• Time Out album featuring Take Five

    Happy 5/4 Day!

    Sorry, Star Wars nerds. May the fourth be with you and all, but music lovers know today as Dave Brubeck Day (ok, really Paul Desmond Day)! I am, of course, referencing on of the all-time greatest jazz hits, “Take Five“, written in 5/4 time signature. It was a revolution for its time. Enjoy!

  • Miscellany

    Some Personal News…

    This is post overdue, as the last several months have been quite busy. Besides, I’m not much of a self-promoter to begin with (ironic for someone with his own website, perhaps), but I was recently called out for stealthily updating my Twitter profile, so I figured it’s time to share with a wider audience.  I recently joined M12, Microsoft’s Venture Fund, as a managing partner. I have the privilege & good fortune to work with an accomplished team investing in enterprise SaaS, AI, web3/gaming, and frontier technologies. As a startup builder and former corporate VC with a few tours in enterprise land, I also have some Opinions™ on corporate venture…

  • Miscellany

    Give Good Email

    Calendly use seems to provoke strong feelings – especially so on Twitter – and a recent tweet from Sam Lessin complaining about Calendly etiquette as a “naked display of social capital dynamics” reminded me of my longstanding thesis that human interactions cannot simply be “solved” with technology. In fact, I think Sam’s particular issue has little to do with the mechanics of Calendly almost everything to do with the ability to carry on polite human interaction via email and the internet. I was long hesitant to embrace Calendly for fear of the exact perception issues that Sam outlines (and which many a tweet has railed against), but I’ve since come…

  • Canelés de Bordeaux
    food,  Miscellany

    Capping off 2021 with Canelés de Bordeaux

    To cap off the year I decided to try something new – baking one of my favorite pastries: Canelés de Bordeaux. Canelés done right are an amazing creation – a crunchy, caramelized outer shell contrasting with a rum and vanilla infused soft custard middle. They’re also fickle, with a myriad ways for things to go wrong (mushrooming, white butts, sagging, etc.). With the help of an excellent recipe that consolidates a bunch of research and tips from other bakers, I was fortunate to pull off perfect canelés on my first attempt. Canelés involve a number of steps that must be done carefully and in the right order, so attention to…

  • Deep Thoughts

    Habits > Commitments

    Seth Godin’s blog post today on “Streaks” is rather apropos given my objective of returning to blogging. He’s blogged daily for 11 years, and he makes the point that “streaks” create their own reward. Streaks create internal pressure that keeps streaks going. Streaks require commitment at first, but then the commitment turns into a practice, and the practice into a habit. Anything worth doing typically takes time and a commitment to consistency. The easiest way I know how to do this is to build habits that don’t require you to constantly tax your willpower or decision-making reserves. Instead, automating desired behaviors by building habits is a far better approach. Habits…

  • Payments

    A Response to Pricenomics

    [read this post’s disclaimer below] Priceonomics Blog, a publication I often read with interest, recently posted an article alleging that the major card networks (Visa, MasterCard, Amex) are a “tax” on the United States. You can read the post here. Now, that’s a pretty strong allegation, and while the author spins a tale that sounds both dramatic and nefarious, he also omits crucial context and facts relevant to the discussion.

  • Apple,  mobile

    6 Reasons Why I Switched to an iPhone After 7 Years on Android

    1. Better Hardware – the build quality of Apple is better than any other phone, irrespective of OS. Period. 2. Fragmentation – just give me stock Android, dammit! And stop the bloatware. HTC Sense was particularly bad (and the battery life was horrendous… which brings me to my next point) 3. Battery life – it’s just better. Integrated hardware & software gives Apple the advantage of being able to optimize battery life. 4. Google now has excellent iOS apps – except Google Voice. My life is on Google, and finally I can function on iOS fully (including Calendar push/pull, contact syncing, Google Drive, etc.) The only thing I miss is…

  • Business,  Deep Thoughts

    Do things youre unqualified for, and dont be afraid to try something new

    Having been in the workforce now for a while, I can tell you that this is excellent advice. Famous physicist Freeman Dyson has it down: Advice to people at the beginning of their careers: do not imagine that you have to know everything before you can do anything. My own best work was done when I was most ignorant. Grab every opportunity to take responsibility and do things for which you are unqualified. Advice to people at the middle of their careers: do not be afraid to switch careers and try something new. As my friend the physicist Leo Szilard said (number nine in his list of ten commandments): “Do…

  • Business,  Design,  Internet

    The Devil’s in the Details – Frictionless Checkout

    Recently I’ve become a fan of Lot18, a flash sale site for wine lovers, which works much like Gilt Groupe for wine. Like Gilt, they offer quality products at a discount to standard retail, and their site features rich descriptions and photos. They’ve also taken advantage of some best practices in flash sales, including: Daily emails to introduce the latest offering and drive traffic Limited quantities Time-limited sales Countdown “expiration” timer after you’ve added something to your cart The last item is key, as I believe it’s one of the things that makes Gilt so successful: urgency. Items are reserved for a limited time (10 minutes) when you add them…

  • Business,  Marketing,  travel

    Uber Bummed

    The good, hard working folks over at Uber just sent out an email to some of their best and earliest users to inform them that the 15% FoundersCard discount select customers have been enjoying is being phased out. For those unfamiliar with FoundersCard, it offers founder-types and entrepreneurs select deals on everything from travel to business services. Uber had set up a discount for 15% off the first 100 rides for FC members. The goal was to entice early adopters who would evangelize Uber’s service. From my anecdotal experience, it worked beautifully. My friends and I sang Uber’s praises far and wide (and drummed up quite a bit of business…