I had planned to take the kids camping this weekend. However, the weather report called for rain and I decided to audible. I tossed a dozen ideas to Ashby, my daughter, that ranged from boring to crazy. She caught something in the middle and we journeyed to Tijuana yesterday. I mentioned there were painted donkeys we could see–or as I referred to these: zedonks. These are donkeys painted to resemble zebras. However, I had another experience in mind.
Exploring new perspectives creates a richer life and more sound opinions. No, I’m not referring to the painted donkeys. Once while crossing the border, Tara and I discussed the blight and poverty along the border as an experience we would like our kids to witness. It’s an interesting perspective coming from our home in San Diego. It was with this in mind I suggested Tijuana. The experience seemed to have an impact on the kids. Specifically, they noticed the children in poverty at a level and scale they’re unaccustomed to seeing. We discussed this and our privilege. Of course, they also enjoyed the zedonks and our adventure in Tijuana too.
With another day left that we could have been camping I wanted another unusual experience. I was thrilled to learn that snow was falling above 5,000 feet. So, we drove to Mount Laguna, 45 minutes from home, to see big fluffy flakes of snow falling from the sky.
Upon my suggestion to drive to the snow this morning, Roe responded: “One day we randomly go to Mexico, the next day a random trip to the snow. You’re crazy daddy!” Indeed son, indeed.
I’ll admit it, it’s true. I stink at email. It will often take me days to respond to an email. Important topics tend to bubble up in conversations, texts or phone calls…so, email can wait. Also, most emails just resolve themselves with enough time.
Once, I received an email response from Matt Mullenweg six years after I emailed him. I told him that his response was six years late. He told me “better late than never”. I thought that was pretty funny.
Another time I responded to an email from Bjorg, my partner at MindTouch, five years later on behalf of my colleague Damien. Damien and I still laugh about the content of that email. Bjorg didn’t seem to think it was as amusing as we did.
I’ve been content thinking it’s ok to respond slowly to email for the last several years. People like Brad Feld, Ron Huddleston and other obviously busy people screw this up for me. These guys respond quickly. Brad in particular usually responds within the hour! I have no idea how he does this. God I love the guy, but damnit he makes me feel bad about how I respond to email.
The problem with email is that it will consume hours of my day. Hours I should spend on more productive activities. Therefore, I typically find myself plowing through email in the evenings and weekends in an effort to not expend too much of my work day. This fritters away my most productive time. This is the time I’m away from the office and working without distractions after my family has retired for the evening. Everything about this paragraph is just wrong. Read it again and you’ll understand what I mean.
When I’m cranking through email I respond to those that require less than two minutes immediately. Those that deserve, or require, more than two minutes get a response later. This last week I’ve begun to respond to this class of emails with a short acknowledgement that I’ve received the email and I’ll respond ASAP. Does this improve my email manners?
When I was a teen I was fascinated by the I-Ching. It seemed mystical and important to me. A few years ago I found my old copy of “The Book of Change” in a dusty box along with my copy of the Zohar and similar books. At that moment I dismissed it as another silly mythology. Something that was probably useful thousands of years ago for imparting sage lessons or for Shaman to hold power over their flock.
As it turns out, the I-Ching is far more important than I thought it to be even as a naive and impressionable kid with a penchant for Asian philosophy and religion. Today while re-reading “You’re It” by Alan Watts I learned, Leibniz refined and popularized the binary number system because he was inspired by the I-Ching. I’m not sure how I missed this on my last reading ten+ years ago. This means that the yin and yang is at the very heart of the digital computer. I’ve always thought this about binary–the yin and yang as bits–but I did not know there is a literal connection.
In case you don’t idolize certain mathematicians like I do, allow me to make clear Leibniz sits on a very tall tower in the world of mathematics. As it turns out, Leibniz was a Sinophile and in his papers he makes reference to the I-Ching.
Leibniz > Boole > Shannon > Stibitz
This reminds me of something one of my college math professors said to me: “everything the white man thinks he invented was invented by the Chinese 2,000 years earlier.”
Today I asked the family who they would select if they could have lunch with anyone alive or dead. Other than Tara’s response there weren’t any real surprises here.
Ashby: Taylor Swift
Roe: a secret agent spy man or ninja
Tara: Johnny Depp.
Me: I went with the obvious and cliched Jesus. It was a toss up between him and Bodhidharma, but I figured Jesus could clear up a lot of questions for modern people about the Abrahamic religions.
What’s with the photo? Oh yeah, that’s Ashby after being whipped by Roe’s goggles. Sigh…
While putting Roe to bed I told him: “Stop eating your fingernails. It’s gross and you’ll get worms.”
I realize this is nonsense, but I’ve been trying to get my six year old to stop biting his nails and this scared me as a child when my Great Grandmother “Mango” told me it at about the same age Roe is currently.
Roe: “How would I get worms?”
Me: “Worm eggs.”
Roe: “Worms don’t lay eggs.”
Me: “Hard to argue with that.”
Roe returns to biting his nails while I read his book.
For the record, worms lay cocoons not eggs.
Last year (2014) was a solid year at work. Here’s our 2014 scorecard:
CAC on GAAP Revenue: 0.52 GAAP Return per S&M $1: $1.92 ARR Growth: 68% Gross Margin GAAP: 92% Retention (count): 93% Churn (on MRR): (-18%); meaning, +18% in up sell
We had similar results in 2013. A fanatical focus on customer success has proven effective.
This was taken at the San Diego Mini Maker Faire earlier this year. I showed up with kids right as it opened and it was already packed. San Diego is definitely ready for a full size Maker Faire.
The kids made soap box cars, played with robots, had fun learning about 3D printing and made up their own board game. We were there for two hours, but had to leave for a birthday party. We could have easily spent a couple more hours there. The kids loved it.