All posts tagged startup

Lessons In Team Culture From Stanford Men’s Soccer

This post is a part of Startup Edition, an awesome blogger collective.

A team’s culture is an extension of the people on the team.

When Ryan brought up culture as a topic for Startup Edition I initially thought about the culture efforts that I’ve seen in Startupland. There’s a lot of great content out there from the startup community already, though. I’m not sure I have a lot to add, beyond suggesting you be thoughtful about your culture. Spend a bit of time looking at how other’s have crafted their own. I like MOZ’s TAFGEE approach, and Github’s got a pretty interesting lean approach to management. Ev William’s Medium is testing a no-manager approach that probably resonates with a lot of small teams.

I like looking for culture tips where I’ve seen it done well, so in this post I’ll look a one of the non-startup examples I have: my college soccer team.

The times that I’ve seen culture crafted well, both the leadership and role players contributed significantly to the end result. There was a set of principles, attitudes, and beliefs that everyone bought into. There was also always a common goal within the team; a core reason that everyone felt motivated to show up and kick ass.

Stanford Soccer & Culture

As an example, our Stanford Soccer team went from a relative unknown to first-ranked organization in a matter of three seasons. I arrived in year three of that rise. We held a #1 national ranking for about five more years once we’d attained it.

We were a pretty damn good team talented-wise, for sure, but we had less US National Team and big name players on our team than all the other top-ranked schools. We started out as complete underdogs.

What we did have was Bobby Clark, arguably the best soccer coach in the country. He has a system that defines his teams on and off the field.

His attention to detail when it came to our team culture was maniacal. In a good way.

Family First

Our team was a family first. We ate meals together, cleaned up after ourselves, and put our studies and our teammates first.

It was quickly obvious to freshman that they weren’t the only ones who’s joined the team. Their extended family, friends, and roommates were a part of our family, welcomed to the fold and integrated into our mission.

Takeaway: Treat everyone as if they’re part of your team, all the time. Your “team” is bigger than just the people you hire.

Impact Second

Most first-rate people work at things because of the impact they perceive it will have. That impact is different than the goals you set out to achieve. A company might want to IPO or cross $100 million in revenue. That’s impactful, for sure, but impact isn’t binary.

At Stanford, our impact was both interpersonal and as an organization. Bobby made sure we gave back to the community that came out to watch our games; we taught clinics for kids, visited local hospitals, and did charity work.

He made sure that our academics never slipped, no matter how far we travelled or how successful we were in the rankings. We were expected to graduate first, succeed as athletes second.

Takeaway: Your team’s lives aren’t all about work. Make their time with you impactful, even if nobody gets rich.

Impart Discipline

When I talk to friends who played college athletics at other schools, it becomes clear that our discipline was very different. Bobby got a surprisingly high level of buy-in from us. He treated us like adults, but expected us to act like adults.

During our season, we didn’t drink alcohol for 72 hours before a game. That left Sunday and Monday nights to have our fun, which we stuck to religiously. That’s a big ask for college students.

We were always on time, to everything. Weights, light runs, meals, and travel departures were all concrete on every player’s calendar. Standards were high and you didn’t skirt them because your teammates didn’t. Interestingly, it seemed jolting at first, coming from a much looser high school environment; a few weeks into pre-season every guy on the team wouldn’t dream of being late or lax on the structure we’d all agreed to.

Takeaway: Discipline is a product of buy-in. If your team believes in the goals you’re aiming for, and understands the impact they can have, a new level of discipline and dedication is within reach.

Yeah, but building a company is different.

I do think athletics teams and companies are different, but they have a lot in common. In Startupland we ask for a lot of faith from our team members. We shoot for seemingly unattainable goals, and gather small teams together to make sacrifices so that we all might succeed.

Your team’s culture will always be a product of the people you have on your team, but you can learn a lot from any team that’s been successful. Mapping yourself to another team isn’t the answer, so at times it can be helpful to use teams that aren’t much like your own to find inspiration.

This post is part of Startup Edition. If you haven’t, go subscribe for a collection of posts each week from Startupland.

 

Not Perfect Customers

This post is part of this week’s Startup Edition to answer the question: How did you get your first customer?

Early on as you begin building a company one of the most common things you hear from advisors and other entrepreneurs is “Who’s the customer?“.

At Foodtree, our early goal was to build a “digital farmers market” that connected people to the origins of their food. Our earliest users were foodies, food bloggers, and small food producers. They would use our mobile app or website to upload photos of their foodstuffs and tag it with origin metadata.

It was essentially crowdsourced food provenance, and we quickly realized that small to mid-sized local food producers were getting a lot of brand and marketing value out of the content being shared on the network.

We also realized that there really wasn’t a lot of room for those particular types of businesses to pay for new services – the margins in the food business are thin. On top of that, those business owners are incredibly busy growing, harvesting, transporting, and selling their food. We faced very real problems that would hinder distribution and adoption. Our path to revenue wasn’t clear.

As we were testing our early product while the farmer’s market season opened up, we met an organization that wanted to improve their website’s ability to show consumers origins and meta data for the food they certified. Along with a complete refresh of their website itself, this “provenance element” piqued our interest and we began discussing the project as a potential win-win for both companies.

As the deal came together, it looked like a great fit.

Looking back now, though, I can see clearly that it was too good to be true and that it had significant unforseen impact on our startup. We had taken on a Not Perfect Customer, and it ended up hurting us.

Let’s look at how and why that happened, and what you might do to avoid taking on a “not perfect customer” of your own.

What’s A Not Perfect Customer?

Originally, I planned on writing this post about my experience with the “wrong” customer. When I thought about it, though, the idea that you’d make the mistake of working with the wrong customer seems to imply you get it all wrong. That’s just not the case.

Landing the wrong customer will likely feel as if you’re landing the right one.

I think the signs you’re looking for to avoid the kind of customer that negatively impacts your progress are signs that suggest they aren’t a perfect fit for you. They’re “not perfect” but you find yourself moving forward with them for reasons I explore below.

Why We Signed A “Not Perfect Customer”

We all know that hindsight makes us experts, so it’s worth discussing why we pursued a Not Perfect Customer in the first place.

  • The revenue: This was our first big customer deal, so it was also the first large payment we collected. We were running out of money so the revenue lengthened our runway.
  • The validation: Signing a customer is a great validation signal for investors, employees, and other potential customers.
  • The use case seemed to fit: It felt as if the functionality they needed on their new website was perfectly in line with the direction we wanted to take our own product. It felt as if we’d found someone to fund internal product development.

Our Dangerous Assumptions

Looking back there were assumptions we made about the deal that came back to bite us. Some of these assumptions were:

  • Things go according to plan: Especially with larger B2B deals, the opposite is true. When I looked back on our original planning document six months after we’d started working together, I literally broke down laughing at how naive we’d been about the scope of the project.
  • Things happen on time: This is also a very dangerous assumption, in that almost everything takes three or four times longer than you’d expect when working with bigger businesses. We’d planned on a two month engagement (or thereabouts) to get us to launching their site. I think we launched it six months later, and I did my last bit of support for them over a year after we’d begun.
  • Support will be minimal: In all probably 70% of the time we spent on this project would be considered support. We’d conceptualized the project as a “simple website build”. It was nothing of the sort.

Some Critical Mistakes We Made

I think some of the signs we missed when we orchestrated our deal with a Not Perfect Customer are instructive for other startups in a similar situation. You’re eager to land customers (and should be) so you convince yourself these things aren’t important, but in reality they will be.

  • We agreed to build “other stuff”: We were interested in the deal because there was a piece of the new site which could be handled by our product. Having a customer pay for your product dev is great, but agreeing to build other things for them burns precious resources on non-essentials. A startup doesn’t have the luxury of devoting resources to non-core activities. This is very hard to remember in the face of a potential deal.
  • We were working with a committee: We didn’t foresee the number of different people and departments who’d decide to have input on the final deliverable. This alone added months to turnaround cycles and resulted in long lists of added tweaks and adjustments throughout the project.
  • We didn’t plan for the learning curve: I think it’s very important to assess the technology IQ of an organization you’re going to work with, because overestimating it can severely impact the level of support you’re forced to provide. Like I said, we spent an inordinate amount of time onboarding their team to the new site and how it would change their internal processes. A simple change you might take for granted at your startup can create meaningful ripples in other organizations, and you’re not done until the customer can use your deliverable.
  • We thought we could provide services: We weren’t blind to the fact that we were being hired as a vendor providing services, but we did underestimate what it means to provide those services. If you’ve operated as a services business already (or are bootstrapping that way) you’re far more prepared to work this way than if you haven’t. We hadn’t, weren’t very good at it, and never wanted that to be a core competency.

Final Thoughts

When I look back, I can see why we did our deal with a Not Perfect Company, and it’s hard to estimate the outcome if we hadn’t. Would we have gone out of business without the revenue? It’s possible. Would we have built our own product faster or found a better market fit earlier? That’s possible too.

What I do know is that I’d avoid a deal like that in the future if I could, mostly because of the unforeseen distraction it caused us as entrepreneurs and a company. I’d do everything I could to limit the outcomes we experienced by rigidly defining the deliverable and fully clarifying the hard boundaries of the project, down to the hours allotted.

As a startup, time is really the scarce resource, and we burned a lot of it because we took the wrong customer.

How about you?

Have you taken on a Not Perfect Customer?

I’d love to hear your thoughts about early Not Perfect Customers if you have them – comment here or hit me up on twitter!

Are Startups Cool?

I was catching up some friends and someone at the table said, “I don’t really get what you do…but it just sounds cool. Anything with ‘startup‘ in it sounds cool…so good job!”

That’s pretty much how the world thinks about startups right now.

I think that’s an unhealthy way to think about startups.

I didn’t get into startups because they’re cool, but I have a sense that people are starting to do just that.

A sad economy and bleary job prospects have made even my most risk-averse friends consider leaving their jobs to join a startup. The excitement surrounding early stage tech is so high right now that for some people “sitting on the sidelines” has become the risky career move.

That’s insane. The idea that starting or joining a startup is a rational career move is straight up crazy.

Any startup founder would agree that the last reason they got into this game was because they were thinking about their career.

My Story

An early draft of this post didn’t include much about my own experience and the few I asked to read it suggested I include a bit about my own experience. I think they’re right in that it’s helpful context. I’m not writing from the top of the hill, having sold my company for millions. My first startup is still alive but it’s a company we’re still pushing to find real success in.

I went broke as a startup founder. Dead broke. The kind of broke that people get uncomfortable talking about.

It was the kind of broke that left me unable to pay rent in Vancouver, having relocated there following our seed round. Unable to pay rent, I ended up taken in by an entrepreneur friend to crash on his couch. At 30 years old I was living on someone else’s couch without a dime in my pocket, working on our startup at every spare moment.

Every day, waking up presented two major challenges:

  1. Find a way to push our startup towards success and find a revenue model that worked.
  2. Find a way to survive by acquiring food.

If that sounds basic, it was. When was the last time you worried about eating enough?

I reached a point at which I’d ration out my week on less than 20 dollars. I was forced to ask for help from other entrepreneurs who would buy me meals. I couldn’t always feed myself.

Unable to pay bills, I stopped doing so. My credit card debt began to build all around me. My phone went dead.

The fallout of going really broke is immersive. You lose your sense of the normalcy most people experience. You’re doing it for the dream you’ve committed to, so you’re left with nothing except for the work you’re doing.

You work.

You have nothing else you can afford to do.

It’s brutal. It’s not glory.

A startup means uncertainty. Startups mean risk and pain and embarrassment. Startups can mean homelessness.

So…are startups “cool”?

Let’s look at the good and the bad. This is by no means an exhaustive look at startup life. If you’re in it, please share your insights in the comments for my mostly non-startup audience.

The Good Stuff

  • DREAMS – Creation IS cool: Building something new is cool. It’s as cool as writing a hit song or making a beautiful movie. Mainstream culture is now idealizing Sean Parker in the ways that they used to idealize The Rolling Stones.
  • INNOVATION – Risk aversion drives innovation: Startupheads are risk averse and face uncertainty in a way that most people don’t have the stomach for. Facing failure forces people to keep on pushing their boundaries. The survivors persist because it’s what they’re meant to do. That selection process benefits all of us.
  • BENEFITS – Work your own hours, unlimited vacation, blah: Startups build their own culture from the ground up, and we are lucky to have that fortune. It’s not 9 to 5. It’s a life very driven by results.
  • COMMUNITY – Altruism makes it all possible: Startup people are passionate. That passion birthed an industry full of collaboration and support that puts other industries to shame. Newbies in the startup world are met with encouragement and mentorship. It’s a competitive world, but it’s generally more friendly than other industries (I’ve worked in high finance and law, others can comment otherwise).

The Real Stuff

Here’s a bit about the stuff that isn’t “cool”.

  • DREAMS – Uncertainty is horrible: Imagine never knowing if you’ll have a job tomorrow. Or if you can pay your bills next week. Founders have it the hardest, but no matter where you are in the ecosystem, you’re always living a life that’s got no guarantees. Startups aren’t a career, they’re a lifestyle.
  • INNOVATION – Failure, always: In a startup you’re always fucking everything up. There’s nowhere to hide; you will feel bad at your job. You will often go to sleep knowing you could have done more. You will always know how much more there is to do. Everything but work can become “not working”, if you aren’t working.
  • BENEFITS – Paychecks are unstable: In Startupland, salaries are kind of a joke. Being an early team member on an unproven technology venture means you may find yourself elated every time you get paid. Financial instability is pretty consistent and it affects nearly aspect of a startup team members’ life.
  • COMMUNITY – You don’t complain: Whether you’re a founder or an early employee, every early stage ship is a rocket ship, and saying otherwise is sacrilege. There isn’t a lot of room in the startup culture to complain about your job. Startup jobs aren’t jobs. They’re tribe memberships.

I think it’s important to recognize that joining a startup is an admirable endeavor, but it’s equally important to acknowledge that it’s not for everyone. In fact, it’s not for most.

Startup work is a mishmash of incredible strength and passion living right next to complete uncertainty about a final outcome.

That uncertainty is the result of a 99% chance of dying early. Have you ever taken a job with a company you expected to fail?

That’s a prerequisite to working in Startupland.

I’d love to hear more thoughts on the hype I’m seeing around being a part of Startupland. We need to talk about how hard this is. We need to recognize that we’re all choosing to struggle.

If we deserve the accolades that we get when we succeed, we should honor and celebrate the challenges we take on for what they are.

Thoughts?

Where I’ve Been & Where I Am

A big thanks to everyone who still finds me invading their inbox or RSS reader.

I’m going to be writing a lot more going forward, but things will change a bit. It’s like that time you told your dog she was going to the park and really you were taking her to the vet.

(Your intentions were great, by the way.)

I’ve always written extensively about my relationships on this blog in the past, and I’m not sure that will go away. I can’t really write without including the deeply personal stuff.

But…I am sure that I’m a different person than I was when this blog started. I’ve gotten into the frame of mind that nearly anything is possible if you dive in head first, learn as much as you can as fast as you can, and stay close to amazing people.

The last few years have been transformative, and I’m passionate about the role that technology plays in our lives. I need to explore that with you, and I hope that while I do that it will benefit you (no matter how much you think about tech).

As to the title of this post, I’ve been through the amazing process of being a first time startup founder. To all the people out there who’ve started businesses or hope to start one some day, I’m going to do my best to share my experience (finally).

Today, I’m working on another startup that two friends founded, hell bent on helping them turn their already measurable success into a true game changer. It’s brought me back to San Francisco, a city I adore on every level and a community I’m deeply excited to be a part of.

Going forward; moar writing.

You And Me Both, Brother

//see

I walk to work every other day or so, about a mile through a city I can now navigate with my eyes splitting time between my phone and the way the buildings here seem to volley sunlight back and forth in between them like little kids fighting over a beachball.

The coffee shop across from our office is a cave of a place, friendly staff and great food and good at knowing which drink you’ll have based on the way you open the door. It’s the destination, each morning, and the route through downtown Vancouver is usually similar to the previous one, similar to the next, save for a busy intersection that might send me this way or that, an extra block or two.

People in this town aren’t rushed like they are in other cities. Every once in a while you get a whiff of crisp mountain air that reminds you to look North to take in those pearly whitecaps you probably forget are always there.

//

This morning I took a different route. Sometimes you need to tell yourself to take another route, to push yourself outside of the most meaningless norms in order to have the confidence to do the same thing when when it really matters.

The sun and smells were fresh as came around the underbelly of the city near the stadium where my old friend spends his weekends captaining the soccer team into their second professional season.

A block or two from the stadium there’s an expanse of public soccer fields and my route takes me alongside them, fields to my right and the outer walls of the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden to my left.

Calm and solitude emanate from either side…especially nice while dressed in dusty columns of early sunlight.

//

I stepped off the sidewalk towards the fields to snap a photo. Empty soccer pitches in the morning anchor childhood memories I can almost taste.

Flashbacks to years of early morning dew and sunrise, sitting on the sidelines putting on shinguards and cleats hoping the grogginess subsides before game time. The buzz to play, to compete.

A man was sauntering along the street towards the corner I’d come upon. I stood leaning against the rail with my camera held towards the sun.

Spare some change?

//

I’d ask the guy taking time out of his morning to snap photos of an empty pitch for change too.

//

“Honestly wish I could. Elbow deep in chasing dreams these days. I’ve got nothin.”

He smiled genuinely.

“I guess we’re both chasing dreams, then, eh?”

Ha! Indeed.

He limbered by.

At the intersection a few paces away he turned around and he said, “I think that makes us both rich in some way.”

Why Google Can’t Build Instagram

The startup will always have a place in the ecosystem.

The exec I was talking with said Google Wave had more than 30 people on the team. He had done his own startup and knew the man-month myth. For every person you add to a team, he said, iteration speed goes down. He told me a story of how Larry Ellison actually got efficiencies from teams. If a team wasn’t productive, he’d come every couple of weeks and say “let me help you out.” What did he do? He took away another person until the team started shipping and stopped having unproductive meetings.

via Why Google can’t build Instagram — Scobleizer.

Scale Goodness

But the best thing you can do for the green effort is to scale. If your business is essentially different from your competitors' because you have an element of green in it, that's good. But what would be great is if you figured out how to scale green.

In business, the greatest challenge is to scale without diluting too much the very essence of your core idea. Walmart scaled cheap value for suburbia. McDonald's scaled consistent quality fast food. Starbucks scaled expensive coffee in a luxury environment. By scaling, these organizations spread their ideas all over the place and changed the world.

If you can't figure out how to scale, you can't bring your core idea to the masses.

The greatest challenge today for aspiring green entrepreneurs is to scale.

via SAMBA Blog.

I’m extremely fortunate to witness the first batch of scalable businesses devoted to social good. I hope we’re one of them.

A Day In The Life

My bus rolled lazily down the hill towards downtown with a crest of sunshine peeking over the city’s leering mountains gathering an unusually light crowd of early commuters and the usual mix of destitutes making their way to the intersection of Main and Hastings, effectively an open air flea market of drugs and addiction in full swing day and night.

The intersection is, quite frankly, total mayhem…no matter it be eight in morning or ten at night, and it serves as as stark reminder that the bottom is quite a lot further down the rabbit hole than anything I’ll ever experience.

It’s a useful reminder, actually.

The bus opened its doors at that corner and the addicts jumped off eagerly, as always. I gazed out at a decrepedly thin Asian man crouched against the building facing me, happily handing single cigarettes to two young men and a woman huddled around him. The two young men moved off and the women, in a loose yellow v-neck, torn jeans, and supported by one of those four-legged walkers, swayed back and forth while chatting and stashing her smoke in a back pocket.  She was war-torn, to the point at which you could almost believe that the walker wasn’t even medically related; it was simply that balance is a luxury no longer afforded to someone who has run that many chemicals through themselves.

When you see this section of town, you’ll understand that I thought very little of the scene.

My day was hectic, as a meeting-filled day tends to be.  When building a web product it’s hard to feel productive unless you’re nestled up to your computer.  For good or for bad I feel a deep sense of urgency about our website and product right now so my senses are probably heightened a bit, and I get tense when I’m not feeling as if I’m getting shit done.

As I moved from coffee with an exciting new prospective hire to strategy planning with Anthony  I felt as if the productive part of my day was rapidly escaping me.

It’s ludicrous, really, as we’re moving a lot of people and pieces towards our goals and improved product, but hey, it’s how I felt. I think anyone who’s faced important deadlines can relate to the way a priority list can loom in the corner pointing at you like the Evil Monkey in Chris’ closet.

I settled into the early evening catching up on email and Foodtree code development, hesitant to leave because it felt as if the day had just gotten started.  A poker game was beginning in the conference room next to our kitchen and entrepreneurs wandered the floor looking for a few more last minute players.  The sun, now setting, crawled at length across the floor, and a team building an application for the hockey community gathered around a whiteboard discussing revenue models.

This is the stuff of ideas in motion.

My focus was off and it was getting late, and I knew I should reengage my priority list at home.

I boarded my bus and sat with a blank stare out the window, mentally reshuffling work stuff with my jaw clenched tight.  Zoned, but still mentally locked into things that need doing.

Three busstops later I snapped into focus as a yellow streak caught my eye, and there she was.

The woman from twelve hours earlier was hobbling across the street out my window, a few blocks from where I’d noticed her before.  She was just moving down the sidewalk…her walker, then a step…deliberate.  Awkward and slow. She hunched forward and to the side…

The struggle of it…of a block-long stretch of sidewalk, seemed almost unfair.

What must her day have been like?

I imagined a day of detachment and pain, craving and confusion. Alleys and sidewalks. Bartering and hustling and a never-ending quest for self-destruction.

A city block transformed into a mile long  journey.

A day that seemed to have ended before it began suddenly became endless, right before my very eyes.

Lemonade Stand Founders

Kids who start lemonade stands aren’t all that different than the guy who started Zynga or Google, although one could argue that a lemonade stand is a deliberate attempt to make a margin and starting something that’s useful for people before you even have a revenue model is deeper.

Thing is, I don’t think kids post up lemonade stands to make money, so much as they throw up lemonade stands to have people take a few minutes out of their day to recognize what they’re up to.

I think most lemonade stands are exercises in business education handed down from up high.

Lemonade stands are lesson plans.

But if you started a lemonade stand where people got something more than lemonade, those kids would be sitting in their plastic chairs on the corner of the neighborhood cul-de-sac selling more than lemonade, in order to sell lemonade.

The lemonade stand might be a place where you got points towards your influence on community politics, for instance.

You stop by and grab a fresh drink and you got yourself ahead in the running for the neighborhood mayorship.

Your mayorship meant you might represent your neighborhood at County Hall when they were deciding on where to build family-friendly parks.  The Mayor with the most points was carrying a lot more votes, and maybe that Mayor’s votes represented the overall participation that their neighborhood had delivered in the previous couple of months.

They had their points, which made them Mayor, but they’d need their neighborhood’s points to really have influence.

The whole community could empower their leaders to have a say in local government.

They could do that on their way to their important jobs that let them afford to live in their neighborhood.  They could do that knowing that two bucks at the corner was a way to be at City Hall on Tuesday night while they were travelling on business.

A lot more lemonade would get sold, I think.

A lot more kids would see the value of thinking about the world in an entrepreneurial way.

Why is it that only outcasts find themselves motivated to build things that disrupt our experience?

Something is wrong if removing yourself from the mainstream is a prerequisite for trying to change the world.

Work On Something Cool

You find yourself in the middle of a day that’s a month after the one you last remember.

You want to have written every minute of it, but instead you look around and wonder what you might do to further the cause you’ve jumped on board with.

That’s the best part of working on something you care about.  It’s also bad for your personal blog.

No, that isn’t an apology.

I spent a lot of time in the years after I graduated from college wondering what real people did with their lives.  I looked at the routes society mandates as advisable and found most of them completely foreign to the way I operate.

So I tried a few things.

I tried working for a lawyer doing deals in Hollywood and pondered the potential of a life as an intellectual property attorney.  Flights to LA for movie set duty and daily check ups on the industry news in Variety.

I took the LSAT twice and that second time I killed it like oil killed the Gulf of Mexico.

Before I got my scores back I heard the sing song everyone in the industry offered as advice: we hate this work.  I worked for people I saw gripping smoke and coffee breaks like their day would explode without them.  I saw the promise that going postal would provide wickedly smart people locked up in the depression afforded to the unfortunate and well-meaning people who settle for the restrictions of a typical career in a typical industry that pay a typically great salary for being typical.

Out I went, chasing the promise of an entrepreneurial environment in an identically typical industry.

Where I learned the hardest lesson I’ve learned: working for yourself isn’t the promised land.

Working for yourself isn’t the same as working on something you love working on.

So I failed at a long term and scalable business effort in a field that didn’t make me happy.

Big surprise there.

Today I’m in the office at the heart of a truly gorgeous city pretty damn late on a Friday night, and I feel like working.

I feel like working.

Hours and hours after I’d ever have imagined working on anything remotely related to work at any point in the years that came before 2010.

It ain’t easy.  I’ve told a lot of you that.

Take it from me though; life’s work and work’s life.  You are both.

Make ’em jive.

Work on something cool. Do it in the morning or night or lunchbreaks or whatever.  Just do it.

Then tell everyone about it.

What are you doing that’s cool?  I truly want to know.