Wisdom from Edison on Dealing with Setbacks and Starting Over

I recently came across a great story about about Thomas Edison and his response to adversity that I wanted to share.

In December of 1914, a massive explosion occurred Edison’s manufacturing and experimental plant in New Jersey. Because the lab was filled all kinds of chemicals and flammable materials, the fire blazed for six hours, ultimately consuming 10 buildings before dying out around midnight, with the help of the fire brigade. [1]

Continue reading…


Three Short Lessons for the Last Year of My Twenties

I turned 29 last month. No contest or giveaway this year, like the last few birthdays. This year we’ll keep it simple. Three simple lessons I’ve learned as I round the last lap of my twenties.

Just because it isn’t on your resume doesn’t mean it’s not real work. This includes relationships, moving cities, calling customer service, organizing around the house, and taking care of parents. It’s easy to just gloss over these things as chores and distractions if you’re an ambitious person but this is the real meat of life.

You can have it, but only if you want it really badly. There are too many books to read, cities to visit, people to meet, fields to explore, projects to start. You can’t have it all, but if something is really important to you, you’ll find a way to get it.

Energy is everything. I mean both physical and mental energy (the two are closely related). Avoid things that unnecessarily drain you and move towards the things that fill you up. If you’re well-rested, well-fed, physical active, doing meaningful work, you’re doing great. Also surrounded by people you love, and who love you? Game over. You win.


Why Hasn’t Google Released a ‘Bootstrap’ for Material Design?

Update May 30: They’re working on it. Scroll to bottom for more.

I caught about half of the Google I/O 2015 keynote over lunch with some of the Product team at Percolate. I’d say it was a solid set of announcements, though nothing super mind-blowing. The pick for biggest announcement is probably Brillo and Weave, an operating system and set of API’s for the Internet of Things. I’m not too familiar with the IoT world but these products could have the potential to join Chrome and Android as major product lines for Google one day if they can win the standards war.

What About Material Design?

As a company that’s really engineering-driven at its heart, user experience and aesthetics have sometimes taken a backseat in Google products in the effort to build novel and powerful applications of technology. There’s that infamous story of the frustrated designer who was asked by Marisa Mayer to test 41 different shades of blue on a design. Continue reading…


StartupAdventure.co — A Fun Nerdy Side Project

Edit May 28th: StartupAdventure was reviewed by PSFK!

Back in 2013, I spent a good deal of time learning how to code on Ruby on Rails, I used Michael Hartl’s Rails Tutorial and the learning platform Treehouse (referral link) and hacked together RewardBox, an app that helps you build habits through variable reward reinforcement. It was a great education to the MVC mental model and those ideas help me as a product manager at Percolate.

Since then, I’ve had a few opportunities to code here and there — I wrote a little Ruby script to call an API during the Smithsonian Hackathon at the Luce Center, and wrote a little code using Squirrel to govern the Electric Imp for Team Ghostfinger at Hack Day 2015. Still, I’ve been itching for more. (Because I’m trying to be a good chef). Continue reading…


How Other People’s Choices Influence Our Own

This is an excerpt from my book, How to Get What You Want (a primer for ambitious people).

We all know that teenagers are highly susceptible to peer pressure. That’s why parents are often concerned when their children are hanging out with “the wrong crowd”. But eventually we grow out of that phase, and learn to make decisions on our own right?

Not quite. Consider something as simple as purchasing a snack or a film on an airplane. Continue reading…