Balancing Kindness and Rightness

“Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible.” (The Dalai Lama) I recently read this longform New York Times piece on Amy Cuddy and the replication controversy in social science.  The basic summary is that two big trends came together–the first was the rise of social science in popular culture (think Malcolm Gladwell and Dan … Continue reading Balancing Kindness and Rightness

Grappling with mortality and meaning

I’m not certain what precisely led to my contemplating my death. Several of my good friends recently lost their fathers. I was also on an airplane flight, which, all statistics on safety aside, always makes me think of the Grim Reaper. Whatever the reason, I found myself at 35,000 feet, my eyes closed during the … Continue reading Grappling with mortality and meaning

You’re not indispensable (except when you are)

When Jesse Noller’s essay explaining why he had essentially left his software community made it to the top of Hacker News, I read it with great interest. Noller was one of the pillars of the community, but by pouring all his time and energy into the community, he neglected his marriage and family, and ultimately … Continue reading You’re not indispensable (except when you are)

Ben Casnocha and Reid Hoffman

I was delighted when my friend Ben Casnocha published his essay about what he learned from working with Reid Hoffman. Ben described the subject of his essay as “10,000 hours with Reid Hoffman,” but its roots go back even further.  Ben had long been interested in learning from the massively successful; one of the book … Continue reading Ben Casnocha and Reid Hoffman

Hard Choices Are An Opportunity

I’m a big podcast listener because I like to multi-task while I’m cooking and washing dishes (something I do a lot on weekends, since that’s when I prepare our family’s food for the week).  Today, I listened to a fascinating TED Talk by philosopher Ruth Chang. It’s worth listening to the entire talk, but for … Continue reading Hard Choices Are An Opportunity

Quantity, Quality, and Inactivity

The world bombards us with conflicting advice. On the one hand, we’re told that quantity is the key factor in success.  Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule states that practice is the only path to mastery.  The Beatles played 10,000 hours of gigs in Germany before returning to England and stardom. I’ve certainly leveraged the benefits … Continue reading Quantity, Quality, and Inactivity

Success comes from phase changes, not incremental improvements

In chemistry, the concept of a phase change refers to the transition between different states of matter, like ice melting into water, or water boiling into steam: I believe that the same principle applies to startups and entrepreneurial careers.  Success comes from phase changes–truly discontinuous shifts–rather than simple incremental improvements. One such phase change … Continue reading Success comes from phase changes, not incremental improvements