just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on 11 days til 30

11 days til 30

Things to do better (Part IV)

Picking me versus everyone else

One thing my mom always got right was her observation that I do for others way more than I do for myself or my family.

And I think the imbalance has gotten to the point where it’s actually that I do nothing for everyone because I’m too focused on being a chicken with my head cut off.

And so, as I head into the last ten days of my twenties, the major area of focus for me is learning to pick myself, which will in turn make me better at work/life balance, being a good son, and being a better friend.

Or at the very least it will mean I’m running around in a panic a lot less.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on 12 days til 30

12 days til 30

Things to do better (Part III)

Work/life balance

I spend too much time solving problems at work that don’t move the needle. As a result, I feel like I genuinely haven’t stopped working for at least two years (except our recent Turkey trip where I didn’t check email once).

I think there are a few reasons for this:

  1. I feel like TokBox’s story is incomplete, and as a founder of OpenTok finishing that story is my responsibility.
  2. I feel like carrying the team to the level I want them to achieve is solely proportional to how I elevate them.
  3. I have an epic trust issue compounded by an epic fear of failure.

But I finally got the feedback I needed, and the ecosystem of feedback has improved markedly.

As a result, I’m really going to focus on working smarter and not harder. I’m hoping the outcome is that I create work/life balance because my todo list is the set of items I make a difference against, and not just all the things we need to do.

Because I really don’t want to work at 1am anymore on email threads that I know don’t need me.

Which is actually hard for me to do, and I’m going to do it anyway 🙂

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on 13 days til 30

13 days til 30

Things to do better (Part II)

Be a better son

I think that over the last 10 years, and especially the last 6, I’ve been a C- son at best. From my point of view, my parents have been equally bad parents. I think though that it’s time we all change that.

For me, it’s going to take a lot of patience, and putting in some effort towards being a better listener. It’s a weird time in all of our lives right now, and I think that we all lack the interpersonal skills needed to work through it. The change has to start somewhere, and I’ve unilaterally signed myself up.

I know that what I need to do is:

  • Engage more, and on a more pro-active basis
  • Be more forthcoming about where I am, where I’m going, and how I’m doing
  • Give up some bad feelings, and start to forgive

From my parents, I’d love to see:

  • More engagement with fewer rules, cultural expectations, and baggage
  • Less problem solving – especially when there is no problem to solve
  • Questions instead of assumptions

It’s going to be incredibly hard, but I think the outcome will make it worth the effort.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 1 comment on 14 days til 30

14 days til 30

Things to do better (Part I)

Staying connected to friends

Since I’ve moved to San Francisco, I’ve been a C+ friend at best. A bunch of my closest friends are coming up to the mountains this weekend, and I’m lucky they aren’t the type to count phone calls missed, trips we didn’t take, and everything else.

They’re just genuine and honest, and I’m really lucky.

I’ve really stunk it up with my friendships in SF as well. I’m just constantly using work and the kids as an excuse to not make an effort to invest in other people. It’s wrong, and lazy, and, quite honestly, really lonely.

So this next decade I’m going to be better at friendships.

I don’t see the who changing very much, but I’m very convinced that the what will be much better.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on 15 days til 30

15 days til 30

Half-way through the countdown.

We’re flying back East tonight on a red eye to spend the weekend with friends from high school and college. Micky’s got the whole thing planned, and it’s all a surprise. Babies are so excited to go on the plane. I’m just excited to not be in San Francisco for a few days.

I’ll catch up with the questions folks have sent in since I’ll have a bit more time over the next few days, and then I’ll be down to about ten days to go.

And we’re off 🙂

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 5 comments on 16 days til 30

16 days til 30

Election night 2014 was an eye opener for me. Not because the Republicans success was a surprise, nor that the very left leaning propositions and amendments passed all over the country. But because I finally saw the beginning of the end for the two dominant parties.

Embedded legacies don’t die easily. The Democrats are the party of Thomas Jefferson, and the Republicans Abraham Lincoln.

Third parties have come to challenge them before, and failed in the process. Sometimes they were absorbed, and other times they were just defeated. But the theme was generally a niche interest that catered to a specific constituency, and then either fizzled out or went mainstream.

This time it’s different.

The two big parties have gone extreme. They now represent those niches and trendy issues that tend to fizzle out when theory hits reality. And they’ve left a gaping hole in the middle for someone to fill.

And so I think, though I have no idea how we pull it off, my generation will be judged by our ability to bring political discourse and national progress back to the middle, by how purple we can make the country, and how we undo 20 years of pendulum swinging, mud slinging, social media rage, and the death of compromise.

That’s going to be a hard problem to solve.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on 17 days til 30

17 days til 30

Surprise (Part IV)

Someone, I think it was Patrick Lie, told me that your brain can be rewired when you have your first kid. That it was an evolutionary way for us to learn to be parents.

My reprogramming came in my immune system.

In college, I’d get some bug every year, and it would knock me out. I’d crash at my mom’s house for a week, and be both sad and pathetic – maybe a little bit on purpose.

That continued when I moved out west, and I just figured my immune system, having been ravaged by bronchitis, allergies, poison ivy, and the like – just took a week’s vacation every year.

Ian always gave me shit for “letting myself get sick”. I think that’s a direct quote, but if not it’s pretty close 🙂

Then Amelia came.

Maybe it was because I’ve always gotten my flu shot since we were first pregnant. Or maybe I genuinely reprogrammed myself as Patrick suggested. But for the last 3.5 years, I’ve been sick every day of my life, but never knocked out for more than one day at a time.

It’s an epically new state of being, and while I’m really tired of constantly having a runny nose this whole not being passed out thing is fantastic.

I don’t know if it lasts into my thirties, but long may it be the case.

In the words of our fearless leader – “I don’t have time to be sick”

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on 18 days til 30

18 days til 30

This idea was contributed by the dear and wonderful Saket. If you have an idea, then please let me know it!

If the 20 year old version of yourself received $100,000 in cash, what would he do with it? What would you do with it now?

Thank you Saket. Great question.

If at 20 years old, I’d gotten $100k I would have:

  • Put it into my 401k, ROTH, and then spend a bunch in Vegas

I genuinely think it would have been that boring. I wouldn’t have been brave enough to drop out of school to start a company. I wouldn’t have been smart enough to buy real estate (when I was 20, the market was just recovering from the tech crash and 9/11), and I definitely wouldn’t have been crazy enough to buy $100k worth of epic parties.

Gosh I was really boring then.

And now… I’d put the money in the kids 529s 🙂

Still boring.

The crazy thing is I realized that $100k to the 20 year old me would have blown my mind. Now, I’m thinking…

  • Well, 50% probably goes to taxes so it’s really only $50k
  • And then I’ve got these bills to pay
  • Oh yeah, Micky wanted to do that thing
  • No, no, we should invest it in our savings
  • Actually, let me just get ahead of paying for that MIT tuition for Amelia

Oh me 🙂

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on 19 days til 30

19 days til 30

This idea was contributed by one of my most loyal readers who has asked to stay anonymous. But he’s got a full list of great ideas that I’ll be using over the next few weeks. If you have an idea, then please let me know it!

A way you’ve become more forgiving

After going a bit heavy two days ago, I wanted to pick a question with a more positive tone.

I think the most humbling experience is having children because they teach you how right your parents were all those times you thought they were complete fools.

It really helps put perspective on how many times I should have said sorry or just realized that I was wrong.

It also helped me center on the journey that people take to get from point A to point B. It takes time. It’s much slower than you want. And you can’t do it for the other person.

It drove me crazy when my girl’s soccer team didn’t get it. I mean, how could they not. The task was easy, and I was a genius coach.

Neither, it turns out, actually matters.

So how have I become more forgiving? First, I understand my parents more clearly. Second, I’m more patient with life’s journey.

It’s been a healthy, humbling combination.