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How I Ended Up Setting a Guinness World Record in Aztec Push-Ups

(Want to just watch me break the record? Click here to skip the back story)

Have you heard of an Aztec push-up? It’s like a clapping push-up, except you explode off the ground with both your hands and your feet and your hands touch your feet. Here’s how that looks in GIF format:

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On January 18 2014, I set a Guinness World Record, completing 50 Aztec push-ups in one minute. This is the story of how it happened. Continue reading…

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Thinking Out Loud about Product Management: Early Observations as a PM on the Demo

When I moved to New York City a year ago, I had a plan to become a product manager in a technology firm. After interviewing for PM roles at Pivotal Labs and Meetup, I met with Noah, the CEO of Percolate. He told me that they didn’t have a PM function and but that he was looking for hackers on the marketing team.

I jumped in with two feet — producing blog posts, case studies, white papers, webinars, films, and independent research — and learned a ton about marketing enterprise software. But I continued be passionate about directly building technology products. And in 2015, I finally got my chance to do it. Continue reading…

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My Reading Notes on Elements of Content Strategy

In my final Your Turn Challenge post, and part of the #WkofBks series I did this week, I’m going to look at a fantastic book on creating, organizing, and managing the words, images, and media of our world. It’s called The Elements of Content Strategy.

9815847The Book in a Nutshell: Content strategy is a discipline that stems from a family of fields including marketing, editorial, and curation, and requires analytical, organizational, and creative skills to successfully execute.

About the Author: Erin Kissane is an editor for Contents magazine and Source, a community site for journalists who code. She was previously a content strategist for Brain Traffic and edited A List Apart magazine. The book is part of the A Book Apart series, which includes many concise books that are densely packed with wisdom. Continue reading…

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My Reading Notes on The Success Equation: Untangling Luck vs Skill in Business, Sports, and Investing

Today’s reading notes, as part of #WkofBks and Day 6 of the Your Turn Challenge is The Success Equation, Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing.

I think this is a fascinating topic because we all know that both factors are highly relevant for a lot of high performance activities, but they are not easy disconnected. I’ve won a NCAA championship, started and folded a venture-backed company, and invested money in various asset classes so there’s a lot of personal interest here.

These reading notes began life as an “Ignite-style” 5 minute presentation with slides automatically progressing every 15 seconds — which I gave on a Monday morning presentation for Percolate. The words below are essentially what I said during that talk.

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My book presentation is on The Success Equation, by Michael Mauboussin, who’s Head of Global Financial Strategies at Credit Suisse. The book is about understanding and managing the role of luck vs skill in complex activities. We’ll start off with a quick quiz. Continue reading…

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8 Thoughts from a Techie on SF vs NYC

We take a quick break from the #WkofBks to bring something a little different for the Your Turn Challenge (Day #5, yes I’m behind). I just spent a week in San Francisco, seeing friends and working out of the Percolate SF offices. While they were fresh in my mind, I wanted to share a few thoughts I had about my time here. I spent nine years in the Bay Area, and four of them in SF, and none of the things on this list should surprise someone living in the Bay Area. But since I’ve spent the last year in NYC, these things jumped out at me as being noteworthy.

It’s a smaller world.

The magic (and for some, curse) of Silicon Valley is just how connected everyone and everything is. I stayed with my friend and Stanford classmate Bilal, who works at Optimizely. One night at the Caltrain station, I ran into someone else I knew from Stanford, who was also working at Optimizely, who I later saw when I got lunch at the office. While waiting to meet a founder friend for lunch , I ran into a high school friend who had started and sold a company to Comcast, and another high school friend who was getting her PhD at Stanford. The serendipity of encounters is one of my favorite things about Silicon Valley, but I’m sure it can sometimes feel suffocating. In NYC, the tech community is smaller, but somehow people aren’t talking to each other that much, or it’s just taking time to build up the relationships. I still feel like I might meet someone at a tech event and never see them again. Continue reading…