Responsible Rhetoric In The Age of Polarization

America is the most polarized it has been in my lifetime. Even the Covid-19 pandemic, an exogenous threat, has simply reinforced this polarization, and the protests and riots in the wake of George Floyd’s death have pushed opposing sides even further apart. Instead of discussions, nearly every conversation between those disagree has become a debate. … Continue reading Responsible Rhetoric In The Age of Polarization

Negativity, Risk, And Why Rugged Individualism Is (Mostly) Bunk

In his book with journalist John Tierney, The Power of Bad, social psychologist Roy Baumeister writes about what he calls the Negativity Effect. For most of humanity’s existence, we lived in dangerous environments where a single careless moment would mean death. Or as The Power of Bad puts it: “To survive, life has to win … Continue reading Negativity, Risk, And Why Rugged Individualism Is (Mostly) Bunk

Awareness, Control, and Acceptance

We’re often tempted to ignore our animal nature.  In our hubris, we believe that our culture and habits trump the billions of years of evolution that have led to this point. That’s a mistake. As individuals, we’re better off acknowledging our animal nature, not to blindly accept it, but to make conscious decisions about how … Continue reading Awareness, Control, and Acceptance

Common ground between those who favor and oppose diversity hiring

Those who favor and oppose diversity actually share very similar concerns. This thought occurred to me when I read the end of this interview with Slack developer Kaya Thomas: The interview ends with the following exchange: “Brown: As one of the few black women in the industry, have you ever felt tokenized? Thomas: Yeah. It’s … Continue reading Common ground between those who favor and oppose diversity hiring

Situational Shyness

Very few people would characterize me as shy.  Based on the classic “Big Five” personality factor model, I score heavily on the extroversion scale.  Yet there are definitely times in my life when I have felt shy, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, and I’ve concluded that there is a pattern. First, I’m more likely to … Continue reading Situational Shyness

The Goal Of Communication Is To Be Understood

I often warn people that it’s shockingly hard to communicate your thoughts to someone else.  Far too often, I speak with entrepreneurs who are frustrated by how their employees or even co-founders don’t understand what needs to be done. That’s when I tell them, “The goal of communication is to be understood.”  Your responsibility goes … Continue reading The Goal Of Communication Is To Be Understood

The Melancholy of the Happy

I am probably one of the happiest people in the world, but even I feel melancholy every once in a while.  While I’m lucky enough that these feelings are both rare and invariably transitory, I’m struck by the fact that I feel like I shouldn’t write about them. It’s not because I’m afraid that revealing … Continue reading The Melancholy of the Happy

The Dangerous Conflation of Money and Self-Worth

One of the big dangers that entrepreneurs (and everyone else) face in Silicon Valley is the temptation to conflate money and self-worth.  I was reminded of this by an entrepreneur that I’m coaching, who has been dealing with the whipsaw effect of fluctuating net worth and income. Making money and/or getting a big payday through … Continue reading The Dangerous Conflation of Money and Self-Worth

What Entrepreneurs and Leaders Can Learn From Happy Marriages

As a happily married man, I can confirm what the latest research indicates: The secret to a happy marriage is kindness and generosity. When I was a kid, I was mystified by altruism; I couldn’t understand why my parents would always let me have the best share.  At the time, I just figured that they … Continue reading What Entrepreneurs and Leaders Can Learn From Happy Marriages