Usual responses to "So, what do you do?":
- I like connecting interesting dots and writing about them. I am a co-author of the book Time Off. I hope you get a chance to read it and realize the many forms of time off can lead to better quality work and meaning in your life.
- I am a maker who loves tinkering and building prototypes of products and businesses. When new ideas aren't successful, it’s usually because a team was overconfident about how well customers/users would understand the idea and how much they would perceive its value. I specialize in enabling a team to receive customer/user reactions, before making any expensive commitments. It involves a lot of play, unlearning, and empathy.
Tools that I currently use for work:
- Figma for designing and prototyping digital assets
- Webflow for building front-end websites
- Kite for my noob Python programming
- Mixpanel or Google Data Studio for product analytics
- Hemingway Editor for concise writing
- Zapier for creating workflow automations
- Otter AI for helping me stay present in conversation and not worry about note taking
- Basecamp for project management
- Zoom for video conferencing, podcasting, and customer interviews
- Iris for eye protection against computer screen
- Focus App for pomodoro productivity technique
- Evernote is my second brain
Recent experience I have learned a lot from
- After college, I rode a bike to Alaska from Texas and learned a lot about leadership and emotional intelligence.
- I leveled up my leadership through Seth Godin's altMBA. I think it is one of the best entrepreneurial education experiences offered today. It is focused on the real skills needed in today's automation economy. Highlights from my experience include coming up with 100 business models in one day, seeking rejection by 50 people in an afternoon, and prototyping an entire book in an evening with a remote team. It sharpened my ability to embrace tension, dance with fear, make lean decisions, operate under ambiguity, understanding the world-views of others, risk-taking, critical thinking, storytelling, driving innovation, securing buy-in, and making change happen.
- I led product at Twyla, an art+technology company. We were financed by Google Ventures, and I was mentored by Michael, Jake, and John from the Google Ventures design team.
- I was Entrepreneur in Residence at Animal Ventures. Key experiences include producing online courses for emerging technologies, coaching Fortune 100 leadership on prototyping practices, and leading distributed software teams at the intersection of machine learning, robotics, and distributed computing.
- Lately I've been writing books and also coaching companies on creating better meeting cultures to unlock more creativity. I do my coaching through a company called Voltage Control. We are also creating software to help teams innovate more with playful games that make any meeting more magical. Reach out to us if you are looking to design better ways.
- I have written two books. Time Off and How to Remix Anything. I am currently writing my third: The Non Obvious Guide to Magical Meetings.
Methods I have been successful with:
- Jobs To Be Done research for customer understanding and product development
- Before building or communicating anything ask, "Who is it for?"
- I have facilitated dozens of Design Sprints for validating value creation
- Implementing Measure What Matters and OKRs for helping a business focus
- Implementing Talking to Humans to make sure you don't create in a vacuum
- Using deep listening techniques to understand people and gain trust as a leader
- Promoting decentralized leadership for getting the most out of people
A few of my thoughts shared on other sites:
I ponder on product design, stoic+zen philosophy, rest, improv cooking, and how machines can help us become more peaceful humans. Below are references to some of my thoughts and interviews.
- Innovation involves some insanity.
- I went to Antarctica and it blew me away.
- I think sabbaticals are a brilliant business strategy.
- Your company has startup potential.
- The blockchain is more than cryptocurrency.
- Empathy is a real skill.
Snippets from my favorite books:
I like curating actionable knowledge from great books. Below are snippets of wisdom that I find value in practicing. Maybe you will too?