Category Archives: General

The Meaning of Making a Home

Another great piece by Brock Winstead — Two Homes Diverged an Urban Street.

We work so hard, most of us, to write something on the world with our lives. Some people build houses. Others build software, or laws, or organizations. Lots of people build, so to speak, children. Whatever objects we spend our time constructing, what we’re actually assembling is a bundle of our intentions. We stack up our notions about how the world should be, and we nail those notions into structures that we hope, even if subconsciously, will continue to live after we die.

Great paragraph there, and something I can really identify with.

Seth Godin: Wall Street Gets What It Wants

This snippet from Seth Godin’s Wall Street gets what it wants post caught my eye:

Say whatever you want to say, the people around you are all paying attention to the stock price, and Wall Street is driving you to mediocrity, to breaking your promises, to interrupting, shaving corners, and most of all, getting stuck.

I completely agree with this. Wall St.’s singular obsession with ultra short term increases in shareholder value is toxic, corrosive, and damaging to the long term health of companies, and frankly society in general. I make no secret of my utter disdain for the vast majority of Wall Street’s activities: it’s misguided priorities & values, it’s creation of socially useless financial instruments to parasitically leech money off investors, and its incestuos accomplices-in-crime relationship to the very regulatory bodies intended to keep it ‘honest’.

New music: Wild Cub

I’m now on Spotify*, and thanks to it’s radio I’ve found a new-ish band called Wild Cub that is worth a listen. Sonically, based on what I’ve shared here before, this is closest to Lord Huron. Give their breakout single, Thunder Clatter, a try below:

Here a link to the Spotify web player: Wild Cub – Youth

*I used to use MOG which was bought by HTC which was bought by Beats which was bought by Apple then shut down.

Sea Otter 681

Cute overload warning! This video features a baby sea otter that was rescued off the coastline of the San Francisco Bay Area, and sent to Chicago’s famous Shedd Aquarium to settle down.

My heart and brain turn to jelly for stuff like this.

And it was remarkable: when I Airplayed this to my Apple TV, our dog Luna immediately perked her ears at the sound of the baby sea otter crying out. She trotted over to the TV and looked around the speakers…..she really thought there was a baby animal there. She does the same thing to this cute video of singing lhasa apso dogs.

Surfer’s Path 10k!

Yesterday, Chrissy and I ran the Surfer’s Path 10k race in Capitola. We finished in 1 hr, 08 minutes which comes to an average pace of 11min/mile. The race took us (sort of) along the coast of the town’s eastside, by Pleasure Point. This was Chrissy’s first ever road race, and she did great! surfers_path

 

The Hustle Quotient

Great article by my friend Greg published last week on Medium:

While emotional intelligence (EQ) and IQ are both important measures of a person in predicting their performance, there is something far more important to look for in the startup world: the hustle quotient, HQ.

You hear the word hustle a lot in the startup scene. People strive for it like a badge of honor — try to really play it up  —  but the cold reality of it is that hustle is a survival skill. Many, many things are stacked against you as a member of a startup, and it requires a person to be a creative problem solver, push things to closure often on pure force of will, and do it with less than desired resources. And by resources I mean time, money, people, knowledge, etc.

Because of this, startups aren’t for everyone. People who are energized when given plenty of time and resources to think and dream up of solutions would likely be unhappy in a startup. As would people who aren’t motivated by deadlines or a sense of urgency.

And that’s why Greg is right on point when focusing on evaluating hustle for potential new colleagues for his data science startup, Citrine Informatics. During my time at Apple, I always felt under-resourced. Time was the most precious resource we had, followed closely by headcount. People on my team who couldn’t hustle couldn’t make it. We had to learn how to tease out the “hustle quotient” in our interviews, and it’s something that is even more important now in our own startup.

Lighthouse Beach!

Found a new place for Luna to have some fun — Lighthouse Beach. Just over a mile away from our house on West Cliff Dr, we run by this beach all the time on our runs and it’s always full of dogs running and romping off lease. We’ve brought Luna here twice and think she’s getting the hang of it :)

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Apathy & Empathy

My friend Melih is doing a series of introspective blog posts as he approaches his 30th birthday, and this one here really resonated with me. When asked to describe a way that he’s become more cynical, he says:

I no longer think that the world is inherently good, and that the exception is evil.

I now believe the world is inherently apathetic, and the exception is empathy.

Apathy and empathy. I think about how salient and mature this observation is. Society & the media craves the stories of light versus dark, good versus evil, freedom versus oppression, us versus them. These are simple stories, easy to tell and easy to comprehend by the masses. But to put a magnifying glass on our collective apathy, countered only by the empathy of a few — that becomes uncomfortable.

Right now in the US, the political arena is in the frenzied build up of the midterm elections. Staggering amounts of money in the range of hundreds of millions of dollars are being poured into regional races features candidates that have little to no national prominence, just in order to fight for a Democratic majority in the Senate (like a ‘Democratic majority’ means anything anyway). All to an electorate which frankly has a pretty poor grasp of reality. A Quartz article this week highlighted a Ipsos Mori study on perception across 14 countries. The study suggests that when it comes to basic questions about their own country —  what the unemployment rate is, what percentage of the country are immigrants — Americans seem to be completely wrong. Of those surveyed, they thought the unemployment rate is 32%, when it’s actually closer to 6%! This brings to mind studies which also show that Americans are generally clueless about the real state of inequality in their own country.

It’s easier for people to live in their echo chambers. Easier not to seek out the Truth. Easier to just act on one’s assumptions. Easier just not to care or worry about other people. Especially those people who live differently, who speak a different language, who eat different food, who believe in different things.  Easier just to look out for themselves – for me and mine. It’s just easier to be apathetic.

Empathy is the starting point to counter that. It’s thinking outside oneself, beyond oneself. It’s something that this world needs more of.
After reading Melih’s post, I’ve decided to get serious and look for volunteering opportunities in my community. It’s a start to hopefully something much bigger.

Ebola hysteria – what nonsense

The American media and the American people have valiantly risen up to the challenge of proving the world just how ill-informed and incapable of reason they are.

Ebola hysteria. What a national embarrassment. Time and time again, in cities big and small, cowardly administrators and officials who lack the courage to do the right thing simply opt to follow the will of the ill-informed masses. I had retweeted this op-ed (on CNN — how ironic given CNN’s own hysteria in Ebola reporting) which recounts numerous examples of ridiculous reactions to Ebola. My favorite? A Maine teacher attends a conference in Dallas which was 10 miles from the hospital where the Ebola patient was, and after protest by parents, was put on a 21 day paid leave “out of an abundance of caution”.

The latest example I’ve heard is this story out of Louisville, KY.

Chrissy told me last night that a Catholic grade school teacher was pressured by her administration — after a wave of parent and community protest — to take a 21 day leave after returning from a Catholic mission trip to Kenya. Out of fear of Ebola. Nevermind the fact that Kenya is 3,000 miles away from the West African countries that have Ebola, and even farther away than Texas or New York, US states with actual confirmed Ebola cases. She and her husband weren’t even welcomed in their own church!

This was someone who was venturing out in the world to try to do some good, and instead she is ostracized by a vocal segment of her community and not even her own administrators or Church has the courage to stand up for her.

The Insider Louisville story ends with this nugget — the school admits they do not require the staff to get flu shots, even though 30,000 Americans die each year from the flu. But Ebola? Goodbye. What sound logic!

Running in Santa Cruz

Chrissy and I have been running for the past few months, working up mileage to the Surfer’s Point 10k race that we just signed up for (race day is Sunday, Nov 9). Started off on a Couch-to-5k program, and it’s been good to get back into running shape.

Running down in Santa Cruz has been a joy. While I’ll always miss the wonderful routes through Golden Gate Park, running along the ocean-side cliffs down here has been great.

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This past Sunday we went up to nearby Wilder State Park and did a 10k circuit that took us past a few miles of coast like this:

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Never a dull run!