Less hustle, more care

As I was reading my tweets this morning, I came across this quote by Seth Godin, thanks to @swissmiss

We don’t need more hustle. We need more care and generosity.

Seth’s post is really great and I encourage you to read it. 

It’s a great sentiment. And reminds me of something that has been on my mind about the state of marketing in startup land. 

Somehow we have tacitly let growth hackers to work harder to satisfy some crazy set of KPI or management charts, instead of satisfying the user.

The next time you create a push notification for your customer, consider the motivation. Is it to help the user? Or is it to send them an unsolicted marketing.

Because if it’s merely the latter, well, it’s just spam.

Work life balance, continued

I heard a recent TED talk where the speaker said there is no such thing as work life balance. Something is being sacrificed at any given moment. 

It reminded me of the quote I linked to in my blog several years back by Sheryl Sandberg. 

I feel guilty when my son says, ‘Mommy, put down the BlackBerry, talk to me’ and that happens far too much. I think all women feel guilty. I think what’s interesting is I don’t know many men who feel guilty,

Another old gem on the topic is by my friend Jerry Colonna. 

Right now this topic is back in full force on my Twitter feed where some venture capitalists are preaching about the need for entrepreneurs to work hard.

Here’s the thing. 

The vast majority of entrepreneurs already work intensely hard to say the least. They sacrifice so many things. Their families, their physical health and mental health. I was on the board of a company (that ended up failing) where the CEO was doing back to back red eyes while his mother was dying. The whole thing was beyond tragic. (He also has four children and a life partner).

So when a venture capitalist (which holds one of the most privileged jobs on this planet) preaches about hard work, I would like to request they get off their high horse and take a breath. Let’s find out how to support these founders (to whom we owe so much) and give them the help and support they deserve. 

And for fucks sake, let’s show a little respect and empathy. 

Because, lord knows, the world can use a little more of it. 

Products from the heart

I was listening to a recent podcast, where my friend Nick Bilton interviews Dick Costolo. Dick is a successful serial entrepreneur and previously the CEO at Twitter. I had the pleasure of working with Dick when I served on the Twitter board. 

It’s a fantastic interview and Dick has one interesting story after another about his life experiences (life as an improv comedian in Chicago, the Twitter IPO roadshow and others).

At one point, Dick talks about his respect for Evan Spiegel, the cofounder and CEO at Snap. Dick calls Evan one of the most important product thinkers of our time and cites Snaps invention of the Stories format which launched back in 2013.

Many people didn’t get this format right away. Dick mentions that it took a good 18 months of it to catch on. Other companies might have abandoned this feature much sooner

David Karp who founded Tumblr in 2006 and still runs it to this today has the same product instincts. He imagines something, builds it and then will introduce it to the world. Sometimes he likes and it often he doesn’t.

No A/B tests to create conviction. 

It’s just a product from the heart. 

And that can be a beautiful thing. 

Apple’s many app stores

There is no doubt Apple changed the world with the introduction of the iOS App Store back in 2008. It is a powerful example of an open platform beating a closed platform. 

Every time I want to criticize Apple’s IOS app store, I find myself restrained simply because if it wasn’t for the iOS app store, my work wouldn’t be as interesting and my phone wouldn’t be nearly as much fun and useful. 

So, thank you Apple.

An interesting thing about Apple is they have actually launched 4 app stores since the success of the iOS app store for the iPhone. 

1. they have a section of the app store for iPad only apps (ok, not quite a standalone app store but clearly they want iPad apps)

2. an app store for tvOS

3. an app store for watchOS 

4. an app store for iMessenger.

All of four products (iPad, AppleTV, Watch and iMessenger) are extremely popular with consumers. So it makes sense why Apple felt compelled to try the App Store model again and again.

But developers haven’t been inspired and for the most part third party apps for these four stores have been weak.

Apple made a bunch of announcements this week at their annual worldwide developers conference. Based on the announcements, I’m feeling really bullish on iPad apps (and of course iPhone apps) but the other non-iOS app stores/platforms didn’t get much love — so it’s hard to imagine developers getting excited as a result.

The one product that hasn’t led to an open platform/app store model is Siri. 

With the introduction of HomePod, I was really hoping we would see a huge upgrade to Siri and an exciting open platform for third parties. 

Yes, that would be the 5th app store for Apple but it could be the most exciting after iOS.

Hello. It’s me again.

I have been using Tumblr for well over 10 years. And I mostly check my Tumblr dashboard every day because it’s an awesome blend of great art, music, opinions, and photographs. 

As you might have noticed I haven’t been posting much. I don’t know why exactly. I’m sure I can come up with lots of excuses. 

But I have been going through a funk of sorts. The last one was about 5 years ago. Lots of stuff going on right now. 

-A few very close family members and friends are fighting cancer. It really sucks. I wake up every morning thinking about them and go to bed each night thinking about them. And during the day I try to send positive vibes. 

-My oldest daughter graduated high school last week. I’m very excited for her but it’s obvious our family is going to go through real changes. We are soon leaving for a family trip but I can tell the days of the 5 of us traveling together will likely be less and less. It’s part of life but it’s unchartered territory for me and I would be lying to myself and you if I didn’t admit that it’s a real moment of reflection. 

-Our political situation in the United States definitely creates anxiety and stress, to say the least. I try my best to keep my head above water, try to make an impact where I can and passionately support important causes with money and time. But then I read the cover of the Washington Post and I shake my head in disbelief. Another day. 

To fight the funk, I’ve been working out every day. Meditating every day. Working at work. And spending time with the family. I can feel the heaviness starting to move on and so I’m back here writing on my personal blog. 

I started this blog to share things I care about. Work, family, music, photos, and opinions. So I’m going to keep doing that. 

Thanks for listening.