Blog

My thoughts on business, life, and where they intersect.


4 foolproof rules for naming your company

It must be three syllables or fewer. Ideally, two. More than three is a mouthful. Our minds find creative ways to shorten most names so they flow better. Detroit is always Detroit, but Philadelphia is Philly. Royal Farms becomes RoFo. New York Times becomes The Times. Los Angeles becomes LA. ... read more


WeWork is the next sub-prime real estate debacle

Shopify started with a freemium business model. They offered their e-commerce storefront software for free, taking a small percentage of transactions on sold products. They soon realized that the model created a perverse incentive. The types of companies that were creating Shopify accounts were ones who, deep down, knew they ... read more


Innovation happens when the world shrinks. What's next?

To "shrink the world" is to connect distant communities together in a more profound way. When one's world shrinks, information is shared, and new ideas are formed. When a world-shrinking innovation hits, humanity fundamentally changes. What is it that causes "shrinking"? Is it information per se? ... read more


Optimized Parenting™ leads to boring children

Move over, helicopter parents. We're in the era of the optimized parent. For every conceivable tactic related to child rearing, there's a "best practice." Tactics like the best way to potty train, the optimal amount of screen time, how much outside activity they should have, what kind of ... read more


Due diligence in angel investing

Angel investing is inherently riskier than venture capital. It's earlier in the life of a company, sometimes pre-revenue, which means fundamentals like product-market fit are not yet proven. Due diligence in the angel world isn't about perusing financial statements and analyzing unit economics. It's gut... with a little backchannel research. ... read more


Personal goals for 2019

This post was originally an edit of a post titled "Goals for 2018," which I never published. It was never published because I never got around to finalizing my goals for the year. Time flies. That's not to say I didn't accomplish a lot in 2018, but I can't measure ... read more


For Silicon Valley to survive, so too must Facebook

There is a new, puzzling piece in The Economist that likens Facebook to Yahoo. The gist is: if Facebook's not careful, it's going to go the way of the Y!, Instagram and WhatsApp be damned. Nevermind the fact that Yahoo's reason for failure was a hubristic acquisition strategy, mishandling and ... read more


Screen time and new-parent future-shock

Read this New York Times piece before continuing. The anecdotes in the article above condone an "abstinence only" approach to screen time. After all, it worked out super-well for teen pregnancies, so why not apply the same methodology to technology? I have some anecdotes of my own. I ... read more


Tesla won't fail for one simple reason

Name a time in history when a company with an industry-defining product with huge demand failed under the weight of cash flow, or regulation. I haven't been able to find any examples. Despite that, claims of Tesla’s impending demise are prolific. The web is filled with: 1) Anecdotal claims that th... read more


The future of enterprise software

Let's walk through the history of software and map where it's going. — The 1980s The 1980s was really the first decade when software (and computers) became ubiquitous in the office. Software was stored (and purchased) on a physical floppy disk. There was no such thing as "downloading." Software wa... read more


The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Tesla Model 3

I built a living document that outlines all the steps I found helpful to prepare to purchase and take delivery of a Tesla Model 3. It's a bit different than a regular car, so the extra prep work was worth it. read more


Summers in Orton

I park my five-speed and walk up the tired wooden steps of the general store. The dog snoozing on the porch acknowledges me with a perked ear. I wrap my finger around the little metal handle on the screen door and pull. It staggers open. I step inside, absorbing the ... read more


Facebook and the early abandoners

The first law of thermodynamics says that energy is transferred. It can't be created, or destroyed. The way we adopt things follows that law. We tend to think of early adopters as pioneers who take on the burden of testing out a new product or service before everyone else, constantly ... read more


Using Philips Hue to reduce distraction in the office

Ever been on an important demo call with a big prospect when someone yells "soup is just wet salad!" in the room next door? "What kind of operation are you running over there?" asks the prospect. Suddenly the whole deal is called into question. All because ... read more


A counterpoint to Warren Buffet's "2 List" strategy

Warren Buffet is arguably one of the most successful businessmen in history. The story of how he helped one of his employees prioritize has spread among professional circles as the way to succeed. Spoiler alert: it doesn't work. Here's the story: Mike Flint was Buffett's personal airplane pilot for 10 years. (... read more


There’s a little bit of sand left in the hourglass

If I didn't have a sense of how quickly time flies before, I do now. It’s early in the morning when Mary brings Alice into our bedroom for a good morning snuggle. Our baby turned 1 year old last week; her thin wisps of hair are well past her ears no... read more


How our vision helped us find ourselves

tl;dr: We started Localist, selfishly, as a way for us to personally become more connected to our community. As we grew as a company, we felt like we couldn’t be a “real” company without creating a vision around becoming a billion-dollar empire. We eventually realized that a dollar-based vision... read more


Meetings matter

CEOs are supposed to think meetings are bullshit. The consistent advice given to me by most other CEOs I meet is: meetings suck you into the day-to-day, which limits your thinking to tactical issues, preventing you from thinking strategically. I now realize that the CEOs who say that haven’t fi... read more


My old posts

If you're curious what I wrote about before starting this new blog, you can visit my post history: Medium (2016-2017) Karm City (2007-2016) read more


Immigration’s role in DC Tech

This morning, the Washington Business Journal published an open letter from us in the DC Tech community to the Trump Administration. It outlines immigration’s uniquely positive effect on DC, and its representation in the country as a whole. It also officially registers our concern as entrepreneurs that these policies do... read more