Jeremy Person's 2019 Resolutions

Welcome to my 2019 resolutions page and 2018 year in review. This year is the eleventh edition of my favorite creative project of the year. The theme for this edition is a switch experiment where you can select the sections you want to consume one by one or all at once.

2018 Review

Best Buys

Best Videos

Advice

Bucket List

Best Podcasts

Resolutions

2018 Review


Wilbur's last picture 2018 had its fair share of ups and downs. We have been doing lots of house projects thanks to my father-in-law and dad who visit throughout the year. The house is starting to come together more and more each month. We paid to have recessed lights installed throughout the house which was a two-week expensive endeavor. We finished the walls of the garage and repaired the damage of putting in all the recessed lights. We also paid to have a new fence for the side yard as well as drip irrigation for the garden. We installed a new kitchen faucet and laundry cabinets as well as took out all of the towel and towel rods. After a year and a half in the home, we also are starting to put some things on the walls which is giving it a more finished look.

The kids are doing great and growing like weeds. Tyler is now in sixth grade and Lizzy started Kindergarten. Tyler continues to enjoy all things Marvel and joined a soccer team over the summer which was fun to watch. Tyler's superpower seems to be computers and science. Lizzy is still obsessed with all her stuffed animals. She continues to take rock climbing classes and just recently started Taekwondo. Lizzy straight up beat me at checkers the other day. Yeah, that happened.

Our cold familyOn a sad note, in 2018 was we lost our 15-year-old dog, Wilbur to cancer. He was with me before both of the kids and always present through the most difficult of times. Through the good and the bad, he was always and I mean ALWAYS the first and happiest to see me. He followed me everywhere and boy did he have a good life. I still miss him a lot but time heals or at least softens most wounds. He was the best dog ever and those were the last words I made sure he heard. A big thanks to Christina for being there for us through that period. For now, we are going to hold off on bringing more animals into the house so we can stabilize things a bit and do some more traveling.

We're settling in here in Colorado and starting to venture out even more on the weekends. I got a chance to travel a bit in 2018 starting with a much-needed family trip to Orlando, FL. We had a blast and in 2019 I hope we get the opportunity to take another big family vacation again. For work, I got the opportunity to travel to Sacramento, San Antonio, and Cumberland. I got the chance to try an escape room a few times which was fun but I'm pretty horrible at puzzles so you don't want to be on my team. We also continued exploring Colorado with visits to Estes Park. Finally, speaking of travel, I am also happy to report a big milestone in 2018 which was my Honda Civic passing 200,000 miles in October.

Mastering BitcoinFrom a resolutions perspective, 2018 got away from me like most years. Travel and technology project related resolutions were more in my control which reflects why they are complete where others aren't. Time or priorities seem to be getting in the way of progress but I don't think I'm alone with that challenge. At the very end of 2018, I just recently started dabbling with Bitcoin and have found it challenging. I've run Ubuntu as my personal computer operating system for fifteen or more years and have run a 256GB SSD for six or seven. Just installing and updating the blockchain is difficult given its current 184 GB size. I'll soon fix the installation constraints and have Mastering Bitcoin from O'Reilly checked out from the library. I wish I had more time for the family but that always seems to be the case. Traveling and getting out has been more of a priority of late which has been great for family time.

Here's the 2018 Resolutions Rundown:

Best Buys


Below are some of my favorite purchases in 2018. Yes, I am including a fiber supplement on the list. :)

LG 32 inch Monitor

LG 32UD59-B 32-Inch 4K UHD LED-Lit Monitor

Fiber Powder

Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Organic Prebiotic Superfood Fiber Supplement Powder

Yeti Rambler

YETI Rambler 20 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tumbler

The Daily Stoic Journal

The Daily Stoic Journal: 366 Days of Writing and Reflection on the Art of Living

Dr. Bronner's All-One Toothpaste

Dr. Bronner's All-One Toothpaste

Wireless Charger

Yootech Wireless Charger Qi-Certified 7.5W Wireless Charging

Kerosene Heater

Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6 Indoor Kerosene Convection Heater

Dr. Bronner's Bar Soap

Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Bar Soap Variety Gift Pack- 5oz, 6 Pack

Best Videos


For as long as I can remember I have been a YouTube addict. 2018 was no different and below are some of my favorite videos from the year.

Advice


For years I have kept a Google Doc of random thoughts or often, observations of what I see regarding the personal and professional world around me. Over the last month, I put them into a database which I may use as a framework for a book or two. Some may not be complete thoughts but again, they are often random things I have jotted down for 10+ years. If you have the patience to read enough of them you'll probably notice a few may have even come from my interactions with you.

  1. The people with higher EQ tend to be the ones who pause and self reflect when in conflict and ask themselves "maybe it's me." How often do you ask yourself that question?
  2. Take a piece of paper and on the left side write down the things that make you happy (people, places, experiences, things etc.) and on the right side put things that make you frustrated or angry. After conducting the exercise circle the things that provide 80% of your happiness and focus on that.
  3. Create a Morning Journal and Ask Yourself the Following Daily:
    1. What are 3 amazing experiences you had today?
    2. How could you have made today better?
    3. Things you are grateful for
  4. Is that a dream or is it a goal. When it is a goal, it is something you are looking to plow ahead and get done and when it is a dream it is just something you think about.
  5. What I learned from Fight Club:
    1. Stop being a consumer.
    2. Why do you need three chairs when there is only you sitting there most of the time?
    3. Why do you need 4 bathrooms in your house.
    4. Why do you need 3 cars when you are only driving one?
    5. It’s only after we’ve lost everything, we are free to do anything.
    6. Do not try to control everything around you, just let go.
    7. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, movie gods, and rock stars, but we won’t.
    8. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy things we don’t need.
    9. You're not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank, and you’re not the clothes you wear.
  6. Good jazz is very often the silence between the notes.
  7. I sometimes wonder if there is a correlation between how fast people think or make a decision and addiction in their life. Slow thinkers or people who take a longer time to make a decision (or use data to make an informed decision) seem to have less of a challenge with addictions.
  8. Thom Brown gave this advice in a team meeting once and I've thought about it a lot. He said to be the type of person who when you call someone and your name shows up on their phone's caller ID they look forward to speaking with you. When your name shows up on someone's phone what do you think is their first reaction?
  9. Charmin toilet paper > Costco toilet paper. Before making a big decision see if you can make an informed smaller decision. :)
  10. We accept the love we think we deserve.
  11. The majority of the world is set up to distract you.
  12. Find 3 hobbies:
    • One to make you money
    • One to keep you in shape
    • One to keep you creative
  13. Before following any advice from me, follow the advice of this guy. Remember this coming out years ago? It still applies.
  14. Share your life lessons with others, especially to those of you who have children. Teach them your life lessons. Stories have been carried down for many generations for a reason. It aids in survival for those willing to listen.
  15. Be mindful of money, try not to compare yourself with others. Some will have more, some less. It is essential but don't let it consume your dreams. Look at the money you have and ask what are you trying to do with it. What I have gleaned thus far in life is it should simply be respected.
  16. Whenever possible, choose to purchase the best quality product you can afford. Buy things that are built to last. For instance, I'll never regret not buying IKEA furniture again. My Honda Civic is an example of something built to last and thus one of the best purchases I have made (184,000 miles and going).
  17. The world is moving fast. If you are looking to make money, finding a way to solve something for others quickly will make you rich. In your personal life, however, find things that will slow you down instead of speed you up. Life is about the quality of experience, not the break neck pace to speed through it.
  18. Be flexible. Success won’t always look like you think it will, and neither will opportunities. Be open to moving from where you live, taking some chances, and being uncomfortable. The more I have tried to control life's decisions, the more unhappy I tend to be. Think deeply about important decisions and then let go. Be Water.
  19. Be confident and learn to love yourself. There will be times in life when it seems you are the only person who believes in you. Just like an oxygen mask on an airplane, help yourself first. You often can't grow and love others until you love yourself first. In today's society, people really struggle with this.
  20. More times than not, as you grow older and wiser, people and things are not what you originally thought them to be.
  21. Live within your means. Nothing impacts net worth faster than debt.
  22. Early in life, you will have boundless energy. Learn by taking calculated risks and find investments that will afford you income when you no longer have the energy or the ability to pursue risk.
  23. Although not perfect by any stretch, like many personality tests, I tend to fall back on three litmus tests for who best to trust in life. One is to trust those who care for animals. Two is to trust those who respect wait staff, especially when things go wrong. Three, trust those who stick up for underdogs, especially when it is unpopular to do so.
  24. With respect to relationships, most of life's conflict stems from fear and respect. Identifying your fears, as well as your partner's and having vulnerable conversations about them is essential to truly grow any relationship. Don't hold fears against someone and learn to respect who they are without changing them.
  25. Walk. Move. One of the first things doctors will have you do after surgery is get out of bed. After that, they want you up and walking as soon as possible. Walking seems to be the body's innate mechanism for recovery.
  26. Tony Robbins: When you look at a person's stressors, most of the times their stressors are deeply rooted in their fears.
  27. Be relentless. There’s a great saying that “rivers don’t cut through rock because they are powerful, they cut through rock because they are persistent.” Just keep going. Tough times? This too shall pass. If something isn't working, change your approach (don't keep making the same mistakes)! Repeat.
  28. Giving > getting.
  29. Make slow decisions, especially the big ones. Life's greatest failures and successes often hinge on these decisions. Slow down and think it through.
  30. Watch this Joe Rogan clip as often as you can. Be your own success story.
  31. When life seems to be getting you down:
    • Make a list of things that make you happy.
    • Make a list of things you do every day.
    • Compare the lists.
    • Adjust accordingly.
  32. When you think your life isn't going well or you're just stressed in general, watch an episode of Jerry Springer.
  33. If you say yes to someone you are saying no to someone else.
  34. Some of the most intelligent and well-respected people I know are those who listen intently and consider other people's opinions. Often those of people they disagree with. They then research accordingly via independent sources for a fully informed view of the world.
  35. Optimist's Creed
    • Promise yourself
    • To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
    • To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.
    • To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
    • To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
    • To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
    • To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
    • To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
    • To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
    • To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
    • To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
  36. Always pretend you have a film crew following you and broadcasting your decisions to others.
  1. At Disney, employees choose three challenges that is impacting their ability to be as successful as they want to be. Each challenge is something their manager has influence over. The manager is then held accountable for resolving those challenges via their yearly performance review.
  2. The Year Without Pants Page 162: "I loved P2s. They put me in control of how I consumed everything on my team and across the company. But I did notice its downsides. In July 2011, having observed symptoms of P2 abuse, I wrote a long post called “The Limits of P2.” It lauded the tool but called out bad habits we'd fallen into because we liked it so much. What's interesting is if you changed the title to “The Limits of E-mail” it works just as well:
    1. Some conversations need to be real time. Brainstorming and teaching require high interactivity, but blogs are designed for latency. If you are exploring an idea, or debugging something, and want the best possible communication, go real-time (IRC/Skype).
    2. Voice has more data. We are a text-centric culture here, but voices have more data. We get tons of information (humor, attitude, nuance) you can't get from text. When in doubt, go voice. A 20 post P2 thread can sometimes be replaced by a 3 minute Skype call (Efficiency ftw).
    3. Some conversations need fewer people. P2s are open to all. Some threads narrow to 2 people going back and forth, and they should get a room (email/Skype/hotel). They can report back if a conclusion was reached. Other times 10 people are involved, but only 3 will do the work—not everyone's opinion has equal weight.
    4. Many conversations need to be visual. As a rule, I never want to talk about a UI feature without a screenshot: A rough sketch explains more than 5 paragraphs of text (e.g. an idea in text may not work in pixels). All designers should be visualizers for P2 threads, saying “do you mean something like this? (show sketch)”—it improves the quality of any conversation to see, rather than just read.
    5. Thread hijacking. This is when you carefully write a post, and then a comment comes along asking a tangential question that everyone finds more interesting. If your thread gets hijacked, start it again—don't assume it means what you wanted to get isn't worth getting.
    6. ADD kills big ideas. Big ideas require more thinking before commenting. Given post A (clever idea on some little thing) vs. post B (radical sweeping idea on some big thing), post A will tend to get more comments. It's easier to respond and say “cool!” or “+1.” Post B requires more investment to comment, so it gets less of them. This is misleading—it suggests A is a better idea than B, when it really just means how much smaller an idea A is.
    7. How much did they read? If someone jumps in on a thread, there's no way to know how much they read. Did they just read the previous comment? Did they read the whole thing, but not understand it? Very hard to intuit just from a comment what context they have right or wrong—I don't have a solution—ideas?
    8. Is silence acceptance? If you post and no one comments, does that mean they read it and they agree? Read it and don't care? Or didn't read it? No way to know without poking at people. Leads should ensure all posts on their P2 are answered."
  3. I was fortunate to attend a leadership session at Apple years ago where they taught executives mobile app best practices (we didn't yet have a mobile app and they wanted us to etc). One of the many things I took away from that day was when they asked us "when was the last time you had a desktop experience that blew you away?" Nobody had an example. Then they asked, "now, when was the last time you had a mobile experience that blew you away?" People cited examples like Shazaam or Instagram back then. The Apple executives next said the reason is primarily two things: on mobile, you are constrained in a good way so it forces you to focus on what you need to deliver in a small space with minimal interaction, as well as the three iteration rule. The three iterations rule is something Apple does for their UX which says anytime you build something, try and strip away or make it more usable three times before you deploy it. Once you do that they say the experience becomes magical. Not to mention almost all experiences on mobile are guided versus desktop experiences where the shotgun approach of lots of links are presented to which the user has to try and "figure it out." The innovative Apple executives strategy versus the legacy executive strategy made a big impact on me that day and it has been something I have taken with me ever since.
  4. Aside from legal considerations, if your team is asking for permission there is almost always an opportunity. Debate it, set them free and hold them responsible for their decisions.
  5. Paul Graham Tips:
    1. Launch now
    2. Build something people want
    3. Do things that don’t scale
    4. Find the 90 / 10 solution
    5. Find 10-100 customers who love your product
    6. All startups are badly broken at some point
    7. Write code – talk to users
    8. “It’s not your money”
    9. Growth is the result of a great product, not the precursor
    10. Don’t scale your team/product until you have built something people want
    11. Valuation is not equal to success or even probability of success
    12. Avoid long negotiated deals with big customers if you can
    13. Avoid big company corporate development queries – they will only waste time
    14. Avoid conferences unless they are the best way to get customers
    15. Pre-product market fit – do things that don’t scale: remain small/nimble
    16. Startups can only solve one problem well at any given time
    17. Founder relationships matter more than you think
    18. Sometimes you need to fire your customers (they might be killing you)
    19. Ignore your competitors, you will more likely die of suicide than murder
    20. Most companies don’t die because they run out of money
    21. Be nice! Or at least don’t be a jerk
    22. Get sleep and exercise – take care of yourself
  6. Take feedback directly to the individual you have a grievance with. Never go to their management first. Often there is a misunderstanding and giving the individual the opportunity to address the problem first will help establish trust.
  7. When designing or reviewing a process always seek to remove as much friction or roadblocks as possible.
  8. A good way to get accountability is to ask them what they are going to do when starting the week and then the next week ask what they did. So say what you are going to do and measure them on what they said they would do.
  9. In some companies IT/Engineering is the driver's seat versus the business. Other companies the business is in control. A partnership is the best.
  10. Have your potential employees write a breakup letter because a lot of times in customer support you have to tell people bad news. Writing a letter will show if you are able to show empathy for the users.
  11. There are 5 days in a work week. Three days should be 8-10 hours of working to improve your core product. The fourth day is a customer support day. The fifth day is a half day with the first half dedicated to meetings.
  12. People generally don't know how to solve big problems but if you break them up into smaller problems they are easier to address. For instance if I asked you to solve world hunger it would be incredibly difficult. However, if you say "hey, I saw someone downstairs that looks hungry, why don't we go downstairs and get them something to eat? Do you have $5?" They will be more willing to help. When facing a large problem or asking for help to fix a problem, a small ask will help solve a larger problem.
  13. Watch this clip from The Pursuit of Happiness as often as you can. Don't let anyone ever tell you can't do something. You want something, you go get it. Period.
  14. Always strive to make an experience magical. Think "what would make my customer...be wowed." That is how companies change and grow in big ways.
  15. If you are developing a process, map out to the smallest detail the customer journey for your product. Create moments of wow/joy as early and often as you can within that process. Eliminate friction.
  16. Always try and consider family choices for work/life balance. A lot of people spend hours in the car commuting to and from their job. By the time you get dinner and bathe the kids there is next to no time left to spend with them. Then time for your spouse. Then whatever is left is “your time.” Live as close to your job as possible.
  17. Get aligned as closely as you can with “the business.”
  18. The primary advantage of a startup is speed. If you are a startup, never forget that. If you are an established business, never forget that either.
  19. Eliminate HPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) in your organization. The best ideas come from everyone. Create a culture that is obsessed with listening to everyone.
  20. High-performing teams:
    • There is no "leader."
    • Everybody is a "expert" in something different.
    • Everybody talks and gets heard.
    • Everybody works hard.
    • It's fun.
    • It's hard work.
    • Mistakes are welcomed.
    • It's hard to tell at the end who was responsible for what, but the outcome would not be possible without everyone's active participation.
  21. In a weekly task list state what you or your employee is going to do for the week and hold yourself and them accountable at the end of the week to whether or not it got done.
  22. Job description land grab meaning the first one to claim responsibility generally wins. Am I happy with my job? Do I like my manager? My team? Is this project I’m working on fulfilling? Am I learning? Am I respected? Am I growing? Do I feel fairly compensated? Is this company/team going anywhere? Do I believe in the vision? Do I trust the leaders?
  23. Most companies: "You are a cog in our machine. We do not care for you. We only care for your work. We will pay you insofar as you can execute on our vision. Further, you will be paid according to how hard it is to replace you. If you can be replaced by someone who executes significantly better, relative to your pay, we will tell you to leave." - James Altucher
  24. Birthdays are important. When new employees come into a new company, ask them for their birthday. Celebrate them throughout the year but especially their birthday.
  25. Some progressive companies have a "no cowboys" rule. Everyone goes home by 6pm at the latest.
  26. Three Steps to Agility:
    1. Experiment Continuously
    2. Measure Relentlessly
    3. Learn
  27. Innovation Day once a month with a Designer and Engineer.
  28. The only way a business fails is if it runs out of money.
  29. "Atop the brochure McKenna put a maxim, often attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, that would become the defining precept of Jobs’s design philosophy: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Jobs felt that design simplicity should be linked to making products easy to use. Those goals do not always go together. Sometimes a design can be so sleek and simple that a user finds it intimidating or unfriendly to navigate. "The main thing in our design is that we have to make things intuitively obvious," Jobs told [a] crowd of design mavens. For example, he extolled the desktop metaphor he was creating for the Macintosh. "People know how to deal with a desktop intuitively. If you walk into an office, there are papers on the desk. The one on top is the most important. People know how to switch priority. Part of the reason we model our computers on metaphors like the desktop is that we can leverage this experience that we already have."
  30. Changes needed in large companies to pivot:
    1. Pain
    2. Guts / willingness to change
    3. Time
    4. Commitment across all levels
    5. Resources
    6. Technology
  31. Ask people to rank the features they would like to keep.
  32. I read the following on a Hacker News thread a few years ago and it had some merit. "Any company that has been around for as long as Microsoft, has a huge amount of dead weight in its mid-level management. I mean people whose main skill is mastery of the internal political process. Lest people think I'm singling out Microsoft specifically, this same problem is present at Google as well but is less of a problem because Google has not been around long enough to pick up the same amount of dead weight personnel. The first generation of people at a company were fighting for market, and they rose due to their ability to deliver value to colleagues and customers. But when a company becomes successful, the resources available to teams within the company becomes somewhat decoupled from company revenue. Soon, political skill becomes as important or more important than impacting the company's bottom line. Microsoft and Intel alumni in the late 90s used to tell me that they knew managers whose main goal was to grow the headcount under them, in order to grow their own prestige. Today at Google you can see some of this same behavior in its nascency. Most of the dead weight is outside Engineering teams because its hard to bullshit when you have to deliver a product. Still, there are peripheral functions like business development, marketing, intellectual property, privacy, policy, etc., where you can always find a few deadbeats that talk slick but don't seem to have much to show for their time except hiring more people and making a few high impact appearances at meetings. You can go a long way if you can talk the talk, look the part, and kiss the right asses. Microsoft has been picking up useless deadbeats for nigh on 25 years now. They really need to shed these people. One company you have to admire is Facebook. I don't know if its true, but I'm told you basically get fired at Facebook in the first year if you don't know how to deliver something of tangible value within that time. That is hardcore."
  33. Websites Pages:
    1. How did they access/find the site?
    2. How long did they stay on the page?
    3. What do they think the purpose of each of the pages are?
    4. Do the categories/labels in the left-hand navigation make sense/flow to them? If they were to label the pages/categories, what would they label them as?
    5. Do they see the Getting Started page(s) themselves?
    6. If they used the navigation were they confused by the types of website solutions we offer?
    7. Does the page have the information they need to help them get up and running quickly? If no, what information can we help provide
  34. Process:
    1. What is the process strategy?
    2. What is the process for creating or improving an existing process?
    3. Why did we select that process to focus on?
    4. What is the process for reviewing processes? If we create a process, when do we review how it is working and how do you quantify success now and in the future?
    5. Can the process be automated or eliminated altogether? Why do we have the process in the first place?
    6. For each existing and new process, we need to ask ourselves: what would this process look like if it were easy?
    7. How much time does it take currently and how much time should it take an average agent (think time study) to complete a process? How are we measuring that?
    8. Is the way we create processes scalable? Can we sustain the process with the technology and resources currently available?
    9. What skills are needed for a process? Do we have the right talent for the process to be effective/possible?
    10. How do we communicate and/or train a new process?
    11. Is there too much change going on already in the business (think change management etc) for even the most well thought out process to be successful?
    12. If developers are going to develop a change in process from a toolset perspective, how are requirements being communicated and what check steps are being made to ensure timely and accurate delivery of the new toolset/process?
    13. How can the process be enforced?
    14. Do we want to enforce the process, or is it a process for process sake?
  35. Talent x Effort = Skill Skill x Effort = Achievement
  36. An algorithm is a series of steps that create repeatable results.
  37. Usability Studies:
    1. Do we have a past usability study for this section of the site we can review to get a baseline etc?
    2. Can we give them a set of tasks to complete to see what issues/problems they encounter?
  38. Customers generally start looking for assistance with your product via non-company-owned channels. Always try and consider a customer journey via a multichannel service experience.
  39. Web UX Considerations:
    1. Landing page has too much information. Customer not sure where to start.
    2. Providing many options of equal weight.
    3. Always strive to guide customers through the service journey.
  40. Aaron De Smet: I sometimes tell my clients a joke: “Five frogs were on a log, and one decided to jump off; how many were left? The answer is five because deciding to do something and actually doing it are two different things.” And this is true. Sometimes you think you’ve made the decision and you walk out of the room, but a month later, nothing’s happened.
  41. A team that isn't vulnerable lacks trust and won't grow. Build vulnerability into your culture.
  42. "Tell me the story of your life and the decisions that you made along the way and why you made them and also tell me about some of the most difficult problems you worked on and how you solved them." Musk also emphasized that he looks for someone who can explain "exactly how they solved it--they know the little details." - Elon Musk Interview Question
  43. When employees feel heard they feel valued. Feeling valued builds engagement and trust.
  44. Some companies block off Wednesday afternoons as “maker time” for the entire company. Ensure your company allows adequate time to improve the user experience.
  45. "You have the right to have work that enriches and enlivens you, rather than diminishing you. This is my own personal declaration of human rights at work. It informs everything I do as a coach, management professor, and human being. Yet it’s surprisingly controversial. Managers and employees in organizations around the world have bought into the assumption that pay and other contracted rewards are all you can expect to receive from work (and all that you owe your employees) and that it’s unrealistic to hope for less-tangible benefits like trust, respect, autonomy, civility, and the opportunity to make a positive impact on others. This impoverished view of work plays out in workplace attitudes and behaviors that burn employees out. It also traps people in jobs that harm their well-being and sense of self." - Monique Valcour PhD
  46. "While attempts to reduce or prevent burnout primarily fall to individuals, research has established that job and organizational factors that are largely outside of an individual employee’s control contribute to burnout at least as much as personal factors. People are most likely to experience burnout in the face of conditions such as unrealistically high workloads, low levels of job control, incivility, bullying, administrative hassles, low social support, poor organizational resources, stressed leaders, and negative leadership behaviors. Organizations with rampant burnout are like centers of infectious disease outbreaks. Many people exhibit symptoms, and the deleterious effects reverberate throughout the whole system of employee relationships, both in and out of the workplace." - Monique Valcour
  47. "Does your job/employer enable you to be the best version of yourself? A sustainable job leverages your strengths and helps you perform at your peak. One of the most consistently demoralizing experiences my coaching clients report is having to work in conditions that constrain their performance to a level well below their potential — for example, overwhelming workload, conflicting objectives, unclear expectations, inadequate resources, and lack of managerial support. Persistent barriers to good performance thwart the human need for mastery." - Monique Valcour
  48. Build a culture people would be proud to have on their resume.
  49. My favorite photography advice: "When you think your best shot is in front of you, often it isn't the case. Turn around and see if there is a better shot from the location previously behind you." - Cathy Breslow
  50. 27 Ideas from Joe Jankoski for Great Customer Service:
    1. Write it down
    2. Call and thank a customer for a recent order
    3. Show your customer, don’t tell them
    4. Say “I apologize”
    5. Keep them informed throughout a problem
    6. Give them solutions, not excuses
    7. Never justify a problem
    8. Learn from your mistakes
    9. Smile
    10. Say “Thank you” a lot
    11. Do what you say, when you say, and how you said you would do it
    12. Listen twice as much as you talk
    13. Listen some more
    14. Response time is within minutes, not hours
    15. Don’t accept mediocrity
    16. Make the customer feel important
    17. Ask before you put them on hold
    18. Over perform
    19. Follow up
    20. Follow up some more
    21. Be nice
    22. Always tell the truth
    23. Wait 30 minutes after you have eaten to go swimming
    24. Know that people buy from people, not companies
    25. Your first chance may be your last
    26. Have fun, it’s the only way to work
    27. Know that you can do anything you put your mind to
  51. "Mediocre hires are like empty calories: They make you bigger but less healthy." - Eric Ryan, co-founder of Olly
  52. 1:1 Topics:
    1. How’s life?
    2. What are you worried about right now?
    3. What rumors are you hearing that you think I should know about?
    4. If you could be proud of one accomplishment between now and next year, what would it be?
    5. What are your biggest time wasters?
    6. Would you like more or less direction from me?
    7. Would you like more or less feedback on your work? If so, what additional feedback would you like?
    8. Are there any decisions you’re hung up on?
  53. Business Tips from @Suhail:
    1. I became "CEO" at 20. I dropped out of college. I had only interned somewhere prev. Looking back, I couldn't imagine the journey that would occur from writing code all day to scaling to 300 people. I got lucky, I screwed up a lot, & had a lot of help. Here's what I learned...
    2. Giving up control is hard & it was the hardest for me. I felt like everything at the beginning was important. You can't be good at everything tho. As you grow, I learned it's important to consciously give up things constantly. If you don't, you won't scale & everything suffers.
    3. Your VCs won't want to offend you so I'll suggest it: get a CEO coach & do a 360 review of yourself every few years. It was life-changing for me. You can’t fix everything about yourself. Focus on 2-3 things each year. Tell your company you’re doing it. It'll build trust.
    4. Over time, you will feel like all you’re doing is spending time in meetings but not getting any real work done. You are though. Your job is now helping other people through the medium of meeting. Don't resist it, embrace it. Now's the time to design it to be fun & productive.
    5. Find a great mentor: Pick someone you want to impress. Find someone who will lift you up when you're down & take you down a notch when you're overconfident. Ideally, they've been a CEO/founder before so they can empathize. Remember though: they offer guidance, not a script.
    6. Live by the mantra: “you should be building a team that can fulfill the mission without you.” You will be less stressed in the long-run. Keep empowering others. When you forget, try & ask yourself why you started this thing in the first place. Was it really about $$/power/ego?
    7. Power = responsibility. Being CEO will become lonely as you can't be as vulnerable & authentic as you'd like. Find other founders who will be real with you. Have dinners with them & share problems openly. I've been given hugs by them during tough times. It made the difference.
    8. Don't avoid confrontation with tough, critical decisions--deal with it head-on. Avoiding confrontation builds resentment over time, it slows the company down, & relationships eventually turn sour in an irrevocable way creating instability. Attack problems, not people though.
    9. You will royally screw it up with people in your company even if it wasn't your decision. They may even dislike *you* for a long time. The words “I am sorry. I screwed up.” are some of the most powerful words you can ever say to someone. It won’t always fix it though.
    10. Your job will become 90% listening, 10% talking. I was bad at this & had to work 2x as hard at not interrupting people. The best solution I found after 9.5 years was to write things down during a meeting. It made me focus on what they were saying & showed I was listening.
    11. Your intuition about customers/the market will get worse as the organization grows & you become further estranged from customers. Keep empowering others but hold them accountable. Spend time learning from them. Stick to the facts, not their opinions when making decisions.
    12. Discovering the truth becomes hard as you grow. It also becomes the most important thing you can do as you guide the company. Make acquiring it & using it for decision a part of the culture somehow. I did this by constantly asking people what the actual facts were.
    13. Control your mood meeting-to-meeting. Sometimes you will have a bad/devastating meeting but try to remember that the next set of people don’t have that context & may be excited/stressed to meet with you.
    14. We’re all human & have our insecurities so consider a therapist to assist in helping with your personal psychology. If you associate a stigma with it know that I did too. I was wrong & wished I had done this earlier in life. It will be invaluable if you tend to bring it home.
    15. Finally, keep working hard to improve. You can’t fix the mistakes of the past but you can be better in the future. Don't give up: when you make hard decisions, you get to know which values/principles you truly stand for. That alone makes the journey worth it.
  54. Richard Branson on Keeping Business Simple:
    1. When I’m drawing up a business plan, I try not to over-complicate it. If it can’t fit on the back of an envelope, it isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. One of the most useful things I do is to draw up two columns, with the positives on one side and the negatives on the other. It’s very simplified, but it works.
    2. I think this can be useful in all sorts of ways, not just business decisions. Occasionally I will talk to friends who are dealing with some sort of issue in their lives. I encourage them to make their own very simple life plan.
    3. You can do this by drawing up two columns. On the left, write down all of the things that are going well for you in life, that you truly enjoy, find purpose and get satisfaction from. Then in the other column, write down all the things that are bothering you, or that you dislike about your current situation. From this template, find somebody you can talk to and help find a more positive way forward.
    4. It’s really surprising how year after year can go by almost without us noticing, and we don’t set aside the time to sit back and think about whether there’s a better path to take. By drawing up this simple life plan, you can sometimes find problems you didn’t know existed, and solutions that had remained hidden.
    5. I had one friend who felt they were in the wrong line of work, and thought their job was “boring”. But when they drew up their plan, they realized that other factors were negatively affecting their work. After thinking long and hard about it, they realized that their work was, at its core, about working with and helping other people. Now they are fit, healthy and looking after themselves, they are getting a lot of pleasure from it. Alternatively, for another person, it could be they need a complete break from their job and should go off and do something completely different.
    6. We need to all give ourselves the time to think about what we want from life for ourselves. I’m no advocate for long, arduous self-improvement forms. Keep it simple, stupid – but don’t ignore or neglect your own well being. If you’re honest with yourself, you can learn a lot. Good luck, and let me know how you get on.
  55. Layoffs are a sign of management failure. You lay people off when you've screwed up, when you've guessed wrong about the market, when you haven't anticipated some critical development or created adequate contingency plans. Reality comes along, smacks you in the head, and forces you to cut costs. Most managers will look for any other costs they can cut before taking away people's jobs. When downsizing is the only choice, it's a sign of how badly management has failed, and the people who get hurt are invariably those who had nothing to do with creating the problems in the first place.
  56. Sometimes you have to slow down in order to speed up.
  57. Shirky principle - In April 2010, Kevin Kelly cited the phrase "Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution," and called it the "Shirky Principle", as the phrasing reminded him of the clarity of the Peter Principle.
  58. Team Building:
    1. Trust. If a team doesn’t trust each other, it’s not safe to express uncertainty.
    2. Conflict. Without conflict, the least offensive idea wins.
    3. Commitment. Can people commit to ideas even if they don’t like them?
    4. Accountability. Do they hold each other accountable? Do you hold them accountable?
    5. Results. Do they have the information they need to know how they’re performing? Is the information easy to get and objective?
  59. Struggling to come up with a business idea? Ask yourself: "what problem do I wish someone else would solve for me?"
  60. TL;DR: Avoid hiring people/companies that seem delusional ("no problem at all!") or defeatist ("that's impossible") when asked to bid on a challenging (impossible?) task.
  61. Money doesn’t change people. It amplifies who we are inside.
  62. In general, the user or person reporting something is broken is almost always right. You're going to first assume they aren't right but fight that assumption with all your might.
  63. Tim Ferriss Advice:
    1. If you can't be #1 or #2 in a category, create a new category so you don't have to compete and then you own that category.
    2. Consistently over delivering one or two benefits to your most true fans.
    3. The best option generally is one that creates more options.
    4. Being effective and focusing on the right things (effective, not efficient). Peter Drucker
    5. You either have a job, career, or calling
    6. Until we make the conscious conscious we will be dictated to it by its fate (Carl Jung)
    7. Only two emotions: love and fear. So as you are experiencing those feelings, ask yourself which one am I feeling, love or fear?
  64. Artificial deadlines
  65. The 10/10/10 is the framing of the outcome of a decision across three timeframes:
    • How will he feel about the outcome 10 minutes from now? How about 10 months from now?
    • How about 10 years from now?
    • The answers to these questions provide a different perspective and usually help him to find the correct answer without being misguided by circumstances at the time of making the decision.
  66. When providing feedback, always go directly to individual with that feedback first.
  67. Rework is the most expensive type of work.
  68. Perfection is the enemy of progress. By doing 'something', chances are it is going to be far greater than having 'nothing' as you wait for it to be perfect. Note: there are exceptions to every rule such as compliance and legal issues, but it is a decent general rule to live by.
  69. A company is built on 10,000 small decisions, be conscious of the repercussions of your decisions.
  70. Don't get too good at the menial stuff, or you'll become menial.
  71. If you want to do anything big in life, you're going to need other people to help you. Learn to get along with others. "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." - African proverb
  72. In a meeting, if a topic can't be resolved in 15 minutes, table it and have a dedicated meeting on that topic with a formalized agenda.
  73. Empower your employees. If your employee is asking permission you have not properly empowered them.
  74. Having something that needs to be improved? Innovation begins when people start asking themselves "wouldn't it be cool if...".
  75. I reported to someone whose superpower was focus and I learned so much from him. I truly think that ruthless prioritization is essential in business. Focus is everything in business.
  76. Reverse engineer as much as possible. Know what you want to do? Read the people who are doing just that, and reverse engineer how to do it yourself.
  77. Early in your career you advance by saying "yes." However, as you advance to management and beyond, more times than not you should be telling yourself and others no when considering whether to do something, or whether something is a priority.
  78. Get it in writing, like a contract, unless you have it in writing, you don't have anything.
  79. Not following industry best practices or web standards is a way to show you are different, but thus far I haven't seen a good example where it has made sense to do so.
  80. “People tend to think that they need a process for everything, and once in a while you hear ‘We’re going to dummy-proof it.’ But if you dummy-proof the process, you only get dummies to work there,’’ Hastings says. “That’s why we’re so opposed to that and focused on giving people great freedom. They’ll make mistakes, of course, but you’ll get a lot of great ideas.” - Reed Hastings
  81. If you are in management, your job is in part to eliminate roadblocks for your employees. Disney seems to do it best by asking employees to provide their managers with three challenges that prevent the individual contributor from being as successful as they could be. Those three challenge areas are then given to the manager to resolve and they are held accountable at the end of the year for removing each obstacle.
  82. Often in business, being naive is an advantage because you don't yet know what is possible. Neil Hunt, the Chief Product Officer at Netflix once gave the example of Galapagos animals who aren’t afraid of humans because, in the Galapagos, they don’t have predators. Try new things, the world will teach you soon enough who your competitors are and what you should rightfully be afraid of. Until then, be naive and try new things.
  83. More times than not, giving yourself a deadline is the best productivity tip I have found. Find constraints you can't wiggle yourself out of. Necessity is the mother of invention.
  84. When working on products, strive for simplicity. Simplicity almost always enables speed, user adoption, and scalability.
  85. Employees will act how they are treated. Treat them like adults, they will tend to act like adults.
  86. A manager’s output = output of their team + output of the surrounding teams that they influence.
  87. Use data, not opinions to make a decision.
  88. For a while I considered majoring in Psychology. I really love hearing people's problems and offering solutions. The greatest topic I learned while studying Psychology is Learned Helplessness.
  89. I'm not a fan of a person having a problem with someone going to management without the feedback being given to the individual first so they have the opportunity to rectify the situation. If feedback has been given directly and performance is not improving is when I typically like to see management get involved.
  90. Be careful believing what a salesperson says a product can do for you or as Warren Buffet once put it, "don't ask a barber if you need a haircut."
  91. Don't make a product for everyone. If everyone is your market, no one is your customer. If everyone is your customer, no one is your customer. Particularly with the first version of your product. Better to have 1,000 people love you than 100,000 think you are sort of cool. Start narrow and then go broad.
  92. Don't promote superstar employees to management if they haven't demonstrated care for others beforehand. More times than not, promoting superstars who aren't good with managing people is the quickest way to kill a team.
  93. Managing people is like pushing a group of people individually on a swing. The more you have, the more difficult it is to keep all the swings moving. Hire the brightest people you can afford however and you will quickly find they don't want a push, they want to swing on their own with some minor guidance.
  94. People will change, but often it takes a strong catalyst to make it happen. Have they truly learned their lessons?
  95. I'm a big fan of the five why's. Baking why into the culture is game changing! Don't let your company become another Kodak. Always encourage your employees to ask "why."
  96. Get as close as you can to your customer. The problems they have are often hot as a fire. The further removed you are from the fire, the less intense it is to put out that fire. If you're the one on fire, you're going to put it out.
  97. If you are having anxiety about your boss’s problems, and not your customer’s problems, there is a larger problem at hand.
  98. Iterate and test versus over-analyze and build.
  99. Productivity measures how much each employee makes over a period of time. Calculated by dividing total output by the number of workers - if a factory employing 50 staff produces 1000 tables a day, then the productivity of each worker is: 1,000 tables/50 staff = 20 tables.
  100. "In life you are either playing offense or defense. Who's to do list are you working off of? Email is an open to do list, with little to none of it on your own task list." - Chris Sacca
  101. Change your mindset. Do you know where competition is steepest? In the middle. Very few people actually shoot for big things, they aspire to common things.
  102. Build Networks. Go to places and events where people are doing big and interesting things. Have conversations, soak everything in, gather a lot of cards, make yourself available, and make genuine friendships. People will tap those they like over other people when they have opportunities.
  103. Change management is critical but few companies give thought to it.
  104. Hire the best and the brightest talent your company can afford.
  105. When building web-based solutions, guide them through a process. My favorite has been wizard-based solutions.
  106. You can only go as fast as a company is capable or willing.
  107. Vulnerability does not equal weakness and often it builds trust.
  108. When providing feedback, the start, stop, and continue model is generally helpful.
  109. "If you don't build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs." - Tony Gaskins
  110. What do you find yourself daydreaming about? Go do that. Life is short, don’t waste it on things you don’t want to do. This is especially the case when you are young.
  111. Choosing the right company to work for is incredibly important read their culture deck extensively and make sure you really want to work there. Also, check glassdoor.com. Choose a company while employed. It is incredibly difficult to choose a company while unemployed. While unemployed you tend to go with the company that will get you your next paycheck.
  112. Sell benefits of products not features.
  113. How To Be Successful
    1. Compound yourself
    2. Have almost too much self-belief
    3. Learn to think independently
    4. Get good at “sales”
    5. Make it easy to take risks
    6. Focus
    7. Work hard
    8. Be bold
    9. Be willful
    10. Be hard to compete with
    11. Build a network
    12. You get rich by owning things
    13. Be internally driven

Bucket List


For now, this is an unprioritized list of places I want to see, accomplish, and a few things I've always wanted to have. The list is getting longer and the days shorter, but I am a "list person" through and through.

  1. Lamanai
  2. Turks and Caicos
  3. Hike Wentworth Falls
  4. Hike the Camino de Santiago
  5. Hike the Appalachian Trail
  6. The Leaning Tower of Pisa
  7. Revisit Amsterdam
  8. Spain
  9. Travel to London
  10. Own a Porsche
  11. See The Seven New Wonders of the World
  12. Mount Pilatus
  13. Cardada Observation Platform
  14. Harder Kulm - Two Lakes Bridge #1, Interlaken, Switzerland
  15. Gornergrat
  16. Glacier 3000 Peak Walk, Les Diablerets, Switzerland
  17. Gemmipass
  18. Hanging Lake Trail
  19. Glenwood Springs
  20. Worlds Longest Pedestrian Suspension Bridge
  21. Banff
  22. Durango
  23. Ska Brewing
  24. Mt. Evans
  25. Keyes on the Green
  26. Mostar, Bosnia
  27. Glen Eyrie Castle
  28. Neuschwanstein Castle
  29. Celestial Seasonings Factory Tour
  30. Hammonds Candy Factory Tour
  31. 1-Up Arcade
  32. Devils Head Fire Lookout
  33. Crystal Trail Lake
  34. Bridal Veil Falls Trail
  35. Trail Ridge Road
  36. Maroon Bells
  37. Great Sand Dunes
  38. Garden of the Gods
  39. Hanging Lake
  40. Glenwood Hot Springs
  41. Chautauqua Park in Boulder
  42. Mesa Verde
  43. First Cliff Walk #1
  44. Leavenworth
  45. The Bombay Frankie Company
  46. The Inventing Room Dessert Shop
  47. The Cereal Box
  48. Fat Sully's
  49. BookBar
  50. The Grand Place
  51. Egyptian Pyramids
  52. Great Wall of China
  53. Northern Lights
  54. Second and Charles
  55. Wild Animal Sanctuary
  56. Acorn Restaurant
  57. Oak at Fourteenth
  58. Colorado Railroad Museum
  59. Bear Country USA
  60. Huckleberry Coffee Roasters
  61. Pablos Coffee
  62. Corvus Coffee
  63. Avanti Food & Beverage
  64. Metropolis Coffee
  65. Denver Botanical Gardens
  66. Licks Ice Cream
  67. Washington Park
  68. Bonnie Brae Ice Cream
  69. Cherry Cricket
  70. Crepes n’ Crepes
  71. Pablo's Coffee
  72. Novo Coffee
  73. Corvus Coffee Roasters
  74. Commonwealth Coffee
  75. Huckleberry Roasters
  76. East Coast Greenway
  77. High Point Creamery
  78. Micro Center
  79. Giordano's
  80. Buck-ee's
  81. Giethoorn, Netherlands
  82. Angel's Landing
  83. The Cheese Board Collective
  84. Dillon Ice Castles
  85. The Inventing Room
  86. Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs
  87. New Belgium Brewing
  88. Ska Brewing
  89. Stanley Marketplace
  90. The Manitou Incline

Resolutions


Most of my resolutions this year are going to be about consuming or learning more. I can't help creating little web experiments here and there and then sharing what I learn but in 2019 I want to take a lot more time for myself. I reused a few resolutions I didn't complete from last year as well.

Best Podcasts


I have spent countless hours on the road commuting and if you know me you know I love my podcasts. These are some of my favorite I listened to in 2018.

Trailblazers with Walter IsaacsonThe MothThe Tim Ferriss ShowStartUp PodcastHow I Built This with Guy RazMasters of Scale with Reid HoffmanReply AllRecode Decode with Kara SwisherThe Joe Rogan ExperienceThe James Altucher Show