Monday, December 1, 2014

My First Art Show

Last night I took down my photography at Vic's. Thank you to the entire Vic's crew who's generosity in giving me space to display my work for a month was tremendous (complete "thank yous" at the bottom of this post).

What an amazing experience!


Art. I've had an intensely long struggle with this word. Of course, the understanding of the word is akin to trying to understand the meaning of life. The understanding, if one can come to one at all, comes from a never-ending relationship with beauty. I'm still working on my definition of "art," but I generally go with something around art being an attempt to bring something in the minds' eye, to life for others to witness and interpret. I'm undecided on whether or not "art" can exist if only its creator witnesses it. "Does a tree falling alone in the woods make a sound" kind of stuff.

I've struggled with whether or not photography can be art. My struggle is over thanks to this experience and discussions and perspective from people I consider "artists." Photography can be art for sure. It's art when the photographer can get something unique and powerful and subtle to be seen by the viewer. After this experience, I consider myself an artist. It feels so cool to say that. The acceptance came on the first day while I was hanging my work. Someone asked "are you the artist?" "I guess so" I replied.


The "show" wasn't about revenue, it was about taking a risk in putting myself out into the real world from an artistic standpoint. I spent a ton having everything printed and mounted. I'm sure what I did could've been closely replicated for probably half the cost if one were diligent and shopped around and cut a couple of corners. I didn't post any pricing information, though everything was for sale. Each piece's placard had "emailaddress for inquiries" on it. Over the course of a month, two people reached out inquiring about specific pieces; they wanted pricing info. In Salesforce speak (no, I didn't actually use Salesforce), one of the deals is Closed-Won, and the other is Qualified; "almost there."

I grappled with how to price things. I still have no clue how to do so. The algorithm I used to price was "a little more than cost to produce the physical object." I didn't take into account some abstract notion of demand, or quality of the shot, or the costs that went into actually taking the shot. I prioritized getting my work into someone else's life; onto their wall. I wasn't going to give things away for free though.

Even if you did the budget version of my production, and used my lame pricing model (which I don't advise), you'd be hard pressed to make a living doing one-at-a-time cafe shows. You'd need to play with the simultaneous-shows vector, and/or the price vector, to "get the money right."


The experience has been deeply inspiring. The number of times during setup and teardown that I was approached with versions of heartfelt "this is beautiful work," deeply impacted me. Touching someone with my art evokes an intense motivating feeling; a deeply connecting feeling.

Several times while just sitting and having coffee in the cafe people approached me asking if I was the artist. I have no idea how they knew me; I was just being a random customer and not interacting with the photographs in any way.

As I was leaving Vic's last night, the barista went out of his way to tell me about how many compliments and discussions the show had evoked from customers, and how the staff was going to miss the installation.

Online vs. Offline

I've been posting pics online in various forms since the dawn of digital photography. The online "social" feedback loops for ego stroking and means for expression are amazing. However, there is nothing like shaking the hand of someone you touched with your art, while standing in front of it and admiring it together. The experience was a neat reminder of the necessity of "real-life" interaction; I've missed that. Speaking of "real-life" interaction, a friend posted this powerful short film about human connection in the future.

Thank You

Thank you to everyone that complimented my efforts. Thank you to Vic's for letting me show my work. Thank you to Photo Craft for the awesome printing and mounting service (specifically Claire who helped me accept, and take on, the challenges of translating digital photography to print (not at all easy)). Thank you to my friends and family who took time out of their day to go see my show. Thank you to the folks that bought my work.

Thank you to everyone who provided me feedback, and put up with my dragging a camera everywhere. Particular thanks to you if you patiently waited for me to "get the shot."

Thank you for teaching, guiding, inspiring, encouraging, and motivating me. You've given me one of the greatest gifts of my life.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Secure Communications

Like you, I was devastated to learn of the NSA (and associated services) finding there way into protocols and toolchains and algorithms that I've trusted for years. I was recently pointed to an open source project that gives me hope around securing my wire communications again; Streisand.

The underlying connection stack that sits between you (your laptop, your mobile phone, your iPad, your whatever-IP/DNS-enabled device) and the network at large is increasingly exposed to wrongdoers. As talented software/hardware developers increase in numbers, and toolsets/frameworks explode, pulling together toolkits to steal/re-route your network traffic/information (e.g. credit cards/passwords) gets easier by the day.

Streisand is an open-source project that, relatively easily, allows you to setup the backbone of secure communications, using a variety of encryption technologies/tools/protocols. Coupled with a cloud instance provider, and a open source VPN client, you can protect your IP traffic all the way down to the wire via a virtual network somewhere, completely disassociated with your personal identity. You can inspect every line of code yourself in each package, so only you are to blame if you leave a pesky buffer overrun in the mix for exploitation. You can use your own tokens/keys, so you don't have to worry about malicious/overused/weak tokens/keys being used to encrypt/decrypt your traffic.

As the debate around net neutrality continues, trusting ISPs to do what you expect with your IP traffic gets harder and harder. Obfuscating that traffic gives me at least *some* control. I also like knowing that no matter what country/hotel/coffee shop/office building/etc I'm in, no-one else can decipher my communications over the wire.

There are a variety of "cloud services" that offer your own preconfigured VPN server in the cloud, but using someone else's service kind of defeats the point.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Day In Pictures; A(nother) Tuesday

Catching up with Gayle.
Mid-morning psycho-therapy with Jillian. #alignment

Lunch with Kyle.

Picking up the little one from school in absolutely gorgeous mid-afternoon Fall light.

Talking ATLAS Institute with Mark Gross over beers.

Boulder discussion with Robert Garber over beers (2nd round). I screwed up focus badly in this shot.

Pre-event dinner with April.

Debriefing the evening with nanny Natalya.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

iOS to Android Migration Complete

Punchline if you don't want to read further: I'm successfully using a compact Android phone (for now), but I want an iPhone 4S with NFC, running iOS.

Well, I did it. For the first time since Apple released an iPhone, mine (latest, iPhone 6) now sits discharged on a shelf, and an Android phone (Sony Xperia Z3 Compact; NOT rooted) sits in my pocket. I think the biggest reason I was able to decouple from Apple was that over the past couple of years I had weaned myself off of iTunes (once an awesome idea/model/framework, but now a lame relic of times past). Rdio for music. Tivo for TV. gmail for mail. google calendar for calendar. I never watched movies on my phone.

I bought a Sony Xperia Z3 Compact which runs Android (I'm running it on ATT's network (which I'm not supposed to be doing)). I ran Sony's Bridge software for Mac and transferred everything (and I mean _everything_; it even does App matching (perfect matches for those that exist, and suggestions for those that don't) from my iPhone to my Sony.

Neat things so far with Android.
  • Apps install _really_ quickly.
  • Service access permissions are nice and clear. Before an app can install, you have to grant/deny various permissions (e.g. accessing location or account information).
  • Auto-complete just works. Apple's always failed to auto-complete the things you really want to auto-complete (like email addresses).
  • Bluetooth just works. Pairing and re-connecting works as fast as it should and you never wind up in no-man's land searching for one radio or the other. Some of this upside could be due to Sony's Bluetooth radio/chipset. No way for me to know that right now.
  • Back button. Every app and OS window has the notion of needing to go "back," but iOS doesn't make this an accessible, OS-level, UI metaphor. Android does; which is super handy.
  • Tap-to-Pay and general NFC stuff (e.g. transfering pics from my Sony camera) works great.
  • Unlock your phone with your face.
  • external MicroSD card support. just by more storage when you need it.
  • micro USB connection for power.
  • Google Voice (or whatever they're calling their equivalent to Siri) is incredible!
Things I'm not liking with Android.
  • The scroll acceleration on the touch-screen doesn't feel right. It could just be that I'm so used to iPhone's, that it's feeling off.
  • It lacks a unified app notification framework. This means you have to chase down how each app does notifications (push, visual, audio, vibrate, etc). This is annoying. iOS does a fine job pulling this altogether in one consistent manner.
  • Encyrption handling when mounting. I encrypt everything (Internal & External memory card), and external apps (e.g. OSX when you go to mount the Android phone) struggle to interface with the phone. Sony's Bridge software does a decent job of letting me read/write from the Desktop, but this should be seemless (as iOS has made it) and everything should just look/feel like an external drive from the OS, whether encrypted or not. This could be a Sony issue and not an Android issue, I'm not sure yet. Oddly, Sony's Bridge software doesn't allow for encrypted backups to desktop; that's just plain lazy.
  • Unified full-handset backups are a PITA. There are services on Google Play that support cloud backups of everything, except Photos. Apple's done a damn good job at just backing _everything_ up in the Cloud so I never have to think about where my "system" is backed up, vs. where my "media" is backed up.
  • The voice interface doesn't allow for sending SMS via voice. I'm a heavy user of Siri. "Tell Joe I'll be there in 10 minutes" is something I do a dozen times a day. Typing out simple text messages is so 1800s. Voice command support needs to be better.
I was surprised that nearly every single application I was using on iOS had an Android counterpart.

I'm a heavy Google-apps user. So much of my world is stored in the Goog/cloud, and Google is so integrated into Android, that all the basic stuff like Calendar, Contacts, and email, "just work" (and in some cases much better).

Stuff I'm missing
  • Airplay screen mirror/share stuff
  • iMessage
Three things made the transfer _really_ smooth
  • Sony's Bridge software (worked fine with iOS 8 and Apple OSX Yosemite)
  • Last week I ditched Apple Contacts/iCloud Contact sync in favor of Google Contacts. To do this, I exported all my Apple Contacts from iCloud (after setting up iCloud sync), and imported them into Google then de-duped (mostly automated, but I did make a manual pass at some of the important contacts). I disabled the Contact and Calendar transfer with Sony Bridge as I didn't need those parts.
  • Google == Android and much of my digital world is on the Goog.
I feel like handset computers are purely a hardware game now. I moved off of iOS because the iPhone 6 sucked, but I wanted NFC (I'd waited years for Apple to produce h/w with NFC support, then when they did, it was this massive brick of a piece of h/w in the iPhone 6 (no... I'm not even talking about the 6+... the _6_)). If Apple can produce another beautiful handset, I'll probably switch back to that.

Curious to see if this lasts. My preference would be an appropriately sized Apple handset (e.g. iPhone 4S) running iOS, that has NFC. Apple is so friggin' late to the game with NFC; big industry miss on their part; sad. I'd already be back on my 5S, but... I need NFC.

Monday, October 6, 2014

iPhone 6 Suckage

The iPhone 6 sucks and here's why.

  • you can no longer realistically use the phone with one hand. if you've always been a two-handed smartphone user, you'll probably be fine. however, if you, like me, struggled your way through the iPhone 5 body with one hand, longing for the iPhone 4 size the entire time, you'll find the iPhone 6 is finally just way to big to manage with one-hand.
  • it is so big you can no longer take a picture with one hand. you can't pull it out of your pocket, get it out of lock mode, and position it for picture taking; with one hand. one of the things I love about smartphones/cameras is the ability to take quick pics of something happening. that often means taking a pick when my other hand is doing something else. driving, holding my kids' hand, holding onto handlbars of a bike, holding my coffee, whatever. and don't bitch at me for multi-tasking or driving w/ my phone. everyone does it... you do too.
  • taking pictures with the volume-up button is really hard now because the sleep button is opposite the volume-up button. that means when you're trying to snap the pic, you wind up putting the phone in sleep mode.
  • adjusting the volume is really hard now because the the sleep button is opposite the volume buttons. that means when you're adjusting volume you inadvertently put the phone in sleep mode.
The camera itself is awesome, and the screen is gorgeous. Neither of those things matter though if you can't physically manage the device itself. I'm sure mine will shatter in the next couple of weeks as my phone-dropping frequency has shot way up.

Yes... I heavily use the double-tap-home-button kludge to try to drive the UI into one-hand mode. It can be helpful (crucial in some cases), but it doesn't address the major issues.

At some point I might write a post about all the crappy bugs in iOS 8 too. Steve... I miss you in so many ways.

I'm on a quest for a small form factor Android smartphone now. Bummed. I never thought I'd see the day.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Science on Screen: The Social Network

When the Dairy Center for the Arts asked me if I'd host one of the Science on Screen shows I was intrigued. Once I found out what it actually meant, I was ecstatic!

I've always had a penchant for dissecting the scientific aspects of a film production. From the "that's not possible" scenarios in movies, to subtle usage of a given technology in a film, we are constantly guided by what a filmmaker puts on screen; fiction or not.

The Science on Screen program brings together feature films, and people with scientific expertise to discuss scientific aspects of said films. The audience experiences a "behind the curtain" view of some of the science the filmmaker, intentionally or not, incorporated into movie.

The Sloan Foundation's has a broad goal to bring public understanding of technological and scientific understanding to all of us through film. In 2011, they partnered with the Coolidge Corner Theater 
to provide a grant program which supports independent cinemas across the US in bringing Science on Screen to their audiences.

I've recently been giving my right-brain more room to breathe, and I was excited to learn about some formalized energy around two of my favorite joys; science and film. I get to play the role of "expert" (hah!) on September 21, 2014 at the Boedecker Theater, in Boulder, CO. I'll be talking about the impact social networks are having in the context of "big data" in the computing/software arena prior to a screening of The Social Network.

The Social Network is one of my favorite movies (and not just because Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross did the incredible musical score). It does a beautiful job exploring the innate sociology that drives most of humanity, and the conveyance of that into the online world. That sociology results in billions of human expressions every day. Capturing, and conveying, those expressions to all of us users is a monumental software and hardware challenge. I'll be covering some aspects of that challenge.

I hope you join us. You can buy tickets here.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Awesome session with my therapist the other day. It's always the simple things that carry the most weight and have the most impact.

"Is your life on purpose?"

I didn't ask whether or not what you're doing has purpose, or whether or not you're living with purpose (both important, but different, questions). Is your life on purpose?

Is who you are, and what you're doing, the result of purposeful and deliberate and conscious thought and consideration, or are you just floating on some track or executing against some template? Every waking moment of our lives might not be clearly defined and conscious (that'd be exhausting), but I realized today that often I can slip into a space of just coasting along some path I may, or may not, have deliberately set in motion a long time ago.

That can lead to winding up in a place of living a life that is not something you did on purpose. You're certainly responsible for all of your actions, but your reality today, and tomorrow, might not be as closely tied to what you'd actually like to be doing.

Make sure what you're up to today, right now, is the result of something you decided to do "on purpose."

Of course, by the end of the session we were messing with the question "what is the purpose of life." ;)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sony Alpha 7 (A7) Review

ISO 50, 24mm, f5.6, 1/30'
I've spent a week shooting with the full-frame Sony Alpha 7. I spent a few months with the Panasonic GX-7, but wound up shelving it (the UI was a hard-to-use mess, and the sensor isn't full-frame (something I realized I couldn't give up)).

Overall I'm really impressed with the Sony. I bought it thinking it would be a more day-to-day camera that I could more easily sling over my shoulder instead of a full weight/size DSLR (I have the Canon EOS 6D for that). I'm starting to think it might become my full-use camera however. I need to spend more time with it before knowing if it can fully displace my 6D though. No matter how things fare with the Sony, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to give up the analog/optical viewfinder of a true SLR. Time will tell.

I have a non-trivial investment in Canon lenses, so I've been using the Metabones lens adapter which allows me to use them on the Sony. Having two completely different sets of lenses feels a tad excessive.

  • Size. It's a smaller and lighter full-frame camera.
  • The dial controls for adjusting aperture and shutter speed are solid, consistent, and well placed.
  • Amazingly sharp exposures and overall exposure quality is fantastic! Great color and depth.
  • Focus peaking when in manual focus mode is super cool.
  • Battery life.
  • ISO 50. I'm a huge fan of super low ISO levels, so being able to go down to 50 has been fun.
  • Monitor display. High quality and pivots around really well.
  • Bracketing. I do a lot of landscape photography and bracketing is my standard method of taking exposures. While the Sony supports a few methods for HDR/Bracketing, it lacks a critical feature. The A7 doesn't take the successive exposures automatically with a single shutter-button press. Instead, you have to hold the button down with your finger while the exposures are captured. That means the exposures are highly likely to be shaken while you're holding the button down, and also that you have to sit there with your finger on the button while they're being taken. That can be awhile if you're doing really long exposures. I'm hopeful that they resolve this through a firmware update as I don't see any reason they can't support the single-press-to-multiple-exposures approach Canon has taken. A few blog posts have suggested that Canon remains the gold standard for bracketing support. This is an odd misfire in functionality by Sony. So easy to get this right, it's odd they got it wrong.
  • Angular body. The body has some strong angles and corners on it which means it can uncomfortably dig into you while thrown over your shoulder with the strap.
  • The metering light is so close to your finger on the grip that you have to be careful not to interfere with it when shooting.
  • The lens mount on the body has some play in it so even when lenses are locked in place, they can twist ever so slightly. It's not a big deal, but it doesn't feel as tight as the 6D.
  • The strap mounts interfere with your grip when you're holding the camera; an odd design oversight.
  • The iOS control app is pretty lame.
For now, I'm toting the A7 around with me all the time; it's a great camera. I'm going to see if using a wired remote to trigger the shutter for bracketing solves my issues with how it shoots HDR. If I can resolve the bracketing stuff, then the only thing standing between me and using the A7 as my full-use camera will be the fact that it actually is mirror-less. Not being able to see the analog light coming through a viewfinder is tough; I find myself wanting to see what I'm shooting.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Day In Pictures: Thursday

Ellie at Boxcar pulled together a yummy Cortado to start things off.

Rachel Ryle of Don't Stop Motion fame shares her creative experiences.

Johnny telling me about hanging art in The Laughing Goat. He made me my first latte many many years ago.

Nice girl at Zoe Ma Ma taking orders for the noodles.

April after a solid early afternoon hike.

Rachel for pre-therapy iced coffee.

Therapy session with Jillian.

TechStars Boulder begins! Team/Mentor meet-and-greet.

Matt and David. Good talk about 16-digit numbers.

Catching up with Rob Taylor & Nicole Glaros.

Talking about whale and the history of buckwheat vs. corn meal polenta with the maestro Bobby Stucky.

Talking about risk with entrepreneur Kyle Kuczun as the day winds down.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hiring Your First "Sales Guy"

Knowing when to hire your first sales person is the answer to one of those million dollar questions. We did a great job hiring our first sales person at Gnip (an Enterprise SaaS sales scenario), and this post describes how I think we pulled it off.

There were three things I wanted us to have before we pulled the trigger.

I wanted us to have some actual revenue first. Not a ton, but a handful of months that showed growth. Something I could show a salesperson prospect and say, "See, there's growth here. Your job isn't to start the growth, it's to increase the slope of the curve!" Of course, I also wanted some revenue and growth trajectory to convince ourselves that we were onto something too.

I wanted us to have some semblance of a pattern that illustrated the deal process and showed a prospect coming into the top of the sales funnel, and then out of the bottom, cutting us checks. This pattern, or template, would be something we could hand to a salesperson prospect and say, "This is how we've gotten this far. Are you comfortable with a model like this? Can you make improvements to it so we can have more money flow in?"

I wanted us to have the experience of having done the first wave of sales in order to really know what we were up against.

Put all that together and I think what is was, was that I wanted the upper hand in bringing on our first salesperson. Without the above, you're at the whim of the salesperson, because.... well... "You don't have a proven model here." Danger, danger.

I did NOT want us passing the sales buck off onto some new hire that couldn't fully understand our product, our prospects, our customers, our software, our challenges, our margins, etc. Understanding all of that stuff takes many months, and you want this person generating money quickly. I firmly believe hiring someone to sell your stuff before you've achieved the above items is a recipe for disaster. It will end with the firing of anyone you hire. You will fire them because "they don't understand our product" or "they don't understand how to sell our product" or "they don't understand our customers" or "they don't understand where they can flex on price." Those are all reasons you need to sort out before you hire your first salesperson. Now, you may have to let your first salesperson go anyway, but don't start off with one hand tied behind your back.

Oh, and another thing, I didn't want to hear the new salesperson say "you've never sold this product successfully. I'm trying to get our sales engine going here. it's going to take time." Fuck that. No excuses.

My board of directors drilled into me that we would fire our first salesperson hire (whoever they turned out to be), and that was something I was going to have to be prepared for. Our first salesperson drove Gnip into shit-tons of revenue; years later he's still with the company.

Your mileage will vary.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Your Startup's Identity Crisis

photo by Hans Richard Pedersen

Don't think about the following question; just answer it.

Is your startup a Product company, or a Services company?

If you answered "kind of both," you answered wrong. Only mature firms can handle both. If you're still trying to find decent revenue streams, and/or product market fit, and you answered "both," I'll bet you a dollar you're tearing your sales, engineering, product, marketing, and "services" teams apart at the seams.

If you started out as a Product company, but then started doing more custom/one-off/services like projects to make financial ends meet, be honest about the situation and acknowledge that you're organization is likely suffering from the challenges of trying to both, without the experience or maturity, or resources to actually pull it off. The challenges of doing both are nothing to sneeze at. I'd argue they're the hardest to resolve.

If you stated out as a Services company, but then realized you had a leverageable Product on your hands, consider carving it out as a separate entity (with separate staffing) to give it the air it needs to breathe and fully succeed, without the oil and water challenges of trying to do "both."

Over the past six months I've spent time with several startups (from 1 to 100 employees, and from zero to ~$15m in annual gross revenue) conversing about various challenges the business is going through. More often than not, there's confusion around whether the company is a Product company, or a Services company.

A Product firm != a Services firm. They take two different kinds of brains most of the time: from the CEO, to the individual contributor with her fingers on the keyboard.

Pick one; until you're older and wiser.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

My Daughter's First Software Creation

This weekend my eight-year-old daughter built her first program using an iOS app called Hopscotch which uses the Hopscotch programming language (kind of like Scratch). It's not a static or compiled language like C or Java (her dad's background :) ), but, variables (values), events, and control flow logic abound.

She engaged really well, and picked up the visual nature of the framework with ease. Variables and some of the built-in events took some explanation, but it was awesome to watch her rapidly close the loop between logic creation and "running" the app.

She was able to debug issues that arose, and easily dig into adding more and more functionality to her objects.

Best of all, I found her creating on her own a couple of times, without any prompting from me.

"Daddy, come see what I did!"

Thursday, May 29, 2014

big backups

photo, music, and video libraries can get very big (in my personal scenario, photos alone push 1TB). they're also the kinds of libraries of content you never want to lose. they tend to contain content that took a long time to produce, was expensive to obtain (music), or that is sentimental (family photos).

my backup situation has always been varied and unstable and tenable. however, over the past year, I found a couple of solutions that make me feel really really safe with my backups. of course, backups are only as good as your backup-restore-test-loop/workflow in order to validate that they're actually working, so "test" your backups with some regularity.

there are two types of personal backup scenarios that work for "big" backups. I employ both to ensure I'm protected in the "house burns down and destroys the disks" scenario. redundancy is a good thing when it comes to protecting your content.

The maturation of IEEE 1394 ("firewire") implementations by external disk providers and Apple allows for consistent, high throughput enough transfer rates, that you can now do backups in the background that don't swamp your computer (assuming you have a "fast" processor and I/O bus).

I just use Apple's built-in Time Machine software. For years it didn't really work, but it does now (as of a couple of years ago). If you want a heavy duty, true bootable copy, solution, I used to use Carbon Copy Cloner, and it is the best; period. I just got lazy and found Time Machine served my needs as a random end user. If I had more time, I'd probably go back to CCC.

I use a LaCie external drive connected via firewire for my local backups. Doing "big" backups over wifi doesn't work; don't waste your time.


A friend of mine pointed me to the remote backup solution I'd been dreaming about for ages; Arq. Super simple and smart local diff'ing of files that need to be backed up to the cloud somewhere. You pay a one-time local software license fee, and then you just pay the regular subscription fees associated with your cloud storage provider. I use Amazon Glacier for offsite backup, and don't have to even think about the cost of big storage as a result. Arq handles all the cloud service interaction stuff auto-magically (just give them some keys for use). Beautiful.

Arq for folks that don't know how to setup cloud storage might be a bit difficult though

Not applicable.

With the above Local and Offsite solutions, I have a) redundancy across multiple solutions b) something fast and local should an issue arise c) something offsite (albeit relatively slow (Glacier is aptly named when it comes to data retrieval (data writing is fast))) in case the house goes up in flames.

Thursday, May 1, 2014 is no more

I decided not to stay on through the acquisition. I'm no longer with Gnip/Twitter. There was no drama around the decision. It was the right choice for me, though it is of course bittersweet.

I have no plans to "do it again." I have been trying to stoke a fire in me around some creative stuff for awhile now though, and I'm enjoying that, and I am looking forward to more of it.

The list of people to thank is too long for this post; I'll get to you.

This has been one of the most fulfilling and powerful experiences of my life. I got to spend six years with amazing people working on incredible stuff. I'm so grateful for that.

Ironically I'm a small investor in I don't know what the email bounce will eventually look like, but I am certain it won't look as it should; is fixing that!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Day In Pictures; Busy Wednesday

The little one on the drive to school.

She turned the camera on me while I was driving.

Ellen at Laughing Goat Café
Greg Schwarzer talking mountain bike wheel diameters. Always a good conversation to start the day.
Time with Jillian; it had been awhile.
Gayle Doud running the show and crushing a Komboucha.  
Seth describing an awesome strategic business/tech opportunity.
Fred intently listening and clearly enjoying the prioritization melee playing out in front of him.
Ian... the well balanced, un-emotional voice.
David Campbell; one of three people I know who fully understand network/software security. Sporting a Gnip shirt too boot!
Chris Moody... getting it done.
Wrapping the day with our regular "engineering management" sync. Eric Ryan, myself,  and Greenstreet.
Greg Greenstreet talking software and human resource stuff.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Day In Pictures; Last Tuesday

Some last minute homework before heading off to school. 
First meet of the day; Jim Davidson. My old boss/mentor at AOL. Remains in my "top 3" list of people who have had the most impact on my life. 

Couple's therapy with Bruce Tift. Always enlightening.

Weekly sync with Andrew. 
Plowing through team scale challenges/opportunities with Eric and Parker. At nearly 100 people, internal communications requires conscious effort.

Engineering team lunch.

April pulling dinner together. 

The beast; Oliver.

Reading about grains.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Parents, DRM & School Projects

Just posted this in Facebook, but want to post here too for broader audience.

To Elementary School Parents out there:

how are you dealing with your kid(s) pulling digital assets down from the network and using them in class projects/science fair presentations and such?

when one of our kids is using an image, a song, or a video that they don't have copyright to, for commercial purposes (e.g. builds a video on YouTube to get more subscribers), the line seems clear; you can only use stuff you have the rights to do so. Sorry kid, you can't use that song in that video.

however, for a school project, it's not feeling as clear. I can easily hold things to the literal letter of the law (nope... sorry kid, you can't use that because you didn't create it (or you don't have rights to it)), but is that going overboard?

I guess I'm feeling like "commercial" equates to "competitive purposes" (not necessarily monetary) in this context, and if you're trying to "compete" (e.g. win best of show), any material you use needs to have appropriate rights associated.

therefore, for a school project you need to have rights to the stuff you incorporate into it. ugh, after saying that, I used to tear out pages from Time magazine for school projects, but I certainly didn't have "rights to use" those articles or images.

definitely foreshadowing myself being at the project fair, seeing another kid "win" and asking him/her whether or not they played by the copyright rules, finding out they do not, and asking that they be disqualified :).

DRM... what a mess.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What Makes Us Tick: Online Social Ingredients

Six years ago I wrote a post about this. I thought I'd revisit it as I've been talking about it a fair amount over the past few months. This post will be different obviously, but what's cool is that nothing has actually changed. Our idea held up!

About eight years ago my friend Robert Reich and I spent an afternoon at his house brainstorming about ideas for me.dium (a company he founded and I worked at). Me.dium turned into OneRiot and was sold to Walmart Labs. The drawing above, and the description below is what we came up with.

There are three pieces to "social" in the consumer space. Any "application" or "service" that succeeds in adoption, active users, and longevity, strikes an powerful chord between these three things. The yin-yang diagram is an attempt to illustrate the relationship between the concepts. Like the Chinese philosophy itself, perfect balance between these notions is a powerful force.

Humans want connection with other humans. Once you're a couple of levels up from the bottom of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, it's required for existence. It's base. We all want to feel to connected to others, whether In-Real-Life, or "online." Whether one other person, or hundreds of so-called "friends." It gives us reason. It gives us purpose. It gives us a place to "be." Ultimately, it gives us love.

We have an innate need to always be discovering things in life. Some of us get lazy of course, but we ultimately find a way (again, In-Real-Life, or "online") to discover. Be it staying abreast of current political events, or learning what music our friends are listening to. We want to be discovering things all the time. How often is our friend checking messages? How often is our child posting videos to YouTube? What images is my sibling posting while on vacation? We want to know! What does my favorite media outlet consider "news" right now?

Self Expression ("Ego")
This one's always fun of course. Some of us publish manufactured perfect lives online. Some of us express the simplest things in the world ("I'm drinking a coffee right now."). Others write blog posts about their cancer diagnosis. One of the most expressive statements someone can make today is to not engage with social media at all. Their absence from this "online" world is a very strong statement in and of itself. The stories we "share" or "reblog" are expressions as well of course.

We all engage with luddites from time to time and some of them condemn "social media" as a plague on humanity. Of course it can get in the way of priceless face to face human interaction, but, if you hold this perspective, consider mapping this diagram to our "real" lives. I think it's a mirror image of what makes us tick. Whether you apply it to "online" lives, or "real life," doesn't matter.

Applications have all sorts of spins on these concepts. Some push Discovery to the fore, while others are all about Connectedness. Discovery may be the main ingredient in another. Regardless, social applications we fall in love with, and use like a drug, provide some powerful concoction of this trifecta.

Consider your favorite "social" app in this light. I think you'll find some neat stuff.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Day In Pictures: Another Tuesday!?!

For some reason these apparently happen on Tuesdays. I thought they were random.?

Getting ready for school with my little pea.
My son, "ready" for school early. He was reading "Java for Dummies" with his spare time this morning.
Mark crushing "drop-off" at school. My son owes him a double-scoop of ice cream because the Broncos lost.
Sitting with Shannon and Greg. The three of us make up the core of the meditation group. 
We've started doing day-long new-employee orientation each month. I kick the day off with Gnip history/timeline/overview stuff. Always a fun, and deep, moment for me.
Chris Moody grabbed the camera and caught this shot of me doing pointy-hair things on a (heavily redacted) whiteboard.  
Product Roadmap sync with interested parties. If you want to know what we've recently done, what we're working on now, and what we're going to work on next, you attend this meeting. This is also a place to opine on what we should be working on.
Catching up with Andrew on the new Developer Relations role he has defined and built and filled.
Engstrom. 'nough said. 
Pre Kendra Current session. Time with her is always grounding. 
Rob doesn't like the day-in-pictures thing (at least when he's in it). Caught him post eye-roll here. Rob, Greg and I were talking about how Engineering allocates resources to meet Product priorities. 
Greg has gotten used to day-in-picture days.
Today is the day Gnip all-hands' became full-scale audio/video productions. Coming soon to a channel near you.
Audio, check! Gong, check!
Gnip CEO Chris Moody warming up the crowd.
I had to cut-out early for parent teacher conferences. Our daughter with her amazing teacher.
Our son with his incredible teacher.