If you’re a regular reader, you know I believe that training makes it possible. No one is good at everything, and everyone can improve with sustained effort.

I’m working on some new projects that can be loosely categorized as “helping people be more excellent at things they care about”. I know that readers of this blog are involved in tech, entrepreneurship, fitness, and management from my last readership survey, but I’d like to go a little further on what you’re working to improve right now.

For instance, in the past, I’ve focused on improving my dating life (I even hired a dating coach at one point), taking my fitness to new levels with monthly fitness challenges and marathon training, and improving as a product manager. Continue reading

Something I’ve noticed is that people and organizations that are successful over a long period of time periodically reinvent themselves. That is, they start out doing one thing, become good at it and get known for it, but eventually transform themselves and pursue something different.

Amazon of course is making headlines for their purchase of Whole Foods for $13 billion. Are they an e-commerce company? A technology company? A logistics company? A services provider? With the mission of being the most customer-centric company on earth, they can be all that and more. Continue reading

It’s sort of a tradition at this point for me to do a post around my birthday (see: 30, 29, 28, 27, 26). This year, I decided to write down 31 lessons I’ve learned in the past few years. Anything older than that tends to become a “known fact of life” and stands out a lot less.

These were initially written with modifiers like “most”, “often”, or “tend to”, but since that makes the points less pithy, I’ve taken them out. However, know that I don’t mean these lessons literally to be true in all circumstances and situations. The universe is messy and the right answer is always: “it depends”.

So without further ado: Continue reading

Note: The following piece was originally published in a few months ago in FastCompany’s Leadership section, where I also have a new post on maintaining strong relationships called The Networking Secret That Only Requires Writing Four Emails A Year

Last summer I was interviewing for product-manager jobs in New York City. My last job had left me feeling cornered into a specialist role at an enterprise marketing-software firm, and there wasn’t a path for me to grow into or room to move up. So I started putting out feelers. I spoke to startups, big companies, and a few in the middle. The two companies I was most excited to interview at were Google and Etsy. Continue reading

Let’s talk about the trade-offs between taking the time to do your homework on something and getting ahead through decisive action.

My father is running for a seat on the school committee of my hometown and I’ve been helping him put together his website. His initial list of campaign priorities emphasized broad themes: academic excellence, teacher quality, things that few would disagree with.

I’ve pressed him for details how exactly he plans to fulfill these priorities. More teacher training? New classroom technology? Overhauling the teacher hiring process? He would demur, not wanting to advocate for any specific policies before he has a better understanding of his constituents. Sure, the election is months away, but with a better known candidate also in the race, I’m concerned his nebulous platform won’t win him any new supporters. [1] Continue reading