Getting Right for What's to Come

Fred and Albert just posted their annual posts on predictions and issues to tackle for the coming decade. Both are great, and thinking about all that we will need to do to in the coming decade is both inspiring and intimidating.

Before I can even think about those kinds of things and how to approach them, I need to look on the personal side and check in to make sure that I have as strong a foundation as possible, like putting on your own oxygen mask before helping others:

Everyone has their own challenges and issues to work on, so here I will just note some resources that have been helpful to me, in no particular order:

  1. Getting professional help. I have written before that one of the breakthrough moments for me was when I realized I could seek and get help where I needed it. In my case, it was a great therapist and a great accountant. But the big idea is that it's ok to get help. You deserve it.

  2. Dry January. For the past few years I have quit alcohol for the month of January and it always feels great. The holidays can be a bit much, and a lot of us consume more than we should anyway. Dry January is, at the very least, a good opportunity to explore the role of alcohol (or lack of it) in your life.

  3. This NYT piece on procrastination is great. I have always struggled with this, and I completely agree with the main idea here which is that procrastination is an emotional issue (avoiding unpleasant feelings, self doubt, etc) not a discipline or self control issue.

  4. James Clear and Atomic Habits. I've only skimmed James' book Atomic Habits, but he's great on twitter and seems spot-on to me with his analysis of how to create positive habits.

  5. Work Clean by Dan Charnas. In this book, Dan studies how great chefs manage their workspaces and apply those lessons to other forms of work.

  6. Alex Iskold's Self-care: 8 Tips for Founders to take care of themselves - great lessons here and Alex talks about this stuff from a place of real personal honesty and empathy.

  7. The Volt Planner by Kate Matsudaira. For the past 4 years I have used the Volt Planner, which guides you though yearly, monthly and weekly goal setting. I have found it to be supremely helpful in a world where there are a lot of things competing for your attention and it can be hard to focus.

  8. Brad Feld's mantra to Simply Begin Again - simple and really helpful.

Whatever issue you are tackling, I hope you can find the resources to help.

As I look out at the new year and the coming decade, I want to have all the energy and leverage I can to make good things happen, and that starts at home with building a strong foundation, whatever that means to you. A little better every day.


New Years Cleaning

I love milestones.  Times of year that mark change and give you a chance to pause and reset. I think that’s part of why I had such a hard time living in California during college, and why I appreciated the seasons so much when I moved back east.  They provide a very natural rhythm. The time between Christmas and New Years is one of my favorite transition times.  I love the fact that nearly everyone is on vacation, so everything slows down.  In the past I have usually stayed at work during that week and used the time to catch up on everything. With new years, I love the opportunity to pause, take stock of everything, get organized, and get ready to hit the ground running in the new year. For me, this is my “spring cleaning”, more than anything I do in the spring.   Here’s what I’m working towards this week to get cleaned up and ready for 2013:

  • Resetting email. I got crushed on email in the last month, and have a lot of open threads (I apologize to anyone I owe an email to).  I am working towards inbox zero by New Years.

  • Rebooting my blog — as of yesterday, I’ve merged my blog and my tumblog into one.  I’ve moved my blog archives dating back to 2006 to the Wayback Archive, and am doing everything on Tumblr now.  Fewer things; more focus.

  • Mundane things around the house — Yesterday Cescalouise and I cleaned out our basement, and I organized my mess of a closet.  Both feel super good to have done, and help create an overall sense of healthiness.

  • Going to get a haircut :)

And as always happens, I’m using this time to get inspired about 2013.  I’ve been collecting some quotes that are getting me fired up.  


Thinking about Freedom

For the past few weeks, I've been involved with a community effort to draft a declaration of freedom for the Internet.  On Monday, it went live on the web, and is starting to get discussed. It's been an amazing, fascinating and inspiring year in the internet community.  Today, the Verge has a nicely-produced writeup on the Declaration of Internet Freedom which also gets into the story of the last year of internet politics, including the SOPA/PIPA fight.  I'm really looking forward to seeing how the Internet plays as an election issue this fall, and how we as a community can work to carry our energy and momentum into the next US congress and administration, as well as on the global front. For me personally, it's been an absolute thrill ride, as I've jumped with both feet into an area of policy, politics and advocacy that is both very close to my heart and also very new to me, in the details.  More than anything I've been so honored and excited to be working with an incredible group of people on such an interesting and important set of issues. I feel very lucky. On the one hand it feels presumptuous and self-indulgent to speak about Interent freedom in the same breath as other independence and rights movements from our history.  On the other hand, I believe that we are on the leading edge of one of the biggest global changes we've ever seen, and there are serious issues of freedom and control at stake.  My friend Brad likes to say that the shift to the world of connected humanity and free information is bigger than the industrial revolution -- rather, it's more like the shift from hunter/gatherer to agrarian society in terms of the fundamental changes in how we understand how we relate to our good and to one another. So while the current debate is still more on the side of nerd politics than pop culture, I think that will continue to change.  And it will be important for more of us to think about the values and power structures that are built into the technologies we use every day. I think the Internet Declaration is a good start.  I don't expect it to be the end -- rather, I like it very much as a point of departure for discussion.  The day the Declaration was released, this "fork" was published by the folks at TechFreedom, which is worth a read.  And the version I posted on github already has 15 forks including a translation to Polish. (you've gotta believe that the founders would have used github if they had had the chance). So, happy Independence Day.  Here's to freedom and new frontiers.


Hello, Brieza!

Two weeks ago, we were joined by the newest member of the fam: Brieza.  Brieza weighed in at a respectable 8 lbs 9 oz and has been busy sleeping away her days since.  So far, having 2 kids hasn't been as overwhelming as some people suggested it might be, but I'm sure we're just still in the newborn honeymoon phase -- apparently they start crying more and sleeping less at about two weeks. Theo is super psyched to have a baby sister, and Frannie and I couldn't be happier to have another member on our team.


Hey there, 2011

I love the new year.  It's a so nice to have a time where a) pretty much everyone takes a break for a few weeks and b) you get to magically clean the slate and start fresh.  Rest, and a new start. Awesome. For the past few years, I've been writing down my goals for the coming year at the turn of the year.  It feels good to do, and it's always amazing to look back at what you thought your year was going to be like, especially a year or two down the road. This year, I'm going to take it a step further and put some goals down in public, here.  Is suppose this is a bit self-indulgent, and maybe not super insightful, so feel free to stop reading right now. Else, without further adieu, here's what I'm looking forward to in 2011:

  • Blogging more -- I like blogging here, but still don't have a great routine for fitting it in.  I have a backlog of posts that I'm slowly working through, and then I'd like to be a bit more real-time.  My intention is to blog once a week.  Once I hit publish, I'll be one-for-one ;)

  • Getting and staying healthy -- 2010 was a weird year, with some unexpected health issues. It turns out I am not superman and I am going to have to work a bit harder at being healthy -- which means more exercise (hard) and healthier eating (super hard).

  • Getting "all the way there" at work -- it's been an amazing few years at OpenPlans, and a particularly interesting 2010.  Last year, we (meaning my corner of OpenPlans, called Civic Works) went from practically zero revenue to booking nearly $1.5mm -- in the context of losing our primary funding source due to the effects of the LimeWire lawsuit.  This year, we make it or we don't -- taking what we've built thus far, shaping it up right and making it sustainable.  It's going to be fun, and I'm happy to say that we're starting out the new year by hiring some incredible new people who will help us make it happen.

  • Planning ahead -- this is a perennial item on the list, and one that I'm getting better at, but still not all the way there.  I'm busy -- we're all busy -- and my achilles heel is focusing too much on the near term.  I'm good at (or maybe just lucky?) pulling things together close to the last minute, but it doesn't feel great and it's probably not healthy (for me personally, or for my colleagues).

Those are the biggies.  The interesting thing to me, as I look at these and think back on prior years, is how long it takes to change.  You can't change overnight.  You have to work at it.  So on the one hand, it's incredibly slow; but on the other, it's always surprising to see real change once it's happened. So, see you later 2010; it was nice knowing you.  Hey there, 2011; let's be friends.


Welcome Theo

Introducing the newest member of the clan: Theo.  It's now been nearly two weeks since Theo joined us, and it's been pretty amazing (and tiring) thus far.  I've been intentionally keeping him off of the public intertubes, but figured one cute "hello, world" shot was safe enough.  I am enjoying every minute, while secretly waiting for him be big enough to play baseball|basketball|golf|skiing|tennis|surfing|football with dad....