re creating a one page spec sheet. In one page, we want to define business requirements, use cases, core functional requirements, and a success criteria. It involves being brief, being straight forward, and properly building a living document.

The outcome should not be a cumbersome set of hurdles to get things out the door. It should be a common language for product development that helps us become great at it.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on Garaje’s Fried Chicken Sandwich

Garaje’s Fried Chicken Sandwich

We took Byrne out to lunch today across a bunch of product and marketing. He chose Garaje as his send off spot. It was actually the place I took both Byrne and Denis for their welcome to TokBox drinks.

I really like the food there, and they have a great cider which is the one alcoholic drink I really enjoy. The burger is… awesome. The fries are… amazing. But I’ve found the true masterpiece item… their fried chicken sandwich.

Now, let me not go so far as to say that this is a replacement for Chik-fil-a or Bojangles. It definitely has a category of its own though. And it’s definitely better than Popeyes or Wendy’s.

It’s a huge piece of chicken breast with cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. It’s delicious. I didn’t break my no fries resolution (which was hard when 5 baskets of fries showed up). But man oh man did I gobble up that sandwich. There needs to be more of a sauce. Maybe just a fat chunk of mayo on there or something, but other than it’s delicious!

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on 9 memorable books

9 memorable books

Gregory Fischer (who came into my life through Micky’s dear friend Stephanie Grand Jacques) passed along one of these “chain letters” that makes the rounds on Facebook. I tend to ignore them, but I really liked the premise behind this one – List 9 books that touched me. I spent way too much time thinking about this, but so it goes. Here is my list. I won’t pass it on so as to prevent spreading the pain 🙂

1) Siddhartha by Herman Hesse – I read this in 4th grade. Hatice gave it to me, and to this day I remember it like I’m still reading it in real time. I don’t know whether it was the father/son relationship, or the introduction to a foreign culture, but I can’t seem to let this one go

2) The Redwall Series by Brian Jacques – We had a program in elementary school where you took quizzes on books, got points, and then went to parties. I had the 2nd highest total at school, and found these books because they were that sweet spot of high points, but not too long to read. LOVED them, and read each one through Brian Jacques passing a few years back.

3) The Mythical Man Month by Fred Brooks – Read this during college, and started to realize that computer science was not engineering. This book still tickles me in the back of my head as I think about how to create systems that scale. It’s all about consistency & transparency, and not at all about more.

4) The Pragrammatic Programmer by Dave Thomas and Andy Hunt – When I was an engineer, this book shaped how I built software. I was never a good engineer, but I was definitely efficient when I actually focused and thought through the deliverable. Hat tip to Eishay Smith for this one

5) Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein – First book I read to Amelia. We read it in the NICU together, and Tim Bacon and I bonded about storytelling, getting out of the NICU, and getting back to normal. The poetry helped.

6) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – I read this on our honeymoon, and it brought me back to reading fiction, and not just news, business books, etc.. I’d given up reading after English class 12th grade because the process of over analyzing book after book ruined the hobby for me

7) Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – My favorite sci-fi book (or maybe I’d put Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson here).

8) The Giver by Lois Lowry – My first dystopian novel. I still don’t know why they would ask us to read this in 4th grade. The themes, the mood, everything about it is too much for a 9 year old’s world view. And yet I loved it.

That’s it. I couldn’t find #9

Good challenge. Great trip down memory lane.

Life Updates, Uncategorized 0 comments on This week in review

This week in review

A long, crazy, week. The end of lots of things, and the beginning of some really great ones. This week in review…

Working on a cross Comms project means a lot of morning meetings. Holy smokes that takes coordination. Phone charged. Awake. Kids taken care of. Into the meeting. Mentally present, and not distracted. Whew… it’s just going to keep getting crazier. I can tell.

Monday was St. Patrick’s day, and that ended up being a great day. Trey was in town. We got dinner at Nopalito. I headed out to see Mike’s band play. Good, good night.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Micky’s travels were finally done. I mean finally, thank God, they were done! She’ll be home for a while now which is good for me. Definitely good for the kids too. She’s done traveling because her commercials are out! If you haven’t seen them, check it out on Trulia’s YouTube channel.

When the weekend arrived, we family bonded. It was really excellent. Sunday we celebrated Rahul’s first birthday. Here are some videos of us on the slides at the carousel playground. What a great weekend it was!


Fatherhood, Uncategorized 0 comments on Amelia goes safari-style

Amelia goes safari-style

We’re at the Boat Playground today (45th & Lincoln) hanging out with Mat, Mary, and Baby Reece. It’s quite fun to just jaunt around the Sunset with folks. We can pretty much walk anywhere (as long as it’s a San Francisco crowd) because nothing is more than a mile away.

So off we went to the beach, but all of the babies fell asleep 🙂

We ended up going to Trouble Coffee (cool spot, with a wacky staff), and then headed to the Boat Playground when the babies woke up.

Everyone was doing their thing – Reece was eating (or maybe the Eltings had just left), Luka was flirting with older women in the sand, and Amelia went off into the grassy bit in the back.

Then all of a sudden, Micky screams, “What’s Amelia doing? Quick. Stop her!”

I was stuck with Luka in a high up place, and off Micky ran. When we all got back together I found out that she’d pulled her pants down, squatted in the grass, and successfully peed. She then (since there are no bathrooms there) did it again right before we left (but this time in a less obvious spot).

What a rock star she is!

We went and had pizza for dinner, and then took the train home.

Great family (& friends) day 🙂